Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I'll start with the The Good:

Baby Jonathan's sweater is done and will be gifted to him today.

The promised photo of The Bad:

The back page of The New Banana pamphlet; my favorite food ephemera. The text reads:
BANANAS and BACON Guaranteed to start Conversation

And sadly what I made for dinner last night qualifies for The Ugly:

Actually, it isn't a plate of cat barf but a sad attempt at Chicken in Mole Sauce. Thankfully, it didn't taste as bad as it looks, but the recipe sure isn't a keeper.

Friday, May 13, 2005


When I see photos like these, I feel much better about myself as a knitter:

Who is the poor sod who had to come up with these samples?

Doesn't that make you feel better too? I may not be making much progress, but at least I'm not knitting a lamp shade that looks like cookie monster.

Actually I did make a little knitting progress--last night I met with Lynne and Libby down at Cafe Felix and drank some ruby port and finished seaming the baby sweater that has taken me forever to knit. It'll be gifted on Saturday to the small person who will no doubt urp all over it so today I'm off to find buttons for it. Finished photo coming soon.

On the yarn front, I just ordered some sock yarn from Knitpicks and am contemplating yarn purchases for the Ribbi cardigan I want to knit. Unfortunately I don't like any of the colors of yarn that the pattern calls for--Elann's Peruvian highland wool. It's soft and cheap, but the colors just don't do it for me. So I'm on the prowl for a worsted weight wool that is soft enough for my princess self and won't break the bank.

On the reading front, there has been a welcome lull in grading the Greek compositions, so I have lots more time to read right now. I finished Peter Ho Davies' collection of stories Equal Love and there was one wonderful story in it called "Frogmen." The rest of the stories were good, but didn't hit me like "Frogmen." Now I'm finishing up Richard Bausch's Rare and Endangered Species; I'm on the novella now and loving it. And my book group decided to go with Carol Shields's The Stone Diaries which I just got out of the library. I've never read any Shields so I'm glad to have the motivation.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fuzzy Wuzzy

I'm trying to use up some of my stash yarn; next in line are these two balls of fuzzy goodness: Stop Mohair, 196 yards total. But what to do with them? I'm trolling for ideas here.

They aren't destined for a selfish garment because the color borders a little too much on my most despised color--TEAL. I hate teal; I hate teal with an unreasonable passion. Teal almost kept me from the love of my life. Seriously. On our first date, Brian wore a teal shirt and petty little me had trouble seeing how gorgeous he was under the hideous color. On our second date, he wore a cream fisherman's sweater and I couldn't believe how beautiful he was.

Back to the yarn: the color isn't actually teal (I probably couldn't stand to knit with it if it was) but turquoise with a sort of spring green fuzz wrapped around it. It is quite soft, not kidsilk haze soft or baby alpaca brush soft (Oooo look! Baby alpaca brush is on sale at the link I posted!), but not itchy. I think it could do ok as a scarf, but probably better as a shawl.

As far as the recipient, I'm thinking a shawl for my lovely mother-in-law (whose only flaws are that she loves teal and can't cook) would be great for next Christmas. Anyone have a good shawl pattern that would take about 200 yards of yarn? I think that is cutting it a bit short for most big shawls, so it'll probably have to be a smaller one. Something kind of lacey would be good because she is quite feminine and I like knitting lace but not wearing it myself.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Cookbook meme

Here is a meme I stumbled across while perusing Chubby Hubby's blog. First, a photo of my cookbook shelf:

and now the cookbook-centric questions:
1. Rationale behind what we're seeing?
Most people who know me will be surprised by how few cookbooks are in the above photo. There are a few reasons behind this:
1) We are still building the room that will become my office and which will have plenty of shelf space. A number of less-used cookbooks are currently in bins in the basement awaiting their release (hopefully sometime later this summer).
2) The internet has really changed how I cook. More often than not, I go to my computer to find a recipe I want rather than prowling the indexes of numerous cookbooks.

2. Most recommended?
Has to be Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

3. Cookbook that made you what you were?
I have to give credit to cooking magazines--I remember my parents subscription to Sphere magazine (no longer in print) and cooking a Greek meal from it when I was 14. In retrospect it was a pretty wacky meal with everything except the salad wrapped in filo dough (filo cheese triangles to start, some sort of chicken in filo for main course, and a filo semolina pudding for desert).

4. Porniest cookbook?
Again, I defer to the many food magazines to which I subscribe. I think Saveur is the porniest--any magazine that publishes a recipe for Bacon Tempura (with a lovely photo no less) is pretty wacked out in the real-world recipe application. I don't think I've ever made a recipe from an issue of Saveur, but I sure do love drooling over each issue.

