Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Homemade pizza with a cornmeal crust, P's special turkey Bolognese sauce, mozzarella, onions, cherry tomatoes, oregano.  We made it together.  No fighting.

Potato pancakes with poached eggs, chives.  Another collaboration.  No fighting.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Phew, got that out of my system

I made a raspberry-sour cream coffee cake for a dinner I couldn't attend.  But I had enough ingredients to make another one.  And now it's finally gone.  Phew.  Don't have to worry about that any more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Armenian Knitting by Meg Swansen and Joyce Williams

These designs are gorgeous. The technique looks interesting and not too hard, but as someone who hasn't mastered intarsia yet, I wonder if I ought to even attempt this first. Or maybe it's a good thing to learn this first so as not to confuse it with skills I might have already learned. (I'm thinking about a more advanced knitter than I--someone who does know intarsia.) My favorites are the Cat Hat at the beginning, a good way to practice the skill the authors suggest, and Meg's Diagonal Monarch sweater on p. 29. I might give this book 5 stars only I haven't tried any patterns yet.
Also interesting, and just scratching the surface here in the introduction and on the last page (the Stop Press), is the world of Armenian women (I guess, mostly) who escaped or fled the 1915 Armenian genocide and ended up in France where they made a living with these handworking skills for established designers like Elsa Schiaparelli.
The letter and photographs from Rose Dolarian on the last page of the book are just a peek into a time that I'd like to know more about. She sent examples of her mother's work, a dress and a vest, to the authors two days before the book was to go to press. My mother was in Birds' Nest, the Danish orphanage in Beirut when it opened in the early 1920s, from the age of eight years old until she was sixteen. She worked as a rug weaver and worked in a hospital until the age of eighteen when she went to Paris where one of her uncles lived.
We do not know who taught her to knit. She was abandoned in the wilderness at the age of four during the Armenian genocide, so we know she did not learn to knit in her home. We grew up hearing about the fancy clothes she knitted in Paris for a woman who would regularly bring samples for her to knit. She supported herself with that income: paid the rent for a one-room apartment and a diet of olives and bread. She would visit her uncle's home for treats like chocolate.

Homemade Granola

This is so easy.  Once you get the proportions down, you can improvise with different nuts and dried berries.  Here it is:

(based on Earthbound Farm's Maple Almond Granola)

4 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds or pecans or walnuts (or any combination thereof)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins or chopped dates or chopped apricots (or any combination thereof)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine dry ingredients --not the fruit-- with syrup and oil till moistened.

Spread on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake until it begins to brown, about 20 minutes.  Stir with a flat spatula and continue to cook until it's light, golden brown, another 15-20 minutes.  Watch it carefully because it can burn quickly.  Remove from oven.

Place cookie sheet on a cooling rack.  Add dried fruit and combine.  Be sure to stir it once it's finished and out of the oven or it'll harden and stick to the cookie sheet.  Allow it to cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a month or freeze it for up to three months.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

a healthy conscience once in a while

gluten-free bread from
for Julie K, who participated 
(or I would never have tried such a thing)

fresh corn and arugula salad with scallions, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil 
adapted from Lily F's recipe
(arugula from our garden!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing edited by Kevin Young

I have about 47 slips of paper marking all the poems I like in this collection. If this weren't a library book, I'd have marked it up well. Divided into six sections: Reckoning, Regret, Remembrance, Ritual, Recovery, Redemption, there's, well, something for everyone, depending on, uh, what you're looking for. Only this isn't a self-help book of course. In here I found poets I hadn't heard of before whose work I'll investigate and poets I studied in school whose poems I was glad to read again. So it's a comfort, if that's what you want, and it's an accessible volume of worthwhile poetry. How to pick one example?

The Morning Baking by Carolyn Forché

Grandma, come back, I forgot
How much lard for these rolls

Think you can put yourself in the ground
Like plain potatoes and grow in Ohio?
I am damn sick of getting fat like you

Think you can lie through your Slovak?
Tell filthy stories about the blood sausage?
Pish-pish nights at the virgin in Detroit?

I blame your raising me up for my Slav tongue
You beat me up out back, taught me to dance

I'll tell you I don't remember any kind of bread
Your wavy loaves of flesh
Stink through my sleep
The stars on your silk robes

But I'm glad I'll look when I'm old
Like a gypsy dusha hauling milk

Friday, June 3, 2011