Sunday, November 29, 2009

Golden afternoon

Yesterday I drove to Covington to visit my mom, my grandmother and take my aunt an early birthday cake and gift. I haven't lived in Covington since I was 20, but I drive up frequently since my entire family lives there as well as my best friend since third grade. As as adult who isn't there everyday, when I do go back everything seems smaller and less vast than I remember.

I baked my aunt a birthday cake, using this recipe from Ina Garten, I just halved it and used a combination of milk chocolate and semi-sweet for the frosting.When I drove to my grandmother's (Nannie) my aunt had gone into town (they live a good 15 minutes from the nearest grocery store) so while I waited on her to get back I took some pictures. The light was all golden and hazy and the sky was a really beautiful blue so they picture turned out so nicely. The entire set is on my Flickr account, linked at the bottom of the blog if you want to see those.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving post

Hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving! We spent a wonderful afternoon with great food and even better friends. I had a teensy breakdown yesterday morning when I burned my tart crust but I got over it. I made two Dorie recipes to share, Sweet Potato Biscuits (previously blogged about here) and Dorie's Caramel Pumpkin Pie, which we have not made yet. I was good, the caramel added a different flavor to the pumpkin.
Also I finished mitten #1 and I'm furiously working on mitten #2. I am happy to report that I completed an entire thumb without holes, for the first time ever! Last year I tried two different fingerless glove pattern and kept screwing up the thumbs. I need to finish the mittens by next Wednesday. I'm pretty confident that will happen. I also wanted to finish the Liesl sweater, but I am less confident that's going to happen.

Guess who made the M Section of the Commercial Appeal today? Me! The article is about edible gardening and I got interviewed, along with a couple of other new vegetable gardeners. You can see the entire article here. I was excited to share my gardening story, as I've mentioned before I grew up with grandparents and great-grandparents who always had vegetable gardens, it was just ingrained in me as something you did. It was until we bought our house (almost 3 years ago!?) that I actually had the room and the ability to have a full-fledged garden. It can be a lot of work, especially getting up to water at 6AM or getting devoured by mosquitoes at dusk, but it's sooo rewarding. Since I'm talking about gardening, I've had some activity in the garden over the last week or so, all 'leftovers' from the summer. Bush beans peeking out, eggplant, butternut squash, peppers & green cherry tomatoes. Our fall has been really mild and that's why things are still growing/producing.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Sometime yesterday morning I developed a twitchy left eyelid and it's making me crazy. Google-explanations include too much caffeine (one latte per day is too much?) and lack of sleep, which makes little sense because I usually get 7-8 hours. Whatever, I just wish it would stop, it's waaay irritating.

Friday night Melissa had her annual pottery sale and we went, I picked up something for my mom and mother-in-law and a little something(s) for myself. I can't resist the green glaze. She's also making some really pretty cake plates, I've asked for one for Christmas.

The rest of the weekend was a haze of driving to Covington to visit my brother, sister-in-law and niece, having a dinner with some of my favorite people and three little ones, movie watching (the 1933 King Kong, on our list), knitting, trip Joanne's (which was a dumb idea on a Sunday afternoon) and making a real Sunday dinner for the first time in weeks. I roasted a chicken and made an off-the-cuff apple crumble with four lonely apples leftover from various baking projects from the the last few weeks.

I did get a lot of knitting done, I finished the baby hat and the man-hat I've been working on. I also bought buttons for the Malabrigo Liesl, which is close to being done (at least the bottom is) and I'm almost finished with the cuff of a pair of mittens which is a surprise for someone.Thanksgiving is this week?! October and November have flown by. Christmas decorations have slowly been appearing around town. We'll drag ours out next weekend, we're contemplating a real Christmas tree this year. However, the thought scares me because the cats have not shown themselves trustworthy in the face a full-sized tree. We tried it once before and it was on the floor within 8 hours of being put up. I don't know if I'm brave enough to risk it again.

In other news, I leave for this lovely place in nine days: I'm really excited, although not about the plane ride, almost 7 hours of air time, eep. But I am really happy about seeing my friends who moved back there last year, going to Urban Craft Uprising, visiting Snoqualmie Falls, buying yarn and tasting a lot of delicious things. Love the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Bundts

The Food Librarian is one of my favorite baking/food bloggers and for the last 30 days she's been making bundt cakes in honor of National Bundt Cake Day, which was Sunday. I can't even fathom making that many different cakes but she did and they all look wonderful.

Inspired by her I made two of the bundt's she's made during the past 30 days, even though I don't have a traditional bundt pan. Saturday I made the Cardamon Vanilla Bundt, it was incredible. I took it to WEVL and everyone seemed to really like it. I'm so making this again. Monday I made the Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt cake with a few tiny changes, I added a tablespoon of instant espresso to the water and I added 3/4 of a cup on mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I skipped the glaze and dusted powdered sugar over the top. Great, great cake. Go see all 30 cakes on her blog, she's amazing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

Short and sweet this week! Super easy, tasty cookies chosen by Pamela of Cookies with Boys. These were great, I loved the taste and they came out perfectly. They would also be a great cookie to use for an ice cream sandwich. Go visit Pamela's blog to get the recipe.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New car = roadtrip

Spending an ungodly amount of time at a car dealership was not how I intended to spend my Saturday but that's what happened. But by 3:00PM I was the proud new owner of a 2007 Ford Fusion. It's an iridescent gray color, the seat lifts up so I can actually see everything around me as I drive and I can hook my iPhone up in it so I'm thrilled.

