Category Archives: foodies!

Happy Thanksgiving

The turkey is in the oven, stuffed. The rice for the other stuffing (rice/oysters/Chinese sausage/water chestnut, my Dad’s recipe below) is cooking. The stock for gravy is simmering. It smells wonderful in here.

So I’m taking a moment to say thank you for reading! And for knitting, especially if you’ve ever knit one of my designs or taken a class with me. I love what I do, and love being able to help you knit, too.

Kilter Indiecita

I’m currently knitting a worsted/Aran weight version of Kilter. This is Malabrigo Rios in Indiecita. Loving it so far.

Hoping your day is full of family and peace, whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving.

Baba’s turkey stuffing

2.5 cups uncooked rice (i like brown medium grain, but whatever you have is fine)
3 Chinese sausage
2 8 oz jars of fresh small shucked oysters, drained and cut in half if they seem large
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch on diagonal
1 onion, chopped
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 eggs, scrambled (if you want it to be prettier, cook separately before adding so you have ribbons of scrambled egg)
1 tbsp soy sauce

Pre-cook rice, along with sausage. (Lay the sausage on top of the rice when you turn the heat down after it boils; they will be perfect.) When rice is done, remove sausage and slice 1/4 inch on diagonal.

Now it’s time to really cook!
Saute sausage, onion, and celery in 1 tbsp oil. When onion is soft, add oysters and cook until they are just barely done (there will be a lot of moisture in the pan). Add water chestnut and eggs; cook ’til eggs are done. Beginning adding rice, one cup at a time, working it in. You may not use all the rice. When you have enough rice worked in (so that the ratio of rice to goodies looks right), add a bit of soy sauce for color (go lightly!). Salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the turkey, or not!

This is basically fried rice, with oysters and chinese sausage. yum….

Knitters’ tea party, prize winners

Tea and knitting, a winning combination. When a table is set with yarn as part of each place setting, you know it’s going to be good. (Yarn is from my stash, which needed thinning. Everybody wins!)

tea and yarn

My buddy Carole and I put on a knitters’ tea for a friend’s fund raiser in Salem on Sunday. I brought a small trunk show with me so knitters could touch and feel and try things on. I forgot to take a picture, sorry.

plum deluxe tea

Our teas were from Plum Deluxe: Andy Hayes is an online tea blender and purveyor based here in Portland. Our two teas were Afternoon “High Tea” Tea, a lightly caffeinated tea with notes of peach and pear, and Everything is OK Herbal Tea. They were both delicious. The teas arrived in this signature purple packaging, which smelled wonderful! I kept sniffing it. Andy also provided us with a goody bag of 2 teas as a door prize. And his postcards made our table that much prettier; you can see them in front of the yarns in the table picture above. Thank you Andy!

As always, we began with scones, butter, clotted cream, and jam. The jams are from my kitchen; we had yellow plum bourbon, red plum with Krupnik (a spiced honey liqueur), and strawberry balsamic. Again, I forgot to take a picture, but I was busy!


Next come the savories: Clockwise from left: Cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad in lettuce cups, pear and gorgonzola crostini, caramelized onion and feta tarts.

Conversations about knitting, and then come the sweets. First,

pdxknitterati trifle mini wine glass

English trifle in mini wine glasses. I love these little glasses, we use them for lots of desserts. Carole and I each have a set, so we have 24 readily available. And she gave some to her other friends, too, so we have at least 48 if we need them! That’s smart gifting…

high tea sweets

The rest of the sweets: Clockwise from upper left: chocolate chip shortbread, pumpkin tarts, lemon bars, and chocolate truffle drops in the center.

pdxknitterati knitters tea

It was a lovely afternoon with knitters. Note that Donna on the right is wearing her Zen Rain Shawlette. I love it when knitters wear my designs! Thanks to all for a fabulous time.

And now, drum roll please: The winners of the Lobelia Shawl-inspired giveaway are: Emme for the Mint Mojito yarn and a copy of my Fern Lace Shawlette pattern, and Noreen for the Huckleberry yarn and Pacific or Lobelia. I’ll be in contact with you to arrange your prizes! Thanks to everyone for their very kind comments. Thanks for playing!

Even more gradient yarn, and pretty food

knit circus come what mayKnitcircus Greatest of Ease, Come What May

The pink is shading ever so gently, getting paler and paler. Heading into cream (why does this look like dessert?); the gray will come later. Pink and white roses, gray rain clouds? Whatever, it’s gorgeous.

