Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yarn spoiler!

Some of the yarn for the store arrived today. I have to dye it, of course. More will be coming next week. These are a lace weight 100% Superfine Alpaca. The other is a 80% superwash wool / 20% bamboo sock yarn. Very nice. Very shiny.

First the good news.

The good news is that my first shipment of base yarns for the store is one the way and that the sleeves of my Oriel Lace Blouse are done. I'm actually pretty happy about those things. Oh, and I got some antibiotics to make sure that the tick didn't give me any diseases.

However, I haven't been posting because I've been distracted by some pretty crumby news. It's pretty clear that we're going to lose Duncan. He's got kidney issues, and is not recovering despite medications. The poor little guy is not too bad yet, but this sucks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tick, tick

There's nothing like waking up to a beautiful morning, kissing your husband as he leaves for work, getting in the shower and...

Finding a deer tick in your armpit while shaving. Man, that sucker holding on tight. I couldn't even figure out what it was until I pulled it off and took a good look. A good look that was followed by a shrieking, hand flapping dance in the shower.

E and I went for a walk in the woods yesterday to see the maple tree tapping at the local maple syrup festival. I'm sure it got on me then. I'm just really grossed out that it was on me for almost 24 hours without me noticing. Deer ticks are the ones that spread Lyme disease. Fortunately I have a doctor appointment in a couple of days, and I'll ask her for a dose of antibiotic to prevent getting sick.

Time keeps ticking away on these Oriel Lace Blouse sleeves. I picked them up not long ago, and have a mission to get as much done on this mournfully long lived UFO before my energy for it runs out. I'd at least like to finish the sleeves. They're almost done. I started shaping the sleeve caps tonight.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Yesterday I got out of my cell phone contract with Verizon. It can be done legitimately and without penalty, but you have to be a serious badass to get away with it. The process made me pretty nervous. They don't like letting people get out of their contracts, even if they are the ones who breached it. Cell phone companies violate the contracts of their customers on a fairly regular basis, and if they do it you're entitled to get your contract canceled. But be prepared for them to be mean, to have your intelligence insulted, and to have to gripe to at least four people for an hour. Oh, and be prepared to have your phone turned off immediately upon hanging up with them. That's what happened to me yesterday, if anyone has been trying to call.

At any rate, it did turn out for the best. E and I had both been paying for separate phone lines at a great waste of money. We'd been plotting the cancellation of my contract for several days, gathering ammunition for how to have the contract on grounds of the lasted breach and researching what new and exciting phone I'd get.

Well, E researched the phone. My main criteria for a cell phone are being able to see it when I don't have glasses on, being able to send and receive calls, and a general quality of uncrappiness. Just try going to the cell phone store and asking for that!

E picked the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone for me. In his opinion, this is an uncrappy phone that sends and receives calls. And get this, it plays FM radio! I also believe that I will be able both to see it from across a room and at the bottom of my purse. This contraption is pink and possesses all manner of flashing muti-colored lights so I can see it without glasses, tinkly and sonorous noises, and vibration alerts for my pleasure. It even does several fancy tricks. Look here. There is a movie playing on its tiny screen.
There are two other features that are the best things about this phone. First, it comes with 24/7 Amazing E support. My husband apparently LOVES optimizing electronic devices. According to him, he lives for it. He's already downloaded some fancy softwares to it and placed this movie and my favorite music album on it (BTW, that would be Van Morrison's Astral Weeks). I had no idea you could download cell phone software. The second feature is that it matches my Oriel lace blouse.

Speaking of that blouse, I know I promised pictures. How about tomorrow? I should have those sleeves done.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I'm here finishing my Shabbat preparations, and I got a phone call. I've been fighting with my phone company for the last two days to get out of my contract without paying the $175 early termination fee. They had changed a rate on my service recently, making me eligible to cancel. Now E and I can combine our cell phones and save money.

