Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Proof That I Do Knit

There's been very little knitting content recently, for several reasons. Cooking has taken over as my primary hobby, which often leaves very little time for knitting. Adding to that, almost all of my knitting recently has been Christmas knitting, and I don't wan to post here and spoil everyone's surprise.

But, meet my friend H:

She is one of my best friends, and is actually the person who taught me to knit. She is a wonderful, crazy, free-sprited person. I also happen to know that she does not read my blog. Shes in her second year of vet school at Virginia Tech (the picture above is her showing her school spirit with her partner-in-crime, Diego). She stays so busy just keeping up with her classes, working as the medical coordinator for a local animal rescue organization, caring for her own menagerie of animals (Diego is the big brother to a few kittens, not to mention her roommates pets), training for and completing triathlons, and trying to maintain her sanity. So, I feel relatively safe blogging about her Christmas present.

As you can probably tell, H shares my fondness for crazy hats. So I decided to make her one:

Yarn: I don't remember offhand, but I'll try to check when I get home and edit this post:
Needles: US7 circulars and DPNs
Pattern: Kinda my own basic hat pattern. Nothing too exciting.

I used Virginia Tech colors, and took my striping inspiration from Kristy. I liked the idea of having the stripes get thinner as the hat got narrower. I realized though, that if I made each stripe one row thinner than the previous one (like Kristy did), the hat wouldn't be nearly long enough. So each "set" of stripes is thinner than the "set" before it. For example: The first maroon stripe and the first orange stripe were 14 rows. The next maroon stripe and orange stripe were 13 rows...and so on, until the last few stripes were just one row each!

When modeling this hat, it only took a few minutes for me to discover how warm it actually is. I hope H will like it, and it will be able to keep her warm during the cold winters in the mountains of western Virginia. For a warm-weather lover like H, you can never have too many things to keep you warm in winter!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Better-Late-Than-Never Thanksgiving Post

So, posts are few and far between these days...with the lead up to the holidays and all the extra cooking and knitting that entails, there has been very little time to actually blog about all this! But as a food blogger, and can't let Thanksgiving go by without a post.

As you know, I don't like to cook the same recipe more than once, and this includes Thanksgiving. My only real Thanksgiving "tradition" is that I make Cornish Hens instead of Turkey. We usually only have a small group of guests (just four this year), and even the smallest Turkey is overkill. Cornish hens, on the other hand, allow for a nice presentation, and have limited left-overs.

This year, I decided to have a Moroccan-themed Thanksgiving dinner. I started with some homemade hummus and babagannouj, with pita and vegetable for dipping. Our main course was Moroccan-style Cornish Game Hens served over Golden Couscous.

I prepared this pretty much as written...only a couple of exceptions. First, I decided to brine the hens in a solution that had hints of the Moroccan spices. I made a brine mixture, then threw in chunks of onion, a few orange slices, and some whole allspice, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and cardamom pods, and allowed them to brine for about 4-6 hours. Before making the spice mixture, I toasted spices briefly in a dry skillet for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant. The couscous was also prepared almost as written, except that I added golden raisins and chopped dried apricots, for added flavor and texture.

Sides included:
Tender Potato Bread rolls and Moroccan Focaccia

Moroccan Salad with Goat Cheese, Beets, & Oranges.My sister-in-law loved this salad, and would grab a little bit as a snack the few days following Thanksgiving. While I'm not normally a beet fan, this was pretty good.

And Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of this one, but it was yummy. But with that much butter and garlic, how can you go wrong?

Dessert was my favorite pumpkin pie recipe, from this book. It's sweetened and flavored with maple syrup, giving it a wonderful depth of flavor that you don't find in most pumpkin pies.

While the food was wonderful, the highlight of Thanksgiving was the family. My mom joined us for dinner, and Psycling's brother and sister-in-law came in from Louisville. We had a great weekend with them. We went to the Georgia Aquarium, watched movies, and My sister-in-law and I visited various craft and yarn stores, and spent time knitting while the guys did "guy stuff." It was fun.

I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have such wonderful family, both the family I was born into and the family I married into. Food is yummy, but you can't have a good meal without sharing it with loved ones!