Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Long time no see!

Wow, haven't posted since October?

Did I mention that I hibernate in the winter? 
I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I don't do well in winter, with the reduced sunlight...

I HAVE been crocheting, though--lots of finished projects, I just don't have them up here.

I am currently very frustrated, because I was making a capelet and I checked my gauge before I started, but somehow while I was working my gauge shrunk, and so did my capelet...it's now more of an elaborate scarf with a curve. :-( 
And the stitch pattern was fairly difficult for me...now I'm trying to decide if I should just add more rows, or chalk this one up to a learning experience and give it to a tiny person...

Monday, October 13, 2008

So much for anonymity

I've been trying on my blogs not to mention people by name, since I don't like having my real name show up on the net...kind of a cross-courtesy, yes?
Well, I went to my sister's blog, and her name, her partner's name, her kids' names are all up there. So, I don't have to come up with kitschy names for them anymore, I guess.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Felted Basket

My sister is getting married in October...so I volunteered to do something crafted for the kidlets that are going to be at the wedding...

I also wanted to make the basket that her flower fairy daughter will carry down the aisle and throw leaves from (rather than rose petals! Too cool!)..

So daughter, Cutie, loves pink and princess and fairy...the wedding is fall colors, chocolate and moss and persimmon...so the I made is felted wool, moss green, with a scalloped upper edge in chocolate brown. It is my first felted project, and it turned out really neat!
I forgot to take pictures of the pre-felted project, but I will take pictures of the post-felted project. The first basket I did was all brown, and took exactly one ball of Wool of the Andes Highland Bulky, in Fedora...I added some persimmon Heathered WOTA fingering yarn for two rounds, and hated it, but after some SERIOUS felting (two runs in the washer, with some hand felting in between) it stiffened up nicely and looks kinda neat--as a bowl not a basket.
The pattern I based mine off of is the felted bowl pattern from the book Felted Crochet...only I can't seem to follow a pattern when there's so many interesting things to do, so it is actually quite different. The major difference between the first one, all brown, and the second of moss, is that I used 2 hook sizes smaller on the second project.
I'll try to post the exact pattern here--I adlibbed ("scumbled") the edge, so the number of stitches was not right at the top of the bowl for the type of edge I did...more later because I must now go wash a cat...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pork chops with Merlot sauce

just a little semi-recipe (since I can't measure to save my life)

4 boneless pork chops

1 large onion, chopped
1 sm can mushrooms
Merlot wine
1/4 cup lemon juice

lemon pepper
1 pinch fresh oregano
1 pinch fresh rosemary
spray oil
1 cup cold water with 1-2 tablespoons corn starch stirred in

I cooked my pork chops on my cast-iron skillet...
turn your heat on HIGH and let the skillet get really hot... spray a tiny bit of cooking oil on your surface. Sprinkle lemon pepper and salt on each chop, and set them in your skillet.
Meanwhile, put a dutch oven (cast iron again, but enameled--can you tell I am really starting to like cast iron?) over medium heat...spray a small amount of oil in it and dump in your chopped onion.
leave your chops for 2 minutes, then flip them.
stir your onions occasionally, until they are light brown, then drain and pour in your mushrooms (I would have used fresh, but alas none in the house).
let those cook over medium-high heat until you're really see some brown on the pan.
add about a tablespoon of Worscestershire if it looks like your pan is getting too hot...
Meanwhile, after 2 minutes on the back side, turn your heat on your chops down to low, and pour about 1/8-1/4 cup of red wine over them. This will all cook off, but that's okay--you are going to scrape the pan at the last minute and add the drippings to the sauce.
Now pour about 1/2 cup red wine in with the mushrooms, add your spices, and add about 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Let this cook down, about 2 minutes, then add 1 cup cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon corn starch; reduce your heat to low. You're making a really thick sauce, so let this cruise along for another 2-4 minutes, and check your pork chops for doneness (don't overcook!)
Pour another 1/4 cup or so of red wine over the chops, let them do one last simmer/steam/burn off of the wine, and pull them out of the pan. Scrape your pan, being careful not to spill the little bit of liquid or all the yummy bits. Add the scrapings to your sauce, turn off both burners, and stir your sauce. If it looks nice and thick, it's done.

I'm a non-alcoholic teetotaler type, but cooking with wine does not get any alcohol into my system since it all burns off.

Monday, February 25, 2008

This is driving me crazy!

I have been trying to make some candles.
I've done this before--I don't understand why EVERYTHING has to go wrong this time!

Perhaps it's because I am trying to make these for someone else (a secret pal), rather than myself, so I am holding myself up to ridiculously high standards.
Or perhaps some little imp has invaded my kitchen and is happily knocking over the cup of melting wax, twisting the wick after I walk away so the candle is crooked, cooling it unevenly, and just wreaking havoc in general.


It's for a gift I have to send out TOMORROW, and at this rate it'll be Thursday before I get it together!


On the plus side, the house smells fabulous, because my pal likes fruity scents, so I found a really yummy pomegranite scent. :-)

Also, my sister sent me some Kusmi Spicy Chocolate tea that is incredibly tasty. It's a really black, dark tea, with hints of chocolate, and other spices (orange, maybe? I can't distinguish the different spices right now). I'm really grooving on it, so the candle debacle is not so prominent in my mind. Hah.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Mousse By Any Other Name...

I was going to try to figure out the fat/calorie/protein ratios before posting this, but it hasn't happened yet, and since I promised this recipe to some friends I'm just gonna put it up:

Tofu Chocolate Mousse
This is a recipe that I've modified and played with...if you let the mixture "rest" for a day or so before serving, the tofu-y aftertaste disappears as the tofu absorbs the flavor of the chocolate.
After resting, you can mix the mousse with just about anything, or use it as a base for other chocolate dishes. Your finished dessert will have a different denseness depending on the texture of the tofu you start with: firm tofu will result in a thicker/more dense mixture; silken, more creamy and puddinglike. I have used extra firm, and made truffles...

• 2 12 ounce packages of firm tofu
• 20 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips--approximately 1 bag plus 2 cups (or heck, you can throw in both bags if you want to make it really rich, and for a real treat, go for those 70% cocoa chocolate bars!)
• 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp finely ground pepper
• 2-3 Tbsp powdered sugar (optional)

For crust:
• 1 package graham crackers, ground
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 6 tablespoons butter, melted

• Using a stick mixer or food processor, puree tofu WELL. The more thorough you are in this step, the smoother and balanced the texture and flavor will be. Using a blender is perhaps the most inefficient way--very messy!

• Add vanilla, salt, and pepper to tofu puree. Salt brings out the nuances of the chocolate--try it, it really works! The pepper adds a bit more flavor undertones as well. You can omit either/both of these, if you like.

• While blending, you can melt your chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. If microwaving, put in on high for 1 minute, then stir, then microwave for 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring between each so as not to burn your chocolate. If using a double boiler, be sure that you do NOT get water in your chocolate, or it will seize up and become a glumpy mess.

• Add chocolate to tofu and blend until color is uniform. Since the mix needs to rest for the flavors to blend, don't be surprised if it tastes like, well, tofu. If you like, here is where you would add the powdered sugar if you prefer your chocolate more on the sweet side.

• Make your crust:
grind graham crackers either by crushing them in a plastic bag, or throwing them in your coffee/spice grinder. Melt your butter and mix in graham crackers and sugar. Mixture will be moist and crumbly--press into bottom of pie or springform pan.

• Scoop mousse mixture into crust, and refrigerate for at least an hour--frankly, overnight is better because the tofu taste gets fainter the longer you let it "rest."

Sunday, November 25, 2007