Sunday, July 29, 2012

Finished scarf

I've delayed updating because I wanted to have a nice photo of my Villeray scarf to post here. I finished it a few days ago, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. The stitch pattern is very pretty, and the very subtle variegation in the yarn works great, but also - I blocked something competently! It was magical seeing it loosen up and become so drapey and lacey. Love. Here it is:

I need to knit more things I can block!

After finishing that, I had a couple knit- and crochet-free days to give my hands a break before the Ravellenic Games started. And now I'm working on Out Of Gas, for the shawl event. I'll be starting the lace section soon, and since I'm not a very fast knitter this feels like a blazing pace to me right now. But this is my first shawl, and I still have no idea how much of a challenge it will be to get it done - I could be finished in plenty of time or I could be tearing my hair out for two weeks, who knows. Fun!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Raindrops on roses and zucchini pizza

On Saturday, I was feeling restless but the weather was not cooperating with my original plans of going to the botanic garden. It had drizzled all morning and the forecast was for scattered storms the rest of the day, so it seemed like outside stuff was not a great idea. The idea of being inside all day was making me stir crazy, though, so we decided to take our umbrellas and go to the park. And of course, it didn't rain at all, and was even hot and sunny by the time we left. I was a little disappointed, actually, because once I came around to the idea I was looking forward to walking around and taking pictures in the rain.

Dinner on Saturday night was zucchini pizza, based on this recipe but with my own substitution of caramelized onions for the olives. It was delicious, and fit in well with my "unhealthy" theme for this week's CSA box: turning beets into brownies, red cabbage into a side dish for sausage and spaetzle, and peaches into cobbler à la mode.

In yarn news, I'm almost done!:

Although this picture is a bit deceptive. I don't think my scarf will be long enough with just one skein, so after I finish this one off I'll probably keep going for another eight inches or so. But it is exciting to see the end of the skein coming up. My goal is to finish this project by July 27 (shouldn't be a problem) because after much confusion and dithering, I decided that I wanted to participate in the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games this year. I'll be knitting my first shawl! We'll see how that one goes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beet brownies and waffle scarves

Those beet brownies I mentioned last time... not a fan. They would be great for people who wish their desserts tasted more like vegetables. I was hoping that the chocolate would hide the earthy beet flavor, but to me it comes through pretty clearly. On the plus side, I can eat these with lunch and pretend it's my vegetable serving. (This is the recipe I used, if anyone is interested after that review. To be fair, I think the recipe is fine and it's probably pretty nice with the cream cheese frosting, which I didn't make.)

I also got squash blossoms for the first time in this week's CSA box and totally bungled them by deciding that they would be a great thing to use in my first-ever serious attempt at deep frying. Fortunately, squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and basil still taste great, even if they've been mangled.

In happier news, I made progress on my African flower hexagons:

Now I need to decide how to turn them into actual pillows. Ideally I would just continue making hexagons for both sides of the pillow, but I don't have enough of the same yarn for that (the perils of stash-busting). I could use the two pillow-halves to make one pillow case with mismatched sides, but I don't really see the point of that. Or I could try to eke out enough yarn to make a back side out of plain double crochet (or stockinette?) for each of them. Or I could try to find some way to attach the crochet to fabric, although that seems overly fussy and less sturdy than using crochet for the whole thing.

Or I could just give in and buy more yarn.

All of that is an overly long way of saying that this project is now hibernating, and since I need a new project simple enough to work on while watching tv, I started a waffle scarf:

It's a free pattern from Lion Brand and one that intrigued me in my early days of crocheting, but I never got around to making it back then. Now, it's a quick and fairly mindless, but still satisfying way of, yes, using up more stash. Caron Simply Soft makes me crazy with its tendency to split, but it does feel pretty nice in a scarf. This might be another one for my charity pile (it's a pile if there are two things in it, right?).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pasta with beet greens, tomatoes, and pancetta

The beets keep on coming and I keep on not being too thrilled about that. The first week we had them, I was virtuous and used the greens as well as the beets, and no one was very happy with the result. This week's recipe is an attempt to remedy the problems with my previous attempt by adding bacon. I think it was a success. I was inspired by these two recipes and, of course, what happened to be in the fridge tonight.

The plan for the beets themselves is brownies, or maybe cupcakes. If chocolate and bacon can't fix beets, nothing can.

Pasta with Beet Greens, Tomatoes, and Pancetta

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small bunch beet greens, stems removed, sliced into strips width-wise
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • shredded Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the pancetta and cooking, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and drain off all but 2 tbs of the fat.

Add the shallots and saute them until they begin to caramelize. Add the tomatoes and garlic cloves, and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the beet greens and cook until they begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the drained spaghetti back to the pot, and stir in the greens mixture. Add as much water as needed to make a smooth sauce. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lavender & rosemary

On Sunday, we went out to Destiny Hill Farm for their Lavender Fest. We picked a bunch of lavender, ate lavender-flavored ice cream, and walked around enjoying not being in the city.

Today, because we have house guests coming who loved these cookies the last time I made them, I baked rosemary-lemon cookies. I still had some of the rosemary that came in our CSA box a few weeks ago, so this also counts as another CSA recipe. This recipe is so easy, and so good - I usually find cookies too fussy to make, but these I love.