Convertible Mittens

IMG_0718_edited-1

These mittens wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the movie, Your Sister’s Sister. We watched it with my parents over Thanksgiving weekend. One of the main characters wore a pair of cute, red convertible mittens throughout the movie. As a  knitter, I noticed and admired the well-fitting mittens.

The next morning at breakfast, my Mom asked if anyone had noticed the red mittens. It turns out she wanted a pair. After some online searching, we concluded she would not find what she wanted ready-to-wear, so I offered to make her a pair of mittens for Christmas.

I selected the pattern Red is Best, by Jane Richmond. I liked this pattern because it had a clean design and came in multiple sizes, one of which looked like the perfect size for my Mom.

IMG_0716_edited-1

My Mom loves her new mittens! I haven’t seen them on her, but she reports that they fit her perfectly.

This was a great pattern! Very well written and fun to knit. I highly recommend it! I have plans to make a pair for myself.

Details:

Pattern:  Red is Best, by Jane Richmond.

Yarn:  HiKoo Simpliworsted. I used color Seattle Sky.

Additional project notes: Ravelry Project Notes.

1 Comment

Filed under Knitting

Cook The Book Fridays: Winter Salad

IMG_0826_edited-1

Happy Friday! I am very excited to announce a new project/feature on my blog: Cook the Book Fridays!

Ever since French Fridays with Dorie ended, us former Doristas have missed cooking together each week. There had been some discussion about starting a new book together, and finally Katie of ProfWhoCooks took the plunge and got us started. Thanks Katie! Our first book is My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Since we are just getting started, this is a great time to join in if you are interested. Check out the “official” site for the recipe schedule and rules: Cook the Book Fridays. The more the merrier!

Our debut recipe is a simple salad called Winter Salad. A thick dressing is made from crumbled Roquefort cheese, Greek yogurt, chives, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss it with sliced Belgian endive, and top with a few more chives.

IMG_0813_edited-1

I haven’t eaten Belgian endive very often, and when I tasted a bit of it I was a little unsure of a whole salad made from it. But the dressing did wonders for the flavor and I really enjoyed the salad. My husband thought the salad was “too blue cheesey” and he likes blue cheese, so I would say this salad is for blue cheese lovers only.

The one issue I had with the salad is that the dressing was very thick, making it difficult to toss with the Belgian endive. I’m wondering if others ran into the same problem.

You can find the recipe for Winter Salad on page 98 of My Paris Kitchen. I encourage you to buy the book!

17 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Tuesdays with Dorie – “Tambourine” Cake

Carrot-Tangerine Cake

It feels like it’s been awhile since I did a Tuesdays with Dorie post (or any post, for that matter). My last one was only a few weeks ago, but considering I had done the baking for it a month or two prior, it feels like longer.

Yesterday I baked Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake. Except I like to call it “Tambourine Cake”. Here’s why:

Lately my daughter has taken an interest in helping me read the list when we go grocery shopping. She likes to read the list before we leave, then check it with me at the store. She carries the list for me, and helps me find the items. This is a big deal because we have struggled to interest her in functional reading outside of specified “reading time” at school or home.

Carrot-Tangerine Cake

The downside to having her help me read the list is that if the store does not have a particular item, she gets a little sad because her expectations were not met. Even though I assure her I can find the item at another store, she kind of obsesses about it until the item is in our possession. On Sunday, the store we were at did not have tangerines. So she asked me about it for the rest of the day, making sure I would be buying them the next day while she was at school. The cute thing is she pronounced tangerine as “tambourine”.

Yesterday when I picked her up from school, sure enough the first thing out of her mouth was, “Did you get tambourines?”. When we got home I showed her the tangerines I bought. I also showed her the tangerine cake I made with them. She liked her piece of cake as much as I liked mine.

Carrot-Tangerine Cake

The other Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for January was Lemon Squares, French Style. While I don’t have photographic evidence, I did make them in November for my mom’s birthday. They were a huge hit and probably the best lemon bars I have ever had. I will definitely be making them again!

10 Comments

Filed under Cooking

TWD: Catch Up!

Happy New Year! I realize I’ve been a missing-in-action the last few months. I have been having trouble finding my blogging rhythm ever since French Fridays with Dorie ended. I have plenty of ideas about what I want to share with you, but so far the execution has not happened. Maybe in the new year?

In the meantime, here is a quick and dirty catch-up of the Tuesdays with Dorie recipes I have made over the last few months.

Apple Pielettes

IMG_0765_edited-1

What a clever idea! Little mini pies baked in muffin tins. I cut the recipe in half and made six pielettes. My only issue with these was that my filling did not entirely “fill” each pielette. They sure were tasty though!

Chocolate-Covered Toffee Breakups

IMG_0775_edited-1

There is only one word to describe this toffee: Wow!  It was SO GOOD! It’s a good thing I gave most of this away, because I may have eaten it all within a day or so if I hadn’t. It was very addictive.

