Monday, January 29, 2007

How can it get more cozy than a box that's too small in front of a warm fire?

So... How is it I can notice that this post is 101, but didn't have a clue that the last one was 100? The last time I noticed it was 96. Blank haze last week is definitely the word for it.
These are the first three skeins of the top I dyed . There will probably be five skeins total (minus the two dark ends which I took off and spun separately on the spindles). You can see the progression of colors from one skein to the next. I can't wait to see all of them. And then of course I get to figure out what I'm going to do with them. Next problem.

I've been involved with several joint projects with my family this winter. Sometimes it just works out that way. This is a lace border intended for the bottom of an embroidered and quilted wall hanging my mother is doing for my son. This is three repeats (24 row repeat); I think I'll need six repeats. Just about half done.
I've decided that these are just about the perfect needles for knitting cotton lace. Too bad I've only got one set, I don't remember buying them or using them before, and don't have clue what kind they are. Inox grey? I guess I'll have to go window shopping and figure out what they are.

Friday, January 26, 2007

It's snowing again. Having been mostly like spring for two weeks at the beginning of the month, we're finishing the month with a bang. We've had an inch or two of snow a day for about a week now and it's forecast to continue this way for the next week.

S has a snowfort mighty to behold - the sort of snowfort I would have killed to be able to make when I was his age in Maryland, which may get snow, but not the cold that lets it stay and stay. He still has no friends in the neighborhood to use it with him (they hurry from the schoolbus to their warm sofa to play their PS2 or gamecube, ignoring the delights of the outside. This differs from summer, because then their sofa is airconditioned.) but he has now acquired friends from a wider area who are deeply enthused and there have been at least two major snowball wars.

I finished the project that had me panicky - it was sent off Wed. at 11:45 pm, due at 11:59. I did notice that just over half the class was still logged in at 11:30. This is the closest I've cut any of my assignments and I really hate it. As I told J, I should have started panicking about that project about four days earlier and I'm starting on panicking about the next one today. This class is just a killer in the amount of complex detailed stuff expected in a short period of time. I've no idea how I'll get graded on that one.

There is knitting happening here, but only the mindless sort (peddlar's shawl - straight garter stitch for the first umpteen rows) and there is spinning, but I haven't had the oomph to get pictures taken. Yesterday I felt like I was waking up from a fever - the last few days are just a blur.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My classwork this quarter has me feeling a bit panicky at the moment. Lots of work and seemingly not much time.

Weekend cooking did happen

Mushroom Soup, modified from Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Cheese from Bernard Clayton's Soups and Stews

The local grocery had mushrooms; I had fun.

1.5 pounds mushrooms, rather evenly divided between Shitake, Golden Trumpet, Crimini and Oyster.
2 c thinly sliced scallions (including greens)
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 T olive oil
4 c beef stock (I used the "Culinary Beef Stock" which included the red wine)
2 T butter
3 T flour
3 egg yolks
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 T parsley

Roughly chop the mushroom stems, thinly slice the mushroom caps. Heat pan to medium; add oil, mushroom stems, scallions and garlic. Sweat the vegetables, alternately covering and stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Puree mix in food processor (not a blender, you don't want a paste). Put back in pan with a little beef stock to keep from sticking. Add butter, stir til melted. Add flour, stir til thoroughly mixed. Add rest of stock. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes. Add salt/pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp black pepper). Add mushroom caps, simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, thoroughly mix egg yolks, parsley and cheese in a separate bowl. Add gradually, stirring well. Serve immediately.

It was good the next day too.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend cooking

I swear the best thing about having kids is when they show glimpses of the independent and self-sufficient people they someday will be most of the time. J and S are off on a skiing trip with the scouts, so K and I are home. K has been inquiring, with less and less patience, about when we could have seafood. No sooner did the car leave the drive than she was diving into the recipe box, hauling out the Roast Salmon (fish - not J) with Salsa (spicy - not S) card. A little to my surprise, my contribution to the meal ended at the grocery store. She was quite simply pleased with herself - I fixed it All By Myself with No Help. I basked in the knowledge that when she's on her own, she can feed herself well (assuming she can afford the ingredients).