Tonight is seafood chowder. It's a fairly Irish dish, and I might share the recipe with you tomorrow. At that time I will also show you the sleeves of the Oriel Lace blouse.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sick kitty

We've been tied up with dealing with a sick kitty the last few days. Everyone knows Scott TC. Well, he has a shier brother called Duncan. Duncan's occasionally made an appearance on here. Several days ago, Duncan stopped eating and drinking inexplicably. He's known to react badly to stress, and tends to get stress induced health problems. This may be the case here. He's been to the vet and is getting pills to stimulate his appetite. He seems to be returning to normal now, but the little guy had us worried for a while.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Last night, the Amazing E brought home a surprise. It's two hands of Koigu. Please forgive Scot TC's need to jump up and fondle it. Yessss, my Precccciousssss. It's Koigu. And it's a great color (as if there's a bad Koigu color). It's very good for all-wearing all-weather socks. It was gotten from the LYS. On the Harlot's advice, I will not divulge my sources yet, as I understand that a KOIGU shipment is due any day, and I need to do some reconnaissance before reporting. You know?

My husband has not given yarn as a gift before, but I know that he's been reading the Yarn Harlot book I left in the John. He talks about it in the morning, if you know what I mean. Anyway, his first gift was the Koigu. Ohhhhh.

I needed it, too. More than flowers. That last couple of weeks have been hard, and you've noticed here on the blog. After all the moving and stuff, I've been very blown out, and my best friends and new family have been calling to check on me. Thanks to the Sarah, Tzurriz, and Parents E. Your support has been wonderful.

Oh, and most profound thanks to the Amazing E.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Freaks! Freakin freaks! You know, we're not here for a week, and someone stole the mezzuzah off our front door.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


We found the cable for the camera. It was in with the kitchen implements, of course. This is the Quant I knit in no time at all. I can't find the yarn label, but it is a self striping wool purchased at Wool Winders in Rockville, MD. I did make a change to the pattern. I had to. The end was stupid. It had you doing something so the end didn't match the beginning. It had base triangles at the startng end, but on the finishing end it had the squares being knitted together into one triangle or something. Instead, I did the finishing triangles as found in the Anntrelac pattern from the Holiday issue of Interweave Knits. This picture shows the colors better. I'll be getting a little light box when I start up the store, so hopefully the quality of my photos is destined to improve.Oh, and look below for spectacular sushi pictures.

Friday, February 15, 2008



This week has been productive.

1. I knitted a whole Quant. We still haven't any idea where the cable for the camera is, so you can't see it yet.

2. We are almost unpacked. I'm not living out of boxes anymore, and soon we might find all them missing stuff. And I might regain my sanity.

3. The Amazing E did come through last night on a good dinner at a local Cuban place. No Koigu, though.

4. In some fury of knitting energy, I picked back up the Oriel Lace Blouse. Oh my.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Hey. I got out from under the boxes and found that my husband remembered Valentine's Day. Seriously, we're almost unpacked. I expect that tomorrow things will be all nice an settled. And I may find some important things that got lost in the move.

E woke up this morning and immediately produced a card from the nightstand drawer. He also told me "not to make plans" for tonight. Not that he has any specific plans that he'll tell me about. This is our first Valentine's Day together, and so far he's exceeding my expectations, and really I don't have great expectations for this day. Just for him to make an effort. I am exited to know what he's up to. I don't expect flowers; he knows I don't like cut flowers. Do you think a Koigu bouquet is too much to hope for?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Valentine's day recipes: Creative use of chocolate

E thinks I should bottle my mole sauce. Instead, I will share with you the recipe for chicken enchiladas with mole. This serves two with leftovers

You'll need:

2 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
Corn tortillas
Olive oil for frying
1 large can of diced tomatoes with juices
One or two fresh jalapeño peppers seeded, cored, and chopped fine
1 small onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic to taste
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbs. natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
A dash of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

For an extra tasty non-kosher treat, add sour cream and some mild and melty Mexican cheese to this.

Soak the raisins in warm water for about 20 minutes and then drain.

Chop the onion into chunks. Place raisins, garlic, about 1/2 of the total jalepeno pepper, and the onion into the bowl of a large food processor. Process until fine. Add salt, pepper, and the tomatoes with juice. Process until only slightly chunky.

