Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too many WIP's

You know the phrase 'out of sight, out of mind'? I've had so.many knitting projects that I put aside for other projects (also known as cast-on-itis) and now there's just 3.5 months of knitting time left in the year. I feel like I have to finish every project I started this year. I took an inventory and this is were I stand:
  • Back-To-School U-Neck vest (found in the Fitted Knits book) - I can't even remember where I am on this. I do know one thing, I refuse to rip it back. No way am I doing all that ribbing again. (it's a reddish burgundy, the photo color is off)
  • Francis/Francie sweater (found on Ravelry) - have to finish the cuff and then pick up and knit the cowl. Maybe a week's worth of knitting time?
  • Woodland Shawl (from The Thrifty Knitter)- I love knitting with the Dream in Color but because it's just one long piece it feels like there is no end in sight. Which is a shame because I can't wait to see how it turns out.
  • Whisper cardigan (found in Interweave Knits, Spring '09)- I'm ripping this back to the top of the shoulder because it the sleeve needs to be a little longer. I'm really anxious to get going on this, the Malabrigo lace is dreamy.
  • Summer Tweed hat (also from Hannah Fettig here) - cast on in the airport on the way to Chicago three weeks ago. Reminded why I hate knitting with summer tweed, it's like knitting with rope. Maybe three days worth of knitting time left? Also I may run out of yarn. Argh.
Also the Memphis Flyer named the Memphis Knit Mafia a staff pick of 'The Best of Memphis 2009''. Kickass!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart

I'm running around in a whirlwind of things to do so I'll keep it short and sweet.

Sweet tart dough, easy but still a pain when my mini-chopper isn't big enough to pulse the dough and even though my blender has a pulse setting it doesn't work. The dough got mixed by hand but turned out fine.

Chocolate ganache, couldn't be easier or tastier. Mmmm, chocolate. Caramel, really fun to make and pretty easy. My didn't smoke but it smelled a little burnt while cooking. In the end it was fine, mine was a little more toffee-like than chewy caramel.
Instead of peanuts I used toasted pecans, so the tart was a little like a Turtle candy.

My tart pan was 2" bigger than the one used in the recipe so the caramel didn't cover the entire bottom. Next time I'll either use a smaller pan or make more caramel. Probably make more caramel.
Thank you to Carla of Chocolate Moosey. This was a delicious selection and making the caramel was fun. I never get tired of homemade caramel!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cottage Cheese Pufflets

Have you ever just had a full blown hissy fit? As an adult?

I wanted to make these pufflets so badly because I knew they would taste great, I just knew it. It started out fine, the dough had the consistency it was supposed to and I plopped it down in plastic wrap to chill. It chilled in the fridge from Sunday morning until last night when I took it out to prepare the pufflets. I rolled out the dough thinly, still inside the plastic wrap. After it was rolled out I stuck back in the fridge to chill for another half hour before I cut into it. When I took it out and tried to cut into (even after all the chilling) it stuck to everything - like some horrible paste. I stuck in back in the fridge and tried again after more chilling. This did not help either, it was still pasty and sticky and stuck to the plastic wrap and my hands and the pasty cutter. A string of expletives flew from my mouth and I had a mini-hissy fit in the kitchen. I couldn't have a full on hissy fit because my husband was on the phone with his mother and I didn't want her to think I had lost my mind. Instead I wrapped the whole sticky mess in aluminum foil and threw it in the garbage can. But not before taking a picture. To soothe myself I ate some of the Bonne Maman strawberry jam intended for the pufflets, it helped a little.I will attempt this again, maybe when it's below freezing outside and my time is not limited to a Monday night. Thank you Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes for the selection, I just know they're delicious when made properly!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Movie #1

So we watched our first 85-Movie-in-85-Weeks film on Friday night, I had gotten "Yankee Doodle Dandy" from Netflix and since it's the last (#100 on the AFI list) movie on the list we watched it first. After this I doubt we'll go in order though. Yankee Doodle Dandy is a picture based on the life of George M. Cohan with James Cagney playing Cohan. Neither one of us knew who George Cohan was so it was a little bit like a entertainment history lesson. Cohan penned numerous songs most well known to me were "Give My Regards to Broadway", "You're a Grand Old Flag" and the World War I anthem "Over There". The movie was black and white, a little over 2 hours and had lots of singing and dancing. We liked it AND I managed to sit through the entire thing without getting too antsy. Yay me.

I was really busy this weekend but I did find time to bake up my first loaf of pumpkin bread of the year (it still is nowhere near feeling like fall here) and I made homemade pimento and cheese. For the pumpkin bread I used this recipe, it's my favorite pumpkin bread recipe, although I ran out of powdered ginger and had to use the last of my crystallized ginger. I really enjoy mixing in toasted pumpkin seeds with the batter too but I didn't have any on hand so it was bare. I made one loaf of bread and then used the remaining batter for muffins.
Pimento cheese is a Southern thing, I don't think other regions eat it, although I might be wrong. I grew up eating pimento cheese sandwiches, my Nannie has toasted hers before and that makes them even better. It's just shredded sharp cheese + mayo + pimento peppers + salt/pepper. The end. I have two pimento plants in the garden and one of them finally produced some lovely ripe, red peppers last week. I seized the opportunity to make homemade pimento cheese. I used half regular sharp cheddar and half sharp white cheddar and a sprinkle of Emeril's Essence seasoning, plus the mayo and diced pepper. Then I promptly ate a sandwich on Bunny Bread, the only bread to eat pimento cheese on.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We went, we saw, we bought, we ate

My friend Kenan and I made a pilgrimage to Chicago last weekend for the Renegade Craft Fair. Doug and I went two years ago and he was a good sport about it but it really wasn't his scene. The trip started out a little shaky because our flight from Memphis to Chicago was delayed for three hours, then it took us awhile to make it through the maze that is O'Hare and finally we walked around dragging our luggage in the heat because we couldn't find the hotel. Things got better after we made it to the hotel. I won't bore you with all the details but here are the highlights.

