weedy wednesday: not-so-green tomatoes

One of the great parts of coming back from a long trip is how much your plants seem to have progressed in your absence. We were blessed with a very nice friend who kept our tomato plants hydrated while we were gone, and returned to ripening cherry tomatoes:

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Yum.

You may recall that our target for the summer is 60+ lbs. So far we’re at just about 12 oz, hopefully to be increased once a few of these guys start to ripen:

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In addition to the cherry tomatoes, this past weekend we picked the first of our more “heirloom” tomatoes, a green zebra:

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Upon tasting, I decided that this one had probably still been a little *too* green, but it still made a very pretty addition to our dinner!

Posted in food, garden, Uncategorized | 933 Comments

the ends of the earth: India snapshots

If you’ve been wondering why blog activity has been minimal/absent for the past month or so, here’s your answer. Not some top-secret knitting project–instead, I’ve been planning and then taking a trip. To INDIA!! Some friends asked us to attend their wedding, and we jumped at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Given that India is almost as far away as you can travel without leaving the planet, we figured we should go for as long as possible, and managed to scrounge together nearly three weeks of time off. I did very little knitting (a few hours on the flights, but otherwise I was too busy or too bumped around–knitting while a car passenger was just not possible), but I did do some other cool stuff, like:

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Stay in this beautiful hotel in Dharamsala

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Visit a series of Buddhist temples

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And take in some spectacular scenery!

On a more fiber related note, I also got to buy my first sari, to wear to the wedding. It was a bit confusing at first, but I think I managed to fold it on pretty well in the end:

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I’ll be back later this week with some more run-of-the-mill posts, I have a bit of pre-trip finished knitting to brag about!

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chocolate interludes: chocolate mousse!

This past weekend we had our very first dinner guests in the new studio. I wanted to make a rich and delicious dessert, preferably one that would NOT involve turning on the oven. It’s been hot. I decided a chocolate mousse would fit the bill nicely and went digging in the file of childhood recipes that my parents have been kind enough to pass on.

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Chocolate mousse was one of my dad’s signature desserts back in the day. After finding the recipe, I think I know why: only four (or maybe five) ingredients. However, the recipe also revealed why this dish had eventually dropped out of rotation. Raw eggs form a not insignificant portion of the dish, and salmonella is not really the kind of leftover you want to send your guests home with. Fortunately, it is possible to pasteurize eggs at home, on your stovetop, which is what I did, using these instructions. The mousse turned out great, and nobody got sick (although I should note that the odds of a raw egg harboring salmonella are quite low to start with).

And now, without further ado, the recipe:

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Ingredients
4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
1 tbsp strong dark coffee
dash of vanilla extract
4 oz dark chocolate (I got this awesome bar at our local European style market, the Milk Pail).
whipped cream, for serving

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First, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power in 2 minute intervals, until chocolate is melted.

While chocolate is melting, gently beat together the egg yolks, coffee, and vanilla extract. When chocolate has melted, mix into the egg yolk mixture. The chocolate will “seize” up and become a bit stiff. Don’t worry, but do keep stirring until everything is thoroughly mixed. The chocolate won’t ever look as smooth as it does when it first melts, but the consistency should be relatively uniform.

Beat the egg whites until peaks formed. If you are using pasteurized eggs, you may find that the whites don’t whip as easily as non-pasteurized eggs, but keep at it:

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Finally, fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Spoon mixture into 4 bowls/cups/wineglasses. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

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sunny side

Just a few edgings left to go on my little cotton baby cardigan, the intended recipient is now out in the world so I’ve really got to get it done:

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Also spurring me to completion is the thought of attaching these adorable little buttons:

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I can’t decide if I should use all four or go with a more modest three…I guess some experimentation might be in my future!

Posted in colorwork, cotton | 3 Comments

weedy wednesday returns!

My garden this year is pretty tiny: I had to give up my garden plot when I moved north. What with the multiple moves in the past few months, I had kind of written this summer off completely. But, at the last minute, I decided to give container gardening a go and picked up a few tomato plants. Taken home, transferred into pots, occasionally watered, and left in the sunniest spot on the patio, they have flourished. This week, the multitude of yellow flowers has started giving way to small green tomatoes!

