[cooking] Smørrebrød

Was in DC last week and visited a restaurant called Compass Rose. Their specialty seems to be cuisine from all over the world. I found this restaurant after reading about khachapuri being a possible food trend this year. From Georgia (the country, not the state) it is simply a bread boat baked with cheeses, butter and a runny egg. Now that I've seen and tried one, I can definitely recreate it at home for much less than the $14 price tag.

I also tried smørrebrød, a Danish open-face sandwich. I love me a good open face sandwich and this was no exception:


Their version had house cured steelhead trout, dill-caper remoulade, trout roe, rye bread, flowers. This was fantastic. I came home and had to get some fixings to make my own.

My Sunday morning simplified smørrebrød:

Smørrebrød at home

Toasted marbled rye. Caper-dill-lemon juice mayo. Hard-boiled egg, mini shrimp, radish. Garnished with sprouts. This was so good. It also can't be too unauthentic- a Danish person on Instagram liked it.

Speaking of Scandinavian sandwiches, I also have a secret obsession with smörgåstårta, Swedish sandwich cake. I know it looks like it's straight out of a 1970's cooking nightmare but it's all the components for a sandwich... in a cake. What's not to like? I keep hinting to King Arthur Flour that they should do this on their blog but I think Americans hate the look of it. Whhhyyy? Look at these sandwich cakes. As someone who would choose savory over sweet 9/10 times, I know one of these cakes is in my future.

[knitting] Aran Afghan Square #16

Started the last square for my aran afghan:

Afghan Square #16

I avoided this square because the construction is unconventional. Knit the bottom garter border then work the charts as columns, right to left, bottom to top, picking stitches up along the finished column edge to work the next column.

Afghan Square #16

It seems the advantage here is that you only have to work one chart at a time, rather than working across 5 or 6 or more charts per row. But... this is square #16 for me and I had to work across multiple charts for practically every square leading up to this one so it felt a little... unnecessary. You could easily ignore the up down up down method and simply knit across all the charts at once. Just know what row you're on.

16 squares is all I plan to do for this afghan. I had enough yarn in the same dye lot for all 16 squares. I had to run out and buy four more balls to do the border with- it's a different dye lot but it shouldn't make too much of a noticeable difference since it will be for the border. I have to block the last few squares, then it's time to sew.


[misc] Sleppy BunBun

Rocky flopped over in the sun:

Rocky snoozin

He was standing up in the cubby but then just flopped over onto his side.

Plans for the weekend: no knead bread, embroidering that other slipper, playing yarn chicken with a project I only have one ball of yarn for, cleaning all the things, cherry pie (FYI Saturday is National Cherry Pie Day- make your plans accordingly), Deadpool... I think that's enough.


[cooking] Quiche

Over the long weekend, I made a double pie crust. I used one half for the top of a chicken pot pie and the other for a quiche.


My quiche game is very good. I use a metal tart pan with a removable base. Because it's shallower than a pie plate, I always form my crust at least a half inch higher than the sides to compensate for shrinkage. I learned this the hard way when I made a pretty crust in this pan to blind bake (with fork pricks and pie weights and everything) and I pulled a big, round shortbread cookie out of the oven. No sides to speak of.

For quiche I usually line the bottom crust with slices of swiss cheese but I only had shredded monterey jack on hand. I layered chopped sauteed baby kale, bacon and red onion. Whisked four eggs with half and half and poured it over everything. Baked at 350 for 45 min. Perfect quiche. It's thin so it's very easy to inhale one slice and go back for seconds immediately.


[embroidery] Mukluks

Embroidery, nearly complete, on one of my blank mukluks:

Embroidered Mukluks

I pulled six colors of Knit Picks Brava from my stash and Googled for some basic embroidery stitches that I could work around the leg. I don't particularly enjoy sewing in ends so I don't know why I choose projects that create 50 billion (approximately) ends to sew in. Oh wait- I do know. I like color.

Embrodiered Mukluks

Thinking about doing all the same embroidery patterns for the other slipper makes me want to cast on for a new project instead. So I did last night. I'll do the second slipper this weekend.


[misc] Yup. It was cold.