Mix the cocoa, allspice, cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin together in a small bowl. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Do not let the oil get too hot; i.e. don't let it smoke or even shimmer. You just want it hot enough to release the oils in the spices. Add the spices and cocoa, stir them in the oil to form a paste, and let them heat for a moment until they are fragrant. If they smell burnt, you're sunk. This is a delicate process.

Before the spices burn, add the mixture from the food processor. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer while stirring. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer gently for about 20 minutes. While waiting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the sauce occasionally.

Again, do not let this dish even worry that it's going to get burned. One time I burned this recipe, and the Amazing E told me that it tasted like he threw up in his mouth. When prepared properly, he floats away to nirvana.

Once the sauce is done, take it off the heat and prepare the enchiladas. Stir in the rest of the jalapeño.

Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the chicken.

The tortillas need to be cooked a bit. Either steam them a little or brush them each with oil and fry for a moment in a skillet until them puff.

Make the enchiladas. Pour about a cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan and use a spoon to spread it over the bottom of the pan. Place one tortilla on your work surface. If you're using sour cream, smear a little on the tortilla. Spread about 1/2 cup of the chicken on the half of tortilla closest to you and roll it up. Place the rolled up enchilada in the pan with the edge of the tortilla facing down. Repeat until the pan is full or you run out of chicken.

Pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Top with the shredded cheese if you're using it. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the enchiladas with a big spatula and serve.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Just in time for Valentine's Day: Sushi Demystified

Edit: Photos added! Please note that any pictures that include my hands are not to normal scale. I share the same affliction as the man in the Burger King ad.

I haven't gotten anything set up so you can access my recipes yet, but I'm going ahead with this one anyway.

Sushi is really not that hard. And it can be very creative. You can make it with very few specialty ingredients and equipment. The hardest thing to get is fresh raw fish, but if you aren't concerned with shellfish, you can get away with a number of cooked replacements.

As for the fish. I am lucky enough to live very close to a market that sells very fresh fish. If you're going to make raw sushi, get some very (I mean smell it before you buy it) fresh fish. Salmon and tuna are great choices. If not, and you can eat shellfish, do it with cooked shrimp or even smoked salmon. Fake crab meat or any other cooked shellfish would also do.

The other special ingredients you need include sushi or pearl rice, seaweed sheets (nori), rice wine vinegar (or prepared sushi vinegar), and wasabi. All of these ingredients can be had an Asian grocers. I've also seen them at other places, but maybe not all together. Please note: We do not keep strictly kosher. That is, I look at ingredients rather than a kosher seal. It may be impossible to find these ingredients that have been processed with rabbinical supervision.

Enough with the disclaimers. Let's eat. This makes enough for two hardy sushi eaters.

To make the rice, you'll need:
1 1/2 cups sushi rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 piece of nori (use the torn one in your pack) or a kelp roll if you want to get fancy about it.
2 tbs. prepared sushi vinegar or 2 tbs. rice wine vinegar combined with a tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt

For the construction, you'll need:

A few ounces of fresh or cooked seafood
Prepared wasabi
More nori sheets
Assorted veggies cut into very thin slices

Rinse the rice well in a colander. Put the rice into a 10" saute pan and let it rest for 30 minutes. Add water to rice and put the seaweed on top. Put over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, take out the seaweed and discard. Cover the rice, turn heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and let set for 10 minutes.

Now cool and season the rice. You need to get the rice down to just lukewarm or cooler so your raw fish doesn't cook. This involves adding the seasoning and then stirring the rice while fanning it. It takes a while, but the process mellows the vinegar flavor and makes the rice sticky for later use in construction. I do this sitting on the living room floor in front of the TV and use a wooden spatula in one hand to stir and a pot holder in the other hand to wave. I bet an electric fan would work very well.

So to so this, add the vinegar mixture to the hot rice. Stir and fan the rice until it cools down.

Now your fun starts.

You can make two types of sushi. Maki sushi is the rolls. Nigiri sushi is the rice with fish on top. I do both.

To make nigiri sushi, start by wetting your hands. Keep a bowl of water nearby whenever touching the rice; it sticks to your hands. Pick up a couple of tablespoons of the rice in your moist hands, and roll and gently squish it into a little cigar shape. Place it on your plate or serving dish. Make as many as you have toppings for.

