Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Boy and his Hat

Originally uploaded by 3Birds
I didn't like the middle bit of my first attempt (see previous entry) well enough to bother with reknitting the crown and the ribbing, so I started again. The beauty of the knitted hat (for me) is that I can finish one in about the time it takes to watch 2-3 episodes of House. The bottom band is adapted from a chart in Alice Starmore's Fair Isle book. I'd already knit the first 4 rounds when I brought my knitting with me in the car. I'd left the chart at home, so I improvised the remaining rounds. the rest of the patterning is improvised. Ever since I knit him his first hat, a rusty orange watch-cap with a sad little pompon, Robin has worn his hats indoors and out all winter long. Not every day or anything like that, but frequently enough that I notice when he doesn't have it on, and worry that he's lost it.

We've been spending a lot of time cooking and baking these past two weeks. None of my food pictures have turned out well enough to post, so you'll have to imagine the simple beauty of a creamy white blancmange with nubbly bits of almond and a raspberry swirl. Our jam thumbprints were also a success, so much so that they are my new favorite cookie (replacing molasses spice cookies and not including snickerdoodles which are in a class by themselves.) Finally, I have a new method for preparing a whole chicken, thanks to Cooks Illustrated. Instead of roasting the bird, I seared it on both sides along with some aromatics, then cooked it in a covered pot in a low oven until it was done. The suculunt meat and rich jus more than compensated for the lack of crispy, crackling skin. No doughnuts or cream puffs yet; these require more time and concentration than I've had lately. Soon!

Finally, if you're ever feeling gloomy because the kids are sick, it's raining, the house is drafty, the economy sucks, or any other reason, and you can't manage cookies or cake, try sauteeing some onion in butter. Then add garlic and ginger and curry spices. Dump in some butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut into chunks, or even some canned pumpkin along with some water, broth, or coconut milk. Simmer until the squash is tender or, if you used pumpkin, until the flavors have had time to make friends one with another. Your house will smell heavenly and you will feel better. Probably better enough to make a lovely pilaf and perhaps even some quick bread!

dinner tonight: curried butternut squash, saffron-almond rice, homemade chapati

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