Monday, December 31, 2012

Yes, I actually made it to 52 recipes

It is SUCH a good thing that I post all my recipes to FaceBook, because I certainly don't remember to blog about them here.

Tonight, I cooked a massive dinner for my friends who just had a new baby. (Their third. Her name is Eleanor.) I managed to include two new dishes, including Shutterbean's brussel sprout, butternut, apple, and cranberry roast and a wonderful variant on Aloo Gobi from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. Everyone loved the Sukha Gobi Alu Aur Mirch and everyone but me also enjoyed the roasted vegetable dish.

New recipe count: 51, 52


Catching up on old-new recipes

I got this first recipe idea from Carole Knits when she had us all list our 10 favorite holiday cookie recipes.The Cherry Chocolate Kisses were rather fussy to make but so lovely and yummy that none survived to be photographed.

I got the recipe for Congo Bars from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe, who posted it a few weeks ago. They were incredibly sweet but the crunchy top made them very appealing to the students.

David Lebovitz is one of my favorite food bloggers. I've been meaning to make his Whole Lemon Bars for over a year, and I finally got around to it in early December. I used a Meyer Lemon despite his warning not to; I supplemented it with 1/2 a lime since my lemon weighed a lot less than the 6 ounces he recommended. These were totally delicious, particularly after mellowing for a day or two.

I made two new recipes for our vegetarian Thanksgiving: the stuffed acorn squash and mushroom gravy found in The New York Times as part of a "Southern" feast. I thought they were amazing but the rest of the family was ambivalent at best.

I made the Mushroom Bourguignon from Smitten Kitchen on the day before Thanksgiving (to use up the 3 pounds of mushrooms I had absentmindedly purchased).

I tried to make pumpkin butter from one of our Hallow'een pumpkins and it was a disaster.

I turned a giant sweet-meat squash into this soup and it was pretty good... but I wasn't motivated to make it again.

My mom helped me make Chinese Boiled Peanuts when she visited us over Christmas. Holy moly, these are good!

I made rhubarb chutney at some point in summer and forgot to write down which recipe I used. That's OK, because the chutney was only so-so

New recipe count: 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

Yet another new recipe: steamed sesame ginger chicken

No pictures - my dish isn't photogenic, but it is DELICIOUS!

I have a feeling it will also be very yummy served cold.

I was trying to capture something like the Sesame Steamed Chicken from my favorite Chinese restaurant. This isn't quite like theirs - more ginger in mine - but it's reasonably close.

New recipe count: 40

Molasses Cookies

Another new recipe from The Festival of Cookies, aka Winter Vacation:

Molasses Cookies!

The first tray came out a little burnt because I hadn't used parchment paper. The remaining 4 trays (on parchment paper) came out perfectly. I made the cookies tiny, and got 65 instead of the recipe's suggested 24.

New recipe count: 39

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What to do with your leftover bits of cheese

It is well known that I adore Smitten Kitchen's blog, but her recipes have batted rather under 100% with my family. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to report that her most recent post, Fromage Fort, is a winner!

In my particular version, I used
1.5 oz blue cheese (Baraboo Blue from Michigan, to be precise)
1 oz cheese stick
4 oz chèvre
4 oz Gouda
4 oz fresh mozzarella
1.5 oz very aged Brie
1/2 cup Chardonay
1 small clove garlic
2 Tablespoons snipped Chinese chives

Next time, I might try it with only chives and no garlic.

New recipe count: 38

Shutterbean's chocolate chunk blondies

I made half with nuts and half without, since 90% of the pan is intended as a gift for the parents and older siblings of a new baby. Both are delicious.

The recipe was ridiculously easy and the output is outstandingly good. The batter is low on sugar to compensate for all the sweetness added by the chocolate chunks.

New recipe count: 37

Friday, December 28, 2012


To make a long story very short, we had some very aged Gouda that no one was eating up (because it's only good at room temperature and we're all bad at thinking far enough ahead to start warming up the cheese 3 hours before we plan to eat it). We also had a huge thing of CostCo Gouda that no one was eating up (because none of us likes plain gouda. It was purchased by mistake when the shopper couldn't find the smoked gouda that was on the list.)

So I searched for ways to use up a lot of gouda at once and came up with this fondue recipe. I had to go shopping for Kirsch, and couldn't find any so now we have rather a lot of cherry brandy, but I have plans for the rest of it... and anyway, it was delicious. We tried it with roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli, pan-fried yellow peppers, and four different types of bread.

New recipe count: 36

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A fruitcake even Americans will eat

And oh, boy, did these Americans eat it!

The recipe comes from Milkweed and Teasel, one of my favorite blogs. She's an American ex-pat who married a British groundskeeper on one of the great estates. She has a keen sense of which British recipes will translate well for Americans - this is one of them.

My only regret is that the cake involved no alcohol. I may experiment with that, next time.

New recipe count: 35

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New take on an old favorite: bread pudding

My mother, visiting us for Christmas, unearthed a VERY stale loaf of challah from its wrappings in two clean dish towels. Since it had no visible signs of decay, I turned it into bread pudding. I didn't make the hard sauce (too many calories) but the pudding itself was dense, flavorful, and decadent.

New recipe count: 34

Monday, December 24, 2012

New recipe: sweet potato panini sandwich

I'm catching up on my new recipes, which accumulate all year but need to get made during my vacations.

Today: a sweet potato panini, including a thinly sliced Granny Smith, chevre, and a roasted sweet potato. I didn't have any coleslaw available, so I substituted thinly sliced olives (yeah, in retrospect, that wasn't so obvious) and I blame this substitution for the fact that the sandwich was good but not great.

New recipe count: 33

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Buddha's Hand Citron

As far as gifts go, this has to be one of the oddest: my father in law, who shares and encourages my love of cooking, brought me a Buddha's Hand citron.

For scale, the red trivet under the fruit has a diameter of 8 inches. The citron weighed over 14 ounces before I trimmed off the stem and the two "fingers" that were starting to look moldy.

I have now turned it into candied citron. It tastes quite yummy and whole house smells delicious. I have plans to turn it into fruitcake.

New recipe count: 32

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite holiday cookies

Yikes! It's almost Wednesday and I haven't even thought about my list...

1) rolled and cut-out sugar cookies with sprinkles
2) rugelach
3) nutella mochi
4) cranberry-pecan bars
5) lemon bars
6) oatmeal cranberry cookies (just follow the recipe on the Quaker Oats box, but use Craisins in place of raisins.
7) biscotti
8) peanut butter blossoms 
9) pizzelles
10) almond cookies (I'm so tired that I cannot Google the correct recipe right now, but they're super almond-tasting and have something like almond paste in the center.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

New recipe: challah

I also made challah for lunch today. Given that I set the rack at the wrong level and singed it pretty badly, who knows if the recipe is any good?