Roast Salmon with Salsa
Green Beans Almondine
Key Lime Cloud

Roast Salmon with Salsa
1 clove garlic minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp slt
1/2 tsp cumin
2-4 drops hot sauce (she used the chili sauce - the tobasco might have been better on second thought)
1-1/2 lb salmon fillet

Preheat oven to 400F. Place everything but the salmon in the food processor and chop until finely diced. Place salmon in large roasting pan, spoon salsa over top. Roast until flaky on outside but still pink inside, about 15 minutes. Serve warm

Key Lime Cloud

1/2 c cold water
2 (1/4 oz ) envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 c sugar
1-1/2 c boiling water
2 tsp key lime zest, divided
1/2 c key lime juice
1/2 tsp cardamom
4 pasteurized egg whites (she used the powdered, reconstituted kind).

Place cold water in large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, mix well. Add boiling water; stir until completely disolved. Add half of the lime zest, all lime juice and cardamom. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add gelatin/sugar mixture. Beat until soft peaks form. Spoon into dishes. Sprinkle remaining zest across top of each serving. Chill about an hour.

This makes the most wonderful lime flavored gelatin with lime flavored meringue floating on top.

And best of all? I didn't lift a finger until it was time to do the dishes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's snowing. I can't find the camera. I've got to shovel the drive again. J did it once, but it's been snowing constantly ever since and there's another two inches to be removed. One offspring is home with the stomach bug.

/* delete a long rant about throwing up - you don't really want to read it */

In knitting news, I've finished knitting but not finished two more red scarves which need to get mailed soon. I've finished two hats, which have become J's and mine. I lost my hat since last year's wearing. I've been busy knitting hats for various causes, but I found myself eyeing hats in the store because, dammit, I NEED A HAT. Preferrably non-acrylic, because the wind here goes straight through acrylic as though it wasn't even on my head. I actually put my hand up one time to feel where my hat had blown off and the confounded thing was still there, not that my head could tell.

So. J and I now have fraternal hats (pictures coming soon, as soon as I find the camera). His has wool around the forehead and alpaca for the crown. He put it on inside and we were delayed a moment going out, and he whisked it off again - That's WARM - he says, and I nodded, Yep, that's why I gave it to you. Even with his hat and coat, he shivers when we take the dog for a walk and the wind is blowing feels-like 20 F. Not that night. And I didn't wind up with the muscles in my back all clenched up either.

This you may have seen before. It's a bump of Rosemary Falkland wool (Dunnose Head Farm), which I dyedup. It's been sitting for a while, waiting its turn at the spinning wheel, and waiting until I muddled through how I wanted to spin it. You must admit there's a bunch of different possibilities. I pinched off the solid ends and spun them on the spindle.

The rest of it, I've been spinning up working from one end to the other (blue to red) and then Navajo-plying it. (yes I know that they've come up with a PC name for it, but I always forget. Chain plying?) It's going to be interesting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year

I made all my resolutions back in September. Most of them are perking along happily - one or two still to be implemented.

One goal I had this year - the 50 book challenge - almost got there. #48 - Sincerely, Andy Rooney by Andy Rooney. It might have been 50 had I not gotten sidetracked by Librarything. I've started cataloging my books there and this of course has lead to a great deal of re-reading. Counts as reading but not for the challenge, where I specifically was only counting new books.

I think I'll try again for the 50 books this year. At the least, it's a push to break out of my rut. I'm been feeling like I've been in a whole bunch of ruts and breaking out of any of them is a good thing.

In other news, the weather is being completely unlike itself. Still in the 40s and 50s, with the grass green, we are not yet suffering from an excess of white which is striking other areas. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.