Archive | December, 2008

holiday food…again

30 Dec

We went to a friend’s potluck on the 26th, I brought the chickpea and tahini casserole. I think it needed more moisture, but it was good. We arrived rather late, so not much of it was eaten. However, my friend brought jamaican veggie patties which have been a huge hit both years. Those were gobbled up, and have now become famous. We were thinking of doing a potluck here in Minnesota, and I think I might make them for that.

I am making butternut squash soup, and so far it tastes delicious. I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to diced carrots, onions, garlic and the squash while cooking it in butter and olive oil. I added veggie stock, fresh thyme, sage and rosemary, a dried bay leaf, salt and pepper, and then let it simmer until the squash was tender. I also added about a 1/4 cup of an IPA I was drinking. Then I pureed it, added about a tablespoon of cream, a tablespoon of gorgonzola and a splash of sherry. Seriously the easiest soup that I have ever made.

Now that that’s done, I am thinking of making a batch of seitan to have on hand. I’d like to make buffalo gals again, because they were easy and mighty tasty. I want more recipes with seitan in them, any suggestions or good cookbooks? I raided my mom’s pantry while visiting taking lots and lots of her home canned tomatoes from her garden. They were delicious in the summer, and I am sure will make perfect soups, stews, and sauces. I want to make an African Kale style soup, any suggestions for recipes?

I finished the cowl I made, it was just a simple 1X1 rib with a beautiful lightweight alpaca yarn, but I got plenty of compliments on it. I am almost done with another in a deep blue aran weight yarn, but I’ve added a few bobbles (a newly learned decorative stitch!)…I was planning to give it away, but I might keep it for myself. Now I am on to dpns…any tips for a clumsy knitter? I want to make a pair of mittens, but am rather intimidated.

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mad dash to get it done

21 Dec

I am in a mad rush to get a present complete for a good friend. I think I have enough time to finish before Christmas, as I chose something that she will love, but will allow me to finish in adequate time. She does not yet know about this website, so I feel okay to post about it here. I am knitting her a cowl, similar to the one I made for myself. As a new knitter, I chose a pattern that is fairly simple. I cast on 100 stitches and am knitting a 1 by 1 rib pattern, I chose a nice wool worsted weight yarn in a deep blue that she will love. I haven’t cabled or anything like that, so I do not feel confident enough to add those to the project if I am giving it away as a gift. Hopefully she will like it; she recently relocated to a colder climate for the winter, so it will come in handy. I am trying to get a grasp on cables, which I think will be a fun way to spice up the knitting projects in the future, but I am not sure I quite grasp the concept yet.

great leap forward

20 Dec

After years of picking up my knitting needles only to put them down bored after a couple of days of the same old thing, I have finally moved on to knitting in the round. I still have yet to give double pointed needles a fair go, but I am making cowls on circulars. Double pointed needles seems so complicated, and I have attempted them once but was really clumsy at it. I will hopefully be able to move on to double pointed needles, but need a bit more practice on the circulars. Once I can make hats, then I will move on to mittens. I feel like I have finally accomplished something a little more interesting than the same old tired rectangle. Also, one of the nearby yarn stores moved shop to my town, and has a wonderful selection of beautiful yarns. So, that helps out as well. Inspiration often starts with the colors and textures for me..

totally stoked

18 Dec

We leave for home on Monday, and I could not be more excited. This town is exceedingly lacking in trees of the coniferous variety. Winters tend to be long, dreary, and grey without pine and spruce trees to add some life to the winter lull. There are going to be so many friends to see in such a short period of time, but it will be fun filled and much too short. We’re planning to look at holiday lights with good friends of ours who we sort of introduced, and incidentally fell in love. I am having a sleep over at two of my best friends’ house who built their tiny sweet little abode with their own two hands, and its practically in the middle of nowhere.

I just did this yoga podcast which totally kicked my bum. I think I will try all of the other 60 minute workouts. I have seen a dramatic improvement in my stamina, flexibility and strength. I’ve even got a little, just a little, bit of definition. It’s all about progress, and baby steps. I really am trying to get back on track with my eating habits, and have been making us breakfast in the morning. Breakfast really does provide fuel for the rest of the day, and I feel much better when I have a heartier breakfast and a lighter dinner….so we are trying to live by this. I was feeling sluggish for a few weeks, and it could have been the finals in school, plus a recent family emergency…but we’re back on track.

progress, my dear

17 Dec

I’ve been absent lately, I think mostly because I have been sluggish. We haven’t been cooking as much, which is beginning to settle into my moods, and I haven’t been as active either. Hopefully my waistline does not take a toll. So, we’ve made a pact to use all the food we have in our house, which is a TON. I made a really good broccoli cheese soup last night, sushi the night before, and breakfasts of pancakes. I always hated pancakes until I started to make them at home using real maple syrup. Mrs. Butterworth has nothing on the real deal. I’ve made apple, regular buttermilk, and pumpkin pancakes, all have been lovely. Breakfast truly is an art. I’ve also been knitting, obsessed with Mad Men which we downloaded, and have a new found love for Heroes via netflix. Time to relax, do yoga, and enjoy the semester break!

happiness is french onion soup

6 Dec

I am making a vegetarian (not vegan, but could easily be veganized using Earth Balance and a soy/rice cheeze) french onion soup. It is amazingly delicious. Here’s the method, souper good soup (get it..get it..soup.. ah, i kid i kid)

  • 4 large red onions sliced thin
  • 3 TB butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 TB Maker’s or other Bourbon
  • 4 cups mushroom broth. I’ve modified Ming Tsai’s. But you could use Pacific Brand too.
  • splash of brown ale (Winter Ale from Anchorsteam is what we used).
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • for the topping:
  • slices of french bread toasted until hard and crusty.
  • slices of gruyere or swiss.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed large pan (we used our dutch oven). Turn up the heat slightly, and add the onions. sautee for a few minutes, until begin to wilt, add the salt and sugar. continue sauteeing and stirring often until the onions turn a deep purple color and are completely carmelized. Once they are completely carmelized add the broth, thyme, and whole rosemary sprig. turn the heat up, add the bourbon and adjust for salt..add the pepper, and splash of beer. Once the beer has cooked off, ladle into oven safe bowls, top with croutons and cheese. Melt under broiler, until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. This took about two hours from start until finished. If you have to make the stock, it will obviously take longer, but we almost always have some on hand..
frenchonion