Categories
cooking adventures crafts

Made and Making: August 2014

Cooking

Garlic Fries: Mmmm, these were so good. I ate almost all of them straight off the pan. Very garlicky, but delicious.

Zuccini and Ricotta Galette: This was a big hit at the church board meeting I took it to, and for good reason. Simple to make but really good.

Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey: I was on a bit of a ricotta kick because I’d made my own. This was one of my favorite ways to use it–also, I used some of the leftover batter to make savory crepes for breakfast, with ricotta and some sauteed vegetables.

Grilled Pork Chops with Plums: I don’t have a grill, but cooking the chops conventionally worked. Nice flavor and I liked the plums with the pork quite a bit!

Cherry Almond Scones: I made these for my own going away party at IMCPL. In my defense, I really needed to use up the cherries. They were nice and moist, and of course it’s hard to go wrong with cherry and almond.

Blackberry Cheesecake ice cream: This recipe intrigued me ever since Rachel posted it and I finally managed to assemble all of the ingredients at the same time. Really nice rich ice cream, with the bonus of not having to cook anything.

Roast Chicken and Vegetables with Mustard Jus from Working Class Foodies: There are so many ways to do roast chicken and almost all of them are delicious. I seem to remember making a few modifications and I know I cooked the vegetables separately, but this was a really nice company meal. And I ate off the leftovers for days.

Knitting
100_4093Rose Under Fire sweater, a few days ago.

100_4098Pretty in Purple sweater

100_4099

Much closer to the actual color for Pretty in Purple

I am kind of stalled on the sleeves for the Pretty in Purple sweater (Ravelry), so I started my Rose Under Fire sweater. Using the Twinned Roses Jumper pattern from Susan Crawford’s A Stitch in Time, Vol. 2 (Ravelry). One of the yarns I’m using is called Hare Heather. Ouch. The actual knitting is going really well so far, although I can’t find my ruler so haven’t been able to do anything the last few days. I’m almost to the armhole decreases on the back and finding the pattern so far easy to read and follow.

Categories
cooking adventures crafts

Made and Making: July 2014

Knitting
I’ve been working on my Pretty (me) sweater, but I’ve gotten a bit bogged down in the sleeves. I need to push past that, because I really want to finish this one and start on my Rose Under Fire sweater.

Cooking
Lemon Madeira Cake from Complete Traditional Recipe Book: Light, sweet, with a nice crust and slightly tangy flavor. Great everyday cake!

Marbled Eggs from Home Made Summer: This were a bit disappointing–I may not have made the tea strong enough, but they were hardly marbled at all.

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: So good. I love the sour cream batter, and this would be great with all kinds of fruit.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Salami Pasta Salad: This makes a huge batch which is great for no-worry lunches. Also great for hot days when turning on the stove sounds awful.

Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes: Really good! Halved the recipe, though, which gave me four pancakes. Maybe I made them larger than the original? Regardless, these are awesome with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Peach Frozen Yogurt: This was good, but not nearly as exciting as I was expecting.

Homemade Ricotta from Working Class Foodies: Made my own ricotta for the first time! I learned a couple of lessons, but it’s simple enough that I definitely intend to make my own from now on, rather than buying it. Looking forward to making these tomorrow.

Categories
crafts

Made and Making: Early 2014

It’s been a few months since I’ve managed to get a Made & Making post pulled together. Sigh. Life is busy.

Knitting
– I made a hat for someone from church, Bramble Beret in black Patons Worsted. Unfortunately, the brim needs to be lengthened a bit and I keep forgetting to do it. This was a slightly difficult project because the black yarn made the blackberry stitch hard to see. I think–I hope!–all the stitches worked out. (My Ravelry notes)

– I also knit the Echo Flower Shawl, which is a lovely, lovely pattern. I used Knit Picks Shadow in a Vineyard Heather, which is a rich, deep red-purple. A very satisfying project.

– It must be the season of blankets, because I’m also knitting the Lover’s Knot Afghan for a coworker. It’s a big project, but not difficult, and I do love knitting cables. People are very impressed by them, but it’s simpler than it looks (take heart, new knitters!). Three-dimensional Celtic knotwork, which is something I really enjoyed doing in the past anyway. This project is temporarily on hold because wool in Indiana in July = misery.

