Category Archives: recipe

Pie, pie, pie, pi

I’ve been trying to get this pie right for a while; this is the third attempt. Hat tip to Elizabeth at Savory Salty Sweet for the blueberry cream pie in a gingersnap crust that inspired this raspberry adaptation.


Raspberry Cream Pie in a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Cookie Crust
9 ounces chocolate cookies (I used Newman’s Organic Alphabet cookies. 7 oz package is a little skimpy; you’ll want more. What I really wanted was chocolate graham crackers, but I can’t find them anywhere)
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, with rack in the middle position.
Process cookies in a food processor until they are pulverized into small crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and combine with the melted butter while stirring with a spatula. Stir until crumbs start to cling together.
Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Using a spoon or your fingers, press the crumbs into the pan, evenly covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove crust from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Pastry Cream
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan set over medium low heat, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, and pinch of salt. Slowly pour in milk while steadily whisking, making sure the cornstarch mixture does not clump up. Whisk in the egg yolks. Slowly whisk the mixture for 7 to 8 minutes, until it becomes quite thick. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in vanilla. Pour the custard into the baked gingersnap crust. Place in refrigerator to start cooling while you glaze the berries.

Glazed raspberries (Makes the red really pop, and helps keep berries perky)
3 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons apricot jam

For optional chocolate drizzle
Some may call this gilding the lily, but it’s pretty and delicious, too!
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (30 seconds at a time in microwave, stirring each time. It will still be pretty thick when melted, but do your best!)

Don’t rinse the berries; they’ll get all weepy. Thin apricot jam with water, and brush on raspberries with a pastry brush. Pile raspberries on top of custard. Using a fork, drizzle chocolate over all. Place pie in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, until custard has set and pie is thoroughly chilled.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Here’s the history of these pies, so you know what not to do.

Version 1: I rinsed the berries, and they were very sloppy! I used Trader Joe’s Low Fat Cat Cookies because I couldn’t find chocolate graham crackers, and couldn’t get them to crush down enough. It was tasty, but the crust was too coarse in texture.


Version 2: I tried a graham cracker crust with a chocolate ganache lining under the pastry cream. It tasted great, but was a big sloppy mess under there because the ganache didn’t firm up the way I wanted. I had put it in the freezer to firm up, but it probably melted again when I put in the warm pastry cream, and didn’t have enough time to become solid again before I needed to serve it.



Back to the original chocolate cookie idea for version 3, as seen above! I made all the mistakes so you don’t have to. It’s good, but my favorite is still the original blueberry cream pie in the gingersnap crust. I just love blueberries.


And here’s the progress on my Blueberry Half Pi shawl. I’m on row 124. 20 more rows of easy-peasy gull wing lace, and then on to the hearts border. It’s hard to really see what it will look like when it’s all scrunched up on the needles like this, but I’m hoping it blocks into a big half circle of gossamer beauty.


What’s on your needles?

Berry berry good

Summer is definitely here in the Pacific Northwet, and it’s glorious. My blueberries are ripe, and I’m still trying to finish last year’s berries from the freezer. I’ve made cobbler from frozen berries a couple times in the last week for home and away, but the perfectly ripe berries in the garden called for a different treatment.


I saw a recipe for Blueberry Cream Pie in a Gingersnap Crust on, and I knew it would be the perfect way to enjoy our berries. Doesn’t it look grand? I tried it out on friends last week, and now I’m tweaking it for tonight. Better gingersnaps for the crust. (Trader Joe’s. No, I’m not making my own gingersnaps; it’s summer and this is supposed to be easy!) Whole milk instead of our usual household skim milk to make the pastry cream a little richer.

ETA: The TJ’s Triple Ginger Snaps and the whole milk made a huge difference. Perfection!

Raspberries are also ripe right now, and my friend Wendy was begging for people to come over and pick. I came home with 2 pints of berries, and decided they should be sorbet.


I don’t have an ice cream maker, but freezing it in a pyrex dish worked fine. It’s intensely raspberry, and tastes like summer!