Black Trillium Fibres Periwinkle

This is waiting in the wings. Black Trillium Fibres Lilt, in Periwinkle.

In the meantime, there’s been a lot of pretty food! I hosted my annual Pinot & Piano fun-raiser a couple weeks ago. I provide piano and dessert. My co-hosts provide wine and music. It all comes together in a lovely evening for 16 guests. This year’s desserts:

flourless chocolate torteFlourless Chocolate Torte

puff pastry pear tartPuff Pastry Pear Tart, served with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

pomegranate panna cottaPomegranate Panna Cotta

These aren’t as big as they look; they’re served in mini wine glasses.

mini wine glass dessert

Love these glasses for presentation!

baking bagels

Last week Sue (Tango Mango) taught us how to make bagels.


We had them for lunch!

panna cotta

And panna cotta with raspberry sauce for dessert.

What pretty things are you making? Knitting? Food? Other?

Lobelia sneak peek, knit nite

Here’s a sneak peak at Lobelia. I think the lace pattern looks like little lobelia blossoms.

lobelia lace

This is 150g of Thrilling by KnitCircus, Starry Night colorway. The initial write-up is done, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for the pattern. I’m knitting up a version for a 100g/400 yard skein. Because, options.

KnitCircus Come What May

This yarn is KnitCircus Greatest of Ease, a super wash merino/nylon blend. Colorway is Come What May; I received it as part of my Kickstarter package supporting Jaala’s new studio. Gorgeous!

In other news, we had knit nite on Wednesday, and we actually knit! There are two grandbabies on the way, so there was some blanket knitting going on. I guess zigzag/chevrons are in!

knit zigzag

I made my new favorite quinoa salad. You can pretty much throw all your favorite things into quinoa, dress it a bit, and it’s delicious.

quinoa salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

! cup quinoa
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 avocado, diced
1/2 lb grape tomatoes, various, cut into halves
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cucumber, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

4 T fresh squeezed orange juice
4 T olive oil
4 T apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar or honey
1/4 tsp salt
liberal grind of black pepper

Rinse quinoa. Put in pot with 2 C water. Bring to boil, cover & simmer 20 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with fork and transfer to large bowl to cool.

Cook edamame according to package directions. Cool.

Assemble all dressing ingredients and shake in a jar.

When quinoa and edamame are cool, combine with all other salad ingredients. Add dressing to taste. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6-8, depending on how hungry you are…

Do you have a knitting group? We don’t meet as regularly as we used to, but it’s always a pleasure to get together to share food and knitting!

Swatching and blocking, yarn and ice cream

Do you always swatch? Do you always wash and block your swatches? True confessions time here: I don’t always swatch, and when I do, I don’t always wash and block it. This has come back to bite me several times. Lesson learned! I’ve modified my approach: If the yarn is familiar to me, I might dive right in. A new yarn? It’s best to do my homework.

knitpicks galileo

This is Knit Picks Galileo in a deliciously plummy color called Urchin. It reminds me of these shield urchins I saw last December.

shingle urchins hawaii

But I digress.

This ia a new to me yarn. It’s sport weight, a 50/50 blend of Merino and Bamboo viscose. Two ply. It’s deliciously bouncy and round to knit with. Occasionally I’ll split the yarn with the Hiya Hiya Sharps that I’m knitting with, but I want that pointy tip for the lace stitches I’m working. It’s a reasonable trade-off.

The ballband recommends a size US 3-5 needle. I started with a 7, just for grins, because it’s going to be lace. Definitely too floppy. I swatched with a 6, and it felt pretty good, but I thought I’d push the envelope and swatch with a 5, too. It felt a little full on the needle, but surprise! It was my favorite of the three blocked swatches. It relaxed a lot from the bouncy knitted piece, but it also had more of the structure it needed to make this lace behave. So glad I swatched AND blocked in this instance. I’ve been knitting like crazy, and I’m halfway done with the project. No pictures; it’s a secret for now.

Speaking of plummy, my friends offered me plums from their super-productive tree again this year. I picked two colanders full, which was enough for two batches of jam.

yellow plums

I thought I’d come up with my perfect plum jam last summer. That was before I had some plum bourbon jam on a mini-doughnut at Pip’s Original Doughnuts. And over the year I’d also decided that I like a more traditional pectin set for plum jam. (Pomona’s is still my go-to for strawberry, and no pectin at all for raspberry.)

pdxknitterati bourbon plum jam

After the first batch, I went for the trifecta of favorite things: Plum, bourbon, crystallized ginger. Heaven. Not particularly boozy, but a extra depth of flavor that plain plum jam doesn’t have.

