24 February 2011

Salad Inspiration

So here's my favorite salad of the week...

Summery Winter Salad, inspired by Mexican taco night!

I had leftover ingredients from last week's Mexican food night

(I finally made homemade tortillas! I didn't shoot any photos, but if you want a recipe to try I'll give it to you),

so I thought I would toss them into the salad last night. We've made this salad during the summer when scallions, cilantro and radishes are plentiful at the farmer's market, so having them out of season is a treat. I know, I know, I'm not eating locally for this particular meal. I don't like it either but there has to be a balance. The amount of off season goods available at the grocery store is ridiculous, but I do take advantage of it sometimes, seeing it as a luxury of our times that may not always be around. That's a story for another day...

Anyway, grab yourself a spinach and arugula mix like Organic Girl's washed greens. Shave off a few very thin wedges of purple cabbage. Slice up some scallion and radishes. Chop up some cilantro. Whisk together some red wine vinegar and olive oil... and you're in business! This salad is so savory (it actually tastes "meaty!"), crunchy, and has so many levels of flavor.

I know you'll thank me later when these ingredients are coming out of your ears during summer CSA season.

De nada.

21 February 2011

Holy Cowl

I haven't posted much about knitting this winter (the season for all things yarn and fuzzy) and the reason is this... I've been knitting gifts for months! If I post the knitting projects as I am working on them I reveal the surprise, so I have chosen to post after the recipients open up their mail, or hold out their hands when I say so. It would also help to actually take pictures of what I've been making.....

wrist warmers
slouchy beanies
nappy liners for newborns (for a friend that uses cloth diapers)
...and I'm looking forward to making more baby gifts in a hot minute. (NO, not for myself)

Ok, the REAL reason for not posting is that I'm still dealing with the frustration of a little digital camera that likes to work sometimes, and likes to sleep sometimes. It's an interesting dilemma but I'm working through it. I've asked the Great Giver to bless me with a new camera that takes great photos.

Pretty J wearing her möbius cowl
Anyhoooo, I was inspired by a video posted by Cat Bordhi, "Intro to Moebius Knitting." Unlike most patterns and instructional videos out there, this was a true möbius form, not just a double twisted strip. There is no twisting, sewing or manipulating. Follow her instructions with a circular needle and you get a half-twist by knitting continuously. It's pretty fun and amazing to see the results!

Here is a phone shot of my long distance buddy sporting her Christmas gift. I knitted half a dozen of these beauties in all different colors, and I'm not done yet! I chose to knit more shallow cowls (instead of the hoodie kind) because most of my friends live in warmer climates that have cooler, but not freezing nights. I also thought it looked like a more chic, sleek, understated winter accessory.

Thanks, J - for wearing the cowl, in public! Thanks, Sher - for taking and sending me this photo. You'll get yours soon!

Turquoise möbius on Lani!
Update: Thanks for the photo, Lani! The blue suits you. 
For anyone interested in the pattern...
I doubled up a worsted weight yarn (wool blends and alpaca blends) on a 24" US15(10mm) circular needle. Just cast on like Cat Bordhi teaches (as many as you want to fill up the loop) and proceed with your desired knitting stitch on the loop. I chose a garter stitch (k all rows) for the two cowls shown, but also made a couple of seed stitch pieces too (k1, p1). I discovered that you do have to mark your first stitch, knit one round, then watch the stitches to do HALF a row in one pattern, then switch when you see it needs it (I had to purl half a row for the garter stitch pattern). This will keep the entire piece in a consistent seed or garter stitch. You don't want to stockinette this cowl because there is no "front" or "back" – you'll get an obvious seam.

17 February 2011

What a tool.

I have to say that I didn't believe in having Christmas lists until I became an adult. How great is it that you get to give your family a list of things you would like, then you happen to get most of it for Christmas? Of course, giving gifts that are unexpected is wonderful too, but sometimes it's nice to check a few things off of your personal wish list!

Interesting thing...all of the things on my list this last Christmas were kitchen items! Here is one of the great little tools that has been a valuable addition to my kitchen:

The Chef'n Mixer Spatula from Williams Sonoma.

Can you believe it? It's a bowl scraper, spatula, and scooper, all in one! Fabulous.

It is even heat resistant up to 650ºF so you can cook with it too.

I love that it scrapes around the electric mixer attachments so nicely, and uses little effort to get the bowl emptied.

I also got a set of WS mini spatulas. They came on a little ring... Red, yellow, green and orange. So cute! They were a welcome addition to the tool drawer since my only remaining baking spatula is gigantic. Now muffin cups and cupcakes will be a breeze!

12 February 2011

Super Bread Bowl Sunday

My husband has some really great ideas sometimes. Last Sunday was no exception... For Superbowl Sunday he prepped early and had homemade chili ready to eat during the game! He requested some fresh artisan bread to make a Super Bowl of Chili so I put a boule together and, voilà! There's nothing like a hardy piece of bread to sopp up a hearty chili.

I snapped a photo before he ate his yummy venison sausage and beef sirloin tip chili (with black eyed peas and kidney beans). Funny enough, his particular loaf looked like a football before he cut it!

What super duper food did you have on Superbowl Sunday?

09 February 2011

Mixed Bowling

There is something so appealing about a set of mixing bowls. Or, maybe it's just the appeal of bowls nesting within each other...filling that nurturing hole in a woman's being. Comfortable, sweet, proportioned – whatever best describes YOUR prerequisite for a set of bowls – here are a few of my favorites that I've seen lately.

Lost & Found: le souk olive wood nesting bowls

I love the olive wood set above from Lost & Found. I can imagine using this sweet family for ingredients while cooking.

My mixing vessels? Well, I own a set of 5 shallow metal bowls that have the same height but different circumferences. Suits me fine, but when I get more kitchen space, I'm getting a set of deeper nesting beauties. You see, there are plenty of artsy nesting bowls out there, but the perfect set is where form meets function.

Tropical Nesting Bowls at Patina

Of course, there is my favorite Cinderella vintage bowls (as seen on the "What I'd Love" tab above). I have the second blue bowl. 
Cinderella bowls (vintage pyrex) at Modern Findings

02 February 2011

For Once In My Life

I've mentioned in the past that I'm a fan of PBS, Independent Lens, documentaries, and the like. It's difficult to describe the "boring adult" phase of life that creeps up on you (well, in my case it was slow), when suddenly you realize that you prefer to watch public television instead of crime dramas, sitcoms or scandalous reality shows. I have been noticing a desire to be indulged by another culture... a need to be inspired by other people's challenges... or simply LEARN something, gain knowledge, absorb history, fire up my brain cells with exciting facts... You get the picture.

Last night's feature on Independent Lens was inspirational, to say the least. Again, we see music as a force stronger than we give it credit. The ability to play an instrument, or just be a part of a band, gives life meaning to these people – life we assume to be lower than the rest of us. We should never underestimate the power of a music program. After I saw this film I firmly declared it is yet another reason that music should be taught to all children, in all schools, of all mental and physical capacities. Amen.

For Once in My Life | Documentary on Spirit of Goodwill Band | Independent Lens | PBS