December 8, 2009

Argyle

Argyle Blanket

For my ninth knitting project I wanted a preppy design in a masculine color palette, something that would age well as the intended recipient grew-up. I think I succeeded with this diamonds on diamonds pattern in navy and gray. It also turned out huge! It is about 3′ x 5′ of fantastic superwash merino wool. This pattern had a stitch guide that I had to refer to for all fifteen square feet of knitting. It took me forever and has already logged a ton of miles, flying with me to Oregon and Utah.

Which all brings me to the rub. I’ve grown attached you see. This seemingly simple pattern was actually a ton of work and I’m so happy with the results. I don’t know if anyone but me will appreciate the hours and hours that went into this thing. But can I just keep it?

It wasn’t for any specific event, just a nice, good will present to be given at no particular time. I could always make another blanket, maybe something I’m less attached to? But then I don’t really need another throw and I was intending it to be a gift. Will it be more satisfying to give it away or to snuggle under it myself?

December 7, 2009

Beet Loaf

Beet loaf was the center piece of my Thanksigiving dinner this year. I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetraian”.

Beet Loaf
2 lbs beets, trimmed, peeled and grated
1 cup packed pitted dates or dried plums (prunes)
1 cup almonds
2 inches peeled ginger, cut into coins
1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cups boiling red water
2 Tbs Dijon or other mustard
1/4 cup evo or butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Cayenne optional to taste
Red Pepper Flakes option to taste

In a food processor, grate the beets. Switch to the regular blade and add the dates, almonds and ginger. You may have to do this in batches. Grind until a fine mulch but not a pulp. In a bowl mix the wine and bulgur, then add the beet mixture and begin seasoning. Let stand, covered for at least 20 minutes. Taste again and refine the flavor. Grease a 6 cup loaf pan. Press mixture into pan, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 30 minutes. It will be hard to tell if it is done because of the dark color of the loaf, but any amount of done-ness will work.

I found the flavor of this loaf to be very good, but the mixture itself did not stick together. I plan to turn the leftover loaf into burgers and will probably add an egg or two to give it some more binding power.

This loaf is great served with mustard or a horseradish sour cream dip.

December 1, 2009

Thanks Given

I’ve often been asked what the heck I eat for Thanksgiving, as if being a vegetarian means that without Turkey I will have nothing. This year we hosted dinner for four at our apartment and somehow I found a few things to make. In the photo above, going clockwise from the biscuit:
1. Baking powder biscuits, made with butter.
2. Mashed sweet potatoes with orange juice, nutmeg and butter (CSA)
3. Homemade cranberry sauce by SB with local cranberries
4. Coleslaw with California Dates by my Mom
5. Classic stuff or dressing from the bag, gussied up with veggie soup stock, apples and onions
6. Beet loaf with red wine, bulgar wheat and almonds (CSA)
7. Mashed potatoes with seasoning and butter (CSA)
8. (On the side) Cashew gravy with cashews, soy sauce, corn startch, and poultry seasoning
9. (Not pictured) Pumpkin cheesecake bars by SB and soooo good

The beet loaf was a new experiment this year, based on a Mark Bitman recipe. While I thought it was good and it received praise, I think it will be better as burgers rather than in loaf form. It also just wasn’t quite the harmonious loaf item that I wanted it to be. Next year I will try a different recipe, something with brown rice. Speaking of next year, I also want to try making my own dressing, maybe with chetnuts (a la Jeff), rather than buying the bag. I admit, bagged stuffing does have a soft spot in my food loves, much like boxed mac-n-cheese.

Another great vegetarian Thanksgiving. There’s plenty to be thankful for in that.




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  • Eating salted avocados with a spoon in Madison.
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