Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A sweater for the winter that wasn't

My Jetty sweater is finally finished, blocked and everything. Unfortunately, it's not going to get much wear this year because of this ridiculous 'winter' we're having. The temps around here have barely dropped beyond the mid-50's. We've had several days of 60's and a couple of '70's. In January. And February. Not normal folks, climate change isn't 'junk science', we have something to be concerned about, not matter what your political view is. 

At any rate, despite our lack of winter, I have a perfectly nice worsted wool sweater to show you. The pattern is Jetty from Cecily Glowik MacDonald and the yarn is Quince & Co. Lark in 'Storm'. This sweater is very warm and the yarn softened up a lot once it was blocked. The pattern was very easy and the cable pattern looks intimidating but isn't. It's supposed to be a sweater tunic, longer than your normal sweater. I should have paid better attention and stopped knitting about 3 inches before I actually did because I'm 5"2 and the written tunic length is for someone taller. Still a pattern and a yarn I would recommend.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baking with Julia: Chocolate Truffle Tart(lets)

I almost didn't bake this one because it felt like it would take a hundred steps (I'm being dramatic) but a) it didn't take that long and b) I'm so glad I made it because it was delicious. 

This recipe is hosted by:

I just hate making pie and tart dough because I don't have a food processor and I have to do it all by hand. I pressed on though and made the chocolate tart dough. You know something is going to be good when even the dough smells good.
The dough was put together and rested while I did other things. After a 30 minute chill period, I rolled out the dough and lined the tart pan (I made one big tart instead of smaller tarts). There was another chill period for the lined tart pan and then it got to go into the oven.
The filling was actually simple to make, it was kind of like making ganache. There are 8 egg yolks in the filling, which is a lot, but it didn't taste 'eggy' the way some things with lots of eggs do. My only misstep was I forgot biscotti at the store and did not feel like going back out for it. Instead I roughly chopped up a few leftover cookies I had made earlier in the week. I might have baked it a couple of minutes longer than called for just because undercooked yolks in the filling concerned me a little.

The final product was so very good, the texture of the filling is hard to describe appropriately, it's like an airier, pudding but with a crackly, brownie-like top. Definitely worth making the tart dough.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Birthday Cakes

We have a lot of February birthdays, my mom, a dear friend of mine, my brother, Doug's mom, my aunt, etc. Two weeks ago my knitting group had a birthday gathering for one of our own (aforementioned dear friend). For that event I made this Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Smitten Kitchen. I did raspberry filling, but not the one the recipe called for, I did cheater raspberry filling with Bonne Maman raspberry jam. I loved this cake and it got good reviews. Unfortunately I don't have a of it, but it was a really nice, moist cake.

Over the weekend we hosted my mom, her boyfriend, my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew for Saturday night dinner. I made chicken stew and buttermilk biscuits (chicken stew from here, biscuits from Dorie), my brother's favorite goat cheese tart (recipe here), and this Double Chocolate Sour Cream Cake from The Kitchn.

 This was another cake winner, I loved the sour cream addition in the frosting and the cake, it was so good and moist. My decorating skills are not very good but I managed to spell out 'Happy Birthday'.
So there you go, if you're in need of a birthday cake recipe these two recipes are great.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A crafty project

I pinned this project from Amanda at Wit & Whistle ages ago. I finally got around to completing it a few weeks ago. It's a super easy project and completely clever. The complete instructions are here. I did pretty much everything that she did, same mugs/pens. I used my sketch book for inspiration, as well as just trying something that I thought would look nice. Some of the designs I came up with aren't perfect, lines are a little messy or too thick/thin but I think it adds to the character. When I was first testing the pens out I kept a moist paper towel besides me and if I messed up I immediately wiped off and dried the mistake and it was gone. I bought two pens, one in Anthracite (black) and one in Pewter (grayish silver). The black pen turned out better than the gray one (for me at least). To me the black pen gave more of a drawn-on look. 

Thanks to Amanda for this crafty little project!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Baking with Julia: White Loaves

It's the first week of Baking with Julia! I'm happy to be back in the groove of semi-weekly baking (BWJ will bake twice a month). I'm also excited to try new techniques and bake things I've never baked before. This week was White Loaves and it was hosted by Laurie and Jules

I've made yeasted bread before but I can't recall rolling it out, I think the last recipe I did with yeasted bread was more a 'throw it in the pan' kind of thing. Anyway, I started making this in the early afternoon so I could use the end results for dinner. The beginning was yeast + warm water + sugar and you waited until the mixture got foamy. Then you started adding the seven and a half (yes, seven) cups of flour. My Kitchen-Aid hadn't gotten that much usage in long time. It made some scary noises but hung in there and gave me a beautiful ball of dough. The hardest part, for me at least, was getting the butter all incorporated, I had to do a little manual work for that. I sat the bowl of dough on top of a warm oven for the first rise and it worked really well. When it came time to roll out the dough for the pan, mine was not so professional looking, it was a little lumpy. The second rise was just as good as the first but afterwards I realized that one loaf pan had more dough than the other.

After 35 minutes in the oven, the loaves came out golden brown and very nice looking. The larger loaf was less photogenic than the smaller one but they both tasted great. I used the bread to make BST (bacon, spinach, tomato) sandwiches for dinner. Doug loooved the bread and I was super happy with the results too. 

Monday, February 06, 2012


I think by this point the whole whoopie pie craze has gone the way of the dinosaurs, but I'm just now getting around to making some. Actually, that isn't true, I made some last fall but didn't blog about them. Last week I promised Doug and his nerd buddies a baked good if they decided they were hanging out by Wednesday night (when said baking would occur). The dudes complied and I thought I'd try the whoopie pies again. I used this recipe from Epicuious, which is pretty basic, chocolate with marshmallow filling. My failing was that I didn't realize how much time they would take to make (more than I had allotted for a Wednesday night) and they were super messy, especially the filling. Because I am lazy, I made them bigger than they should have been, they were kind of gigantic. In fact, once they reached their intended destination on Thursday night the guys wished for smaller treats next time, I concur. Whoopie pies are tasty but should be made the size  indicated on the recipe and probably should only be made when you have several hours to kill. Like on a Saturday afternoon.