Monday, July 30, 2007

ester, kelly, pay it forward

finally, a decent photo of ester, complete with gratuitous back shot of my favorite dress: a halter dress made of an old snap shirt and a scarf (local designer, found at roulette vintage.). perfect dress for the kelly willis concert last night! her new songs are great, cat's cradle is smoke-free, and the crowd was thin but committed: all in all a highly enjoyable experience in our favorite hippie town of carrboro. mr. boot took me to see the kelly willis / bruce robison christmas concert in december, but we didn't realize that they do that tour annually and actually sing christmas carols. it was a bit excessively christmas-y for us (although we loved "oklahoma christmas" with its classic line, "pass the god-damn sweet potatoes") . anyway, nice to see her again. i used to see bruce with their youngest kid in a stroller at pacha in austin. austin, sigh.

anyway, i'm following nuttnbunny's pay it forward challenge; see the original idea here. given my short list of regular readers, the odds are good that you'll get something from me, so jump in!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

austin enchiladas

all summer i've been craving real austin enchiladas, the kind i used to get at polvo's. how to get around the dairy-free issue? well, i replaced the cheese with tofu sour cream, and added scallops for creaminess. so, here's my recipe for grilled scallop enchiladas with roasted poblano peppers, tofu-cilantro sour cream sauce, and blue corn tortillas. enjoy!

12 scallops
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
12 small blue corn tortillas
2 small poblano peppers, sliced
1 small onion, sliced

for the tofu-cilantro sour cream:
1 block of mori-nu tofu, firm
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 t. rice vinegar
3 T lemon juice
1/2-3/4 c. cilantro leaves

for the salsa:
5-6 small tomatoes
1/4 of a red onion
1/2 c. of cilantro leaves
[OR 2 c. of red or green salsa]

sprinkle olive oil on the scallops. on an outdoor grill, cook the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side. or, use the broiler and watch carefully. shred the meat from a leftover chicken breast or 2. meanwhile, sautee the poblanos and onion until browned.

in a blender or small food processor, whirl all ingredients for the tofu-cilantro sour cream and set aside. rinse out the bowl, and whirl all ingredients for the salsa. set aside.

in a 9"x13" pan, layer 1/2 the salsa (about 1 c.) and 6 tortillas to cover pan. evenly distribute the scallops and chicken over the tortillas, then cover with the poblanos and onions. spread all of the tofu-cilantro sour cream over this mixture, cover with 6 tortillas, and top with the remaining salsa (about 1 c.).

bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until warm in the center. serve with black beans, rice, and extra salsa.

EDIT: you may have noticed that i didn't post a photo. that's because this is perhaps not as photogenic as a plate of trudy's enchiladas. but, what it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in deliciousness!

to top it all off, here's my new favorite treat. it's essentially a carob version of hot chocolate--any suggestions for a good name? hot carob sounds so flat, and my favorite idea--the frothy caribou--made mr. boot think of a sweaty moose. anyway, here it is in all its creamy, frothy goodness:

1/2 c. carob chips
1 T dark amber maple syrup
2 1/2 c. rice milk

melt chips and maple syrup in a small pot. whisk in the rice milk, allow to heat, and pour into mugs.

(this is especially for good crafternoon, who is quitting sugar! good for her!)

Friday, July 20, 2007

plums for tea

well, my extended blogging absence can't be attributed to anything like nuttnbunny's triathlon training or vampirebee's studying for a scary chemistry placement test. what i have been doing, however, is wasting lots of mental energy trying to make a decision about an out-of-the-blue job offer, a paper airplane gliding in from my previous life. a company i worked with in a consulting capacity a few years ago is re-structuring, and they've offered me a 20-hour position at the exact same salary as my very first (full-time) job in the business. i made my decision, choosing (yet again) academics over advertising. i said no, that i didn't feel that the position was right for me. they called me back and have said i can structure my own position and do only the part that i enjoy...