Notes for myself:

6 cups chopped plums
1/4 c water
Bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 box Sure-Jell pectin for less sugar (pink box) mixed with 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to boil.

4.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Boil 1 minute per pectin package drections, water bath process for 10 minutes (sea level).


I must be an extravagant measurer, or maybe I should re-measure my plums after the first simmer, which I don’t, but I always end up with a bit more jam than I’m expecting. I can only process 8 jars with my stockpot/orange silicone trivet setup, and that’s my expected yield. Maybe it’s the added bourbon, ginger, water? Anyway, the extra jam goes into a jar and into the fridge. I had extras from 2 batches in the fridge, so I did this.

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Plum bourbon jam ice cream. It was a good reason to use the ice cream maker the kids gave to me a couple years ago. And they were coming for dinner!

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Tastes as good as it looks!

Inspired by Erica’s recipe, but I doubled it and adjusted it for sweetness:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup plum bourbon jam
up to 1/4 cup sugar, to taste

Mix milk, cream, jam. Taste! Adjust sweetness as desired. Process in ice cream maker 25-30 minutes. This is a soft set; I put the ice cream in a storage container in the freezer for a couple hours before serving for a firmer set. Delicious. In a perfect world I might make a custard base for a smoother texture, but that would mean more work. I wonder if I’d like it with half and half instead of cream? This is like swatching, with food! But I’m guessing that laziness will win out, and this simple version is probably how it will always happen at my house.

I think this would be spectacular with strawberry balsamic jam, with some additional sugared strawberries thrown in. Just sayin’.

So, extravagant swatching, blocking, measuring, eating! What is your extravagance this summer?


Last month I bought some Hood strawberries, local berries that are so delicate they don’t go for sale outside the area. They’re tender and sweet and perfect. We ate some, and I made a small batch of strawberry balsamic jam with the rest.

strawberry balsamic jam

Three little jars of heaven. I liked Marisa’s recipe at Food in Jars, but I prefer my strawberry jam less cooked, so that there are still chunks of berries and a lighter color and less cooked flavor. This recipe uses no added pectin, so you have to cook it longer for it to set as jam. Still, delicious.

This week California berries are on sale at the supermarket for 99 cents/pound, so I decided to have another go at it. I bought 3 one pound boxes of berries, and used them all. A bit more than planned, but I don’t really like fresh strawberries, so there was no use in keeping some back!

I decided to use Pomona’s Pectin, which works with less sugar and the cooking time is minimal. You might remember my plum jam adventures from last year with Pomona’s Pectin. Ultimately, I decided that plum jam really wants to be made with traditional pectin and more sugar for that jewel-like set, so I’ll be back to that this summer. But for strawberries? Perfect.

strawberry balsamic jamsNo pectin on left, Pomona’s on right

I like the fresher taste and bits of fruit in this version with less cooking time. The only thing that I didn’t love is that my fruit wants to float in the jam after processing. Marisa says that it’s due to air trapped in the fruit, making it lighter than the rest of the jam. Possible fixes: Cut the fruit smaller (I wanted chunks, so no), macerate fruit with sugar overnight (too late for this time), or swirl fruit in jars as they cool (bingo).

fruit floating jam

I guess I missed one of the jars! I’ll keep that one for me, and mix it up when I open it. I have 4 half pints and 6 4-ounce jars.

The instructions for Pomona’s Pectin say to mix the pectin with the sugar, I think so it doesn’t clump. Next time, I’ll keep back half the sugar to mix with the pectin, and use the other half to macerate the berries overnight. Problem solved.

Notes to self for next year’s strawberry, with or without balsamic:

Strawberry balsamic jam

6 cups mashed berries, a little less than 3 pounds (I gave them a quick whirl in the food processor)
3 cups sugar (I might cut it back to 2.5 next time)
3 tsp Pomona’s Pectin
3 tsp calcium water
2 TBS balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

Combine fruit and 2 cups sugar; macerate in refrigerator overnight.

Canning day: Combine pectin with remaining sugar; set aside.
Add calcium water to fruit. Bring to boil. Add remaining sugar and pectin. Return to boil, stirring to dissolve pectin. Remove from heat.

Fill jars to 1/4″ from top, wipe rims clean, screw on lids. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath canner. (Sea level, your altitude may vary! See instructions in the Pomona’s Pectin packet.)