Next, top the rice. First place a dab of wasabi on each rice cigar. Wasabi is very strong, so be gentle here. A little goes a long way. Slice your seafood into 1/4 thick slices big enough to fit on top of the rice. Place a fish piece on top of each rice mound. Serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce. Yummy.

Making sushi maki is a little harder, but very fun. First, lay a square of seaweed on a sushi mat. I really use a thick placemat. Now, decide what fillings you want to put in it. You can put thin strips of whatever you like inside. I often use fish leftover from the nigiri, cucumbers, radishes, asparagus, or even fish roe. You can really use whatever you like as long as it's sliced thin. I've even seen lox and cream cheese.

Okay, so figure out how big around your fillings will be when they are rolled up. This is important, because you need enough rice to go around it. Wet your hands again and pick up a handful of rice. Place it on near the edge of the seaweed closest to you and smush it into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. You want to evenly cover the seaweed from side to side in one direction. For the other direction, spread it at least 2 or 3 inches. It has to go around the filling.

Place your thin strips of filling in the middle of the rice.

Now, lift the edge of the mat closest to you and use the mat to roll the seaweed and rice over and around the filling. Gently press the length of the roll to secure it. Lift the mat off the sushi and place the roll aside for a bit for the seaweed to get moist.

Repeat with the rest of the rice and seaweed. Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into bit size pieces. Serve artistically.

Checking in


We're in the new place. Boxes are everywhere. Kitties are playing hide and seek.

I got out and found some free wireless internet so I could check in here, check email, etc. I'm sort of amazed that one can get internet out of thin air. I thought it was a series of tubes, but that's what I get for believing that people in this town are always informed. The place is nice: very bright and open. I like it. We should be getting things like TV and internet installed tomorrow. Probably tomorrow I'll have everything unpacked and situated as well. Talk to you then.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Time off

Hey. The Amazing E and I will be moving tomorrow into our new apartment. It's right in the same complex with a second bedroom and bath as well as a larger kitchen. Internet may not be hooked up for a couple of days, so I'll keep working on stuff and talk to you on the flip side.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Thanks, Eileen

I finally picked up this hat and finished it this morning. You know, now that it's 50 degrees.
This is the Cabled Rangoli Hat from a Desi Knitter. I've done it on size 5 needles out of the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush that my beautiful sister Eileen gave me as a gift. It only took a little over 1 ball, so I've got plenty left for mittens or something. Thanks, Eileen. This yarn is very soft and warm. It's also pretty with a nice soft halo.

Now I have to figure out blocking. What I've knitted here is clearly a hat that goes on my head. I'd wanted more of a dread bag for my hair. I might be able to stretch it out in blocking, but I'm scared of losing the elasticity in the ribbing and making it all over too big. I mean, it's alpaca so it should and will grow in the blocking. I just want to control it. Probably it needs steam. Perhaps later I'll do that and get a modeled photo.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A recipe section?

I'm not knitting today. I've knitted lot lately really. I don't know if knitting is the reason, but I'm having a bad flare up of shoulder pain. This is a long standing pain, going back to childhood. It goes away.

During my housewife time of late, I've been doing a lot of cooking. You know, I have to cook for E regularly because when I don't he raids the fridge and ends up with meals of gefilte fish with cheese pizza. Which he eats with charin. (It's like there's emergency gefilte fish hidden in the depths of the fridge for when I don't cook.) And I end up shivering in horror.

I don't usually cook to recipes. Sometimes I look at recipes, and then do my own thing. I cook to taste. This makes is hard to actually give my recipes to people.

Anyway, tonight I made a pan of kosher chicken enchiladas with a black mole sauce. How these kosher enchiladas are different from your normal pan of enchiladas is that there was no cheese or sour cream on them. We don't mix milk and meat in foods. And no lard. I made the mole mostly by imagining the last good mole I had in Chicago and tried to recreate it from memory. It turned out really good, and E suggested that I start a recipe section. He's a generous guy and wants to share what he considers his good fortune with the world.