I tell myself that I will try it again next week.

New recipe count: 31

New recipe: chicken pot pie

Today I had my advisees over for lunch. We had the usual: fresh bread, cookies, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip. And then I tried something new, which actually worked out pretty well..

Chicken pot pie!

Now, chicken pot pie is something of a tradition at our school, and I make no claims to having met that high standard, but this was darned good for a first try. I will put in fewer leeks and remember the parsley next time.

New recipe count: 30

Friday, November 30, 2012

New recipe: cornmeal biscotti

Now that we're less than a month away from Christmas, I've ramped up my baking operation. First up: some biscotti for the Coffee Social at our local music studio. I'm trying to use up all the cornmeal in the pantry, so this recipe was an easy choice to make:

Cornmeal Biscotti from David Lebovitz

Verdict: they're great! I took his advice and added 1/2 cup of dried cherries (which I should have chopped but didn't).

New recipe count: 29

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Mitts or Mittens I Want to Knit!

I can't believe you want me to limit myself to only ten patterns! I have literally over 100 on my Ravelry queue, not to mention all the books of patterns I own.

1) Karisma Mittens: I love a good cable, and these are just gorgeous.
2) Woodruff by Jared Flood: another great cabled pattern
3) Lucky Hearts Mittens: a gorgeous fair-isle mitten, and I actually bought the kit to make them last year. I think I'm just waiting to find the perfect recipient before I tackle them.
4) Antler Mittens: remember what I was saying about loving cables? Oh, yeah, baby...
5) Anemoi Mittens by Eunny Jang: these mittens have always been a goal of mine, from right around the time I started learning to knit with two colors. I might be close to being able to tackle them. The gauge is a lot tighter than anything I've ever made.
6) Fiber Fish Mittens: these are another pair I've been dreaming of making for a very long time. I still don't trust myself with entrelac.
7) Let it Snow Mittens: a much more subtle cable, very beautiful and understated.
8) Fallberry Mitts by Anne Hanson: a gorgeous mitt with long cuffs and a sweet cable.
9) Nunt's Cabled Wristwarmers: another gorgeous cabled mitt
10) NHM-10 by Terri Shea: I actually want to make everything in Selbuvottir, and I'm about 4 patterns into that project.
11) Glitten by Julia Mueller: I love the idea of the glitten and I have two cousins who desperately want them. I bought the yarn for both projects exactly a year ago, and then promptly misplaced it. This won my heart over all other glitten patterns because of the cool cabling pattern.
12) Chickadee Mittens by Susan Anderson-Freed: I really want to try out the top-down construction and see if it makes my thumb-joins any better. (Right now, they range from pretty-OK on single color mittens to just-atrocious on some of my two-color mittens.)

And yes, I know I went over ten. Forgive me?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things for which I am thankful

I am thankful for so many things this year! It's been a year of some major transitions, most of them positive, and the rest I'm trying to view as learning opportunities...

1) My family. They're healthy, reasonably happy, and very supportive of me.
2) My job. In this uncertain economy, it's a blessing to have work I love at a respectable salary.
3) My co-workers. For all that I roll my eyes about certain things, I am very very lucky to work with such kind, conscientious people.
4) Our house. We moved in just about 10 months ago and it's been marvelous living in our own space. Sure, we still have to figure out things like the 2nd story storm windows and the north gutter, but overall it's a lovely space in a great neighborhood.
5) My health. These past three months have been the healthiest I've been in years, if not decades. The asthma is under control. I'm on a manageable diet. I have more energy and I haven't had a major illness all fall term.
6) My friends. Knitting group, reading circle, the other parents at the bus-stop... they make me smile, they make me laugh, they tell me how to resurrect my nearly dead rose bushes...
7) My crafting. I love that I know how to knit, crochet, and weave. It calms me down and makes me feel artistic. (This is a hoot because the people who know me in person know that I am NOT artistic... at all...)
8) My kitchen. It's just an amazing space and I love cooking in it.
9) Our president. I don't usually bring politics into the blog, but I lived in fear of the racist, elitist, misogynists taking over. They've been enthusiastically rebuffed for the next few years, and I am grateful.
10) Our local library. It doesn't actually save me any money, because any book I like enough gets purchased, but it has introduced me to so many new authors!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What are you grateful for?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

FO: mittens for Hadley

I actually finished the knitting two weeks ago, but put off sewing in the ends until last night. These are for my colleague's little girl, Hadley. She says that she likes pink and yellow, but I didn't think the contrast was enough, so I used grey in place of yellow.

The mitten palm pattern is from Freja, a free pattern on Knitty.
The alphabet pattern is from Little Cotton Rabbits.
The snowflake pattern is my own.

Needles: size 3 wooden 16" circulars (2)
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash

I know... I really need to be better at taking pictures of my knitting! I always end up taking pictures in fading afternoon light, which isn't enough to fully bring out the contrast in the colors.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

FO: Trenza Mitts in purple

I have several finished objects to show off; also, I've just returned from WEBS, where I took a class with the hilarious and knowledgeable Franklin Habit. The class itself, Garter Stitch Jacquard, requires a separate post, which I will attempt to write tomorrow.

For now, let's talk about my Trenza Mitts (rav link)

Needles: size 3 wooden 16 inch circulars (2), from Knitpicks
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash
Mods: reduced the central cable from 3 crossings to 2

This photo does justice to the cables but not to the color, which is a very dark purple. They're destined for my son's teacher. She said that she liked the colors purple and yellow, and I couldn't find it in me to combine them into one mitten, so purple it is!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New recipe: jam (or brittle) blondies

Late last year one of my students suggested that I start read Joy the Baker... and I'm sure much of my failure to lose weight over the subsequent months can be blamed on her blog. My most recent baking triumph is directly courtesy of her:

Brittle and Jam Blondies

I made a double-batch for Nikhil's birthday (using cherry jam, which is all we had in the fridge) and they were a huge, huge hit.

New recipe count: 28

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

10 on Tuesday: ten things on your mind right now

1) The election! (I voted straight-ticket Dem, and it looks like everyone for whom I voted has won)
2) The weather! (there's a nasty Nor'easter headed our way, and I'm supposed to drive down to New Haven and back tomorrow.)
3) Volleyball! (my team's last game is tomorrow, assuming it doesn't get cancelled due to weather)
4) NaNoWriMo! (Yes, I signed up. No, it's not going well.)
5) NaRoWriMo! (Just heard that Avon is taking open submissions of romance novels until Dec. 10th. Pity mine isn't really a romance novel...)
6) Tired! (too many late nights, plus a nasty side-effect from some medicine that kept me up with horrible nausea and stomach cramps two nights ago)
7) Final exams! (starting Monday, for the fall term)
8) Dogs! (I want one very badly, and my allergist just confirmed that I'm not allergic to them)
9) Idiots! (some friends of mine are spewing a lot of hate around Facebook and Twitter, most of it connected to the elections)
10) Red Sox! (After this horrible, horrible season, it's nice to see some signs of hope, such as David Ortiz getting a 2-year contract for DH)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Improvised pancakes

I improvised a pancake recipe this morning and I have to write it down, because they turned out great!