Sunday we broke in the new car by driving to Little Rock to visit the Clinton Presidential Library. It's a really sleek, modern building and it was very cool to see so many pieces of information and actual 'stuff' from the Clinton Era. They also had an exhibit of gifts that other former Presidents received while in office, gifts from everyday Americans along side gifts from heads of state. I like the craftiness of these handmade items. A massive ball of yarn presented to President Reagana handmade dress presented to President Hoover for his granddaughter, the fabric pattern was inspired by the President's drawingsnewspaper boxes given to President Eisenhower, handsewn
They also had some gowns from former First Ladies on exhibit. I liked Bess Truman's gown best, it was on the end and had a sweetheart neckline and tulle.
After our library visit we went out for dinner in Little Rock. Lynsey gave us some great suggestions for dinner and we ended up at Za Za's in the Heights area of Little Rock. We ordered way too much pizza. I got a prosciutto arugula pizza and Doug got BBQ shrimp. For dessert we had some of their made-from-scratch gelato. I also insisted we drive to this European bakery Lynsey has told me about and brought me cookies from. It's called Silvek's and it's inside a Kroger but it's an independent bakery. I kind of wanted to take home one of everything, it all looked so good.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cookie, cookie, cookie, muffin

More baking from Martha's Cookie book that you should totally make.

Chunky Peanut, Chocolate & Cinnamon Cookies - A +
Sweet, a little salty, soft, with just a hint of cinnamon. Positive reviews from everyone who had themCherry Almond Biscotti - B
Dried cherries plumped up in amaretto, coarsely chopped whole almonds=very tasty. The dough was a total PIA to work with though, waaay sticky and hard to shape, also spread a lot.
Chocolate-Black Pepper Cookies - A
Very similar to Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies, but no chocolate chunks and an egg binds the dough together a little better. Delicious and super simple and easy.
Cranberry Whole-Grain Muffins, from King Arthur Flour, not Martha. All the elements were there to make these good but I didn't really like them that much. Too dry, they were only 'meh.'

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Downtown dining

So this week in Memphis is Downtown Dining Week. Several local restaurants (located downtown) are participating. You get a three course meal for $20.09. I was lucky enough to get to try two restaurants I'd never been to before. SOB (South of Beale) opened earlier this year, maybe in the summer? It's a gastropub on South Main, friendly waitstaff and delicious food. The MKM decided to head over Tuesday night for our knit night. They even reserved the table for us.
I had oxtail wontons, braised pork belly with apple au jus and fennel and a chocolate brownie with almond brittle for dessert, delicious. I also got a taste of one of my friend's grilled calamari steak. I'm pretty sure we'll be returning. (please excuse the crappy iPhone pics)
Last night Doug and I had the pleasure of dining at Circa downtown. It was insanely good, my favorite thing was the lobster and crab bisque, which I could have a gallon of. For our entree I had beef tenderloin with mushroom demi-glace and Doug had tilapia, and for dessert we both had chocolate tart. I also had a glass of petite syrah that was a little spicy but smooth. The meal was the perfect amount of food, we left feeling satisfied but not too full. If you're a local I highly suggest you head downtown to enjoy the last few days downtown dining week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cran-Apple Crisp

This week my TWD was meant to be eaten by someone else, I made it as part of a dinner meal for the volunteers working the Fall Pledge Drive at WEVL. I made the Cran-Apple Crisp with fresh cranberries, dried cranberries and some heirloom apples that the sign said was really good for baking. Simple prep, didn't take long to bake at all. It smelled delicious and I got positive feedback from someone who ate it so I think it was good. Since it was so easy to make I might make another for just us this weekend. Because I was in such a hurry I forgot to take a picture of it completed, whoops.

Thanks to Em of The Repressed Pastry Chef for this week's selection. Go visit her super cute blog to get the recipe and see her gorgeous food photos!

Monday, November 09, 2009


That's the sound I hear as the weekend flies by. Actually this entire week was a whoosh. Tuesday night was knitting, Wednesday night was the Neko Case concert with friends, Thursday night was volunteering, Friday night was spent having dinner and catching up with old friends at Pearl's Oyster House downtown. We had dessert at the Kooky Canuck, mainly because of the skillet cookie and the table top s'mores. We like fire.Saturday I ran errands and make a dinner for pledge drive volunteers at WEVL. I made Emeril's Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna (recipe here), salad, cheese toast and Cran-Apple Crisp (Tuesday's TWD recipe). Saturday night we went to the wedding of friends, it was masquerade-themed and the couple was gorgeous and deliriously happy. I bought cheapie masks from Michael's, Doug spray painted his silver and I stuck some Martha Stewart butterfly stickers, also from Michael's on mine. I had hoped to have time to make something more impressive but that didn't work out.Sunday I made pumpkin pancakes (recipe here), we watched The Maltese Falcon, one of the movies on our 85-Movies-in-85-Weeks list, I knit, visited a friend in the hospital, played catch up with laundry and other mundane household tasks, made biscotti and went to bed early. Hope you had an eventful (or relaxing) weekend!