Raspberry Sorbet, no ice cream maker
(makes 8 servings, or you can cut this recipe in half for four. I had lots of berries)

– 2 pints raspberries (about 12 ounces) rinsed and drained, or thawed from frozen
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Place water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool. (I did this the night before.)

2. Puree the raspberries, lemon juice, and honey in a food processor.

3. Combine the cooled syrup with the raspberry puree. Run the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. (Yes, you really want to.)

4. Place sorbet in a shallow dish in the freezer, stirring by hand every 30 minutes until sorbet is frozen (about 2 hours). You can also do this with an ice cream maker, but I don’t have one. When sorbet is frozen, move it to a covered container to store.

sorbet trio

This was fabulous all by itself, but I think it would be outstanding as a mini-scoop of sorbet dropped into a flute of prosecco, and garnished with some blueberries. Can’t you just see it?

ETA: Next round I’m adding a tablespoon of vodka to lower the freezing point; this will help it keep from freezing too solidly. If you’re going to eat it right away, it doesn’t matter, but if you want to store it for a day or two, the vodka will help.

In knitting news, my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade sweater is out of time out, and I’m cruising down the first sleeve. I’ve gone back to dpns, and am much happier. I didn’t like the waving ends of the two circulars! Good thing there’s knitter’s choice…

What’s cooking?

A couple new designs in the works, but nothing to show yet. I really like both, though, and look forward to sharing them with you…eventually.

Who’s cooking?

Last Sunday, it was the boys. They moved the waffle station outdoors because it was a spectacularly beautiful day.

waffle station

They turned out great! Waffles, blueberry compote (trying to use up the rest of last summer’s blueberries before this summer’s crop), bellinis.


Yes, the yard looks pretty bad behind there. After brunch, the next phase began: Yard cleanup. This is the only thing I ever want for Mother’s Day, help in the yard!



We got the garage and shed roofs de-mossed and swept, and lots of weeding done.

(perspective is everything!)

And then we relaxed with dinner in the newly presentable space. Ahhhh.


Grilled scallops and shrimp on a bed of angel hair pasta and vegetables. No real recipe, but here’s the cast of characters:

Cooked angel hair pasta, drained
2 cups chicken broth, simmered with shiitake mushrooms and a bit of soy sauce
Stir fried vegetables: 3 heads baby bok choy, 1 red pepper, 1 cup snow pea pods. Add some sesame oil for depth of flavor, a couple ginger slices and some red pepper flakes for zing. When partially done, add some water and soy sauce, and steam until tender/crisp.

Pour the broth/mushrooms over the pasta to keep the pasta from getting too sticky (don’t make pasta too far ahead, or it will just be soggy). Assemble in shallow bowls: pasta/broth/mushrooms, top with veggies, lay the lovely scallops and shrimp on top. Eat!

ETA: I made this again, but no broth, just the stir fry, heartier pasta (so it doesn’t get sticky), and the scallops. We had to pan sear the scallops in olive oil and butter because it’s winter! Pour any liquid from the scallop searing pan into the pasta and veggies. Even better, I think.


Trunk Show time!

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 21) is trunk show day for PDXKnitterati and Knitted Wit at Kathy’s Knit Korner in Forest Grove. Stop by and see us! We’ll be there from 1-3 with lots of pretty samples, Knitted Wit yarns and PDXKnitterati patterns.

Kathy’s Knit Korner
1703 Pacific Ave.
Forest Grove, OR 97116

If you can’t make it out to Forest Grove, but you’re itching for some yarny fun in town, several Portland shops are waiting for you with bells on. The Seattle to Portland Yarn Train, due in on Saturday, has been cancelled due to storm damage (downed trees and more) on the tracks. I know that Cindy at Urban Fiber Arts is carrying on with her sale. If you’re local, you benefit! (edited for late breaking news: Amtrak says that they’ll have service on that line on Saturday, so we may have Seattleites, after all.)

What else is going on? You know all those ancient Greek tragedies, where the hero is brought down by his own hubris? I’m living a knitterly version of it. I’m working on a little design project. I liked my prototype that I knit out of stash yarn (purple), and felt ready to jump into the real thing with one little change planned. I was feeling pretty confident, as you know from my last post. Right now I’ve got a basket o’ chaos.