1 1/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 cups milk
a teaspoon salt
a big squirt (sorry about the inaccuracy) of agave nectar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 Tablespoons canola oil (once again, dumped without properly measuring)
Butter (for pan)

Mix flours (reserving a little white flour) and milk together thoroughly. Let sit for 10 minutes or more.

Mix remaining flour with sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

Combine everything and whisk thoroughly.

Melt a teaspoon of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook pancakes, about 1/3 cup of batter at a time. Flip when bottom is getting brown and top has bubbles forming and not immediately closing.

Serve with maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey.

New recipe count: 27

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite mystery novels

This is going to be tough! Although I read a lot of mystery novels from the library, there aren't all that many that I would call favorites. Let me see what I can come up with...

1) Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (and everything else by her, also!) Although Peter is a terrible snot in the early books, Harriet is the perfect match for him and I love watching their courtship progress over the series.

2) I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (and the rest of the series, although I think this is the best). Flavia DeLuce is a marvelous narrator; think 1950's Harriet the Spy in England with a lot more snark, and a bent for chemistry.

3) Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (and the rest of the Discworld stories about Commander Vimes and his merry crew.) These are fantasy - mysteries, so not traditional at all, but marvelously well done.

4) The Dead of Winter by Rennie Airth. I don't like the sequels as much as this one, which is the the start of the series. It's set in England, winter of 1944...

5) A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt. This is a perfect example of the science fiction - mystery, with a little archeology thrown in.

6) Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey (and everything else she wrote, too!) This is a wonderful story of murder, mistaken identity, love, and double-crosses.

7) The Skull Mantra by Elliot Pattison. I don't love the sequels (in fact, I barely like them) but this book is a marvelous merging of locale (Tibet) and murder mystery.

8) The Case of William Smith by Patricia Wentworth (and many of her others that star the marvelous Miss Silver. Other favorites include The Clock Strikes Twelve and Through the Wall.)

9) Rivers of London (also known as Midnight Riot in the USA) by Ben Aaronovitch (and sequels). This is modern police procedural meets magic realism and the results are magical.

10) Glass Houses by Jane Haddam, and many of the others in her long-running series about Gregor Demarkian.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I did last weekend

It wasn't a vacation weekend for me (I get my long weekend NEXT weekend) but I still managed to get a few things done.

1) Coached my JV volleyball team to their first win of the season.
2) Got lost in Simsbury, CT.
3) Lost my cell phone for almost 48 hours.
4) Read the first chapter of This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova and got utterly hooked. (Human female lawyer in a male-dominated vampire firm. Clearly written by someone who knows her law firms.)
5) Caught up on the first 2 episodes of Bones.
6) Caught up on NCIS, also.
7) And NCIS-LA
8) Cooked shakshuka and a curried squash soup.
9) Cursed my doctor's office a lot (they won't handle refill requests on the weekend, and I ran out Saturday night... and they weren't open Monday, either.)
10) Started looking into switching doctors.

And oh yeah, cleaned the stove and watched a little baseball and graded a huge pile of papers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ten on (Wednesday): 10 favorite Sunday dinners

Ahhh... Tuesday was nutso-busy and I didn't get a chance to blog.

I'm torn here: I have great memories of the Sunday dinners my mother and both grandmothers used to cook, but now that I'm married to a vegetarian we have a completely different set of traditions-in-the-making. So maybe I'll list both...?

1) Roasted chicken with a cut-up lemon stuffed inside it. Served with salad, fresh bread and butter, and maybe some corn on the cob.
2) Beef stew: my Scottish grandmother was a pretty lousy cook, but this was one of the few things she did well. I think it was all the beer she dumped into the stew that really made it sing!
3) Sweet and sour fish: from my Chinese grandmother. I hated staring at the fish head and used to drape a lettuce leaf over it. Served with Jasmine rice, stir-fried green beans, and a noodle dish (sort of like lo mein but much, much better.)
4) Coq au vin: my mother had a French cookbook (maybe by Julia Child?) and this was a classic from it. Served over rice with peas-in-lettuce on the side.
5) Totally westernized "chicken curry": my mother made a non-spicy version of Indian chicken curry, which was served with rice and a bunch of yummy trimmings to put over it, like raisins and toasted coconut flakes.
6 and 7) Sweet and sour pork chops: my grandmother had a very traditional Chinese version (soy sauce, vinegar, scallions) and my mother had a totally westernized version (ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar). Both were delicious!
8) Kielbasa with pan-fried potatoes and onions: there was a Polish sausage factory a couple of towns away from us so we ate a lot of great Polish food! I can't remember all the varieties of sausages, this is just an example.
9) Peking Duck: this one's made by my aunt, and it's better than any I've had in a restaurant. (I'm not sure it compensated for seeing the plucked duck hanging up in the bathroom for two days, drying.)
10) Meatloaf: my mother doesn't remember her recipe anymore, which is a loss to society because that loaf was FABULOUS! I used to beg the leftovers for my sandwich on Monday.

1) Shakshuka: so easy to make the sauce ahead of time and then just reheat and add the eggs.
2) Stuffed shells: I add a lot of silken tofu to the stuffing, to give it some protein.
3) Nordstrom's tomato soup with panini grilled cheese sandwiches
4) Vegetarian sausages with pan-fried potatoes and onions
5) Mock-chicken pot pie: exactly like chicken pot pie but with two packages of "mock chicken strips" in place of the real bird. I like a cornmeal crust.
6) Vegetarian longonisa (I'll have to write up the recipe sometime)
7) Okonomiyaki
8) Chocolate Black Bean Chili, recipe from The Moosewood Celebrates!

and... I'm out of ideas and time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things you love about September

I love September! Like our leader Carole, I adore autumn and nearly everything about it!

1) The sun doesn't rise quite so early anymore. (I have trouble sleeping in a bright room.)
2) The days aren't quite as hot.
3) Apple season is ramping up!
4) School starts. (Yes, I actually do love my job.)
5) The farmer's market is at its peak: tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, squash, gourds, peaches, apples...
6) The leaves begin to turn.
7) Some evenings it's actually cool enough for a fire in the fireplace.
8) It's once again appropriate to serve hot soup at dinner.
9) I don't feel weird about not wearing sandals.
10) My birthday is in September!