– In general, I suffer from a severe desire to knit EVERYTHING. Ravelry does not help with this.

– I still haven’t really finished the BSJ from my last post. The problem is the sleeves, which need to be sewn up. I started a blanket stitch and that looked bunch and dreadful, but I haven’t figured out a better method. Nor have I felted that bag.

– I bought the yarn for my Rose Under Fire sweater, after my awesome friend Brigid bought the pattern for me as a housewarming gift. One of the yarns is called Hare Heather, which is almost too appropriate.

– I also started the Pretty (me) sweater in a bamboo/cotton mix, since that will be much better for summer knitting. It’s got a lovely sheen to it and is knitting up beautifully.

Cooking
Thyme lemonade: love the combination of lemon and thyme, but even with the sugar reduced to a cup, it’s on the sweet side. Next time: reduce sugar further, or just add some thyme sprigs to my usual sliced lemon when I fill the water pitcher.

Salmon and Berry Salad: made this for dinner recently. Pretty much followed the recipe except I didn’t have any scallions, and I used 1/2 c blueberries and 1/4 c raspberries. Also topped with some homemade croutons.

– A cousous and chickpea dish that I made up: sauteed vegetables, added couscous and vegetable stock, 1/2 stick of cinnamon. Cooked until couscous was done and vegetables tender, added chickpeas. It was okay. If I made it again, I would sautee the vegetables longer, and maybe on a higher heat so they get seared a little, and add more spices.

– No-knead crusty bread: Used 2 c white, 1 c white whole wheat flour. So good; I want to try other breads, but I know this one will be a staple.

– Also made a couple of good white bean soups, one creamy white bean tomato soup from The Great Vegan Bean Book, the other a recipe of my own invention, with tomatoes, onion, red pepper, and garlic, plus lots of herbs.

Categories
cooking adventures crafts

Made and Making: January 2014

I’ve been working on a number of projects over the past few months that I couldn’t share at the time for fear of ruining someone’s surprise. So, not everything featured was actually made in January.

Knitting
100_3844

I started my first Baby Surprise Jacket, and my first Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern all in one go. The directions required a few leaps of faith, but in the end it’s pretty magical to go from this to…

100_3845
…this! I need to sew this one together and add some buttons. Then I think it’ll wait for next winter to see whose child is the right age. 🙂100_3848
I’m working on a bag for myself. This is all done except for the felting, which for some reason is really intimidating me. (Maybe it’s because the directions say to use a pair of old jeans and I don’t have any?) I’m happy with how the knitting turned out, except that all the edges are rolling. Hope that works itself out in blocking.100_3850
Here’s a close up of the design. (It’s this lovely pattern.)100_3852
First present! This was a cowl I knit for my sister. I loved the yarn I used–a cotton/silk blend–and I was really happy with how this one turned out. (Ravelry here)100_3854
Here is a hat I knit for my brother. This picture is pre-blocking–post-blocking it had a much more normal hat-look, and actually fits an 18-year-old boy head. This is sock yarn–very cool, and a nice guy-hat. K3P3 ribbing is a bit tedious to knit up, though. (Ravelry here)

I also knit a hat for my mom, which turned out beautifully…and I forgot to take a picture of it. Argh! Here’s the Ravelry link. Maybe I can bribe her into taking a picture for me.

Salt dough ornaments
One of the Christmas presents I made this year was a set of salt dough ornaments that I distributed to different people. I used some fine tip markers that had been my dad’s to draw the designs, and I thought they turned out really well!

100_3818This one was Swedish-inspired. Some of the Swedish embroidery has fascinating shading, which I tried to echo a bit.

100_3842
I saw some lovely folk-art bird motifs on Pinterest some time ago and copied one of them for this cheerful ornament.

100_3820This one was sort of psanky-motif-ish, except that then I kept going and adding more elements.

100_3827This one was based on an Indian rangoli motif (sand painting that’s done around Diwali).

