Friday, August 21, 2009

Comfort Food

Over the last few weeks I've been catching myself mentally filing things away for the next time I talk to my Mom. (Just typing that is making me tear up a bit. I'm sorry.) I think I've done this for years and just didn't really notice it until now, when I can't tell her the funny thing I saw, or how weird the weather is, or what I just finished making. I still keep thinking it though, mentally filing things and then I have a start and remember and it's hard all over again.

Zucchini Quiche

I associate food with memories of my Mom. I think that's not uncommon. I made Rhubarb Crisp the other day and had happy thoughts of Mom making it. I made pickled carrots and again thought of Mom.

On Sunday my younger brother called to tell me that they had a buyer for Mom's house. This wasn't a shock, it's been on the market for a few months, but as I processed the thoughts I had a sudden overwhelming craving for one of my favorites from my Mom's repertoire. Zucchini Quiche. I don't know where the recipe originated, but it was a favorite for the whole family.

Zucchini Quiche Recipe

When I worked at an international boarding school in Germany cooking was a big part of my job. My mom made a recipe book for me with all of my favorites and some other recipes she thought I might enjoy. I have used this book for over 15 years now (you can see the stains) and now it's even more of a treasure for me. Written in her proper longhand, a writing style I was never able to master, it's a tangible and practical connection to my Mom. (here come the tears again. sorry)

Tomorrow I will be heading to Saskatchewan, to the town where I grew up, to help my older brother sort through the house. I don't know what awaits me but I'm terrified of it none the less. I've been avoiding this trip for months now. I don't know how to decide what parts of my Mom's belongings are treasures and what parts are to be given away. Or worse, thrown away.

I know it needs to be done and I know there are things of my Mom's that she wanted each of us to have and those things will be more tangible connections to her. I just might need to make another Zucchini Quiche when I come back though.

Zucchini Quiche2

Mom's Zucchini Quiche
(clarification or things she left out because she figured I had seen her make it enough times in italics)

3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup biscuit mix Bisquick or similar
1 small onion chopped fine
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together with electric mixer or by hand

Bake in two 10" or one 12" pie pan (I used two 9" pie pans because I didn't have 10") at 350F for 30 - 40 min. Let stand 5 min. before cutting. Also good cold (or reheated for leftovers)

(The biscuit mix will form the crust)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Perseverance Pays Off or How I Learned My Lesson. Finally.


I nearly gave up on this one. I was *this* close to frogging it in disgust.

You see, I knit a gauge swatch, something I rarely ever do. Even rarer: I washed and blocked the swatch and my gauge was spot on. I happily cast on for Sahara in the corresponding size and knit away.

I tried it on a couple of times and thought it was a little snug but managed to convince myself to keep going. I finished the body and cast off but I wasn't fully happy with my bind off. It was too inelastic. But I still managed to convince myself that it would be okay.

Then I tried it on. Reality hit. It was WAY too small. Embarrassingly too small. I wanted to rip it out right then and there but put it aside in time out instead.

One day last week I came across my gauge swatch and picked it up. And realized that it was far more drapey than the body of my Sahara. Hmm... I decided to wash and block the body without finishing the sleeves or neck to see if it made any difference in the fit. Whadya know? It fit!

I'm brilliant like that.

I re-knit the bottom lace rib and did a tubular bind off, then did the neck finishing and sleeves and, voila! Like that it went from terrible disappointment to one of my favorite knits.

Pattern: Sahara by Wendy Bernard. I knit the short sleeve option.
Yarn: Patons Silk Bamboo
Mods: none. Amazingly. Well, other than yarn substitution.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wrap cardigan

I have a bad habit of leaving things too long and then I don't know where to begin. This is nowhere more pronounced than in keeping in touch with friends. I think "Oh I'll call/write/IM tomorrow" or whatever and then I don't and then by the time it's really gone too long I don't know where to begin. That's where I'm at now with this blog. I keep thinking "Oh I'll post this tomorrow" but then tomorrow turns out busier or greyer or whatever and I don't post. Then weeks go by, I have unposted projects that I would really love to share with you all and I can't figure out where to begin.

So I'll just show you what I did yesterday and we'll start from there. How's that?

I keep seeing these wrap cardigans which are basically a large rectangle with sleeves. I love the way they look, so cozy and so simple. I've wanted to knit one for a while but I knew I would end up petering out on it before I finished. That's just the way things are right now (the gasps of shock are noted but come on, who are we kidding?).

Friday evening I went to see Julie & Julia with my friend Julie (who did not get in for free despite having her name in the title. What is with THAT?) (also: have you seen it? I LOVED it! and I was so hungry after. And I want to find Julia Child's book. And I want to cook in France)... Where was I? Oh yeah. At the movie I saw a woman wearing this beautiful wrap cardigan like the ones I've been contemplating only hers was in a jersey knit fabric. My brain filed that image away until I was trying to sleep Friday night. So when I woke up Saturday I decided to wing it and make one out of a t-shirt sheet I had from a couple of summers ago when I made some shirts out of the set.

(this blog post is not being very well written. I apologize. If I had a red pen I would be marking it up for a re-do but it's been so long since i posted I'm going to just power through.)(and no more parentheticals. i hope).

Okay. So I consulted a few knit patterns for wrap cardigans to figure out measurements, did some futzing about with it and ended up just cutting.

In the pictures it looks kind of sloppy but I think it's not so bad in real life.

(My camera thinks my hair is red. It's not)

The only sewing was the sleeve seams and attaching the sleeves to the holes. I cut arm holes about 8 1/2" each side of the center mark and just sewed my sleeve tubes into them. I'm not 100% happy with this part but considering the complete lack of pattern drafting skills, and also the wing-it way I went about the process I'm pretty sure it turned out all right.

The sheet I used was a light green but I wanted something that would go with more of my wardrobe (who am I kidding: my t-shirts) so I dyed it black. It turned out a dark grey and I'm pretty happy with that. The edges are left unfinished since the jersey knit just rolls.

And... in case anyone wants to try it for themselves, here are the dimensions for what I did...
Wrap Cardi