New recipe (so basic I'm embarrassed to count it)

In a desperate search for a quick recipe, I got suckered by that Hellman's ad where the busy mom smears Hellman's mayo and breadcrumbs over the chicken breast and serves her happy family 20 minutes later.

It actually wasn't bad, but I kept thinking about all the extra calories in the mayo and shuddering to myself.

New recipe count: 27

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More ways to use broccoli

Confession: I bought one of those three-pound bags of pre-chopped broccoli at CostCo, hence my sudden obsession with using it up quickly. I know from past experience that the broccoli doesn't keep well past about 3 days.

This recipe for Broccoli with Garlic Sauce is delicious fresh and also several hours later; it was good enough that none of it survived to become leftovers. The recipe is supposed to be "diet" but we couldn't tell the difference!

New recipe count: 26

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New recipe: broccoli parmesan fritters

I've been bad about blogging while we've been traveling to various family reunions... here's a recipe that makes me so glad I nibbled out of the pan, because they are delicious when fresh but not nearly as good after keeping hot in a warm oven.

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters by Smitten Kitchen

I also think that they had a bit too much broccoli in them... the fritters were falling apart!

New recipe count: 25

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite TV shows from childhood

We didn't have a TV for much of my childhood, so this list of shows is going to make me look a bit younger than I really am. (Hah!)

1) 3-2-1 Contact was really the only show I was allowed to watch on a regular basis.
2) CHiPs was an occasional treat... and oh, the crush I had on Erik Estrada!
3) Nova was often family viewing. I know these three shows were the only things I watched prior to 4th grade, because my teacher laughed at me in 4th grade when on the of the get-to-know-you games was "What are you favorite TV shows" and these first three were what I listed.
4) Bugs Bunny and Friends
5) Dungeons and Dragons

Honestly, I cannot remember any other shows I watched regularly prior to high school. Then we added in

6) Beverly Hills 90210
7) Miami Vice
8) Quantum Leap
9) Star Trek: The Next Generation

and as a grown-up, I've watched and loved
10) Monty Python's Flying Circus and Black Adder, which were ON in my childhood but I wasn't allowed to watch them then.

365 posts!

this is my 365 post, and I have nothing to say except that this is a sad indicator of how far I've fallen from my goal of posting every day.

Friday, July 20, 2012

FO: socks for Theo

My mom and I always co-knit a pair of socks when the family goes on vacation. I do the "twiddly bits" (heels, toes, and bind-off) while she knits the boring stretches in between.

Details here (Rav link). The yarn is S. R. Kerzer On Your Toes 4-Ply with Aloe Vera in the "Weekend Print" colorway.

These were meant to fit my 7-year-old but I forgot how loosely my mother knits... this comfortably fit a woman with size 7 feet! However, my son loves the colors, so I've packed these away until his feet get a bit bigger.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Everyday Things that Make You Happy

I forgot to post this on Tuesday!

1) The smell of jasmine tea in the morning
2) Sunlight on the back deck
3) A double-hug from my sons
4) The smell of fresh basil
5) Cheddar or smoked gouda on a triscuit
6) Fresh corn on the cob
7) Finishing a crafting project
8) Petting the neighbor's dog
9) Watching the local chipmunk family scavenge for food in the driveway and backyard
10) When my husband cooks

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Using up zucchini: garlic zucchini soup

Another winner in the zucchini consumption wars: this Garlic Zucchini Soup, which is creamy without any cream and garlicky without being overwhelming. We think it's best at room temperature after sitting overnight to blend the flavors, but it's also quite good hot or cold.

New recipe count: 24

Sunday, July 15, 2012

And still another new recipe: Israeli chopped salad

It was a busy night. Yes, I made three new recipes for dinner and all of them were big hits with the hubby.

This last one is an improvisation based upon David Lebovitz's recent post about Israeli salads. I used green cabbage, corn off the cob (microwaved 4 minutes), basil, toasted pine nuts, cucumber, jicama, radishes, and cauliflower. I dressed it with a little salt and pepper, a good glug of olive oil, and a sprinkling of rice wine vinegar.

New recipe count: 23

New recipe: Zucchini Feta Mint Pancakes

At the suggestion of my old college bud Judy, I used up a medium-large zucchini by turning it into Zucchini Feta Mint Pancakes, recipe from the original Moosewood Cookbook but I'm linking to a food blogger's version so you don't have to locate a cookbook that came out in 1977.


Holy cow, these were delicious. Not super-easy, since I had to grate and salt the zucchini, but totally worth the effort.

BTW, my copy of the Moosewood Cookbook was clearly purchased at a used bookstore (the price is still pencilled inside the cover) but has been much treasured by me over the years: it was a gift from Judy and her roommates, Liz and Karla, for my birthday during junior year of college. This was back when we were all poor as church mice, so chipping in on a used cookbook was totally OK for present-giving.

New recipe count: 22

New recipe: marinated mozzarella appetizer

I love to read Lottie and Doof but I've only cooked a couple of his recipes. This will have to change, because I just made his marinated mozzarella appetizer and it was DIVINE. I had half an avocado going begging so I diced it and added it also.

New recipe count: 21

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things that are your favorite color

My favorite color is green, and I am in the middle of changing computers so I fear no pictures will accompany this post.

1) Mint leaves.
2) Basil leaves. Wait, am I repeating myself?
3) Broccoli
4) Artichokes
5) Green beans. Duh.
6) Granny Smith apples, just before I slice them into an apple pie... woops, now I'm drooling.
7) My toothbrush.
8) My favorite shirt for work. (Oxford no-iron with pin stripes in pale green, from Lands End.)
9) Most of the last dozen mittens I've made.
10) My favorite tea

Friday, June 22, 2012

FO: amigurami starfish

This was a great week for finishing things: I polished off a pair of mittens (still waiting to block and dry them), the first of a pair of Longitudinal socks

and this lovely little starfish:

Starfish knit from scraps of Cascade 220 Superwash on #2 needles. Pattern is by Hansi Singh, from Amigurami Knits.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New recipe: do sandwiches count?

Do sandwiches count as a new recipe? What if it's a panini, so there's heat involved?

Last night I supplemented dinner with a marvelous pear, Brie, and arugula panini courtesy of Serious Eats. We were trying to use up old pears, which were so overripe that they kind of melted into the Brie. I'd like to try this again with some crisp pears, like Bosc.

New recipe count: twenty

Monday, June 18, 2012

And yet another new recipe: apple ring pancakes

Apple ring pancakes! Such a good idea, a little complicated to execute but barely more work than making silver dollar pancakes.

I based my idea around this recipe by Carla Hall, but didn't have Bisquick in the house so I just used my standard Fanny Farmer pancake recipe and dipped in the apples.