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We have an informal goal of harvesting 60 lbs of tomatoes from these plants, I guess we’re off to a good start!

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after the bind off: mitered square afghan

Back in the summer of 2007, I spent almost all of my free time knitting and piecing together one hundred striped mitered squares:

Afghan progress

The Mason Dixon Knitting book was still a relatively recent publication, and I was about to move into my first solo apartment. The idea of being able to decorate a place exactly to my tastes (well, within the confines of my budget) was pretty novel, and I decided that I *obviously* needed a queen sized blanket for my new couch/futon:

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I had a slightly alternate piecing arrangement, grouping squares into 3-square “L” shapes rather than 4-square squares. This arrangement required a lot of plotting out on scratch paper:

The plan

Since then, I’ve moved a couple more times, and in a pursuit of a more open living space, I ditched my futon when I moved from an apartment to a smaller studio space as part of my migration to the Bay Area. But, I hung onto the blanket, and it still serves as a focal point of my living space. It’s just that now it lives on the bed:

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Six years on, this things is still going strong. The cotton yarn I used will go through both the washer and dryer with no problems, and the colors haven’t even faded much. In fact, I’m thinking maybe I should make a few more of these, with the plan of passing them onto my hypothetical grandchildren. This piece is truly destined to be an heirloom.

Do you have a major piece of knitting from years ago that you still use everyday?

Posted in afghan, after the bind off | 985 Comments

infinite yoke

As promised, a more current photo depicting the state of my cardigan progress:

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Sorry about the wrinkles, being hauled around in a tote bag every day will do that to a garment. But, you can see that I’ve joined up for the yoke and that things are therefore starting to get interesting, with a bit of infinity cabling working its way in:

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And, I’ve even been able to verify that it’s going to fit, although it was rather hard to get photographic evidence. Please settle for this view for the moment, until I can coerce my photographer into helping out:

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why I love my commute

Where else would I be able to get so much totally uninterrupted knitting time? This sleeve has whizzed along almost as fast as the urban landscape does every morning as I knit in the pre-dawn wee hours:

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In fact, I’ve gotten so good with commute knitting I’m a little behind on photography–this sleeve has now acquired a mate! Now for the slog of joining up and getting through those first long rows of the yoke…

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Signs of spring continue to abound around here:

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Bright cotton knits in tiny sizes…

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Growing in tandem with the bright green tomato plants. Yes, despite the loss of my garden plot, I’m still determined to work on my green thumb–these have been doing beautifully and I’m hoping for a summer full of multi-colored heirloom deliciousness.

And in a sign of true warm weather delirium, I pulled out my box of warm weather yarns:

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Although I’ve still got my woolen train project and a glove that I really ought to focus on, I can’t help but think about another lightweight summery project to follow up the baby cardigan above. A rummage around my box has me toying with these three options:

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Though with all the fine-gauge knitting I’ve already been doing, perhaps it’s time to move onto something a little thicker and faster? Still, I think I’ll be breaking out my stitch books and doing a little swatching soonish…though I’m trying to limit my WIPs, so not until I have something else finished!

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springling

As promised, a peek at the starting of my newest project:

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Yes, just the swatch so far, but even that is pretty exciting in my current knitting world. After spending the last 3 months immersed in dark red 4-ply soft (which, by the way, I still love!), it’s nice to have an alternate project that’s a little brighter. This cheerful blue/yellow/white combo makes me smile every time I look at it and is the perfect accompaniment to the beautiful spring weather we’re having around here. The temperatures are up and the flowers are blooming, making me dream of lightweight, ethereal knits, pastels and brights, loose gauges and lacy stitches. This particular project is slated to be baby sized, so it should go quickly, leaving plenty of time to dream up a warm weather project or two for me. In the meantime, what are you planning on knitting up for spring?

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Posted in cardigans, colorwork | Comments Off on springling