of course, the money would be great! i could quit my shitty receptionist job and we could afford 1) my hearing aid and 2) pay down debt. but we're planning on doing that stuff anyway--it will just take us longer. i spent a really lovely morning doing research at the library, and it underscored for me that i love my life the way it is--i like the way i spend my time. for example, digging up old articles and discovering fascinating side-stories (most recent find: in 1951 a florida museum mounted an exhibition of abstract paintings in the homes of their members: a pollock ended up in a trailer home, a dali above the mantle of a shag-carpeted ranch home. brilliant!). it's just so hard to pass up opportunities!

in knitting news, the body of forecast is complete, and i'm working on the sleeves. with all of the cables, bobbles, and ribs--as well as the really beautiful shaping--it's one impressive-looking piece of work (even before blocking):
the dashing fingerless gloves need only the ends woven in.

i liked the concept of the thumb construction, but was unimpressed with the final results. perhaps i picked up stitches incorrectly? i also couldn't get the ribbing pattern to match both the glove "body" ribbing and the pattern on the thumb itself. i ripped and knit multiple times and couldn't get it to work... ended up matching the main ribs of the hand and forgetting about following the pattern on the thumb itself. not sure if this is a pattern glitch or a problem with the way i knit the palm (although the palm ribbing looks exactly the same on the photo). overall, i like them and think they'll be useful, but i find them a bit puffy around the wrists. this is due to the lack of shaping at the wrists: the cables are further down the arm and create a nice tension that holds them up. we'll see when fall comes around...

i'm excited to begin my next project: jarrett for mr. boot, in a lovely grey-brown! i gave him the yarn for his birthday last week: peace fleece from an amazing farm in maine:

their tagline is "warm fleece for a cold war": the family started out in the 1980s working with soviet farmers in an attempt to humanize russians and alleviate cold war tensions. now they continue to work in russia but also have projects with sheep farmers in a jointly-founded israeli/palestinian community on the west bank. not only that, but the farm in main is horse-powered. mr. boot was beside himself. mr. boot chose the jarrett pattern. i think it's rather old-man-ish and was leaning toward the urban aran cardigan, but jarrett is very professorial, with the elbow and shoulder patches. maybe mr. boot will take up pipe-smoking, too.

here's a terrible photo of my completed ester. i like wearing it off the shoulder--otherwise it looks dumpy from the back.

and, fianlly, plums for tea this afternoon...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

loot from the city!

here are the results of my exciting big-city day with vampirebee...not only did we eat at pret-a-manger (a guilty habit i picked up from the incomparable sophie in london several years ago) but we went to purl soho and to various trim, bead, and ribbon stores. clockwise: rose-colored o-wool (organic wool and cotton) on the needles as in-progress dashing fingerless gloves (more on that in a moment); peacock and brown matte beads for two beaded knitted scarves; coconut wood buttons for a gift knit; embroidered trim and vintage buckle for a belt; and purple-pearly buttons for forecast:

the rest of my time away from home was spent in the attic of an artist's studio in upstate new york. it was , though hot, extremely productive. much dissertation chapter writing has ensued. here's a shot of the studio rug(s), a really lovely color combination, though the stains may give you some indication of the overall condition of the space:

dashing began as a slow knit: i cast on in my upstate NY hotel room (ahem, motel room), and through the pattern should be super easy, i was so engrossed in the top chef marathon (oh, cable!) that i kept ending up with ribs that were one stitch off, too many rounds here and there, etc. i frogged and re-cast-on on the airplane back. since then, i've finished one glove and the other is half-knit. i still need to insert the thumb--i'm looking forward to trying the pattern's technique of knitting with waste yarn, then later pulling out and casting on a few stitches. i'll post photos when i get there. the yarn is not so springy due to the cotton content, so i'm concerned that the gloves won't keep their shape...

i finished ester and the garter stitch bolero but the photo attempts have been dismal. will work on that and post soon!