It's crucial to slice the apples as thinly as you can... thick pieces don't get cooked in the time it takes to brown the pancakes, but thin slices get soft and almost jammy inside the batter.

New recipe count: nineteen

Note: yes, I know that it's over half-way through June and therefore I should be at about twenty-five recipes. First of all, I'm backlogged on my reporting and actually have two or three more in the pipeline. Second, summer is my primary cooking time. I'm sure I'll be ahead of the count by the end of July.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New recipe: hollandaise sauce

While we were in Boston last weekend we ate breakfast at IHOP, which I used to love in college but haven't visited in about a decade. I had a "healthy omelette" with egg substitute - bleah! I will never go there again - and DH had a pair of crepes wrapped around a vegetable omelette and topped with Hollandaise sauce. He was nice enough to give me a couple bites. Yowza! We both agreed that it was delicious and worthy of trying to reproduce at home.

So today is Father's Day. We don't make a big deal of it: DH grew up in a family that doesn't "do" "Hallmark holidays" and I'm not that close with my father. (Note: I was good about doing things for my grandfathers while they were still alive.) I had a brainwave last night, that I would try to recreate this dish for brunch today.

Crepes via this recipe (not new, I've made them before)
Scrambled eggs with thinly sliced peppers, Chinese chives, and a big handful of arugula.
Hollandaise sauce via this recipe. I had to improvise a double-boiler because I couldn't find the real one.

Verdict: pretty yummy but not as good as the ones at IHOP. I think I need to put mushrooms in the eggs.

New recipe count: eighteen

Friday, June 8, 2012

New recipe: roasted apple (no knead?) bread

I promise, I really am making progress on the knitting front.

However, it's the first week of my summer vacation so I'm cleaning up my recipe file with enthusiasm! (This level of energy is abnormal for me.) Starting yesterday and baking today, I tried King Arthur Flour's Roasted Apple No-Knead Bread via XO Breakfast's modifications. First, I have two confessions to make:
1) I baked the bread for too long
2) I accidentally forgot to include the nuts

Even with those problems, the bread was yummy! Not too sweet, but interesting, and with a great crust and crumb. I have to try it again with those problems fixed. Also, even though the recipe claims to be "No-Knead" that is totally inaccurate... "mix for 5 minutes with your hands" totally counts as kneading. Good thing I don't actually mind getting my hands into the flour!

New recipe count: seventeen

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New recipe: asparagus with almonds and garlic yogurt sauce

I found a pound of leftover roasted asparagus in the back of the fridge. Since nobody in the family likes leftover asparagus - hey, let's be honest, I'm the only one who likes the vegetable at all - I did a little searching for a recipe to gussy it up.

I found Smitten Kitchen's recent post on a side dish (or light main course) of asparagus with almonds, hard-boiled egg, and a spicy garlic yogurt sauce. It looked fabulous. The result was a little less impressive. I couldn't eat the sauce because of the raw garlic, and the asparagus had lost the pleasing bite it gets from being roasted and was just limp and stringy. I imagine the salad is better when made fresh that day, so I'm not disparaging SK's recipe. I'm just noting that it wasn't right for us.

New recipe count: sixteen

New recipe: okonomiyaki

For those of you who haven't tried it before, I should lead off by saying that okonomiyaki is sort of like a potato pancake except that it's got cabbage and sesame oil and scallions, and usually seafood or meat in it. It's served with mayo and ketchup on the side.

I've tried several different recipes for okonomiyaki over the years; DH says that this is the best yet.

Obviously, since DH is vegetarian, I omitted the pig trotters. Instead I used a chopped up veggie-burger and a handful of pine nuts. I also omitted the bonito flakes; next time I might use a vegetarian fukikake in its place, but this time I just went without and everything still tasted great.

New recipe count: fifteen

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New recipe: Korean spinach side salad

Today I tried another new recipe that had been on my radar for a while: sigumchi namul, or Korean spinach with sesame and sugar.

Oh... My... Gosh....

Boiling the spinach was a bit of effort, but the result was fabulously yummy. Best of all, it really tasted like the spinach they serve at my favorite Korean restaurants.

New recipe count: fourteen

Monday, June 4, 2012

New recipe: French Peasant Beets

I finally had the time to try another new recipe, and this one is utterly fabulous!

French Peasant Beets from Food52, via

I forgot to take pictures but my dish looked remarkably like the one on the recipe. No, seriously. It really did.

I only used three large beets and I had to cook it in two batches, with extra butter and wine, so I think when they say" 4 to 6 beets" they mean the really little ones.

We didn't have Bucheron so I just went with the cheap chevre you can buy at the local grocery, and it was still very, very good.

New recipe count: 13

Friday, June 1, 2012

A report on last night's dinner party

I had put a "vegetarian or pescetarian dinner for five" into the Senior Auction back in March. My friend and colleague, Donna, bought it. Last night, she and her sister and two friends (the last person couldn't make it) came over for dinner.

The menu:
fresh honey-oat bread
four cheeses (Brie, aged cheddar, smoked gouda, and white Stilton with apricots)
low fat spinach dip
carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, yellow grape tomatoes, cauliflower, and red pepper slices

(there was supposed to be a course of cold tomato soup and deviled eggs, but I forgot to serve it!)

white rice
Cambodian fish stew
mushrooms with butter garlic sauce
roasted asparagus

vanilla ice cream
fruit salad

ice tea with simple syrup on the side
ice water with lemon or lime slices

I think it hit a nice mix of the delicious and the healthy... everyone ate a lot and Kathy told stories for three hours!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finished object: mittens!

Started May 14th, finished May 24th.
NHM #2 from Selbuvotter by Terri Shea.
Yarn is Cascade Heritage Sock, in white and army.
Obviously, I modified the cuff, as the recipient, Lexi, did not want the beautiful bell cuff from the pattern. I also modified the inside of the thumb to be a 1x1 checkerboard.
Details can be found on my Ravelry page.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to accomplish this summer

1) Really make use of the garden. I've been quite successful so far with the spring greens (arugula, spinach, and curly mustard) and the herbs (basil, mint, and chives). Now I have to keep up with the tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and garlic...

2) Catch up on knitting. I owe seven people mittens and two people pairs of socks. I figure if I can do a mitten a week I should be almost caught up by the start of September.

3) Read. I usually set myself a goal of 50 books over the summer and I mean to stick with that.

4) Cook healthy food. I made a goal of trying out a new recipe each week for this year and I've fallen a bit behind with the craziness of the spring term, but I can surely catch up during the summer months.

5) Blog more.

6) Learn to use my camera function (better) on my phone.

7) Finish unpacking.

8) Clean out the barn.

9) Exercise regularly.

10) Do a better job of staying in touch with friends and family.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Finished object: afghan

Actually finished two projects in May, but have not blogged about yet since I've been having computer problems.