So over the next few days I'm going to figure out how I can put a thing on my sidebar over there with links to recipe documents.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I thought about editing my post last night

when the game was ending. I wanted to say how cool of an ending it was. Maybe you know what I'm talking about. That big touchdown throw by the Giants. And then the desperate last few plays by New England.

But then there was that silly 1 second thing at the end where everyone thought the game was over. They thought so, but somebody had to put one second back on the clock and spend ten minutes driving herds of celebrators away so they could crouch and then stand up for the final "play". After that silliness, I didn't want to say that the end of the game was cool anymore.

There's no knitting to report. E and I have been hanging out with our colds today. I've worked on the Annetrelac socks more. Right now my husband is eating gefilte fish out of the jar with french fries and barbecue sauce. I wanted to tell you this because I'm a little worried that it means he's pregnant. I didn't know I was such a stud.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

What did you do during the Super Bowl?

We live in a pretty small apartment with only one TV, so I'm making the best of it.

I can't say that I understand football. It seems silly, but I've been learning about it tonight because I can't help but look up from my Annetrelac socks when my husband shouts at the men who are playing football in Arizona, three thousand miles away.

From what I can tell, the game is rather boring and the rules presume either superhuman athletic ability on one end and total wussiness on the other. As I see it, each football "play" goes as such:
1. Approximately two dozen very large men crouch in opposing lines.
2. One man touches another man on the scrotum. This is apparently okay because he does it with the back of his hand.
3. The man who has been fondled passes the ball to the man behind him.
4. All the men in the lines hug.
5. All the men in the lines fall down and roll around on the ground.
6. Sometimes a ball is thrown, but it often had no effect because the catcher misses it or falls down. All action stops. The game cannot go on. No one may pick up the ball. No one may run with it.
7. The men walk around for a bit before getting in their lines again.

As for the rules I've learned:

1. A man may successfully catch the ball when his body and arms are outside the arena and he is inches from the ground, just so long as his tippy toes are touching the green.
2. If a man catches the ball and drops it, no one may take it if he stumbled and fell. He's however out of luck if he seemed to take a step.
3. Apparently, there is an "illegal back forward." How knew?
4. A man may not impede another man from catching the thrown ball. I'd think this would be the defenseman's job. Guess not.

As the wife here, I've also been looking at the ads. The FedEx one almost had me pee my pants.

Back to knitting and learning about football.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I (heart) this sock

Remember my little break down the day before my wedding? I don't either. But here is an artifact of it. It seems that on that day I cast on a sock, and knit furiously on it to expend some of my nervous energy. I even made very good progress.

Well, the other day I found that sock, and in my frustration over the never ending hat restarted work on it. It's the +3 Red Sock of Doom, AKA Hedera in Bearfoot Mountain Colors. I finished this one sock yesterday while I was dealing with the very important government stuff relating to starting my business.

Observe.I take crumby pictures, but this sock is beautiful. Perhaps when the next one is done, I'll have E take the picture.

Speaking of E, the poor guy has my cold. And I believe that I've left him alone too long while blogging here. I hear X Box, and I think a large bug just killed his Mass Effect guy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A yarn is born

It's a birthday today, so I baked a cake.
Today the Amazing E and I took a road trip to the metropolis of Baltimore. This trip was not just for my cultural enrichment (although is was an enlightening experience, driving for the first time through the downtown of an Eastern city).

Baltimore is clearly a government oriented city. If you've ever lived in a state or national capitol or worked in a very important government job, you understand. A lot is going on, very little accomplished for all the show. As we drove into town, I understood all the indications of this; streets don't make any sense. They don't go anywhere, they are impeded by all types of fuckall, and they are lined with buildings disoriented to production. A-a-a-a-nd. The parking meters don't work. Don't ask how I know.

So I left E with the truckster and went to the state office building. After only spending a shockingly short 30 minutes in ineffectual lines, I was instructed to the correct lines where I was able to register Rock Creek Yarns as a business in the state of Maryland.

That's right. I am a business owner. Not that I yet have any wares to sell. Please look for those in about four weeks.

I'll keep you posted.