Friday, June 24, 2011


Today's agenda includes time off from work and writing, huzzah, huzzah!

Ysolda Teague's new book, Little Red in the City, arrived on my doorstep yesterday, and it's just delightful! Charming, informative, and full of great patterns. The layout, font, and decorative details are just precious. 
Summertime apparently puts me in the mood to knit shawlettes. This little ginkgo shoulderette shawl is ready for a bath and blocking. I liked the yarn quite a bit -- fingering superwash merino semi-solid by the March Hare in "pumpkin patch." The skein had oodles of yardage, so there's a good deal leftover.

Just like Ross and Rachel, the shawlette and I were on a break for a time. Knitting 10 in 2010 just felt like... well, a lot. Large shawls just aren't that useful for me. The little scarf-like ones, though... those are just the ticket, as they're very wearable and add a bit of cheer to my somber collection of black and dark brown coats (why I don't buy other colors of coats, I just don't know...).
I just may have cast on for another shawlette right after binding off the ginkgo one. This time it's Hilary's Citron pattern, made with some lovely SweetGeorgia Superfudge yarn (that I believe I received from creative and generous Mary Catharine of Warmth in the North). Great pattern, easy to follow, miles of stockinette. I'm using size 7 needles since I'm subbing a fingering weight yarn. I've been watching Doc Martin and dreaming of Cornwall while knitting away on this!

Paul and I made some fantastic chicken and veggie kebabs on Tuesday night. Sadly it was too dark (and we were too hungry) to take photos, but I will share the recipe. This is adapted from The Around the World Cookbook (a fantastic cookbook, esp. the Middle East and India sections). It's a shame that the book is out of print. If you see it at a used bookstore, it's well worth picking up.

1 large onion, cut into medium-large pieces
3 T. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed/pressed/minced

1 T. fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried oregano)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (or boneless leg of lamb)

any of the following vegetables -- these are just suggestions:
     1 or 2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into squares
     8 baby onions, or 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
     8 oz. button mushrooms
    12 cherry tomatoes
     1 zucchini or yellow squash, cut into chunks

1 T. melted butter

bulgur wheat, couscous, or rice, to serve

the night before:
1. Make the marinade. Put the onion pieces in the food processor and process until finely chopped (you'll need to stop and push everything down with a spatula a couple of times). Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano; process a little longer to get everything nicely blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Place the chicken or lamb in shallow dish; pour the marinade over, cover, and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

when you're ready to eat:
3. Fire up the grill!

4. Thread the cubes of chicken or lamb onto skewers (remember to soak bamboo skewers in water in advance, or you may have a fiery experience!), alternating with vegetables. Grill the kebabs 10-12 minutes, basting with butter. Serve with bulgur wheat, couscous, or rice. I also like to serve:

yogurt with cucumber

1 C. plain yogurt -- I like nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cucumber, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed or crushed
2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
mint leaves, to garnish

Lightly beat the yogurt. Add the cucumber, onion, garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with paprika, and garnish with mint leaves. It's best if you let this chill for about an hour or so before serving, but I rarely think ahead to do this.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Midsommar rhubarb festival

After a visit to the Green City Market on Saturday morning, Paul and I leisurely fixed a breakfast fit for kings. We smothered our Swedish pancakes with some homemade rhubarb compote. Yum!

rhubarb compote with ginger and orange

1.25 C. sugar
1 T. orange zest
juice of 1/2 orange
1 T. minced fresh ginger
4 C. fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, zest, and juice in a heavy large saucepan over medium high heat. Stirring frequently, cook until it bubbles and begins to caramelize. Add the ginger, rhubarb, and vanilla, and cook at a simmer over medium for about 20 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender and beginning to fall apart.

Serve with Swedish pancakes, plain yogurt, vanilla ice cream... whatever floats your boat!
Some pretty jewelry just arrived on my doorstep from Lillyella's etsy shop (the photo credits are all hers).

I'm very pleased with my order! I love that she lets you specify what length of necklace you'd like.
Despite plenty of writing, editing, and summer activity,  I have been squeezing in some knit and crochet time. I finished this baby blanket, but I'm unhappy with how it emerged from the washing machine.
 pattern: basic granny square
hook: Clover Soft Touch H (5.00 mm)
colors: Lemon Berry
Little Boy Blue
Sun Shine
Wonder White

I usually skip the agitation cycle when I put things made with Cottontots in the washer. This time I tried it on the gentle cycle, which was a bad idea.  This is a shame, as I was planning to give the blanket as a gift, but it looks a little pilly and worn already! Boo...

Monday, June 13, 2011

fire and ice

Mmmm... I think the cream cheese ice cream recipe has been perfected!

 cream cheese ice cream

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 C. milk (low-fat or skim is fine)
1/3 C. half and half
3/4 T. fresh lemon juice
2/3 C. sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Freeze cream cheese mixture in ice cream maker. I use a basic Cuisinart ice cream maker and run it for 18-20 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours. Let ice cream soften 5 minutes before serving. Delicious with berries!
We headed up to Wisconsin for some R&R a couple of weekends ago.  It ended up being a heat wave!  We made it up to the Balanced Rock Trail at Devil's Lake State Park despite the heat, and had a great time.
We look pretty happy despite the heat and mosquitoes, don't we?

A quick stop in Madison on the way home, too, including a walk down the Lakeshore Path and through the Allen Centennial Gardens, one of the most peaceful spots on the UW campus.
More knitting content soon, I promise, as well as another recipe. In the meantime may I recommend a lecture by Alain De Botton -- On Pessimism?