First: the granny square afghan for my cousin, finished just before the baby shower on May 5th. She cried when she opened it. All our relatives who remember our grandmother B. cried, too. It looked remarkably like all the ones she made for us, except that hers tended to cover queen size beds and mine will just about cover a small kid in a stroller.

Details: Cascade 220 Superwash, in 18 different colors. Used a size E crochet hook. Bought much of the yarn at WEBS and the rest at Marji's Yarncraft.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Project notes (graduating seniors edition)

Victoria: green and white, something with snowflakes
Ellie: green and white, something from the knitting book she gave me
Brooke: blue and white, something like "Mittens for Shelter"
Melissa: an octopus, in blue and pink, preferably with baby octopus
Brenna: gloves from Selbuvotter, probably black and white

All the juniors have chosen to wait until they decide on a college, with an eye toward getting mittens in their college colors.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite comedy movies

Finally, a Ten on Tuesday post I can knock off in ten minutes!

Comedy isn't really my favorite genre, but I have some favorite movies that always elicit giggles.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Mean Girls
The Princess Bride
This is Spinal Tap
Better Off Dead
Four Weddings and a Funeral

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

another few items for yesterday's list

And as usual, reading everyone else's lists made me realize that I forgot a few crucial items:

11) Sauteed mushrooms with garlic butter, from Smitten Kitchen

12) A cheese plate

13 Too low-brow for the cheese plate, but still one of my favorite foods every: port wine cheese

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite side dishes

Since a lot of my family is vegetarian, and includes people with shellfish allergies and gluten intolerance, this list may look a bit limited to those of you who don't suffer from such constraints.

1) Salad... always. The basic romaine, tomato, cucumber, basil, radish, and a dressing of olive oil and rice wine vinegar, is always a winner.
2) More salad. My family loves to put fruit in salad. One classic is the strawberry, avocado, papaya with lime juice, walnut oil, and a turn of black pepper.
3) Another is the crisp pear, toasted nuts, gorgonzola over mixed field greens with a little olive oil and white wine vinegar.
4) My FIL makes an amazing side dish of fresh corn (barely cooked in boiling water, or lightly grilled) taken off the cob, mixed with toasted walnuts, shredded basil, and a lot of grated Parmesan. The trick is to toss in the cheese while the corn and nuts are still hot, so cheese sticks to every bite. Then top with the basil just before serving.
5) Another FIL classic: hot rice, mixed with toasted pecans, shredded sage, grated Parmesan, and a hunk of butter. It's decadent and delicious, and dresses up left-over rice like nothing else.
6) Fresh bread. Duh!
7) White rice, of course.
8) When the weather is cold I love to make a huge tray of roasted vegetables. I use sweet potatoes, onions, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage... and I'm certain I'm forgetting a few.
9) My aunt makes an amazing quinoa salad that generally includes feta cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, scallions, corn (fresh off the cob, if possible), and a can of chickpeas, all dressed with olive oil and rice wine vinegar.
10) Mashed potatoes (even if nothing is being served with gravy)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I took a class...

I live within easy driving distance of WEBS; it's about 40 minutes away when there's no traffic. Yet I don't get up there often enough! I took one class last year (Rigid Heddle Weaving, loved it!) and finally got organized about my schedule and signed up for "Fixing Mistakes" on this, the last weekend of my Spring Break.

"Fixing Mistakes" was taught by Annie Foley. She's a great teacher: clear, calm, pretty organized, and very good at explaining things logically. She showed us how to drop down and ladder back up in both stockinette and garter stitch. We also learned how to drop down an entire section in a simple lace pattern and then build it back up. We went over duplicate stitch and finished up by learning how to fix selvedge stitches.

Anyway, I highly recommend both the class and the teacher. She's got me inspired to take another class as soon as I can fit it into my schedule.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Three new recipes in one meal

I suddenly had my energy back and some free time today, so I tackled three of the recipes that had been sitting in my queue for a while:

1) Mac and cheese from's "You're doing it wrong" column. While I don't think this is the definitive Mac and Cheese, it was very tasty. I used half smoked Gouda and half sharp cheddar in the sauce, and panko breadcrumbs on top.

2) Potato Leek Soup, also from the same column at This was very good, maybe even the best I've ever made. And it was easy! Definitely a keeper.

3) Citrus-marinated tofu with onions and red peppers from Not a winner IMHO... the recipe was hard to follow, never told me when to put in the honey, and didn't taste all that impressive. We're going to see if the leftovers taste better tomorrow.

And my New Recipe count is up to... ten, eleven, twelve.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New recipe: pineapple orange carrot smoothie

Does a smoothie count as a new recipe?

If it's far outside my comfort zone, does that help it qualify?

Yesterday I also made the Grown-up Smoothie by Martha Rose Shulman. For those of you who want to avoid hitting the NYT website, it's approximately 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 cup fresh pineapple, 2 Tablespoons granola, 2 ice cubes, and a small carrot. Blend for a minute or more. Serve immediately.

I think it would have been improved by a knob of ginger root.

New recipe count: nine

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another new recipe: butternut and sage on pasta

Today's recipe wasn't very photogenic, so I'll just let you click through to the recipe if you want to see some gorgeously styled shots of fried sage over butternut cream pasta.

The whole thing tasted like I had dumped a good butternut bisque over some pasta, but the addition of lots of fried sage elevated the whole thing to something a bit better than that. It was enough work that I probably won't make it again. (Seriously, make about 10 times more fried sage than the recipe describes.)

New recipe count: eight

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

10 on Tuesday: ten things in my purse

I love the simple ones, where it doesn't take a lot to actually answer the question...

1) My wallet
2) My keys
3) A lot of cough drops.
4) Tic-tacs (white)
5) My cell phone
6) My watch (if I'm not wearing it)
7) Some loose change that got out of my wallet
8) Chapstick
9) A couple of "feminine sanitation products"
10) A paperback copy of "The Complaints" by Ian Rankin, which is currently my waiting-somewhere-reading.

Note: I often have knitting in my purse, but right now the blue mitten has grown too big to travel easily, and the green mitten requires an entire book to travel with it. This probably means I should cast on for another sock.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

project notes

For Lexi, who won the mittens in the senior raffle:

Dark green and white
something out of Selbuvottir
hands are slightly smaller than my own

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

10 on Tuesday: ten thoughts on this year's Oscars

Since I put the ceremony on TiVo, I've actually watched it all the way through! (I love the 21st century.)

