Knit City 2013

This past weekend, I went with some knitter friends to Knit City.  Yes, you read that right, I have knitter friends!  In the past few months I have connected with some other serious knitters who understand what gauge, DPN, frogging and blocking mean.  No longer does Dave need to be with me at these events (though I think he misses them a little bit). 

I went in with some specific things I wanted and had some success and in the process got to connect and reconnect with some of the designers that I really like, including Jane Richmond, Shannon Cook and Melissa from Miso Crafty (man I love that name!)  Tin Can Knits was there as well. I love her patterns especially Gramps, which I hope to knit up soon for future babies.

Here are some of the treasures I bought:

Small project bag from Miso Crafty Knits.  I have been wanting one of these for ages and I was so happy to see a pattern I knew I wanted instantly and that she even had a booth this year (first time).  Melissa did an awesome job in the small space and I hope she sold out, cause she deserves it with all the work she put in.  

 

I also saw this amazing Malabrigo Rasta in Teal Feather. And if you know me and teal, you know I couldn’t pass this up.  I should be able to find a quick cowl to knit up to go with my cream coloured winter jacket. 

 

Lastly, and this one may seem like a real odd ball choice, but I got a hot neon pink skein from Vancouver’s own Rain City Knits.  I have been wanting to do a fun project for myself or a kid with a neon colour and some solids like gray or black.  This is going to work perfectly.  Think stripped scarf. 

I had a great time and I’m looking forward to what creations comes out of my new finds.

I may also have some knitting dates coming up with my new knitting friends.  Where we will sit and sip tea and knit.  But for now I’m going to get my knitting on.  I wonder what Dave will say…

 

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Cookbooks: Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook

I have been looking for a good pie dough for a little while now and finally found one that works really well in a cookbook I bought in California called Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.   Not only was the pie dough recipe good, but so was the Rustic Apple Pie recipe I used as a filling, which included soaking the apples in rum and finely dicing up rosemary to add into the apple filling.  It was delicious.  I’m a lover of rosemary and the herb just added the perfect amount of complexity to the dish to make the apple pie just that much more delicious.

I’ve tested a couple other recipes from this book including the Leek and Potato Gratin, Harvest Beef Chilli, Butternut Squash-Filled Lasagna Rolls (yum!) and the Sautéed Chicken with Pears (double yum!).  I’ve only had one dud from this book (Buttery Peach Cake) which I think may have been more my error than the books, as others certainly liked it even if I didn’t love it.

Sautéing leeks for the Potato and Leek Gratin.
Sautéing leeks for the Potato and Leek Gratin.

I think one of my favourite aspects is that the recipes are divided by season and not protein or by course.  This way I can look ahead of time at what should be at the farmers market when I’m grocery planning so I can have the best produce and ingredients for the meal.

Another thing I love is the two guys who wrote the book.  I read their first book about moving from New York City to start a farm.  They weren’t experienced farmers, but they were willing to work really, really hard to do what they loved.  Success was difficult (so were the mortgage payments) and in an interesting twist of fate they ended up on The Amazing Race and won in the last season, allowing them to pay off their mortgage and really develop their farm and business.  They make soap and currently have a second cookbook out focused on desserts which I’m very curious about.   

Check out their site here.

From Looking to Cooking

Raspberry Blackberry Soufflé with Salted Caramel ice cream (Earnest Ice Cream). The soufflé is based off a dish seen on Masterchef Australia.
Raspberry Blackberry Soufflé with Salted Caramel ice cream (Earnest Ice Cream). The soufflé is based off a dish seen on Masterchef Australia.

My cooking has been growing a lot this past year, even so much as to say it is the Year of Food for me (Dave is benefitting greatly too!).  I have been learning so much and trying new techniques and I’m sure that is going to pop up on my blog a bit more.  

It is interesting how new passions can develop in areas you never really thought much about in your younger years.  In my early 20s I was eating TV dinners and frequenting McDonalds.  The extent of my cooking was a really fatty (but delicious) bacon Alfredo pasta from an early Jamie Oliver cookbook.  I was never really more adventurous than buying a cookbook with pretty pictures and maybe trying the easiest recipe in it…but mostly I just looked at the pictures.  For some reason it didn’t really connect that I could make those dishes. 

With my growing interest in the Farmer’s Market beside our church, I decided it was time to really start learning how to cook better, plus I was getting married and I wanted Dave and I to eat well for years to come, hence the culinary course I took in the winter.  That was a great ground work for getting my knife skills up to chuff, so much so that I actually enjoy mise en place (preparing all the ingredients before cooking) and I’m getting a bit more speed up on my cutting.

After watching tons of Masterchef Australia, it has dawned on me that I CAN cook anything I put my mind too.  I may fail in some things, but I can always learn from it and correct it the second time around.

Prosciutto-Sage Chicken with Pan-Roasted Figs from Keys to the Kitchen cookbook.
Prosciutto-Sage Chicken with Pan-Roasted Figs from Keys to the Kitchen cookbook.

Now that I have some great kitchen things, due to the generous donations from friends and family to our wedding fund, I have a stand mixer and a good sauté pan.  I now have the ability to make some really awesome food that was complicated to create with what I had before.  It is so much easier when you can sauté something on the stove top then stick the pan right in the oven (good stainless steel) and it is much easier to properly blend in sugar to a meringue when you don’t have to balance a hand blender in one hand and pouring sugar in the other while your bowl threatens to rattle off the counter. 

More kitchen awesomeness to come!