100_3829This was one of my favorites! The friend it was for is a big Lord of the Rings fan (that’s actually how we met), and her username is Arwen. So I adapted Luthien’s heraldry slightly and then wrote a quote from when Arwen arrives at Minas Tirith around the outside.

100_3830Close-up of the quote and design

100_3833This one was for a coworker who really likes purple. I don’t remember if I had a specific inspiration, or if I was just doodling.

100_3836I have two coworkers who are fellow Doctor Who fans. So for one, I did part of the Gallifreyan word for the Doctor’s name (or something…I don’t know, I Googled it!). The circles were kind of frightening to do, especially since the surface of this ornament was not 100% smooth. But it turned out well.

100_3837And for the other coworker, a TARDIS!

100_3839

And, finally, another psanky-inspired ornament. This was lots of fun to do!

Cooking
I’m not going to link to all the recipes I made the last few months. But here are a few I particularly enjoyed:

Stewed lentils and tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen. Satisfying and delicious.
– Lemon Cake with Black Tea Frosting from Honey & Jam. I opted for a citrus cream cheese frosting instead, and did this as a one-layer 9×13 cake for a combined birthday party. Wonderfully moist and yummy!

Categories
cooking adventures

Made and Making: September 2013

Maybe I should just call this the cooking post?

I did do a few other things. I worked on a card that’s still in progress–I’m trying to decide how to finish it off. Probably some kind of border, but what color, how deep, etc? I did it with watercolors this time, which I like better than markers even though it’s fussier. And I used some of my gold acrylic paint to add a touch of gilt. 100_3785

I also cleaned and reorganized my room! My bureau looks quite different now, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. 100_3779 (Painting is by my sister, photo is me and my dad as seen in this post, everything else is bits and bobs collected or gifted at various points.)

100_3783 Emma decided to help.

And I also made a bouquet that turned out pretty well–all flowers from our yard. The rusty-red ones are still happy a week later, although the others have died.

100_3786

Cooking
From Complete Traditional Recipe Book (a British cookbook; I have yet to make a recipe I didn’t like): Pear and Ginger Loaf (as muffins); Ginger Shortcake; Erddig Apple Scones; Exmoor In-and-Out (basically upside-down apple cake, very delicious!)

From Smitten Kitchen: Linguine with Tomato-Almond Pesto; Buttermilk Roasted Chicken–I liked both of these without being blown away by them.

Lemon-Currant Muffins from Robin McKinley: These were wonderful!

Sweet Potato Muffins from Good to the Grain: These were also wonderful! Although I didn’t leave enough chunks of sweet potato–they mix in very quickly when they’re roasted.

Zucchini Chips: A nice way to use up some of the ENORMOUS QUANTITIES of zucchini that the garden produced this year. Takes a long time, but they taste delicious. However, don’t (like me) accidentally skip the parchment paper, and also really don’t oversalt them! They shrink down and become quite salty.

Dumplings and Mince from Ploughman’s Lunch and Miser’s Dinner: I liked this, although I might spice it up a bit more if I made it again.

Phanouropita from Fragments that Remain: A wonderful Greek spice bread made for St. Phanourious.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup: This was okay, although I substituted almonds for the cashews and I think it suffered. I’d probably make it one more time strictly according to the recipe to see if it’s a keeper.

Red Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce: This was really good! A little spicy, so I’d cut down on the red pepper flakes again (I automatically reduce them anyway, because I am a wimp) but overall delicious. The sauce would probably be great on chicken too.

Apple Cheese Pancakes from Moosewood Cookbook (the original!): These were nice, although the egg white technique seems a little odd for pancakes.

Categories
cooking adventures crafts

Made and Making: August 2013

Mostly cooking this month!

Cooking
– Joy the Baker’s lemon lime thyme cookies, which are lovely. Mostly a citrus shortbread with just the barest hint of thyme. 100_3750

– Chocolate zucchini bread, from my mom’s recipe. I added to it 2 T cocoa powder and 1/2 c mini chocolate chips. I think I may have copied the recipe down wrong, though, because it comes out short. Maybe I reversed baking powder and baking soda? It is not impossible, is all I’m saying.

