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.