Valentine's Day was a tad bit chilly:


-17. Feels like -36. We're at a fairly high elevation so our temp at home was probably colder than that. Dollar and I had plans to go see Deadpool but then were like, "LOL no we're not leaving the house."

Supper was a Valentine pizza:

Valentine Pizza

And we watched a new Henry Rollins movie He Never Died. It was good- if a little gory. Would watch another movie (or TV series?) with Henry playing the same character.



Thank God it's Friday (even though the weekend is going to be crazy cold).


Penny's not looking forward to it. Highs in the single digits. Lows in the negative double digits. I don't mind, honestly. It's a three day weekend and I'm just going to stay under a down blanket the entire time and take super hot bubble baths. It's only going to be two days. We endured a never ending polar vortex last winter.

I do have a lot of sewing to do. I've been avoiding weaving in the ends of many finished knitting projects and I think I've got to bite the bullet and take care of it all this weekend. Cause baby it's gonna be cold outside.


[misc] Iron-on patch

Just sewing Dollar's company logo to his work bag:

Iron-on patch

This seems like a nice company, with the employee's best interests at heart.


[knitting] Mukluks

Bulky house slippers for me:

Blank slippers

I wanted an instant-gratification project for me but these slippers- I can't decide if making a dense fabric with super bulky yarn is worth the wrist pain. The original pattern has you do some stranded colorwork up the leg but I only had the one color of Lion Brand Thick & Quick. I decided to knit the pattern solid and then use scrap yarn after to embroider designs around the leg. I did a little with the misc bulky colors above but that yarn is feltable and I know I'll be machine washing these slippers. I'm going to take out what I've done and re-do the embellishments with Knit Picks Brava.


[gaming] Hive

Dollar and I haven't played too many games this past winter but recently we've been playing a lot of Hive. It's like chess with insects.

Playing a game of Hive

Playing on a bottlecap tray on the couch. (The bottlecaps make it a little hard to see the hexagonal bug tiles in play.) Every bug has it's own ability. The goal is to completely surround your opponent's queen bee. Once you get the hang of how to use the grasshopper's jumping ability or the ant's quick movement, a game can be completed in less than 10 minutes.

I think some editions of the game come with the mosquito and ladybug expansions. I had to purchase these tiles separately and I wouldn't play the game without them. I use one or both every game. I think the pillbug is the only expansion I don't have.

I just searched and there is an android/iphone app for the game if you want to try it that way. It's much cheaper than buying the actual game- but I don't think I'm going to download it. Set up/clean up takes about 15 seconds for this game and I enjoy playing with the actual tiles.


[knitting] Crown

Finished my Mardis Gras crown this past weekend:


With some gold worsted weight yarn, I swatched on US 6 needles. I tried out bobbles of various sizes, different cables. All the cables were worked in an "O" fashion (with knit stitches in the middle) to create a nice little nest to glue a rhinestone into later. I also did a little purl diamond, for texture, but when the crown was done the spot kind of looked weird without a rhinestone, so I just glued one over it. See the pink rhinestone in the above picture.

This all started because I found a cardboard ring- 19 inches in circumference, 2 inches tall. I measured my swatch and my gauge was 5.5 stitches and 7 rows per inch. Doing the math to figure out how many to cast on and how many rows to knit was easy enough. The plan was to knit stockinette for the inside of the crown, do a couple rounds of purl for a turning edge and do the bobble/cable pattern for the outside of the crown. Then wrap the fabric around the cardboard ring, joining and binding off at the same time.

The crochet trim around the top is from 75 Exquisite Trims in Thread Crochet. I've already used this book twice- it's great. I was flipping through it looking for something "crown-ish" to flourish the top- and I found a trim of CROWNS. So I put crowns on my crown like a clown, yo.


You can't see because I was a little sneaky about not photographing it but the inside hem seriously starts to bias about halfway through the joining. This always happens to me and this is why I don't do many (or any) hemmed things. It gets puckered and unruly.

I've read a couple tips. One is to cast on 10% fewer stitches for the stockinette hem- because it will have a slightly smaller circumference than the outside. This will solve the puckering. I suppose the same effect could be achieved by working the inside hem with a smaller needle- then you wouldn't need to remember about the shortage of interior stitches when you're joining later.