After knitting the first piece with the real yarn (green), I slowly realized that it wasn’t the real yarn after all. Slightly different weight, slightly different row gauge, and it turns out that it’s not the yarn it was supposed to be! A quick call to Lorajean confirmed it. Oops! It will fit me, though, so I’ll save it for later.

Do over. Started with the real, real yarn (blue!), and finished the first piece. (Again.) Thought of a change for the second piece, tried it, hated it, ripped it out and am finishing again. I should have just gone with my first (well, second) instinct. But it’s almost done, again. I do all the trial and error so you don’t have to!

And in other news, we’ve fallen under the spell of the chocolate mug cake, thanks to Pinterest, twitter, and Facebook. Social media is dangerous! Sorry for the lack of pictures, but we make them at night, the lighting is awful, and the cake doesn’t last long! We’ve tried two recipes in the last two days.

2 Minute Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mug Cake, sans caramels but with added ice cream and bourbon chocolate sauce, plenty for two people

One Minute Chocolate Cake (a single serving, but we shared with no problem)

There may well be a nutella mug cake tonight. The best part of it is that there are no leftovers to tempt you the next day. You just have to be able to stop making them…yeah, sure!

What’s new with you?

Traditions, adjusted

It’s Sunday afternoon, Thanksgiving weekend. I haven’t knit a stitch in five days. But I’ve played hostess to a house full of family, and it’s been fun. CollegeGuy was home from Orlando for the weekend, and it was great to have him around. Now he and all the guests have gone back home, so I’m taking a moment to catch up.

I haven’t hosted Thanksgiving in nearly 20 years. We used to round robin New York, St. Louis, Chapel Hill with DH’s family, but when we moved back to Portland from New York in 1995, Thanksgiving landed semi-permanently at my in-laws’ home in St. Louis. This year, I asked to have Thanksgiving here, so that the freshman CollegeGuy could come home for the holiday. I think he appreciated the chance to be home and see his friends, most of whom stayed on this coast for school. Our niece is in London for a semester abroad, so she joined us via skype on Thanksgiving afternoon.


I made the traditional meals on the traditional days. If it’s Wednesday dinner, it must be brisket. If it’s Saturday lunch, it must be minestrone. Saturday night is always turkey, redux. I didn’t want to rock the boat too much since I had absconded with Thanksgiving, but I snuck in a few changes. We had sausage/potato/kale soup on Thursday instead of sandwiches, bourbon caramel sauce with our apple pie, and I tried a new bourbon cranberry sauce (see end of post for recipe).

Friday was sunny and lovely, so we headed out to wine country for open house weekend. We went to Brick House Vineyards for a tasting. Lovely wines in a lovely setting. And I set up this picture (the family picture is another Thanksgiving weekend tradition).

brick house group

On Saturday, I took MIL and SIL shopping on trendy/funky Mississippi Avenue. I found this knitted frog dissection at Paxton Gate. High school biology would have been even more fun this way.


I’m so happy we were able to host this traitional autumn celebration here at home. Same same, but different! What are your Thanksgiving traditions?


Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup bourbon

Mix cranberries, sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Transfer to 9×13 baking dish.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Stir, bake another 30 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to bowl and stir in bourbon immediately. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

Plum Crazy

September means plums, or more precisely, Italian prunes. I love them fresh…


and I also love them as jam.


This year I thought I’d try something different. I added a cup of chopped, crystallized ginger to the jam when it hit the full rolling boil, and finished boiling it for the prescribed minute. It’s delicious! But here’s the conundrum. I followed the usual Sure-Jell instructions, and the partial jar of leftover jam that I put in the fridge set up beautifully. The jam in the jars that I processed in the water bath canner for 10 minutes are all a little soft. Why are they different? I followed the recipe and instructions, and didn’t over-process the jam. But there’s something about processing it this time that made the set go soft. I’m guessing it has to do with the ginger cooking longer in the jam due to the processing, but I don’t know why. It’s still delicious, though, and not so runny that I would take it all out and re-process it with more pectin. And it’s a little thicker this week than it was when it first came out. Hoping that continues…

ruffle tank

And did you notice it’s the same color as my new ruffle tank? Just sayin’!

