So, I started a new shawl, but I don’t have any photos of it yet, so sadly, this post will be photo-less. Unless you want some food photos. FOOD PHOTOS. Oh so boring:

Chickpea Couscous

Mark Bittman’s Chickpea Tagine with Chicken and Apricots, from the New York Times dining section a couple of weeks ago. This was okay. For a quick recipe, it was pretty good. It was no couscous royale that you can get in Paris (yes, I know, I am one of these annoying people who finds Paris ab-fab), but it was decent. I would say B+. But the chicken thighs (I bought Murray’s) were tasty.

Kale Chips

Kale chips. These took over the knitting and food internets recently. I enjoyed them. I was actually lured by Crazy Aunt Purl’s negative review of them, claiming they tasted like nori. I like nori, so I made them. This is the recipe from the kitchn. I cut down the salt to 1/4 teaspoon (and two shakes of the salt shaker) and it was still way too much. Go lightly on the salt. Also. Very very easy to make. I would say A-.

Also, here are some book reviews. I know, this blog is filled with excitement. But what can I say? I read, I eat, I knit. Or as Laura Bush supposedly said, upon meeting her future in-laws, Bush 41 and Barbara Bush, “I read, I smoke and I admire.” Maybe I should read Eat, Pray, Love.

Anyway.

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. I was making a bunch of Miss Havisham references recently and figured I might as well read the damn book. Parts of it were much funnier than I expected, which was a plus. However, I am torn about Dickens’ emphasis on plot. Though I often prefer plot to character development, Dickens is pretty crappy at developing characters, to the point where even I, a plot-whore, noticed. But he is a master of family revelations, which I also enjoy, but it makes the book somewhat ridiculous at times. You know everything is going to be wrapped up in the end, however implausible the connections may be. Could the con man truly be related to Estella? YES!! Well, I guess since this was written as a serial, it requires ridiculous family revelations. Much like the ongoing soap Brothers and Sisters on ABC, which I am also fond of. Dickens=Sally Field ranting. Very similar.

The Uncommon Reader, by Allan Bennett. I thought this one was pretty funny. I like royal gossip quite a bit, so this novella about Queen Elizabeth II was totes entertaining to me. Your appreciation probably depends on whether you enjoy thinking about the British Royal Family in your spare time or not.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. This one was okay. It was somewhat predictable, I think, in its depiction of two totally smug, self-righteous characters, but it was set in Paris, so that’s a plus. (For me.) It kind of was like this Louise Fitzhugh kid’s book I read Nobody’s Family is Going to Change. Or Bridge to Terabithia. There’s something about this book that seems sort of ’70s-ish. Maybe the French are stuck in the ’70s? I don’t know.

Here’s to some knitting photos tomorrow!

Posted in book reviews, cooking at April 19th, 2010.

lemon drop sock

I was knitting along on my socks on the subway a while ago and a man asked me how long it took to knit one sock. I was all, “Oh, a couple of weeks.” That was a lie! The fastest I have ever knit a sock, is, yes, in a couple of weeks, but generally, it takes much longer, because I get bored and because life gets in the way. This photo isn’t the best, because I made Adam take it late at night (and as you can see, the ends aren’t woven in! Maybe they’ll get a better photoshoot later. Or not.

Anyhow. Here are the deets:

Pattern: Stansfield 304 from More Sensational Knitted Socksi, by Charlene Schurch

Yarn: One skein Yarntini sock yarn in Lemondrop. This is from deep in the stash; I bought it at the now-defunct online shop Sonny and Shear for $23, before shipping. You can still buy this yarn from Yarntini directly, though I was hoping this was the self-striping, though alas it was the variegated.

Needles: Susan Bates DPNs, size 0

Project began/ended: Started December 7, 2009. Finished April 12, 2010. So, four months. But I did knit some other stuff in between!

Notes/modifications: I knit them toe up on DPNs. I like toe up and I like DPNs.

Posted in Finished Objects 2010, Socks at April 13th, 2010.

