Category Archives: food and recipes

Missing in Action

Yes I have been missing in action from the blogosphere of late, but I have been keeping busy.

Looking for a job of course.

Teaching Spindling Classes at the Woolpack in Acton, MA.  This has been loads of fun!  9 new spinners so far!  I just love this place!

I spent much of January and early February shoveling and battling the weekly snow storms.  But it appears that the little rodent may have been right predicting an early spring.  It’s been in the high 50Fs the past two days!  I know we will most likely still have cold snowy weather, but with the days getting longer and a bit warmer it feels like we’ve finally turned the corner of this winter.

I have been busy spinning and knitting of course.  I finished spinning the beautiful brown roving (all three pounds!)  for Cece!  It was lovely fiber to spin.  I wish we knew what it was because I would definitely get more of it!  I have also been spinning from my stash.  This was lovely merino superwash from Blue Moon. It was supposed to be socks but I wanted something more substantial, so spun it a bit on the bulky side and made hats.

This is a wonderful hat to knit and I adapted several patterns.

Simple Hand Spun Hat Pattern

I used 100 grams of my bulky/heavy worsted handspun on size 8 US – 16 inch circular needles.

Cast on 80 stitches – join being careful not to twist the stitches.

Twisted rib pattern for three inches. (K1tbl, p1 – repeat)

Knit stockinette for 6 inches.  Then do a radical decrease

K2 tog all the way around

Knit next row.

Repeat the last two rows until there are ten stitches left.   Leave about 8 inches of yarn and run it through the last 10 stitches, pull tight to close and weave in ends.

This makes a warm, comfortable, uni-sex hat.

I also finished the Arroyo Shawlette (ravelry link) from some merino superwash that I had dyed and spun into a fingering/dk weight yarn.

Cindy, Stacy and I took a trip to Pasa Yarns last month and now I have a boat load of dyeing to do.  I’m testing our some different techniques and having fun playing in the studio.

Cindy and I are building up inventory for the upcoming Andover Craft Fair on Mother’s Day.  I am also carding some lovely batts for spinning and felting.  And in response to several neo-needle felters that have dropped by the studio, I now have a big basket of my left over carding bits and dye soppers.  You can fill a bag of your picks for $1/oz.

Last night I made some Oatmeal cookies that were to die for.  I basically opened the cupboard and pulled out leftover bits that I thought would taste yummy.  They were so good I am sharing this one for prosperity.

Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together well

Add

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 (approx) leftover bag of butterscotch chips

3 Tbsp chopped candied ginger

3 Tbsp chopped pitted dates

(I didn’t have any nuts, but pecans or walnuts would be good too)

Bake 375F for 9-11 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet for about 3 minutes before sliding off on to a cooling rack.  This made about 2 dozen cookies.

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Fireworks

firework2 The fireworks in Groton were spectacular as usual.  There were a lot more people  attending this year.     Maybe it was because it was a Monday night, or maybe it was the lack of other fireworks in the area that were cut due to budget restraints.

firework3

We had fun on the fourth with friends, and lots of food!

I brought shrimp to grill.

1  package frozen Emeril’s Louisiana Shrimp (Jumbo) raw, cleaned and shell off.  These are American wild shrimp and they taste better than the other shrimp.  Defrost in fridge overnight.

Then about an hour before you are going to grill them, rinse the shrimp well and add your favorite marinade.  I used a yummy Cajun Citrus Marinade that I found in the store.  I did add some extra lime juice and lime zest.  It’s very spicy!  I reserved  about a 1/4 cup of the marinade and mixed that with about a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise to use as a dip for the shrimp.

Grill them 3-4 minutes per side or just until firm and pink.  Don’t over cook!

I also made a Szechuan Cold Noodle Salad

1 lb. cooked and cooled angel hair pasta

Dressing

3 tbsp. tahini

3 tbsp. tamari sauce

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp.  thai chili sauce (or more to taste)

2 cloves of garlic- grated

1 inch knob of ginger – freshly grated

mix well then toss the noodles in and coat well

Add whatever veggies you like – I used

1 chopped cucumber (unseeded)

1 chopped red pepper

1 stalk chopped celery

1 cup mung sprouts

3 – 5 scallions chopped (green parts too)

handful of grape tomatoes halved or quartered

Chill and server cold or room temperature.

I was hoping for leftovers, but there weren’t any. 😦

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I have been working on the malabrigo socks.  Unfortunately the ball o’ yarn has become a tangled mess and I’ve been avoiding dealing with it.

No spinning – no Tour d’ Fleece 😦 sadly – not from lack of fiber, just the lack of time right now.

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Best quote that I heard from a friend of mine.

“I’m not afraid of death….  I just want to save it to the very end.”

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Hermit Island in 40 days!

