Needle Tart

If I'm not knitting or sewing something, I must be cooking something!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just A Note

Hi! Just a quick note while I am waiting for muffins to come out of the oven. On Saturday, Dana and Jim (friends from my hometown) came to visit and we harvested pears! Lots of pears! Even the muffins I am making are Pear Muffins. We had enough to load a 2-gallon jar with the makings of Pear Liquor. I would post a picture but that would mean finding the camera, loading the picture, useing Blogger for pictures (always a lengthy process) and I am really hoping I will get called into school tomorrow so I should get to bed as soon as the muffins cool.
As a result of all this baking for the holidays I have learned that one of the thousand cookbooks we own is not reliable. If you have Gale Gand's "Just A Bite": Beware! I have made several recipes from this book and none of them were stellar. They weren't really bad (except for the canneles) but they weren't really great either. Most of the recipes are of the fiddly sort, Monday you do step one, Tuesday you do step two, or first you blanche the almonds, then you add all the seasonings, then you stir for 20 minutes etc. If I am going to put that sort of time into a recipe (not to mention the cost of the ingredients) I want at least "pretty good" before I repeat the experiment.
On the other hand I have never had a problem with any cookbook written by Rose Levy Berenbaum (The Cake Bible, The Bread Bible and so on) my cakes etc may not have been as beautiful as the author's but the taste was always outstanding. I suppose if I practiced more and had more patience (I want to taste it now!) my cakes would look a little better, but I know how good her recipes taste. Rose is one of my favorite cooks (hey, look! Another person I have never met who is one of the family) and I love the explanations she gives for why you should do things her way. Not only do you get good (delicious!) food, but you learn more about the science of baking. Give her a try!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Things I've been thinking about

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a few things I've thought about putting on the blog, but they don't seem enough for a post. Here they are all together.

1. Yes, I am still knitting. The project I am working on is a gift for one of the readers, so I can't post a full picture but here is a peek:

It is knit from Fortisima Colori Socka Color yarn on size 3 needles. It is a really cool colorway with those red and white stripes and then the blue and white? Utterly neat! Hmmm! Red, white and blue? I guess we know who this is for, don't we? (If you don't,check sometime in late December or early January.)
I am starting on an Adrienne Vittadini tank top. Pictures will follow once I get past the casting on.

2. I like to help people with whatever skills I posess. Locally, however, every time I get involved with "charity" (blech, can't we just call it "helping"?) I'm told at some point that my work just isn't good enough, valuable enough, or just plain enough enough. Last night a problem came up at the local Temple and my solution was roundly turned down. Again. I swear (and please keep me to it) that I will only volunteer for strangers (who turn out to be ever so nice) on the web! I have knit hats for WIC programs, I have signed up for Socks for Soldiers, and today I signed up to knit a square in a feel-loved afghan for a blogger's ill Grandmother. This is a community.

3. The New Season on TV. Every year I sit down with the new program guide and try to reduce my addiction to the tube. Last year I cut (Ha!) my veiwing time to 22 hours a week. This year? Oh, it's all the way down to 23.5 hours a week. Oops! At least I can cut a half hour. " 'Til Death" was bad, really bad. So now I'm down to 23 hours. If one or two of the shows on my list are canceled (and they will be, I like the weird stuff like "Jericho" and "Heros") I will at least keep even. Of course, I didn't count in "Project Runway", "The Sheild", or any of the other cable shows. *Sigh* Just more knitting time, I guess.

4. Just in case I don't get back to y'all before next week, L'shanah Tovah. That's Happy New Year (more or less) in Hebrew. New Year's is next Friday and I am cooking up a storm. We have a student Rabbi this year and there are LOTS of activities to welcome her (No, I'm not volunteering, I just cook for people). We are hosting The Baby's roommate for the holidays (at least for New Year's) and we are the Rabbi's hosts for Yom Kippur weekend. Friends are coming to visit this weekend, so yesterday I sat down with the cookbooks (have you heard? We have over a thousand of them!) and made out some menus. From now until October First I have something to cook every day. And not just dinner. Cookies, cakes, lollipops, bread, booze! Happy, happy!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Importance of Stash

Tuesday was The Husband's birthday. Many years ago I made him some boxer shorts from Animaniacs fabric. For those who are too young to remember the Animaniacs they were a cartoon family (one sister, Dot "I'm cute!", and two brothers: Yakko, the smart one, and Wakko, .... enough said). The cartoons are now available on DVD (what isn't?) and if you want a laugh from broad slapstick (yes, there are anvils) to witty wordplay this is the cartoon for you.

Back to the shorts. Over the years The Husband has worn these shorts weekly. They are sort of pale blue now and I'm not sure you can make out the characters. While working on The Baby's college quilt I came across three (!) yards of the Animaniacs fabric and some Pinky and The Brain (another subversive cartoon) fabric in the quilting stash. So darling Husband got two brand new pairs of boxers and two pairs of hand knit socks. Guess which made him the happiest?

Here are the socks. Knit with Jaeger yarn on size 1 bamboo needles. He says "It feels like they are massaging my feet all day." I don't think I'll ask about the shorts.

In the very background you can see the new chair. History: Over twenty years ago we were at a house sale and there was an antique living room suite for sale at a very nice price (besides we were living in a house from the 1860s). Now, The Husband and I like old furniture, houses, car styles, etc. so we bought the furniture. After two cats, two kids and twenty years of life the antiques are shot. Don't believe me? Look.

See the edging coming off the top? See the water (I hope!) stains on the seat? What you can't see is that for the last couple of years whoever sits in this chair has to lower him/her self gently and hope that he/she doesn't fall completely through. In fact last week, Elder Son sat down and the front leg fell off! It is replaceable, but not by anyone's skill level in this house. So! We went on line and Target had this:

Here is the new chair. Isn't it lovely? The first time I sat on it, it didn't sink! Also, the house we live in now is very Arts and Crafts and it fits right in! Now if I could just figure out what to do with the antiques we could get a new couch, too! If you look back at the picture of The Husband's new socks, he isn't holding his feet in the air, they are resting on the arm of the couch while he naps. The Husband is five feet, eight inches tall. Can you picture the rest of us trying to nap on the couch?! Target has a couch matching the new chair that is, get this, 77" long! Even Elder Child would be comfortable on that!

If anyone has any ideas what we could do with the antiques (couch and side chair are in pretty good shape, but the two arm chairs are just sad) leave a comment. I would love to redecorate the Living Room!