– Zucchini Hazelnut Bread from Cooking Season by Season: This one tasted funny to me–I’m not sure if it was the amount of baking soda, or something I did, or if I’m making this up. I’d probably try it again, because I love the idea.

Salt and Vinegar Sweet Potato Fries: mine were a bit on the limp side, and I probably would season them differently next time. The general method is a good one, though.

– Dana Treat’s Asian Noodles are yet another noodle/tofu/curry sauce variation, a recipe I am endlessly interested in. I made a few substitutions, especially the vegetables.

– For a dinner party with a friend who can’t have gluten and was on the Dormition Fast, I made peanut sauce with rice noodles, chicken, and vegetables.

– I also made cornstarch pudding a couple of times. Once, for the dinner above, with almond milk and cinnamon (cook the pudding with a cinnamon stick in it and pull it out when you’re ready to pour the pudding into the dishes; dust the top of each pudding with ground cinnamon). Once, with heavy cream and ginger (I infused the heavy cream with crystalised ginger and added a bit of grated fresh ginger to the pudding as it was cooking), topping the pudding with blueberries. In both cases, I used this recipe, changing the amounts as desired.

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte, from Smitten Kitchen. I liked this summer tart a lot! Nice flavor and good for a lunch or as part of dinner. Also, something different to do with summer squash.

– Muesli from Super Natural Every Day: I liked this version of Muesli, which has plenty of dried fruit and additions.

– Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Stilton from Home Made: This was completely delicious–much richer than most cauliflower soups, and with a great flavor from the stilton. I didn’t make the crostini that go with this recipe, just stirring a little more cheese in as I ate it.

– Chicken Breast and Creamy Mushroom Sauce from German Kitchen: This was very rich, so I’d probably make it more for company or festive dinners, but it was really delicious. Kind of a stroganoff idea, with plenty of mushrooms and onions; the tarragon adds a different twist and makes the whole dish special.

Milk punch from Smitten Kitchen: I’m not sure exactly why I decided to make this, but I did enjoy it! A nice cooling drink that I suspect could easily be just as delicious in a non-alcoholic version.

– Brie and Blueberry Salad from the Crabtree & Evelyn Cookbook: I didn’t have the exact ingredients for the dressing, which probably made the salad a little different from the original. But I liked what I ended up with, and it made a nice lunch.

Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon & Blue Cheese from Smitten Kitchen: I always forget how delicious blue cheese is until I have it again. I didn’t use fancy bread for this sandwich, but it was just as delicious.

Card making

My mom’s birthday is today, and as part of my present for her, I made a birthday card. Dear Mama: don’t look until after you open your package!

100_3772 I am not super duper great at drawing, but I’m a pretty good doodler. I based this partly on a vase I have that I love, but added a few variations. Don’t worry–I didn’t draw it straight in ink. I penciled it first and traced it.

100_3774 And then I went over it with a blue calligraphy marker. The lighter parts are the smaller end of the marker, which was drying out. Perfect for the areas I didn’t want as dark!

Categories
cooking adventures crafts

Made and Making: July 2013

Astonishingly enough, I occasionally do things other than read and talk about reading. Made and Making is my attempt to pull together some of the crafts, cooking, and other ventures I embark on each month.

Knitting
I am working on Secret Projects for family members, so I can’t share them yet. Also, I am trying to decide what to make with all the teal worsted I have. I love this pattern but think I would want a different color. This is a very plain shawl. I really really love this one, but I would want to double the pattern and I’m not quite sure how to do that. There’s also this lovely Faroese shawl. Basically, Ravelry is the best/worst.

Cooking
Smitten Kitchen’s best chocolate pudding, which is not only the best, it is super easy and delicious! I am tempted to make it all the time now.

Salmon with Fresh Sorrel sauce. I decided to try growing sorrel in our herb patch this year, and this was my first attempt to do something with it. It ended up being kind of a pesto-y sauce, and very delicious.

Peach ginger jam–I’ve been interested in small batch preserving recently and, since there’s a peach stand near my house, I thought this would be a good attempt. It turned out really well!

– White Beans and Cabbage, from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday. This was totally delicious! I can think of some variations that might be good, with various herbs and so on, but the original is great too.