Friday, July 25, 2014

 We are approaching a major milestone in the Anderson household.  I've had this jar of crushed red pepper for at least 5 years and we've very nearly finished the entire thing!  You can tell it is old by the dated appearance of the label.  I've always been interested in baking but I didn't really become interested in cooking until Dave came along.  It really motivates you when you're cooking for someone other than yourself.  I love garlic and herbs and spices, always have.  I scoff in Chinese restaurants when items on the menu are marked "spicy" because I don't think they are necessarily spicy.  To me, garlicky does not equate to spicy.  It has only been in recent years that I've begun to appreciate heat in dishes, and heat and spicy are not the same thing.  Heat is just heat.  As someone who has been raised eating a bland, Scandinavian diet of "white food" (so called because the food is always bread/rice/pasta/butter/cream/potatoes...i.e. STARCH) this is a major accomplishment!
 You can see the bottom of the jar!!!  We've managed to use this up even though we have also recently discovered Sambal Oelek which is fresh red pepper paste and we even buy the 18 oz. jar of that!  Who knew we were such spicy people?!?  I have the next 2 days off and plan to spend some time fooling around in my kitchen as well as working on some last minute knitting.
This is some bead knitting that had been abandoned in my bead knitting tin.  I am hoping to finish it and enter it at the Washington County Fair next week.  I love these 0000 needles I got at the Nordic Needle in Fargo a few years back.  This will be a simple drawstring bag once finished.  Hoping to post pictures of the finished bag soon.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

May I just say...

 ...that I have waited almost my entire adult life to have fresh herbs growing somewhere in or near my house for cooking at a moment's notice?  I have fond memories of all the delicious foods I ate in Europe when I backpacked in '01.  Mind you, this was before the age of cell phones and selfies and posting pictures of food.  I took a 35mm camera and rolls of film (remember those?) and it was too precious to waste taking pictures of food, but I wrote about food in detail in my travel journal.  I have dreamt of recreating those meals with fresh herbs.  I dream about food, is it any wonder I am overweight? 

Dave and I are attempting our first full blown garden this year and seem to be having more luck with plants growing in containers due to the amount of clay in our soil.  Last summer we'd moved too late in the growing season in June to attempt a garden, but we did splurge and buy a $15 large pot of 5 herbs at our local farmer's market.  I am proud to say that 4 out of the 5 herbs survived the winter in our window sill and 3 of them are pictured above.  Last night I cooked a meal of fettuccine pasta with a from-scratch white wine Alfredo sauce with ham and rosemary and I baked a focaccia with sage and thyme.  Martha Stewart eat your heart out!  I am also having success with Italian basil I planted and am growing outside.  More on that later but I am really crossing my fingers that I can keep it indoors through the winter.
 Here is the focaccia rising on my baking stone.  It has 20 sage leaves chopped and kneaded into the dough and topped with another 10 as well as drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  Num num!  I used my "00" flour from Cossetta's for this recipe.  I think here we think of Stove-Top when sage is mentioned but it can be a very delicate rich flavor.  I still think about the sage farfalle pasta I ate twice in Rome and the sage topped foccacia I ate in Brindisi.
 Here is the bread after it is baked.  We sliced the whole thing in half and then sliced one of the halves into strips to eat as bread sticks for our meal.  I worked tonight and for my lunch sliced a portion of it horizontally to make open faced sandwiches with Swiss cheese and sliced garden cucumbers.  Num NUM.  The sage leaves are crispy after baking and I love just picking them off and eating them.  I am so thankful for my container herb garden!
And in knitting is some more baby knitting I am hoarding for my personal collection.  This is of course a Sprinkle sweater knit from some Claudia Handpaints silk blend that I got on clearance from StevenBe's.  Dave took me there for the first time this winter and we were in the same neck of the woods as Ingebretsen's so it was a great shopping day for me.  I also knitted a star baby cap and multicolored sockies in the same colors to enter in the Washington County Fair as a knitted baby set.  This photo was taken after blocking but before I sewed the buttons on.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fair Finishes

This week is the Ramsey County Fair and I finished up a couple more things to enter.

This is a Christmas tam knit from some Patons Classic DK.  I'd seen the pattern last winter in Simply Knitting and finally got around to knitting it.  There are holly leaves around the ribbing but you really can't see them and I think I should have used a darker green.  This was blocked on a dinner plate which I had never done but is the typical way to block a tam.
I knit these a while ago from a recycled cotton/silk blend and I knit them to keep for myself.  No I am not pregnant but I am feeling the need to start hoarding baby knitting for myself because I know I will never have enough time once we decide to start having kids.  This is a darling Erika Knight pattern I've knit before.  The ribbon used is a length of Sajou purchased at Liberty in London.  This way I got to use the ribbon without CUTTING it!
I kicked out another one of these for my dear friend Melissa but am borrowing it to enter in the fairs this year.  I also knit a toddler dress for her daughter but I will be hanging on to that until after fair season.  Melissa generously lent me the sweater I knit for Serenity last year to enter this year.  I was on call last night so Dave and I slipped off to the fair to see how I did and Serenity's sweater won the grand champion in the knitting class!  I entered 13 total items.  My Noro scarf didn't place at all and I got a white ribbon on my damask Christmas runner that I entered as a total afterthought but I got blues on everything else including my quilt!  The Washington County Fair starts on July 30th and I'm finishing up a few more things to show there.