Thursday, July 17, 2008

back from wonderful Wisconsin...

and ready to head to beautiful Boulder tomorrow! We're going to a wedding in Denver, too. Anyone have suggestions for things to do? On the list already -- hiking at Indian Peaks and visiting the New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins.

I forgot my camera last weekend, which is too bad since there was an overabundance of photo ops. I learned how to shear a sheep the old-fashioned way, dyed a bunch of yarn, pet lots of animals, carded wool, and learned about spinning. The Circle M Farm is just marvelous (and very humane), and Kriss is a great teacher and hostess. The whole "driftless area" of Wisconsin is so beautiful.

The fruits of my labors:
left to right:
red cabbage, red cabbage and soda wash, turmeric, marigold flowers, and beet
I used rhubarb as a mordant for all but the first (which was allum).
Random Rant (for fellow PBS fans)

Remember the old Mystery theme from PBS?

Fabulous! All the Edward Gorey!

A while ago PBS changed it to this one:

OK, not quite as great, but whatever.

Now they've changed it yet again (to go with their new crappy Masterpiece re-do), and it's awful!!! Hardly any Gorey left whatsoever. Boo, PBS. I do not approve.

Monday, July 14, 2008

summer knitting and eating

I took a break from the February Sweater to knit up another little Baby Yoda Sweater. Just a bit more finishing work to do!This lovely shade of "honeydew" green is Knit Picks' Comfy. Super nice and soft; a little finer in weight than Cotton-Ease, and much easier on the hands and wrists. It may pill, but seems like a good choice for baby knits and things that won't see hard wear.

Some lucky people are heading to Wisconsin this weekend for Camp. I may not be going to Camp, but I am going to Circle M Farm for a woolcraft workshop with some girls from my knitting circle! Shearing, spinning, dyeing... here I come. Can't wait. Plus we get to sneak in a visit to Lakeside Fibers in Madison on Sunday (and hopefully another trip to the Terrace and lunch at Himal Chuli).

On the menu for this weekend is a delicious salad recipe, slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home (my favorite cookbook):

Avocado Corn Salad
serves 4 as a side dish

1 C. fresh or frozen cut corn
1/2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. water
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes
1 medium avocado
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 T. red onion, minced (or substitute shallots!)
salt to taste
Tabasco to taste
chopped cilantro leaves

In a saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients (corn through cayenne). Cook, covered, on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the corn is tender. Uncover and cook for another minute or so to evaporate any excess moisture. Set aside to cool.

Slice the avocado in half lengthwise, and gently twist to remove the pit. Make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in the flesh every 1/2 inch. Scoop the avocado cubes out of the shells and into a large bowl. Gently stir in the lime juice. Add the bell pepper. Stir in red onion and cooked corn. Add salt and Tabasco to taste, and top with cilantro.

Serve immediately, or chill for 30 minutes.

Monday, July 07, 2008

back from a whirlwind weekend in Wisconsin

Hope you all enjoyed the 4th! Paul and I spent a busy weekend up in Wisconsin -- drinking Strongbow on the Union Terrace, listening to Cracker at Summerfest, checking out all the new development in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward... As soon as we made it back to Chicago (painfully slow going due to construction), we headed down to Lincoln Park to picnic and toss the Frisbee. All in all, quite a nice weekend.

One of my picnic contributions:
Dill sauce
Serves 8-10

1 C. mayonnaise (not light) (I use Hellmann's, but homemade would be even better; I do not recommend Whole Foods or Trader Joe's mayo for this recipe)
1/2 C. drained dill pickle relish
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a bit more, to taste)
1.5 tsp. dried dill

Be sure to drain the dill pickle relish well. Mix all ingredients . Refrigerate for at least a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.

I spread this on baguette slices and topped them with smoked salmon. It's equally good as a topping on salmon burgers. I often make a half batch.
Progress on the February Sweater is slow (not much knitting in the car this weekend since the a/c is on the fritz):On the interwebs

The NYT gives a list of the 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating. Hello, my dear friends cinnamon, turmeric, frozen blueberries, pomegranate juice, and canned pumpkin! I'm considering this license to eat even more of you. Cabbage, not so much. Swiss chard, I'm still sick of you from last summer's CSA boxes.

Now that the FLDS sect has opened their own "modest" clothing website, how about revisiting Mo Rocca's discussion of polygamist style with Tim Gunn?

Finally, the hydrangeas are in bloom. :-)