A prize, ginger, and chocolate…

I’m a winner! I recently (well, last month) won this book in a contest on the Craftside blog.


It’s The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting by Margaret Hubert, a very nice compendium of knitting how-to. It begins with a history of knitting, goes through tools and basic techniques, and a nice stitch dictionary. There are charts for the cable stitches, but not for most of the others. The pictures are large and clear. There are also some patterns to go with the stitch dictionary and techniques, including hats, scarves, sweaters, socks, and these very cute leaf coasters.


The most interesting part of the book comes at the end. It covers more advanced techniques in a section called Specialty Knitting Methods, some of which are covered by well known knitting authors and instructors. It includes intarsia (Sasha Kagan), entrelac, freeform, crazy lace (Myra Wood), twined (Beth Brown-Reinsel), and bead knitting (Judy Pascale), and one I’ve never heard of, ouroborus knitting by Debbie New. It’s described as “working in rings from the center out, each round getting larger with strategically placed increases that shape the garment as you knit. These closed circles result in very unusual, one-piece garments that require no cutting or seaming.”


I haven’t had much time to sit down and play with this book yet, but it looks great. Lots of reference material and some really fun techniques to explore. Here’s the freeform bag:


In other news, I went shopping for some staples at the Asian market last week (Fubonn, for PDX locals), and was enticed by the preserved ginger in the snack aisle. I bought it for theTeen, since he’s a ginger aficianado. You may recall that he started brewing ginger beer last summer, and even gained some fame in the local newspaper for doing so. Anyway, I decided that I needed to try putting some in scones. My first batch just swapped ginger for my usual chocolate chips, but it lacked…something. So I added a little more butter and sugar, substituted half and half for my usual skim milk, and used half chocolate chips and half ginger. A winner!


Ginger Chocolate Scones

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2 cups flour (not whole wheat; I used unbleached white)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (not soda)
1/2 tsp salt

5 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup preserved ginger candy, chopped (it’s sweet; I bought it at the Asian market in the snack aisle)

1/2 cup half and half (just barely, or it will be too wet)
1 egg, scrambled

1 Tablespoon chunky turbinado sugar (optional, but pretty)

Combine dry ingredients and stir. Cut the butter into pieces and then blend them into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Stir in chocolate chips and ginger. Scramble the egg into the half and half, and then pour it into the flour mixture. Stir until blended, then knead on floured surface about 10 times. Form two balls with the dough. Pat out balls into circles about 7 inches in diameter, slightly mounded in center. Cut each circle into eight pieces. Brush tops with half and half (I just used what was left in the measuring cup); sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and let rise for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just golden. Cool on rack. EAT! To reheat, warm in toaster oven on lowest setting.

Makes 16 dainty scones. (11.17.10: Edited to up chocolate chips to 1/2 cup, instead of 1/4)

Hat tip to Lorajean for suggesting ginger AND chocolate when the ginger wasn’t quite enough on its own. Now go make some!

bsj update

Last weekend I was over in Sisters again, this time with some of the Day Old Pastries for a music retreat. It was really nice to take some time for music. I played more over the weekend than I had in all of September!

While I was there, I finished knitting the body of the Baby Surprise Jacket.


I love this yarn. My friend Kerri spun it up. It’s Blue Faced Leicester, Crayon colorway from Gale’s Art (etsy link).

bfl pdx


Doesn’t look much like a jacket, though, does it? But a quick fold yields this:


Elizabeth Zimmermann was an absolute genius. It’s like knitted origami. I added a collar, according to instructions in the BSJ dvd from Schoolhouse Press. (I highly recommend this dvd and instruction set. My instructions in an old Knitters’ magazine were quite cryptic.) I picked up the stitches for the collar from the inside of the jacket so the pickup would be hidden under the collar turn. You could do it either way.