So Adam and I…okay, I would like to insert a note here to say I actually have friends who are NOT my Significant Other, but I value their privacy. Adam, on the other hand, is all over the internet*, so clearly, he gets to be the topic of all of my posts. Anyway, just wanted to get that off my chest, so my two readers don’t think I’m some Boring Smug Married who spends all of her time with her S.O.

*We met in real life, or IRL as the kids say, but he is the most useless person to google because there is Way Too Much information about him on the internet.

Anyway, so we’ve been taking these long walks, or as Adam dubbed them “Urban Hikes” (and as he’s dubbed himself, “Guide Adam,” pronounced obnoxiously French-y, as in “Geeede Ahhhdahm”) around the city, and we’ve seen some cool rarely seen sights in the city. Like graffiti:

lemon drop socks WIP

Here’s the traveling sock with some graffiti at 5 Pointz, which is this huge factory space covered with graffiti. (My city councilperson*, by the way, hates graffiti with a crazy vengeance, and is always sending me updates–via snail mailed newsletters–about his latest attempts to convince marketers and branding companies that “graffiti is not art.” Sometimes I understand his issues, especially on storefronts and private residences, but sometimes, I am like, “Okay, just let The Man use graffiti on some stupid energy drink to pretend to be cool. OMG.”  Personally, I think some graffiti can be really neat, though, like I said, there is the bourgeois part of me that understands how graffiti is my city councilperson’s pet peeve. Like ugly tags. Why do people have to use those? Blech. Also, I am probably the only person in my district who reads my city councilperson’s newslwetters.)

*New York has a representative for each district called a councilperson or councilman, who serves, duh, as part of the City Council. They’re pretty much small-time politicians, though they do have a certain amount of power as individuals and as a governing body. They’re generally pretty accessible, though.

lemon drop socks WIP

A close-up of the sock with some graffiti outside 5 Pointz.

We were trying to walk from Queens to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but it took longer than we thought, so stopped in Williamsburg.  New Yorkers know Williamsburg is The Hipster Neighborhood, but there’s also the Hasidic Jewish part, which is less commonly visited by non-Hasidic Jews, and which is where we ended up. I knew, however, from past experience, that the Hasidic Jews serve delicious stuffed cabbage, but we could not, for the life of us, find a single restaurant. It might have been because it was Sunday, or that there aren’t a lot of restaurants in general in the Hasidic part of the neighborhood. (Interestingly, I was just reading this week’s New York magazine, which just came in the mail, and it has an article summing up the problems between the hipsters and the Hasids, amusingly entitled “Clash of the Bearded Ones.”) I was starving, though I did manage to satisfy my hunger a little bit with some chocolate babka (I went to Jewish pre-school at a JCC, so even though I am not Jewish, nor a hipster, but Chinese-American, I have a store of Jewish knowledge that pops up at random times. Like what babka is. Or how to recite Jewish prayers. Or how to make challah. *I* should be the subject of a New York magazine article! Chinese girl raised Jewish! Though I went to a Reform Jewish pre-school in San Francisco, which is quite different from the very observant Hasidic Jewish community in New York.)

Anyway, we crossed over from the Hasidic side of Williamsburg to the Hipster side to eat at Diner. Where there were ramps on the menu. RAMPS! Adam and I make fun of ramps all the time, because foodies are always like “Ramps! Ramps! Ramps!” We are like, “Okay, calm down, freak shows.” Anyway, we had the ramps. Unsurprisingly, they were like any member of the allium family (leeks, onions, chives, etc.). You know, CHIVE-y. And tasty. But not, mind-blowingly tasty. Just good. I also had the nettle fettuccine (NETTLES!) and it was good. Adam was like, “Do those noodles have some sting? Is that the nettles?” I was drinking (a rare thing for me, because I am sort of allergic to alcohol), and I was like, “I don’t know…everything is making me feel sting-y.”

lemon drop socks WIP

Diner is set in an old railroad car. Can you get any more hipster?

Posted in Socks, travelingproject at April 12th, 2010.

Okay, I always think food on people’s knitting blogs is Very Boring, but I don’t have a lot of knitting content to show you, so food it is.