1) I like Billy Crystal as the host. He's tasteful and moderately amusing.
2) I don't know why everyone loved Rooney Mara's dress... I thought it looked like it didn't fit correctly.
3) Loved Jessica Chastain's dress.
4) Also loved Milla Jovavich's dress.
5) Glad to see The Artist win so many honors.
6) Sorry Moneyball didn't pick up any hardware.
7) Meryl Streep gave a really great acceptance speech.
8) I want to see Cirque du Soleil in person sometime.
9) I want to say something nice about Angelina Jolie (I'm usually a big fan of her work), but that leg thing was just awkward and her hairdo made her look old.
10) Wish I'd had a chance to see more of the nominated movies prior to the awards ceremony.
11) Ryan Seacrest should have just slugged The Dictator.

Friday, January 27, 2012

FO: mittens for Claire 2012

Details: pattern was a mashup of several things, mostly notably the alphabet by Little Cotton Rabbits and snowflake detail borrowed from a scarf pattern by Eunny Jang.

Needles: size 2 wooden 16" circs from Knitpicks

Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash

Dates: January 7 - January 26

Photos taken in very poor light on my dark green sofa, which seemed the best way to really make the pink POP!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 movies I want to see RIGHT NOW

1) The Artist - this wasn't on my radar before the Oscar nominations, but it sure is now!
2) Hugo - I missed seeing it at over my vacation (something about being busy moving!) but I still really want to see it
3) Midnight in Paris - couldn't talk anyone else in my family into seeing it...
4) Red Tails - looks fabulous, the only reason we didn't see it last weekend was because the show times didn't match our schedule (saw Haywire instead. It was surprisingly good.)
5) Eight Below - I just want to see Paul Walker and huskies.
6) Safe House - hey, it's coming out this weekend! I'm just a couple days early!
7) The Hobbit - yes, I know I'm about 6 months early.
8) My Week with Marilyn - once again, couldn't talk anyone else into seeing it with me...
9) A Cat in Paris - it's up for an Oscar for Best Animated, so it must be worth 2 hours of my time...
10) Chico and Rita - ditto #9

New recipe: artichoke polenta tart

Another new recipe! This time it was a savory tart from The Wednesday Chef. The idea sounded great (artichoke hearts, goat cheese, rosemary, and polenta - yes, please?) but I didn't put enough salt into ANY of the layers, meaning that we ended up pulling the tart apart to salt it, then reconstructing it and eating it. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure I just forgot the salt in the egg-and-cheese layer, but I know that I salted the polenta. Oh, well. It was intriguing enough that I still plan to make it again, just with much more salt.

New recipe count: seven

Monday, January 23, 2012

FO: NHM #1 in Cascade Sock

I finally finished NHM #1:

Details: Cast on in September, finished on the 21st of January, blocked and delivered by the 22nd.
Needles: two size 2 wooden 16" from Knitpicks
Yarn: Cascade Sock in navy blue and cream
Book: Selbuvotter by Terri Shea

I had a major problem with gauge: the first mitten was about an inch longer than the second mitten! Fortunately, the recipient said she didn't care, and happily wore them out into the snowy morning.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New recipe: vanilla ice cream from a custard base

On Tuesday we made vanilla ice cream in our little Donvier mixer. It's approximately like this one.

I used this recipe by David Lebovitz, but I couldn't locate my stash of vanilla beans and had to do without. It was still really good, and my FIL tipped me off that adding a little flour to the eggs will help prevent curdling. (I had a bunch of stuff stick in the strainer which probably means that I did something bad to the yolks.)

New recipe count: six

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New recipe: cranberry quinoa almond cookies

Tonight I made a new type of cookie:

Either I mismeasured the salt, or else the recipe has an error, because these taste like they've got twice as much salt as they should.

Other than that, they're pretty good.

New recipe count: five

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A great sandwich

Today I was catching up with Alex while I was in the sandwich line, and I accidentally constructed a great sandwich because I wasn't really focused on what I was doing.

I did a careful examination of my sandwich's layers and I'm pretty sure it contained

A bulky roll
hot mustard (not sure on this one)
and possibly a slice of turkey (also not sure on this one)

Sadly, I think the keys to sandwich yumminess were the processed meats.

And no, this doesn't count as a new recipe.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to do inside when it's too cold to go outside

It's almost too cold to go outside right now...

1) Read
2) Knit
3) Bake
4) Cook
5) Clean the house
6) Do the dishes
7) Play a board game
8) or a card game
9) or a video game
10) Watch a movie and snuggle on the couch.
11) This is a family blog, I can't say it outright...

New recipe: cabbage salad

Today's adventure in eating featured an amazing butternut-fontina-sage-and-caramelized-onion galette from Smitten Kitchen and a ho-hum cabbage salad from The salad may have suffered from the substitution of pine nuts for the walnuts (couldn't find mine) and using a mediocre balsamic vinegar, but I still think it should have tasted better than it did.

The galette is something I've made many times; the salad is new.

New recipe count: four

Monday, January 16, 2012

New recipe: cauliflower garlic soup

I got this recipe from the Yarn Harlot, who tweeted thus: "I have just made a roasted cauliflower soup that should be nominated for the Nobel Prize." and then "I roasted a cut up cauliflower with 5 garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, then combined with my own stock, then blended 1/2"

To make the process clearer, let me add the following details:

Cut up cauliflower into bite-size florets. Put into large bowl with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves. Toss with 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in baking pan large enough to hold everything in pretty much one layer. Roast at around 350 to 400 until browned; you should stir after 10 minutes to redistribute the oil. I think this took about 20 minutes total but it may have been longer.

Take out of oven and allow to cool. Peel garlic. Blend 3/4 of cauliflower and all of garlic with enough stock to cover them in food processor. Reheat gently and top with remaining cauliflower.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New recipe: mushroom pate

As I've mentioned before, I'm trying to try 52 new recipes this year. I haven't quite worked out the rules: does modifying an existing recipe qualify? What about making up recipes by myself? What happens if I read ABOUT a recipe and recreate it?

Depending on how you count it, I did between 1 and 4 new recipes this weekend. All four were delicious!
1) Probably doesn't count: took lousy bread dough and turned it into crackers.
2) Likely doesn't count: took the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe on top of the oatmeal cylinder and subbed dried blueberries for the raisins.
3) Probably counts: read a pair of tweets by The Yarn Harlot and back-engineered an insanely yummy cauliflower-garlic soup
4) Definitely counts: made mushroom pate, which was very good with the homemade crackers. (The recipe is from Serious Eats, and I didn't have truffle oil or parsley in the house yet it still tasted very good.)

Totally irrelevant picture of mushrooms under the broiler:

So that puts my "new recipe count" at somewhere between two and five. I think we'll say that the last two count and the first two don't, which gives me a total (with the tomato soup) of three.

WIP Sunday (woops)

I finally finished one mitten of the pair I'm making for RJ's little sister.

Details when I'm done!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More soups

Rereading yesterday's post, I realized that I left off a BUNCH of my favorite soups! I totally forgot about cold soup, just for starters, and then there were some other soups that I haven't cooked recently but still love.