5. Sophie's Choice cookbook?
(For those of you who haven't read Styron's novel--or seen the equally wrenching film--this means what book would you choose over all the others to save, assuming that someone was planning to torch the rest of your books.) If it had to be a published book, it would be How to Cook Everything, otherwise it would be my own compilation of recipes (see below).

6. If you were a cookbook, which cookbook would you be?
That's easy since I have started to collect my favorite recipes into a binder so I can find them easily. I've very proud of it since it is really very-un-Kate-like to be so organized. If you look at the photo above, you'll see a white binder to the left of the row of books that says "Kate's Favorite Recipes". Two years ago I decide to consolidate the messy clippings file and towering stack of magazines into something more usable.
Here is a photo of the inside of my recipe binder:

You probably can't read these recipes which may be driving you crazy.

I use page protectors to keep the recipes in, and anything from handwritten scraps of paper to newspaper and magazine clippings to print-outs from the web go in it. (The page protectors are also good at protecting the recipe from the frequent blobs of butter and oil that fly their way.) When I'm stretched for time and not feeling up to facing a new recipe that might not work I turn to the binder. I won't put a recipe in there if I haven't tried it and liked it and thought it worth making again.

7. If your cookbook we're extremely valuable, so valuable you might hide it with other valuables, where would that place be?
I don't hide any of my valuables. I don't think I have a particularly theft-worthy house and the things I think are valuable (my CD collection, the All-Clad pots and Henckels knives) are in plain view and probably not on any thief's wish-list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Disgusting food idea of the week

I was perusing the Busch's shopping circular to see what is on sale this week and much to my horror, came across this recipe: Wendy's Blueberry Burgers. The recipe recommends adding a 1/2 C of pureed blueberries to your ground beef to make them "more nutritious by adding antioxidants and decreasing fat." Notice they don't say anything about the taste and really, is this the best way to use fresh blueberries, as filler?

I'm going to try to convince the kids to behave and come with me to the grocery store because we are seriously low on real food (plenty of graham crackers and juice boxes, but slim pickings for the grown ups). After scanning every darn grocery store weekly circular, I decided Meijer's has the most stuff I need at reasonable prices. Plus Meijer's has two behavior bribes to keep the kids in line--penny mechanical pony rides and doughnuts.

After scorning Everyday Food, I find myself drawn to another recipe in there for Turkey with Mole Sauce. It doesn't sound as labor intensive as the all-day-mole recipes I've seen, but also doesn't sound like such a short cut recipe that it would taste nasty (I found one EZ Mole on line that used Nutella in the sauce--blech). If I can get my act together, I'm going to try and make it on Thursday.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Crooked Lake

The culinary discovery of the weekend was this:

A nice bottle of prosecco is pretty good with a hotdog.

We went camping out at Crooked Lake on Saturday night. The weather was beautiful and more importantly it was a clear night which meant that my husband and his best friend, Brian (yup, two Brians and they are both engineers) got to unpack their latest toys and actually use them:

We saw the stripes of Jupiter and 4 of Jupiter's moons. I include myself because I glimpsed them for about 30 seconds before dashing off to keep Fiona out of a) the fire and b) the large bag of smore fixings. Our friends Ami and John came (and brought the prosecco!) and my kids were all over Ami and also Sarah and her son Nicholaus (thus getting in the way of Sarah's ability to knit her second sock.) I managed to summon the willpower to leave my current sock at home and once my kids were covered with melted marshmallow and dirt, I was pretty glad I made that choice.

On Sunday, my Mother's Day treat was to ditch the kids with Granny Kathy (we had a picnic in the park with outrageously priced sandwiches from Zingerman's with her earlier in the day) and go to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Normally this news wouldn't make my blog except for the fact that paying for two adults to go to a full-priced first-run film now costs $18.50 in Ann Arbor and of course I converted that into how much yarn it would buy (about 4.5 balls of the sock yarn I am coveting at Knitpicks). But the film actually featured knitting! At once point they hit the improbability drive and all the characters turn into little knit models of themselves:

Arthur Dent

Marvin, the depressed robot

Zaphod Beeblebrox
While a yarn-man, Arthur is sick and spews a beautiful multi-colored yarn. I don't think there were any other knitters in the audience because I was the only one squealing and pointing at the screen. But the filmmakers must know there are enough Douglas Adams-reading knitters out there because you can actually buy the knitted models of the characters; if anyone locates a pattern for the dolls, let me know.