One other thing I've read to to work all the stockinette through the back loop to twist the stitches. It might be worth doing a couple headbands to try to work this out once and for all. Hmmm, yes.

Now that I've wrapped up this crown I can finish up a pair of house slippers. They're bulky and extend up the leg. I'm doing them in all white (because that's the only color of Thick and Quick I had) so I think I'll sew/embroider a design on them after all the knitting is done.


[embroidery] The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue

I have a book of iron-on Sunbonnet Sue redwork embroidery patterns that I'd like to add to kitchen towels or placemats.

Sunbonnet Sue

I Googled a bit on the history of this stitch icon. Her little masked face has been around for a looooong time. She's a good little girl who does wholesome, quotidian tasks. Of course, when I see a scene of her with a tray of drinks, I want to stitch it but also caption it with "I got my drink n my 2 step" or some other lyrics about getting yo drank on.

Ha ha ha, I think. Surely I'm the first person to ever think of mixing a little topical humor with this traditional motif.

No. I found something that is so horribly awesome, so dark and funny, so dismal and ironic- I don't even want to execute my idea anymore because it will never be as good. I present The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue.

I love this quilt so much. I want to fly to Michigan just to see this quilt in person.


Sue. Poor poor Sue. My favorite is Sunbonnet Sue-icide because the stitching on the white around the body gives the illusion of swinging. Genius!

Anyway, if you take offense- sorry for the gloomy material on a Friday (TGIF!) but I think it's a good example of feminism and commentary on the time.


[cooking] King Cake

I made my first King Cake this year.

King Cake

I've never had one but I've seen pictures online. The non-judgement side of me thinks they look festive and fun. The judgemental side of me thinks they look like a drunk 2nd grader's craft project. Like you threw a cake, frosting and sprinkles into a box and shook it up. Like you handed ingredients to a blindfolded person and instructed them to "do whatever". But I digress.

For some reason I got a bee in my bonnet about bringing a traditional king cake into work. I used this recipe, which made two cakes. The only thing I changed was to use vanilla Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because that is what I had. Worked fine.

I bought a package of little plastic babies at the party store and remembered to roll one up inside each cake.

Plastic baby

Whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby in it is the King or Queen.

I found the baby in the cake we kept at home:

Found the baby

The cake is REALLY good and I can see making an annual tradition out of it. It's basically an uncut cinnamon roll log baked as a ring. It did kind of take up the whole evening- mix the dough, let it rise, shape it, let it rise, bake it, let it cool, decorate it. But the end result was worth it.


[crafts] Mardi Gras decorations

Working on a new wreath for the entryway:

Mardi Gras

I had an unfinished purple, gold, green deco-mesh wreath. I went to the party store and bought a few beads and feather masks. The little jester is a souvenir that a coworker brought home for me from New Orleans about, oh, 12 years ago. It has been in my office ever since but I thought it would add authenticity to the Mardi Gras theme.

Still working on a knit crown. I baked a couple New Orleans King Cakes last night- and brought one into work. There really isn't a way to decorate a King Cake without the result looking like you were drunk and blindfolded. I've accepted it. I think for next Tuesday, I might try to make an French
galette des rois.


[knitting] Knitting and a crochet trim

I don't mix knitting and crochet enough:

Test swatch

Simple garter stitch with a boucle cotton. I added a crochet trim with cotton thread. So pretty.

I'm swatching for a Mardis Gras crown now. I'll knit the band and probably do the points of the crown in crochet. Gotta get it done before next Tuesday!


[vermont] Basketville

Took a quick little half-day trip with my sister on Saturday down to Basketville:


They do have a lot of baskets here. As far as I can tell, there's no rhyme or reason to the way things are priced here. You can pick up a nice basket, look at the price and say, "SIXTY dollars?!" You can pick up another nice basket, look at the price and say, "TWELVE dollars?!" May all the nice baskets you find fall into the second category.

I picked up some new yarn hiding storage baskets and some little things (woven cotton napkins perfect for x-stitch embellishment), a dollar-sign cookie cutter, a pumpkin/squash scooper/scraper.

Putney is my favorite day trip in the summertime. You have Basketville, Green Mountain Spinnery and Curtis' BBQ (open April - Oct) all within one mile of Exit 4