11) Shabu shabu: it's only sort-of-a-soup, but it's delicious and I haven't had it in years.

12) Borscht: I love beets but they don't love me, so I don't indulge very often.

13) Vichyssoise: my favorite cold soup, ever. Made with lots of potato and little cream, it's a great summer lunch in a soup bowl.

14) Pumpkin (or butternut) bisque: I'm currently adoring the version I buy at CostCo. I've tried a bunch of different recipe but none of them quite captures that elusive balance between cream, spice, and squash.

15) Cold melon soup: I don't have the perfect recipe for this, but I've eaten some wonderful versions in restaurants over the years.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite soups

I love soup! One of the challenges I face, being married to a vegetarian, is coming up with good soups that he'll eat.

1) Miso soup: hands down, my favorite soup. I don't make it at home anymore because it's available for lunch at my school, every day. I love putting different seaweeds into it, or trying out noodles in it.

2) Tomato soup: I posted last week about this amazing recipe for it. My husband even asked me to make a second batch of it!

3) Hot and sour soup: I don't cook this at home because it involves meat, but I almost always order it when we go to a Chinese restaurant.

4) Tom Kha Gai: a delicious Thai hot-and-sour soup with coconut milk, lemongrass, and chicken in it. Once again, I've never learned how to make this, but I indulge in it once a month (the coconut milk adds some serious calories!)

5) Cream of broccoli soup: available at lunch about once a week; not healthy, but so yummy I can't pass it up!

6) Cream of mushroom soup: I'm on a quest to find a really good recipe for this, as the canned versions don't stack up to the real thing. When I can get it at lunch, I always do.

7) Cheeseburger soup: I don't know what goes into this and I don't think I want to! But wow.... so yummy...

8) Pho: I've only had this a couple of times but they were memorable! I wonder if a vegetarian version would be easy to make?

9) Mulligatawny: this can be up or down depending on the restaurant, but I've eaten some fabulous versions of this at our local Indian restaurant.

10) Italian Wedding Soup: the canned version of this nearly killed my affection for it, but I've had a few good homemade versions that really converted me back to loving this.

Monday, January 9, 2012

in which my Monday blows chunks...

Felt kind of sick last night. Took a sleeping pill to help me get a good night's rest.

Overslept this morning, having forgotten that I was covering a colleague's class at 8AM.

Was almost late for my own class at 8:50 because I had to defrost and scrape off the car.

Forgot to meet a student at 11AM; fortunately she hunted me down.

Ran around at lunch trying to work out transportation for the excess snowboarders.

Nearly fell asleep in Chapel; thank heavens MI and BK kept elbowing me!

Late to pick up the snowboarders.

Having not packed myself a good snack, gave in to temptation and ate chips with cheese sauce in the lodge.

Still feeling ill.

On a brigher note, I had some lovely conversations with colleagues and students, and the full moon was absolutely gorgeous (huge and red) as we drove home tonight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 FO Report

I felt like I hadn't knit enough during 2011. Thank heavens for Ravelry! Checking my records revealed that, although I didn't finish some important projects last year, I also cleaned up a slew of UFOs and took a number of others from start to finish.

Sweaters: 2 baby sweaters: Pembroke baby vest, Little Girl's Shrug

Mittens: 9 pairs, mostly mash-ups of several patterns, plus a lone Monarda Mitten

Socks: 5 pairs, mostly my own plain pattern, plus a lone Norwegian Rose Sock

I also wove 4 scarves on my Rigid Heddle Loom.

(pictures tomorrow, if I can figure out how to upload them efficiently!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello, warm weather!

Today was unseasonably warm.

Actually, let me restate that: today's official high was 60F, and it felt warmer in the sun. Kids were running around in T-shirts getting muddy and I was strongly tempted to open the windows in the house for a brief airing.

Given that I'm coming off four nights of short sleep, I squandered the afternoon by napping instead of taking the kids to a park.

Friday, January 6, 2012

In the "can't wait to read it" column...

Lois McMaster Bujold has sold the next novel in her long-running series about Miles Vorkosigan. The working title is Captain Vorpatril's Alliance and it's scheduled to come out just before Xmas 2012.

My brain may explode from frustration before it comes out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joint Math Meetings

I just had a marvelous 2 days at the Joint Math Meetings in Boston and I wish I could stay for another 2 days! I heard great talks on computational geometry, how to teach introductory statistics, how to teach basic graph theory, how to assess using multiple-choice testing, and so many other great topics...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I want to accomplish in 2012

These are not resolutions. I already covered that in the last post.

1) Learn to knit intarsia
2) Take an actual knitting class (something I have never done)
3) Pick a month and do my own NaNoWriMo
4) Get better at crochet because I want to crochet some snowflakes for the 2012 Xmas tree
5) Take another class in weaving, because the first one ROCKED and I want to do more with my loom
6) Eat less meat
7) Get my whole family to eat more vegetables
8) Convince my family to get a dog
9) Get better at wrapping presents
10) Get better at decorating cakes and cookies

Resolutions for 2012

I'm not a big fan of resolutions. As Robin McKinley said in her blog a few days ago, they seem to end up being a reason to feel bad about oneself. Therefore, I like to make resolutions that I'm likely to keep... such as reading 52 books next year. (Should be easy-peasy. I read more than that just between June and September of 2011. My total for the year was around 70 new books and a couple dozen rereads.)

1) Read at least 52 books.
2) Knit while I'm watching TV.
3) Try at least 52 new recipes (I originally said "a recipe a week" but saying it this way lets me bank a few ahead when I have free time.)
4) Lose weight.
5) Keep a happy frame of mind.

There! That's it! Think I can do it?

Monday, January 2, 2012

First FO of 2012

My first finished object: a pair of mittens for RCJ, a 3-year-old who has HUGE hands. I based his mittens on the pattern I had done for CS a couple years ago when he was five.

Details: 3 days from cast-on to blocking
Needles: size 3 needles (metal, because that was all I could find)
Yarn: scraps of Cascade 220 Superwash in navy blue, light brown, and dark brown.
Pattern: Selbu rose is from a thumb detail in Selbuvotter, letters are from an alphabet published by Little Cotton Rabbits.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Today I finished a pair of mittens (pictures tomorrow, I hope) and made a marvelous soup. My New Year's resolution, aside from the usual stuff about exercising more, losing weight, and reading at least 52 books, is to try a new recipe every week. This tomato soup is the first, and a very promising start to the season.

Notes: it's vegan if you use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock. The recipe, as given, makes about a gallon of soup, so scale it down if you don't want to eat it all week. I estimated that the 4 large carrots would have weighed about 500 to 600 grams, and weighed out my baby carrots accordingly.