Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A poll and dinner

So I'm planning to do a demo/tutorial on my dye technique and I'd like to tape it on Saturday. I'm not sure what colorway to show, so I've put a poll in the sidebar to the right ---->. If you have an opinion, please fill it out!

Meanwhile, here I am blogging my dinner again. I tried this thing where I baked chicken pieces on a bed of lentils and liked it so much that tonight I tried it again with a slightly different configuration. It's good enough to record for posterity, although there was no measuring involved. So this is more of a notion of a technique than an actual recipe.

Boneless chicken baked on a bed of lentils, served with rice and kabocha pumpkin.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Things of thinginess

First things first, the recipient of May's shrinky dink giveaway is Sarah of Slinging Stitches! I liked all the posts, it reminded me of all the crafty things I haven't picked up in ages, as well as a few messes I used to make for the fun of it. :D

It's still spring here, and for proof that it's May we had a tiny morel harvest on Friday. Three, we found three morels. Actually, I found a big one off the driveway near where I found several last year, but the entire top had been bitten off by something so I hardly think that it counts. These three were in an entirely different spot at the base of a rotted out stump that had been filled in with dirt.

Since there were only three, I ended up making a mushroom side dish with additional white button mushrooms and some fresh shitake mushrooms. I cut them all up and sauteed them with lots of garlic in olive oil with a bit of thyme and freshly cracked black pepper. It never ceases to amaze me how small morels shrivel when cooked, yet still retain a kind of crunchy texture.

Meanwhile, today I made a lunch of crepes and I like to record recipes when I tamper with them. These crepes were whole wheat and are quite robust in tooth. They're not exactly the delicate buttery things that most people anticipate when promised crepes, but I like them. I think they would be better with a savory filling but we had them with strawberries and whipped cream.

Strawberries were dressed with agave syrup and a bit of cognac, and the whipped cream was lightly sweetened with agave syrup as well.

Recipe after the jump.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Slightly less bad for you chocolate chip cookies

A small baking and knitting post tonight.

I'm constantly on the lookout for cookies that are satisfying but have some sort of redeeming dietary merit. So I took a chocolate chip cookie recipe and changed a few things and I liked the result enough to record the recipe here. These cookies still have butter and sugar in them, but they also have fiber, iron, whole grains, and protein.

1c (2 sticks) butter, about 1/4 melted.
1c (200g) sugar
1/4c (80g) dark molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2c (280g) white whole wheat flour
1/2c (24g) bran (wheat or oat)
1c (90g) rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp cinnamon
1c chocolate chips
1/2c raisins
1/4c toasted sesame seeds
1tbsp toasted flax seeds

Cream together the butter and sugar and then stir in the molasses, vanilla, and eggs one by one until it's thoroughly blended together. Stir together the dry ingredients and then mix them into the butter mixture until thoroughly combined.

Drop by heaping tablespoons full 3 inches apart onto pans lined with baking parchment and bake in a 375°F oven until deep golden brown. They will be soft to the touch. Cool on a rack before storing. The cookies remain soft and slightly cakey once cool. Makes about 4 dozen.

Substitution is the name of the game, of course, so butter subs, egg subs, sugar subs can all be worked in. As it is this recipe is soft enough to accept more solid things like chopped nuts that won't change the essential nature of the dough. Additional oatmeal would result in a firmer cookie, but it should be able to accept another half cup of rolled oats without becoming hard.

Meanwhile, back at the knitting, I'm working on a modified Arabesque top, translating it into a dress with a different yarn at a denser gauge. I finished the waistband tonight and I'm very chuffed at how it's turning out. Yes, I know it's nothing more than a ring of cabled fabric. What can I say, I like that ring of cabled fabric! Aside from the tension difference in the rows around the graft, I think the join is decently invisible.

Considering that I'm not normally a sweater knitter and I prefer working in DK to worsted weight, this is a bit of a departure for me. Of course I would decide to break that trend with a dress knit at 7.25st/in. But I'm excited and I think it might even look flattering on (once I offer concessions to self consciousness and toss a light linen shirt over it like a jacket or knit a shrug). So I'm not going to examine this urge too closely but feed it for as long as I can, because I really want to wear this! :D

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring has sprung! (and a childish giveaway)

It's sprung all over my car if the thick chartreuse layer of pollen is anything to go by. But it has gotten very pretty out.

This is looking up the hill to one side of the house. A downed tree back near the white dogwood has allowed a lot more light into that part of the woods, which is why that white dogwood is so full. The pink flowering tree in front is a redbud.

The tulips are almost past due to some extra hot days, but these pink and white ones called "Angelina" (not the fiber!) are hanging on and looking very festive. They're almost like roses.

It's most definitely May. Of course, May 1 means a giveaway here on my little blog. I was fooling around with shrink film last week and feeling like a kid again, so I've decided that this month I'm giving away shrinky dink plastic film. Yeah, you heard me right. I used to cut down those plastic clamshell packaging for things like baked goods and stuff and shrink them in the toaster oven, but in this case I have the "real thing".

That's 6 sheets of frosted shrink film, one sheet of opaque white inkjet shrink plastic (not pictured), some pre-punched circles, and a box of colored pencils.

They're suitable for making all sorts of knickknacks, and there's nothing easier for personalized stitch marker charms. Colored pencil is permanent once the pieces are shrunk and the color remains bright and vivid and won't transfer. Just make sure to punch a hole (1/8in or bigger) for the jump ring before shrinking the plastic down!

To enter, please comment here with something crafty you enjoyed doing as a kid, and if you still like doing it. I'll randomly pick a winner next Saturday, May 7th. This month's Rav group giveaway is identical, but as always it's fine to enter both.

Happy May!