Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another cool old pic

March 21, 2008, taken while Adam was cooking.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The most satisfying thing I got done today

I used the recipe from Cook's Country's The New Best Recipe, which, although it was a present to Adam from my mom, is fast becoming my most trusted source for really good whatever it is I want to make. These are fat and chewy and fan-fargin-tastic. I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips instead of Nestle and they are better. The recipe has you use melted butter and remove one of the egg whites. The melted butter lets the flour have at the water it contains early so gluten develops, which helps with the chewy. To keep them from getting hard, you need the fat in two egg yolks, but the extra water in a second egg white is too much water. This is their explanation, in essence. I like that they give you their process of experimentation and deduction before giving you the recipe they derived from it. I'm a big fan!

Found art

I'm going through old photos to organize and categorize. I love to do stuff like this, but who has the time, usually? So I found some time to do it and am looking at my old pics. I never took many photographs until I got a digital camera because I found the costs of film AND developing just prohibitive, or at least overwhelmingly constricting to my sense of spontaneity. I'm still not in the regular habit, but I'm getting better at remembering that I have a camera with me all the time, and when I see cool things like this sky, I can just grab a shot. This was September 17, 2005. I lived in the City, still. Days like this in September don't pass without one remarking to oneself that 9/11 had such a sky. This was at the end of the day, and some remarkable sun caught on the cloud before it (the sun) set.

So I took the first picture and then an airplane obligingly crossed into the frame, completing the reference.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas dinner, summarized

It was a wonderful feast. We had succulent goose and duck, my stuffing, Holly's wonderful salad, Adam's AMAZING mashed potatoes (courtesy of the "Cook's" team, the best mashed potatoes I have EVER had), and Donna's delicious chocolate cheese cake. It was a spectacular meal.

Here's Adam with his birds:

This is frickin' heavy, take the picture already!

Here is some of the meat; the duck is on the left of the platter (a wedding/Christmas present to us from my sister, as is the big bowl containing the stuffing), the goose on the right:

I was surprised at how dark the meat was, especially the goose meat.

Here are most of our happy guests (Adam's sister Tracy managed to evade the camera somehow):

The chef (at right) with his beautiful platter of goose and duck:

Almost all of the duck and goose got consumed. After their fats were melted off, they were actually smallish birds. Apparently this is normal. We all had plenty to eat, but not much left over. We gave to-go containers out to any who would accept them of stuffing (and the mashed potatoes, regrettably). We still ended up with some leftover stuffing, thank goodness.

* * * * *

And today, Adam asked me to go to Whole Foods and pick up some more cheese. We needed more. While I was there, he had me get a turkey as well.

I didn't get enough time in the kitchen, let me roast a turkey on the day after.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For those who celebrate Christmas, have a lovely one today!

We're preparing for our dinner of friends and family, for which Adam is making a roast goose and roast duck. I made my famous stuffing, and Adam will also make mashed potatoes. He consulted his new Cook's Best Recipes book my mom gave him and read it to me; I love their scientific examination of all the variables that contribute to or take away from the perfect creamy consistency and best flavor. I'm looking forward to those! I've also requested he make my favorite gravy, which is that made from the Williams Sonoma base, in addition to the goose-drippings-cognac gravy he's making for those who don't mind a little food in their booze. :)

With a fair amount of squabbling and contentiousness last night we set up the tables (several times in an attempt to fit them into our rather small dining room) and put the new Target linens out on them. (Macy's failed us in our registry as far as linens go, removing our chosen items from availability, so I had to fall back on old Tarjhay.) This morning I set the table with our new china and silverware. Look how pretty:

Also, here are some photos of the swags of (real) pine boughs around the ceiling, with the new ornaments my mom gave us

and the ornaments my sister-in-law, brother, and their kids gave us (gherkins!)

as well as, you see above, an ornament I bought in Wyoming when we were out there this summer.

Now Adam's put on the WPIX Yule Log and has gone up to perform his ablutions. My turn's next.

May the peace and love of the holiday be with you all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Stefane,' for Julianne

I finished the sweater for Julianne about a week ago. Today I washed it and it's now blocking/drying on a towel on the floor here.

