Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where's that Pineapple Express?

It's not warm in Seattle. So not warm that last week I wore my elbow length Twilight mittens and handknit hat to the Husky game. I'm currently wearing a thick scarf wrapped twice around my neck, and have been all day at work. It may be nothing compared to more northern climes, but dang, right now Seattle feels cold.

I turned on the heat in my house this morning. I feel like I'm giving in to the age-old battle with old man winter. Every year I try to wait as long as possible, for three reasons:
1- I like to think the longer I wait to turn on the heat, the thicker my blood will get and I'll be able to handle the cold better.
2- It gives me a chance to break into all my knitting and really appreciate the warm things I create.
3- I'm cheap and don't like to pay extra for the heating when I don't have to!

But last night I got COLD. I was in my room in the basement and I was freezing my fingers off. I'd say my tootsies, but I've taken to putting my slippers on the moment I get home and not taking them off until I go to bed (I'd wear them in the mornings, too, but then I just forget to put on real shoes and wear my slippers to the office. True story, happened more than once). But regardless of my flannel pajama pants, my hooded sweatshirt and my slippers, I was cold last night, so I turned on the baseboard heater in my room for an hour or so before bedtime. 

In the morning I rolled out of my warm and cozy bed into the FREEZING COLD stream of air coming out of my ceiling vent regulated by the thermostat upstairs. BRRRR! At that moment I decided I was turning on the heat. I was appalled when I saw that the thermostat was set to... wait for it... cool. Not heat. Not auto. COOL. Why in the helll...???

I'm hoping for a warm welcome when I get home tonight.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I've been lax about posting lately, but I have a project (or two), a pattern, and a couple delicious foods to post. As soon as I find my camera and take some pictures I'll get them up here.

I'll give you a hint as to my current project:

It's yellow.

It'll have a pom pom.

And it might hop right off your head!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


How's about a quick knit.


16" circulars, size 6-8US (I used size 8)
non-scratchy yarn (I used 50% alpaca, 50% acrylic)
tapestry needle


CO 94 sts, or enough to get gauge. See gauge calculator at bottom for those of you who want really really easy maths.

Join in round.
Knit 5 rows in twisted rib (K into the back loop, p1).

Knit 20 rows in stockinette stitch (or rows to get desired width).

Knit 5 rows twisted rib.

Bind off using favored "stretchy" method.  Sewn bind off works. Or, for really easy, bind off knitting the ks, purl the ps.

Option 1: 
CO anywhere form 6-10, depending on desired size.
Row 1: K.
Row 2 and other even rows: P.
Rows 3, 5, and 7: Kfb across.
Row 9: Bind off.
Twist into rosette and sew together. 

Option 2:
CO 21 sts.
Knit 2 rows.
 Pass all sts, one at a time, over first sts.
Twist into rosette. Stitch in place.

Gauge calculator:

I needed this in particular for the yarn I used. Since it was reclaimed from a sweater, I had no idea the yarn weight. I estimated I would need the headband to be about 16 inches to fit around my head (but it's small, so a normal person might need it to be 17 inches), then knit a small swatch in st st.

CO 18, knit in st st for ~4 inches.

Use this formula to figure out how many sts you should cast on:

___18 sts___      =      ___Y sts___
    X inches                     17 inches

where x = the width, in inches, of your swatch, without pulling; and y = the number of sts to CO for the project.

My swatch was 3.25 inches wide, so (18 x 17)/3.25 = 94.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cider-Glazed Squash with Mushrooms

Another attempt to use up my chanterelles. This was another really really good one. I modified, but really only a bit by adding mushrooms and onions and changing some quantities.  And I used apple cider we pressed at home two years ago that I recently discovered in the freezer.  Highly suggest this one.

Cider-Glazed Squash with Mushrooms
Adapted from Old Fashioned Living

2lbs winter squash (delicata or acorn, etc.)
1 cup onions
1 1/2 cup diced mushrooms (chanterelles)
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp ground sage
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1-1 1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup water
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
extra salt and pepper to taste

Peel, de-seed, and cut squash into 1/2 inch or so cubes. Melt butter in skillet over low heat.  Add sage and rosemary and brown butter, 3-5 minutes.  Add there rest of the ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender and liquid has boiled down to a glaze. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Beefed-up Mac and Cheese

I've been trying all sorts of new recipes in my attempt to use all my chanterelles before they go bad. So far both of the "recipes" have been delicious, as was the ravioli I tossed in butter, 'shrooms, garlic and sage. Nom nom nom.  Last night I decided that I needed to find a new recipe to use up the heavy cream I had in the fridge from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice cream. I knew if I didn't have a recipe, I wouldn't use it and it would just go bad in the fridge. So Mac and Cheese it was. 