Chicago public transit is great. The train took us from our hotel in Rosemont to Division where the fair was. Plus there's knitting time since you don't have to drive! Aloft O'Hare has the cutest shuttle drivers
Margie's Candies gives you a cup or gravy boat of hot fudge sauce with your sundae.
Nina is a great yarn shop on the same street as the fair and the owner and employees are couldn't be nicer.Oak Park is lovely, lovely, lovely. The Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio tour was worth the 45 minute bus ride to Oak Park.Giordano's deep dish pizza is yum.
Cafe Milk & Honey = best bacon.
Lovely bake shop is exactly the kind of bakery I'd want to have if I ever had one.I'll have to do a separate post with pictures of what I bought, I was pretty restrained I think. There were so many great artisans/crafters there. We can't wait to go back next year!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Flaky Apple Turnovers

Sorry I was a bad TWD blogger last week. I actually made the chocolate souffle but managed not to get pictures. I made individual souffles for a group I had over for dinner. It was not a smart idea to make souffles for the first time while making dinner. Needless to say the souffles did not come out as nicely as I had hoped. My mind failed me and I forgot that mini-souffles didn't need as much time in the oven as one big one. By the time I realized this my mini-souffles had some burned bits on top, but they were still edible - barely. Next time I'll try this while not cooking dinner for six people. Thanks to Susan of She's Becoming DoughMessTic for that selection!

On to this week's selection, Flaky Apple Turnovers, chosen by Julie of Someone's in the Kitchen. Was I the only one thinking about Pepperidge Farm turnovers when I first heard the selection? I think those are the only turnovers I have ever had! The dough is a sour cream based dough (with 3 sticks of butter!), lightly sweetened with a simple filling of apples, sugar, cinnamon and flour. My problem was the dough, it was really hard to put together and roll out, even after refrigeration. I believe part of the problem is my lousy kitchen counter and it's bumpy tiles. I really need a nice smooth place to roll out my dough. In the end I made a massive mess in the kitchen but the turnovers got made. The shape was more like a lumpy roll than a turnover though, my dough didn't want to stay together so I had to wrap the dough around the filling. These were really good, I sent them with Doug for his game night last week and he brought me home an empty plate so I'm assuming they were a hit with the guys. Thanks again Jules for selection, it was very 'fall'!
p.s. This is my 200th post, hopefully my blogging has improved since the first post!

Monday, September 07, 2009

The 85-Movies-in-85-Weeks (or less) Project

Anyone who knows me knows I am notoriously bad at sitting and watching movies, in my living room, in the theater, wherever. Knitting has helped a little bit but I still feel inclined to do something else after half an hour. Doug, on the other hand, will watch almost any movie, at any time.

Somehow we found ourselves watching Stanley Kubrick's Lolita on TMC a last weekend, that in turn led us to a conversation about movies classics we haven't seen. We found AFI's 100 Years 100 Movies list and decided to watch our way through it. After we went through the list we found 15 movies we've both seen so our 100 went to 85. We were going to start from the bottom up but then several of the movies in the middle of the list were on TMC this past week and we taped them on the DVR so we'll probably just start from there. I'm excited because one, it will force me to sit and watch a movie a would probably never watch and two it will be something nice for Doug and I share. Also there will be knitting. Lots of it. We're starting sometime this week, we have Shane, Casablanca and the original King Kong taped so it'll be one of those. I'll probably post about the movie, if I can think of something intelligent to say about them.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Garden Update: Week 21ish

The tomatoes are producing, the little cherries that I thought were Roma's but aren't seem to be doing the best. They have no pest problems that I can tell and almost everyday there's a little handful of ripe ones. The bigger tomatoes aren't really great, I pulled a few Roma's and some smaller green ones (maybe Arkansas Traveler?) and they have ripened indoors. I used them for a tomato-corn pie (via Smitten Kitchen). I'm getting a ton of beans (both varieties), butternut squash is barely holding on, one vine has one little squash, pepper are still rampant too. The eggplant didn't enjoy all the rain I think, a few of them rotted on the vine. Bell peppers are coming in still, they love the heat. The last of the figs came last week, the remaining are for the birds (literally). I cooked some down of them last weekend to freeze for use later. The tiny bit of pineapple sage my mother gave me in the spring is waist high now. I'm planning on trying to dry some herbs, including the rosemary, chocolate mint and lavender. I have a book about drying and using herbs but I haven't cracked it yet.

I have seeds for fall crops I bought from Seed Savers but I've been slammed at work and haven't a chance to plant them yet. Doug is going to make tops for the boxes so maybe this year I'll manage some cold frame boxes.

Right now the mosquitoes are still so bad I can't be out in the garden for more than a minute before I'm swarmed by the little bloodsuckers, ugh.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

How could these not be good? Espresso = awesome, cheesecake = delicious and brownie = perfect. I'm an espressoholic, well really a mochaholic, I treat myself to a non-fat mocha minus whip every morning (hey I'm helping the economy). So the thought of coffee deliciousness in a cheesecake and a brownie concoction sounded wonderful - and it was. The recipe was a little involved, it required about an hour of prep and baking time and then cooling for about three hours. But it was all worth it, sooooo good. I think the cheesecake layer overpowers the brownie layer but I'm totally fine with that. The topping of sour cream and confectioner's sugar is 'meh' I think the brownies would have been just fine without it. Thank you to Melissa of Life In a Peanut Shell for this selection! (Go look at her blog, she makes amazing looking cakes!)