All in all, a cute knit. Now it just needs some buttons…

While I was in Sisters, I made wonton soup for the Pastries. They wanted a recipe, so here it is.

wonton soup

Wonton Soup

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, amount of your choosing

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 had to guess because at first I had too much in my measuring spoon)

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. You can google it, but my way is different than the ones I found there. They all work.

Bring broth back to a boil. Add wontons and remaining water chestnuts. Cook for 4 minutes, reducing heat to medium 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.

not much knitting…

but there seems to be a lot of dessert!

Last night I made this cobbler.


The edges are a little messy because I forgot to add the lemon juice to the fruit mixture, so I poured it back into the bowl and then back into the dish. Sorry! Here’s what’s under the cornmeal biscuit crust.


It’s a nectarine blueberry cobbler, using SmittenKitchen’s peach blueberry cobbler recipe. I love SK’s blog; she makes great food and her pictures are gorgeous.

I doubled the biscuit topping, as suggested, and I baked the cobbler in two square dishes, instead of the oblong that was specified. This meant I could take one to a friend’s house for dinner, and leave one home for the guys. Everybody wins! I served the cobbler with vanilla ice cream, and it was divine. I did not, however, serve it with the home made vanilla ice cream that I made the day before. That ice cream went to a piano evening, and was served with frozen blueberries from my garden, slightly thawed.

Last week Sarah made a two ingredient ice cream for knit nite. It was good, but I wanted a little vanilla kick to my ice cream. (I make my own vanilla extract by steeping sliced vanilla beans in vodka; I love vanilla that much.) I found this recipe for five ingredient ice cream on Easy, and delicious. And the blueberries were a perfect foil to the very dense, sweet ice cream.

What’s your favorite summer dessert? I like cobblers with ice cream. Can you tell?! Easy to put together, and always a delight. I’m making another one for a party tonight.

As for knitting? I turned the heel on my sock, but didn’t get much further. I did go look at all the beautiful things in the Lantern Moon warehouse for future blogging, so expect to see some of that soon.

knitting a blue streak

It feels like it’s all blue here, all the time.

blue beginning

I started my Breezy Market Tote. Although Twisted’s Single Skein Club offering with my design was AllHemp6 yarn in pumpkin, I was able to swap my yarn for deep sea (blue), since I’d already made the original design in sand (nearly pumpkin). I wound the yarn by hand, twice. The first time, I wound it in my usual way, over my fingers to keep the ball loose to avoid stretching the yarn. It works with wool. With hemp? Not so much. The ball was sloppy and prone to tangling and falling apart. So I rewound it more tightly, and away we went. And yes, that’s a provisional cast on at the bottom. Never fear, the bag will be only…blue.


I also resurrected my ruffle tank from the time-out basket. I lost my annotated instructions last year at Sock Summit time, and was just too peeved to go on. But looking at it now, I’m pretty sure I can get the rest of it done. The back was already done, and the front was up past the armhole shaping. It won’t take long (famous last words) to finish. And I get to learn applied i-cord to finish the edges.


I’ve been working on the instructions for my Pacific Shawl (yes, mine is blue); it’s almost ready to go to test knit. I need to make a video tutorial for placing the beads, and check the math one more time, but the charts are done.


Last night I made blueberry lime jam. (More blue, even though the jam is deep purple.) I don’t like plain blueberry jam, where the berries have been through the food processor. The texture is…grainy. So I gently squashed the berries with a potato masher, and I think I’ll like the result a lot better. Along with lime juice, there are bits of lime zest in there to give it some zing and keep it from being cloyingly sweet. Because these berries are really, really sweet already. There are still more out there on the bushes, too…

Oh, I did finish something that wasn’t blue…a helmet liner for the Knit for the Troops project. Lichen green, and I forgot to take a picture before dropping it off at Twisted! Sorry. I used the pattern here. If I were to do it again, I would change the decreases at the crown; there are only 5 decreases around the crown of the hat, and it meant that the top of the hat was tall and a bit pointy. I’d make more decrease points (maybe 8?) so the crown would be shorter and rounder. (If 8 decreases, then I’d start with 88 stitches instead of 90) But that’s just me; I can’t seem to ever knit something as written!

Back to the blues…