Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cedric's holidays so far

Cedric is loving his holidays!  He was King of the Thanksgiving Turkey!

And he loved the table setting, and eagerly awaited all the guests' arriving.

After all the guests arrived, he was too busy socializing to take pictures--everyone had so much fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cedric visits the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge

Cedric got to join a tour of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge!  And you can see Paul there, too, taking a photo as well.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sewing a dress: watch those pocket seams!

I've been having so much fun, and the dress is coming along well--the bodice front, back, and sides are together, and the skirt is attached to the bodice.

I decided, before sewing the skirt, that I wanted on seam pockets.  My favorite skirt has these, and I wanted some just like those.  I got out my sewing book, The Complete book of sewing, and read all the directions.  I turned that favorite skirt inside out, and traced the pockets as the basis of a pattern, and carefully cut out the pieces from the scraps leftover from cutting out the dress pieces.  I followed the instructions in the book, very carefully, I thought...

Obviously, I forgot to remember to pay attention to where the seam allowances were going!

I decided not to rip them out and redo them--I'll use them as a design opportunity--possibilities I have in mind include sewing them down with a decorative stitch in a cute color, or with a cute seam binding.  I'll see what I think the rest of the dress is sewn together.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cook for Julia: Omelettes

I'm delighted to celebrate Julia Child's 100th birthday by making something that I had never made before learning how to do it from the egg episode of the French Chef, and from her cookbook, From Julia Child's Kitchen: omelettes.

This is one of the omelettes I made this morning (photo by Paul), a two-egg omelette with grated mozzarella in the center, and early girl dry-farmed tomatoes on top:

A while ago I made a short video of me making omelettes to demonstrate my new skill, to get points for Guild Wars (in the Ravelry Ankh-Morpork Knitters' Guild).

Thank you, Julia, for teaching me to make something so delicious, so quick, and when made with Riverdog Farm organic pastured eggs, so very tasty!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I'm in love with chapatis. I used the recipe from India's 500 Best Recipes, which doesn't offer a lot of directions, so I would say that it's a recipe for people with some experience making stove top flat breads.

I've made them with home ground whole wheat flour (we grind the wheat berries with our KitchenAid's flour mill attachment), and they taste great. I haven't yet tried them with chapati flour (atta), but I will look for that next time we're at the Indian market.

They're very fast to make, and delicious!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Osprey cam

My friend Maggisen told me about this amazing osprey cam in Estonia. I've been lucky enough to see her adjust the eggs, groom, and greet daddy, but today, I not only saw that a chick had hatched, but they fed the chick a fish:

I'm off to watch some more!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Lentil Soup

I've been working on a lentil soup that I liked for a long time. I started with Martha Rose Shulman's "Pureed Lentil Soup" from Mediterranean Light, since it's one of my favorite cookbooks. Her soups are great, and this is one of my favorite cookbooks, but I find that I often start by making her soup recipes exactly as written, then increasing the amount of spices and sometimes adding more spices as I make them in the future, developing a soup that's just more to my taste.

This is actually a very fast soup once you get the hang of it. I can come home, and an hour later have this soup and a batch of biscuits on the table.

I'm assuming a basic familiarity with toasting and grinding spices--you can substitute ground spices for the whole ones that I toast and grind--it's just that my market sells those particular ones whole, so that's what I have in my cabinet!

The Lentil Soup

1 tbsp. or so olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks of celery, chopped, if using water
2 cups lentils (green or brown)
2 quarts water or stock (I prefer stock)
1 bay leaf
1 parmesan rind (optional)

juice of one lemon

2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. fenugreek
2 tsp. black mustard seed

3/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. agave syrup, honey, or sugar
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. paprika
dash of sesame oil

salt to taste (if using water or unsalted stock, about 2 tsp. salt)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot and sauté the onion until starting to brown. If you're using celery, add the celery and sauté another few minutes. Add the garlic and sauté briefly, then add the water or stock and the lentils, the bay leaf, and the parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Stir often, since the soup may get pretty thick.

Juice the lemon, and add to the pot.

Then: put the coriander, fenugreek, and black mustard seed in a small pan and toast on the stove. (You'll toast them over low to medium heat until they become very aromatic.) Then grind the spices in a mortar and pestle. Add to the pot.

Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot, except for the salt--wait until the lentils are tender to add the salt.

If you like, you can puree the soup--we usually do--then taste and correct the spices if needed. You can also puree only some of it, or skip pureeing it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Timson's April 1 Ravatar

Timson and I always enjoy the funny hats that appear on Ravelry on April Fools' Day, but this year's is terrific--Timson thinks it makes his everyday cap very jaunty--no fooling!

Happy April Fool's, everyone!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sewing a dress

I've embarked upon an experiment. I've sewed dresses before, but they've been simple affairs. I've sewed fitted blouses. I've sewed simple skirts. But after too many days, months, even years of not finding a 100% cotton dress with sleeves that fit, I began to think about sewing something more adventurous. Sure, I've found plenty of sun dresses that were 100% cotton and were cut very simply so that they more or less fit, but what about the other 353 days of the year when the weather isn't sun dress weather?

But after looking at patterns I ran into the same problem: the dresses made from just wouldn't fit.

Then I found Vogue fitting : the book of fitting techniques, adjustments, and alterations at the library, and thought, "I can do this."

I think I can do this!

So I got my own copy of the book, and New Look 6587, and decided to make dress A. Then I began to take measurements. I worked through the book, taking my measurements and comparing them with the standard measurements, and after following the "contact" link on the Simplicity site and hearing back from the very helpful people there, also added the actual garment measurements to my comparison table. The results: I needed to enlarge the waist.

After a trip to the art supply store for tracing paper, I then used the instructions in the book to trace and draw new pattern pieces that enlarged the waist and lower bodice of dress A. And after pushing the table aside in our tiny living room, and using the floor to lay out and cut out the fabric, I was able to begin sewing.

The first instructions were for something I'd never done before: stay-stitching seams, clipping them, and then curving the bodice front to fit the bodice side. (Without doing this, the two pieces of fabric wouldn't fit together without gathers and/or puckers.) And I'm so happy with the results! Sure, the pattern doesn't match up at the seam, but I'm not even trying to do that with this first dress. I'm just delighted that the seam lays flat so nicely.

I'm going to keep sewing very carefully, and hopefully, at the end, I'll have a 100% cotton dress with sleeves that I can wear most (if not all) of the year, that fits, and a pattern from which I can make more.