Just checking in…

It’s been a couple of weeks, but since then I have finished a pair of socks for Alicia – her belated birthday present and trade for earrings that she made  (finally) but alas, I did not photograph them (sorry 😦 )  Since finishing her lovely socks – I have been in knitting project limbo – casting on, knit a few pattern repeats, frog, repeat…  either the yarn isn’t happy with what I am trying to knit with it or I am having knitters block/funk.  I finally realized I have a need to do some serious spinning.  Time to listen to my fiber gut and spin damn it.  I still have that 7 lbs. Romney Fleece to clean and card up.  I thought I was going to have to wait until spring since I have no place to dry that much soaking wet fleece, that is not until I spotted this!  You too can get one here.  It that cool or what?   And my friend Britt just happened to be taking a trip down to Ikea last weekend.  Now we just need to hook up to pick up and I’ll be in fleece washing business.  I also think I want to dye up some fleece pre-carding just for fun.   Now if  ‘they’ would just get the studio finished I could be doing all of this there instead of in my tiny kitchen.

drying-rack

Speaking of my kitchen…    I’ve been making more soup.  This week I made Avgolemono, otherwise known as Greek Chicken-Lemon-Rice Soup.  I checked out a bunch of different recipes but ended up just following my palette (and what I had in the fridge and pantry).  I had 4 cups of homemade Chicken Stock in the freezer so I started with that.  (as previously noted the bestest recipe for soup stock – is Bertha’s recipe from the Silver Palette Cookbook and this is what I had).  To the 4 cups of my stock I added another 2 cups of canned stock, 2/3 cup of jasmine rice (next time I will try Orzo as I hear that is good too).  Bring the stock to a boil and let the rice cook for about 15 minutes.  I then beat until frothy 3 large eggs (this made the soup very thick so next time I will cut back to 2 eggs).  To the eggs I added the zest and juice of one very juicy lemon.  Once the rice was cooked I removed the pot from the heat and ladled in 2 ladles of hot broth SLOWLY into the eggs while whisking vigorously so the eggs did not curdle.  Once the eggs were tempered I dumped it all into the stock placed it back on to the reduced heat and just let it simmer for a few minutes.  Just before serving it up I added some freshly chopped parsley.

This is just what I wanted on that very cold, snowy Wednesday.  Yummy indeed.  The soup was warm and tasty, the eggs and rice made it light but hearty and the lemon just brightened it all up.   The only thing missing was some good crusty bread.

Speaking of bread….    I keep reading about Julie’s adventures in bread making from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  This is a book I have had on my wishlist for quite awhile and voila – work gave me a kudos $25 gift certificate for Amazon.com so I knew immediately what I was going to spend it on.  Good reading so far.  I made a batch of the starter/sponge, but I am letting it ‘set in the fridge’ for awhile because I really like a sourdough-ish taste and texture and the longer I wait the better it should be.  Although I have to admit waiting is hard.  I just might have to breakdown this weekend and test a loaf or two.  Especially if I make that Minestrone Soup I’ve been craving lately.

Stay tuned and I will let you know how the bread turns out.

Season of Plenty

“O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.”
–   Robert Frost, October

There is something special and wonderful about warm, sunny October days, and this gorgeous weekend was no exception.

Friday night I made a pot of clam chowder – here is my recipe

2 – 8oz. bottles of clam juice, 1 cup of water,  a little salt, and a bay leaf into a 2 qt. pot, add 2 cups red bliss potatoes diced into 1/2 inch cubes .  Bring to a boil and let the potatoes cook until tender, remove from heat and let cool.

In the meantime, drain 2 cans of chopped and 2 cans of minced clams (6 oz. cans) and reserve the liquid.

In a small stock pot or dutch oven – dice 3 strips of hickory smoked bacon and cook on medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat has been rendered.

Add to the bacon fat,  one large sweet onion diced, sauted until translucent with a clove of minced garlic.  Add the potatoes and broth they cooked in to large pot.  Add the clams and their reserved juice,  a tbsp of fresh thyme leaves, and 2 cups of half and half or one cup of milk and one cup of heavy cream. Heat but do not boil. Salt and pepper to taste.  It is very hearty, not too thin and not too thick, in my opinion, it’s just right.

Be sure to serve with oyster crackers, saltines or crusty bread and butter.  You can add a salad for a complete dinner.

We were a little late in the season but we managed to get only 26 lbs of canning tomatoes to make our salsa.  We got a total maybe 13 pints canned – half of our normal batch.  The good news is that the salsa is fabulous, the bad news is that it’s a very limited supply.

The following day, Mary and I went out with Laural and Steve for breakfast at my favorite place for eggs benedict on a beautiful sunny fall day.  Then we drove over to Laural’s.  This is her first fall at her house, so we were excited to see the heavy pruning of her grape vines that I did in the spring really paid off.  We had no idea what kind of grapes would come and we were delighted to see an abundant crop of perfectly sweet, ripe concord grapes.  Yum!  Mary and I picked about 7 + quarts of grapes and took them home and just enough to make a batch of Concord Grape Jelly.  I cannot wait to taste it.  So all and all it was a very productive weekend.

I also finished off the first of the beautiful and free Serpentine Mitts pattern that I am knitting for a friend out of my hand spun dark charcoal Shetland wool.  Remember this?

They fit me perfectly 🙂  I hope they also fit my friend.  I even got some spinning done.  I guess I am getting prepared for the long winter ahead.