A Note About Making this at High Altitudes: To make the toffee, you have to bring the sugar mixture to 300° F. At higher altitudes, since the boiling point is lower, you need to bring the sugar mixture to a lower temp, otherwise it will burn. I took mine off the heat at 292° F and it was perfect. To find the appropriate temperature for your altitude, check out this site: http://bakingwithaltitude.com/high-altitude-candy-making-tips/.

Stained Glass Cookies

IMG_0792_edited-1

My daughter and I made these together a few days before Christmas. It turns out we aren’t very good at filling the holes with the crushed lifesavers. I like the way they look though; kind of like water colors. These were fine, but I wasn’t wowed by them. I would make them again as a fun Christmas activity, but otherwise I would skip the lifesavers and make basic vanilla cookies, maybe with a sprinkling of colored sugar on top.

I hope 2016 treats all of you well. See you in the new year!

6 Comments

Filed under Cooking

TWD: Tiger Cakes + Chocolate-Cherry Brownies

Tiger Cakes

Welcome to another edition of Tuesdays with Dorie! This week we made tasty little cakes called Tiger Cakes.

Tiger Cakes are a traditional French pastry. They are made mostly from almond flour and butter, which gives them a moist, tender crumb. The name comes from the finely chopped chocolate that is added to the warm batter. In theory, the chocolate melts and forms stripes like a tiger. I don’t think I chopped my chocolate finely enough, because my cakes are more spotted like a leopard!

Dorie has us use mini muffin tins to make 24 small cakes. I used a mini bundt pan I got a few months ago for my birthday and got 12 cute bundtlettes. I finally got a chance to try Baker’s Joy, and my cakes popped right out of the pan. I have always struggled getting cakes out of pans (especially bundt pans of any size!), so this was truly a joy to experience.

Tiger Cakes

These cakes are delicious! There is just the right amount of chocolate, and the moist, tender crumb is balanced nicely by a crisp exterior. Dorie is right when she says these go well with coffee. These will definitely be made again!

A few weeks ago, TWD had a rewind week, where we could catch up on a recipe we missed or remake a favorite. I chose the Chocolate-Cherry Brownies made by the group in June. While I made the brownies in time for rewind week, I didn’t get a chance to write about them because that week the whole family was sick with colds.

Chocolate-Cherry Brownies

The brownies are delicious – very rich and fudgy. I liked them best cold from the fridge. Although they were good, I’m not sure I will make them again. They were almost too rich, and I like other things better. That doesn’t mean I had any trouble eating them!

I am enjoying the Tuesdays with Dorie excuse to bake more often. Look for something perfect for Fall in a couple of weeks!

10 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Closure

It’s been a long time since I shared any knitting projects with you. I have several finished items that I’ve been meaning to show you for months. I need closure!

Since there are quite a few projects, I will just give a quick comment and a photo for each one. I will link to my Ravelry projects if you would like additional information about the yarn I used or how to get the pattern. Often I will have additional photos and details there as well.

Oh, and before you get all impressed about the number of projects I have completed, this represents about a year’s worth of knitting. Some people knit this much in a month or two. Still, I am pleased with my output.

Yellow Hat

My daughter does not generally like wearing hats, but she does love the color yellow, so I thought, “Why not a yellow hat?”. She will wear this hat when it’s cold out (success!), but it tends to fall down into her eyes a bit. That means it has growing room!


Ravelry Project: Yellow Hat

Namesake Cowl

This was a fun mystery knit-a-long hosted by Michelle Hunter (Knit Purl Hunter). I like the way the cowl drapes and I wore it quite a bit this past winter. I had hoped to get a picture of me wearing it, but it hasn’t happened yet, so here you go:

Namesake Cowl

Ravelry Project: Namesake Cowl

Fingerless Mitts

I had a small amount of yarn leftover from my Corkscrew Hat, so I made some matching fingerless mitts. I had to modify the pattern a bit so I wouldn’t run out of yarn. I am happy with the finished product, and like wearing these when it’s chilly, but not cold.

Roku Mitts

Ravelry Project: Roku Mitts

Endgame Scarf

Yet another mystery knit-a-long project put on by Knit Purl Hunter. I do love her KALs! This one went to my sister for her birthday! I had fun making the cables, and I loved working with the yarn. I might need to make one of these for myself.

Engame Scarf

Ravelry Project: Endgame Scarf

Kaika Socks

My very first pair of socks! And another Knit Purl Hunter KAL. I just finished these a week or so ago so I haven’t had a chance to wear them yet, but I am very pleased with the fit for a first pair of socks.

Kaika Socks

Ravelry Project: Kaika Socks

There you go! I have a few projects in the works that I hope to share with you soon. One of them is probably another Knit Purl Hunter KAL (I just can’t resist them! And doing a KAL helps me actually finish projects. And the mystery part is so fun!)

Have a great week!