Yield: 8-9 cups

If fruit still wants to float, swirl in jar after cooling 30 minutes. Any sooner and it’s still too liquid to keep it from floating back up.

What else? I noticed that a vine has taken over our dead bamboo stand. I thought it might be morning glory, which would need to be removed. It’s been growing on the bamboo for a couple years, wispy and delicate. But this year it’s very vigorous, and covered with buds, which don’t look like like morning glory.

passiflora overtakes bamboo

Yesterday it came into bloom. It’s too high for me to see from the ground, so I took this picture through the window.


It’s a passionflower (passiflora) vine! I think it was a volunteer from the neighbor’s yard. Pretty, but I can see how it might get out of hand. In fact, it is jumping over to the lilac on the left, so I pulled some down.


Should I let it run free, as long as it leaves my lilac alone? The lilac needs pruning, so that will leave space between. But this thing is WILD! I read that some varieties make fruit, and so I guess I’ll wait it out. Passionfruit jam?

Are you jamming this season? I’m looking forward to plums. This year it’s going to be plum bourbon jam…

Tiny harvest is tiny

The blueberry crop is still going strong, despite the best efforts of the birds and squirrels to make me share. The new raspberry plants have given me almost a dozen berries. I wasn’t expecting any this year, so it’s all bonus.

raspberry blueberry

I ate the first raspberries immediately, and then I saw Sue’s raspberry post. Wish I’d seen it earlier. What a great way to make a tiny harvest special! I had to try it. Click the link for her gorgeous photo.

raspberries and chocolate

No, they’re not giant raspberries, but isn’t it cool how close my iPad can get without zooming?

Monday we went for a short hike from the Hoyt Arboretum up to Pittock Mansion. I always think of hiking as something you do elsewhere; it’s so nice to have very local options. This is inside Portland’s city limits.

maidenhair fernMaidenhair fern

buzzWhy hello there! (What kind of flower is this?)


And of course, any outing with Sue, Mimi, and Kelly means food! We had lunch at Pho Tango in Hillsboro. Fabulous!

bun bo hueBun bo Hue

spring roll

I always thought the vegetables were garnish, just eye candy, but Mimi says you eat them wrapped around the spring roll. That makes a spring roll way more interesting.

yucca and coconut

Mimi made dessert. Yucca and shredded coconut tossed with toasted sesame seeds and a bit of sugar and salt. Sounds odd, tastes great!

Summer is in full swing here. It’s supposed to be 100 degrees (fahrenheit) this weekend. Time to water…again.

Music, knits, food, yarn: a quick Seattle trip

I made a quick trip to Seattle at the beginning of the week to meet up with the Piano Babes. We met (mostly) in 2000 at Sonata Piano Camp, and have been friends ever since.

We went to a very interesting concert by the Nord Trio at the Nordic Heritage Museum: Piano, violin, accordion. Yes, accordion. The concert opened with selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and the accordion was beautifully expressive. This is not polka music!

Before the show, we briefly poked around in the Finnish design exhibit, and of course I went looking for fiber fun in the Norwegian folk art rooms. I was not disappointed.

spinning wheels and carding benchspinning wheels and a carding bench

drop spindlesdrop spindles, and a stone whorl from the Iron Age

Selbu mittensSelbu mittens

embroidered mittensembroidered mittens

bobbin lace bobbin lace

And my favorite thing: A man’s folk costume from the Setesdal region, 1920.

norwegian folk costume There is a very traditional sweater under the vest.

sleeve detailsleeve detail

norwegian steeked sleeve You know this sleeve is steeked! Beautiful.

The weeekend also included a beautiful full moonrise,

full moon rising

a windy walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park and along the shoreline of Elliott Bay (downtown Seattle)


Elliott Bay

Elvis sighting at the PIElvis sighting (see him?)


and lots of beautiful food. I won’t post it all, but if you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of it. (I’m pdxknitterati over there, too.)

beet salad at lola

I’m lucky to know this group of very smart, talented women.

On my way home, I stopped at Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation. It is a beautiful shop.

Tolt Yarn

I came home with some souvenirs.

tolt yarn souvenirs

The white yarn is sourced locally in the Snoqualmie Valley and spun at Green Mountain Spinnery. The purple yarn is from Green Mountain Spinnery, so they’re cousins. It’s called Mewesic, so it fits the theme of the Piano Babes weekend. Both are DK weight. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but they look and feel good together, a little rustic but wooly. I bought the mug for DH; he gets a souvenir, too.