'Stefane' by Cirilia Rose from Berroco #290, Vintage™ Arts & Crafts - Ravelry link

The arms look exceptionally long, even when you figure that it is supposed to come down to her knuckles and there is a thumbhole on each sleeve. However, the sleeve seams probably will sit on a raglan angle, bringing the sleeve length up a bit. I really hope it fits. The smallest size in the pattern (even though the booklet was for tweens) was a girls' large, and J is not that big a kid yet, so I made some modifications to the pattern while I was working. I also added a stitch on either side in place of a side seam so I could work it in the round. You can see here how that enabled me to do the decreases and increases into one column:

Unfortunately, as a consequence of these changes, the scye was a lot larger than the sleeve, and I really had to work ease into the seams there. I'm not 100% confident it will fit right. I guess I will have to wait to see how it fits ON her. Ugh - I hate not being certain about gifts I knit. Anyway, I'll update with a photo when she puts it on after I give it to her.

I HOPE SHE LIKES IT! There's nothing more daunting than trying to make a gift for a tween (well, except making a gift for a teenager).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knitting club at work

I've been trying to form a knitting group at work for some time now. Unsuccessfully. My biggest obstacle is not knowing any other knitters here. I've spoken to a woman in HR to see if she had any ideas for promoting it, and she's enthusiastic but really busy. I got permission from the building manager to have our meetings in the canteen where there are free sodas and coffee, and even snacks. So all I need is some other knitters!

I have a friend at another of the dot coms here, and I belatedly discovered that she is a knitter, but the company sold them and they moved to another part of town (sad to lose her here too because she's a really cool woman). In my company, it's mostly guys. Women are pretty unusual in the programming world. So I always feel a bit embarrassed to knit around them, even when we are officially off work, at our Thursday night happy hours and such.

Anyway, I've put up signs on a couple of the floors of the building, but I haven't gotten any nibbles yet. I think I'm going to have to be more brazen and go up to the canteen and knit at lunchtime. It's the only way I can think of to advertise that I am a knitter and possible smoke out the other ones here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Still mulling over my options

So now I'm not so sure about the orange sweater pattern, because I just went and looked through ALL the Classic Elite patterns on Patternfish and I found some beauties, two of which I think I'm going to combine for my project.

First, there's 808, The Llama - A Beast of Burden (on the right, below):

I really like this, pretty much as is. However, then I saw this - 419, Lands End Labyrinth:

I love the picot edging around the neckline and I LURVE the bottom section as well, though I'm not crazy about the central giant cable and prefer the central vertical cable in the Llama and how, as they note on Patternfish, it "anticipates the V" of the V-neck. So I may add the elements I like in Labyrinth to the Llama pattern. I bought both of them - at $4 each, they are a bargain!

Or - since this is now veering far from the original sweater that I want to recapture, which was a slightly oversized stockinette V-neck - I might just throw out all these fancy-pants ideas and go with plain stockinette.

We had our potluck lunch and holiday cookie swap today at work - I brought lasagna that Adam made - reheated with extra sauce on top, it was quite good. (We were worried that it wasn't "saucy" enough and therefore too dry.) I also made gingerbread "persons" that went over VERY well. Here you can see some of them after I iced them:

And one that didn't escape:


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rowan International

I know I've complained about errata in their patterns before, but I just joined the Rowan International club. After finding out that, on the occasion of the publication of their new book, Rowan's Greatest Knits, Rowan just made a whole slew of finalists-but-not-quite-winners (patterns) available on their site for free, I went over and perused the selection and downloaded a bunch of things, and remembered how much I love their biannual books, so I signed up for the membership. I also found the pattern I am going to use for my orange sweater, whenever I can get around to knitting it. (I have a backlog, including one secret and really cool project Adam and I are working on together.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

This one of many reasons why I love my job.

"So I was hanging around the office, and a mad game of four-dimensional tic-tac-toe broke out..."

Doug, who (a) is a math PhD and (b) has played this game a million times, was blue circles and the winner. Jeremy was red Xs and I was green triangles. This reminds me a lot of SET! The popular card game of visual perception. What fun!

I've been away from blog posting for months, during which time a huge amount of stuff has happened. Our cat died, we got married and went on honeymoon, and now the holidays are in full swing. I have been knitting a lot and spinning some during all that time. I'm back, and will post more about those projects soon.