Oddly enough, I've never made macaroni and cheese from scratch. I know it's supposed to be easy, but I've pretty much always had a box on hand when the craving has struck me. Even last night, when I did go to the effort of making it myself, I could have used the box of Annie's shells and cheese I have in the pantry.  So I looked up some generic mac and cheese recipes, decided it really wasn't that bad, and went home to wing it.

I used all the stuff I had on hand, which happened to be heavy cream, fat free milk, and an open bag of shredded cheddar cheese. An open bag of campanelle pasta got used just because it was the open bag. And...I decided to supplement the cheddar with goat cheese, just because I could.

But, being me, I just couldn't see eating only carbs and dairy, as good as they are, so I beefed it up with a bunch of veggies. I may or may not have thrown in some chicken, just because I had some precooked frozen strips in the freezer...

The result may have been the best real recipe I've ever come up with. Normally I don't keep track of what I throw in just because I know I can make it again and it's not something other people would really need a recipe for. This... this is like gold on the tongue. I had to share.

Robyn's "Beefed-Up" Mac and Cheese
1 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup fat free milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp goat cheese
2 cups favorite pasta
Panko, or other bread crumbs

1 cup fresh mushrooms (chanterelles)
2/3 cup onion, diced
1 pepper, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Put large pot of water on high heat for pasta.  While water is heating/pasta is cooking, start veggies or sauce. Drain pasta when done and set aside. Do not rinse.

Veggies (optional): sweat mushrooms in un-greased large saute pan over medium heat.  Once all water has "sweat" out and evaporated, remove mushrooms from pan. Oil pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Once hot, cook onions for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add peppers and continue cooking until peppers are warm and browning, but not limp.  Add broccoli and mushrooms and cook until broccoli turns bright green. Remove from pan .

Sauce: Melt butter in pan.  Once melted, add flour and mix well until no clumps remain. Will be pasty.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until color starts to turn golden brown.  Remove pan from heat and add milk product.  Slowly bring mixture to a boil on medium to medium-high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and add cheese.  Stir until cheese has melted.  Stir in pasta and veggies.

In an 8x8 inch baking dish, place a thin layer of bread crumbs on bottom.  Spoon in mac and cheese mixture.  Cover top with bread crumbs (as little or as much as desired. I like a thin layer just to give it some crunch).  Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until bread crumbs start to brown.

May they live happily ever after.

Is there really a better marriage than chocolate and peanut butter? Ok, peanut butter and jelly is pretty good. And so is macaroni and cheese. And... lots of other things. But really, who can turn down chocolate and peanut butter?

So I made ice cream.

Oh yes, more ice cream

The chocolate by itself tastes mostly like chocolate pudding.

Good thing I like chocolate pudding.

And, because I'm like that, I added some chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The rest of the bag are sitting in a bowl in my cubicle, staring at me, just like the donuts in the kitchen. But I know what's waiting for me at home, so I will try to resist.

I'll probably fail, but it's worth a try.

I wish I had let the chocolate mixture cool in the fridge for longer. I started making it so late in the evening that it didn't get into the ice cream maker to churn until 9pm and it was still a little bit warm.  After and hour and fifteen minutes, it was just starting to cool and harden. The final result is (delicious) a bit more like the consistency of creamy sorbet instead of ice cream.  If I had either cooled in the fridge for longer, or let it churn for longer, I'm sure it would be more like store-bought chocolate ice cream.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
From Tasty Kitchen

2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped Peanut Butter Cups

In sauce pan over medium heat, stir together whole milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Heat until milk starts to steam, but before it starts to boil

In small bowl, stir together fat free milk and cornstarch. Whisk until no lumps remain and add to chocolate mixture.  Bring to a low boil.  Boil until thickened to consistency of chocolate pudding. Remove from heat.

In separate sauce pan, heat cream to boiling.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Let sit for 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and incorporated.

Stir cream into cooling chocolate mixture.  Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, at least 1 hour.

Follow ice cream maker's instructions to churn ice cream.  Once it has chilled and thickened, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of peanut butter.  Do not over mix. Transfer ice cream into freezer safe container and fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter and chopped peanut butter cups.  Cover and freeze until solid.