So that was the weekend. Now knitting, knitting, knitting, trying to finish a design sample. Soon!

How was your weekend?

Wontons and crème brûlée

Not a usual combination, but there it is. Sue (Tango Mango) and Mimi came over today for some cooking fun. The idea was that we were going to make crème brûlée, but we knew we’d need lunch, and Mimi wanted to know how to fold wontons. Why not do both?


We started with a pre-cooking snack. Just to keep our strength up. As one does.

Sue pre-made the custard for the crème brûlée, so she poured it into the cutest shortie wide mouth mason jars and we set them to bake. You’ll have to go to her blog for the actual recipe.

I taught Sue and Mimi my Dad’s wonton folding method. Mimi showed us one that she knew. But only one.

pdknitterati wontons

Recipe is at the bottom of this post. If you want to see folding in action, that’s over at Sue’s blog, too. My hands were too busy, and messy, to take a picture.

pdxknitterati wonton soup

Lunch was delicious! We took an ice cream break at Salt and Straw before torching the crème brûlée.

salt and strawI don’t know these people, but they looked very happy with their ice cream.

We figured out the crème brûlée torch.

pdxknitterati crème brûlée

It was as good as it looks!

pdxknitterati crème brûlée

Here’s the recipe for the wonton soup. I like that it has bok choy and water chestnuts inside the filling; it lightens the texture and gives it crunch. Enjoy!

Wonton Soup
Makes enough for 6 hungry people

¼ lb peeled deveined shrimp, (frozen thawed is fine, and size doesn’t matter since it will be ground)
¼ lb ground turkey breast
6 medium to large shiitake mushrooms (3 for filling and 3 sliced for soup)
1 can sliced water chestnuts (half for filling and half to go in soup)
1 stalk green onion
3 to 6 stalks bok choy (half goes into filling; other half goes into soup) I like baby or shanghai bok choy. If you use the smaller bok choy, 6 stalks; if you use the really big long stuff, 3 is plenty)
snow pea pods, optional, amount of your choosing (I skipped these)

1 egg
¼ tsp five spice powder
½ Tablespoon oyster sauce

1 package wonton wrappers
1 48 oz box reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

Start your broth, water, 3 sliced mushrooms in a large soup pot. This can heat while you prepare wontons; when it boils bring it down to a simmer.

I have a small food processor, so I chop things sequentially. This also lets me avoid chopping the vegetables too finely; we want some crunch.

Chop and place into a large bowl: the shrimp, turkey (already ground), 3 mushrooms, ½ can water chestnuts, half the bok choy, green onion. Combine eggs, 5 spice, and oyster sauce and add to bowl, Mix all ingredients well. (does it need a little more 5 spice? give it a sniff; it should smell divine. I tried to measure but usually guess.

Fold wontons! I put a little less than a tablespoon of filling in each wonton. Fold on the diagonal, then use the back of your spoon to put a dab on the fold next to right side of the filling (on the outside), give a little twist and fold to bring the underside of the left side of the filling mound to the dab on the of the right side of the filling mound. Sounds confusing, I know. Sue took pictures of the process, so check here.

Bring broth back to a boil. Add wontons and remaining water chestnuts and mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes, reducing heat to a low simmer when soup begins to boil again (don’t want to jostle the wontons too much and have them fall apart!). After 4 minutes, add the remaining bok choy (sliced in 1 inch pieces on the diagonal) and pea pods. If you have extra shrimp, now is the time to put them in the soup, too. Stir occasionally to get the vegetables down into the soup. Soup is ready in about 3 more minutes. Don’t overcook; it gets sloppy!

If this is more food than you need, you can store the extra filling in the fridge for a couple days, and make fresh wontons again.

Bon appetit!

Merry Christmas!

My last Christmas stocking made it home in time for the holiday. The red one is the Super Cabled Christmas Stocking in Knit Picks The Big Cozy.

pdxknitterati christmas

We started the day with the (adult) kids, serving up a mimosa brunch with waffle iron hash browns and brisket scrambled eggs (leftover brisket from Tuesday’s end of Hanukkah celebration).

waffle iron hash browns

Prime rib is in the oven, and extended family is due at 5 p.m. Hope you’re having a peaceful day, whether or not you celebrate Christmas! Did you receive any crafty gifts? My friend Carole gave me an Ott light, which will be very helpful for beadwork. It’s going to Crafty Moms weekend with me, for sure.

Merry merry!