Asian Chicken-and-Spinach Soup

Asian spinach soup with chicken from America’s Test Kitchen Best Simple Recipes. This could be improved, mainly because the noodles make everything very gummy. Also, I halved the recipe, but left in two chicken breasts. This was a mistake. Should have only used one. But used more spinach. The mirin and Asian chili sauce, though, adds some nice punch. I would say a B. I would make again, but it needs some tweaking.

Cheddar Herb Biscuits

This is not the best picture, but these are herb cheddar biscuits from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics. I owned an earlier version of this cookbook (entitled just Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, I think) but I gave it away when I moved several years ago, but I missed it, and luckily, I received the new edition for my shower! I always wanted to make these since the recipe was in the magazine, and they were great. I halved the recipe (which was supposed to make 20), and it still made almost 20. Tip: If you want to save re-patting the dough out and stuff, cut into wedges instead of circles. These are actually pretty easy to make, and Adam loved them (even the day after, when they were a bit less tasty). He ate 5 when they were hot. He asked what the secret was and I said, “Crisco.” He was all, “Martha put Crisco in a recipe?!?” I said, “Well, she called it vegetable shortening, but I’m not sure what else is vegetable shortening except for Crisco.” Also, an entire stick of butter. Still, very tasty and flaky. Amazing how fats make everything tasty. This was a solid A. Especially good hot!

Okay, am aiming for knitting content tomorrow, so this doesn’t turn into hausfrau blog.

Posted in cooking at April 6th, 2010.

So it’s actually warmed up a bit this week, but the last few weeks have been really quite chilly. Not cold enough for mittens, but cold enough for my fingerless mitts.

Sadly, I was taking the S (or Shuttle) subway a few weeks ago, and I dropped one of my mittSF (my own pattern, click on the link for the free pattern)! Oh noes.

MittSF and Socks

One lonely mitt left…those are Adam’s Civil War Socks that I knit for him by the way, not a weird New Balance foot fet*sh photo.

The super annoying thing was that I dropped it on the little platform that’s just below the platform. Adam even got on his belly on the (totally disgusting) Times Square platform to try and reach it for me, but it was just a few inches too far. I actually dropped my MetroCard a year ago at my subway station and the MTA folks kindly got on the track to get it for me (even though the conductor was annoyed when he found out it was just a MetroCard–he thought I had dropped a cellphone), but there was no help at the busy Times Square platform. The gal at the ticket booth said that there were only two (TWO!) people assigned to pick up stuff from the tracks for the whole city and hinted that they might never come; the train conductor firmly told me that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should I attempt to get it myself (he pointed out that there was the Very Dangerous and Murderous Third Rail, which is electrified); and the policemen (and, by the way, New Yorkers, have you noticed way more police presence in the subway stations lately?) nodded sympathetically when I wailed “But I knit it myself!” but were like, “Yeah, it’s a mitten, get over it.”

Sigh. Well, I can always knit another pair.

Posted in travelingproject at April 5th, 2010.

So, I like how I was all braggalocious in my last post and was like, “Hey! I’m going to post all the time!” Apparently that was an April Fool’s joke in my mind. Also, I came down with a cold. Anyhow, since I don’t have any new knitting to show you, here are some crappy photos of things I tried to cook recently:

soup

This is a barley soup al verde, from the Silver Spoon Cookbook (oooh lala). It was re-tweaked for Serious Eats. Barley with cabbage and spinach and stuff. It was okay, I would rate it a B.

IMG_0762

This is a mystery en papilotte! Or actually, mystery en aluminum foil.

Et voila!

IMG_0763

Scallops! I made way too many–I made this pack x2! Only needed one. The devious fishmonger convinced me I needed more. I overcooked them a bit; I worried 10 minutes wasn’t enough, but of course it was, and I cooked for 12. Also, I really need an oven thermometer. Yes, I put one on the registry!

IMG_0764

I don’t think you can tell, because of the color of the plate, but there’s roasted beets with scallops on top, with clementine slices and a balsamic orange vinaigrette on top. Kind of made it up with stuff in my house, but it’s a copy of a very similar appetizer at Dumont, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Posted in cooking at April 2nd, 2010.