2 Comments

Filed under Knitting

TWD: Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies

Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies

I’m back! I enjoyed my summer off from blogging, but I hope this marks the beginning of more regular posts from me. We’ll see…I have to get myself back in the habit of both blog reading and writing. With the beginning of the new school year, my family is getting used to a new schedule. School starts two hours earlier than we have been used to in previous years! I feel like I have done a good job establishing a new rhythm to my day, now I just need to insert blogging into that new routine.

I am getting my blogging feet wet with a Tuesdays with Dorie recipe: Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies. These are a simple shortbread-like cookie with your choice of jam filling. I used a homemade strawberry-vanilla jam.

Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies

Yum! What a fun recipe! These were easier to make than I expected. You just need to leave plenty of time for chilling the dough. I used a biscuit cutter with a two-inch wide circumference and found that a generous 1/4 teaspoon of jam was just about right. More might have seeped out the sides, and less tasted too skimpy.

If you are interested in trying these tasty cookies, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s latest book, Baking Chez Moi.

10 Comments

Filed under Cooking

TWD: Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

Hi! How are you? I have been taking a bit of a blogging break. With the end of French Fridays with Dorie and a busy summer schedule, it seemed like the perfect time to take a break and focus on spending quality time with my daughter (who’s growing up way to fast!). But, I’m back briefly for Tuesdays with Dorie because I just couldn’t resist this recipe: Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta. I’ll be back to more frequent blogging in late August or September.

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

We love puddings and creamy desserts and Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta called my name. When I saw it on the TWD schedule I knew I had to make it. I have never made (or eaten?) panna cotta before, so I wasn’t quite sure what it was. It turns out panna cotta is an Italian pudding, thickened with gelatin rather than cornstarch or eggs. It is often served unmolded on a plate.

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta is served in a glass or bowl because of the layer of pureed mango. The mango is left uncooked, and flavored with a bit of lime juice and optional honey (I left the honey out, but wish I had used some to round out the flavors). The mango layer is topped with a rich and creamy vanilla bean pudding.

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

This dessert was delicious and refreshing! It is perfect on a hot summer night, but because you can use frozen mango, it would also be nice in winter when you are longing for summer flavors.

You can find the recipe for Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta in Dorie Greenspan’s latest book, Baking Chez Moi.

10 Comments

Filed under Cooking

FFWD: The Grand Finale!

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

Wow. Here we are at the end of French Fridays with Dorie. We finished cooking through Around My French Table last month, and this week concludes the four weeks of celebratory posts.

When I started on this journey over four years ago, I had no idea I would actually cook through every recipe in the book. Though I am pretty stubborn when I set my mind to something! I am proud of myself for finishing, and proud of everyone who finished or came close to finishing. We tried new ingredients, learned new techniques, and made new friends. It was fun cooking the assigned recipe each week knowing my FFWD friends were out there cooking the same recipe, perhaps with their own special twist. My only regret is I haven’t had a chance to meet any of the lovely Doristas in person. I hope to some day!

Chocolate Mousse Cake

For the Grand Finale we were to choose a recipe and adapt it, try a bonne idée, or simply remake the recipe. I chose to remake Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake. When we made this the first time I ran into trouble. Since I was pretty sure I knew what went wrong, I have always wanted to try this recipe again. Besides, what’s better for a grand finale than chocolate cake?

I had two problems the first time I made this cake: 1) My pan was too big; and 2) The egg whites deflated when I tried to fold them into the hot chocolate mixture. I bought the correct size pan a few years ago and solved the egg whites problem by using lukewarm coffee instead of hot coffee.

My fixes worked and the cake was delicious! This is a great make-ahead dessert because it really tastes best after a night in the refrigerator. A wonderful way to celebrate the end of the book!

I don’t quite know how to end this post, except to say that this has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to keeping up with my fellow Doristas as we embark on our next adventures!

Happy cooking!

15 Comments

Filed under Cooking

FFWD: The Play-It-Again-Dorie Recipe

Happy French Friday! It’s our 3rd of 4 “celebration weeks” for French Fridays with Dorie. This week we are to share the recipe from the book we have made the most often.

First, a confession: I haven’t actually repeated many of the recipes from
Around My French Table. I have been so focused on completing all the recipes that I forgot to use the book for everyday cooking. Besides, I have all those other cookbooks on my shelves that needed some love, too. After poring through the book during these celebration weeks, I have a long list of recipes I want to make again. Now I just have to remember to actually use this wonderful book!

Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse

The Chicken for Lazy People I discussed a couple of weeks ago is one of the few recipes I have made several times. Another is Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse.

The Chocolate Mousse won our hearts when I first made it during the recipe’s assigned week. My husband declared it his favorite recipe yet, and I think he would still place it at the top of his list. I love it because it is delicious. But also because it is quick and easy to make (you can whip it up after dinner!) and doesn’t make a large amount. Perfect for when the two adults in this household want an indulgent treat!

9 Comments

Filed under Cooking