Friday, October 30, 2009


I've been toying with different color combinations for Erin's baby blanket and finally hit on the right one today. I'll be using these colors in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton against a cream colored background.

So pretty. And a nice change from the primary colors that I've been working with lately.


Ok, so I know that I should be posting about Halloween-y things. But I just saw these fabulous ornaments at Anthropologie and wanted to share:

You could stage an epic naval battle against giant sea monsters right on your own Christmas tree! Joy!


I don't believe it's happened so quickly, but I'm already hooked on making Alicia Paulson's felt Christmas ornaments. I spent last night making the cocoa ornament while watching the Christmas Comes Early episode of The Naked Chef. The ornament was so quick and easy, I can tell that I'll be whipping up a ton of these for friends and family.

I may have to download Ms. Paulson's second set of ornament patterns this weekend:

As a knitter, I have a tendency to think that homemade gifts need to be major undertakings, like blankets or sweaters. But these ornaments have shown me that I can make a thoughtful, homemade gift without breaking the bank or slaving away for several months. I find sewing really freeing. I think of it like freehand drawing, whereas knitting is more like building with legos.

I'll have a picture of my ornament (or possibly ornaments) as soon as I can. And if you're not feeling crafty, but like crafty looking ornaments, you may want to check out these Patchwork Owl Ornaments at Crate & Barrel:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Blanket Inspiration

This has been the year of babies for a lot of my friends and I've been cranking out baby blankets since last December. They're so small and cheerful that each one has been a pleasure to make. I've loved selecting the right pattern, materials and colors for each new mom.

But I was feeling a bit sorry for my two close friends who have only recently become pregnant because I felt like I'd used up my best blanket ideas. Then, just a moment ago, I stumbled upon the futuregirl craft blog and got my baby blanket mojo back!

This rainbow blanket is perfect for my friend Erin:

I think it's just four crocheted mitered squares sewn together and then edged, which should be a piece of cake. If you're interested in trying it as well, you might want to check out this Mitered Square Crochet Tutorial.

More Red Kuri

Our festival of Red Kuri squash rolls on. We made a modified version of Ina Garten's Butternut Squash Risotto, subbing in Red Kuri and eliminating the pancetta.

We served it with a spinach, beet and goat cheese salad and it was tremendous. I don't cook with saffron very often and tend to forget what a lovely flavor it imparts.

In other news, I'm bizarrely and prematurely in the holiday spirit and finally purchased Alicia Paulson's Felt Ornament Patterns so that I can get started on my Christmas gifts.

I've admired them since last year, so the purchase was long overdue. The cocoa ornament is my favorite:

So cozy! Which should be no surprise, considering the source!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fig, Goat Cheese & Carmelized Onion Tartines

Ever since returning from Italy, I find myself missing figs. I've been seeking out recipes that incorporate dried figs because that's the best I'm going to get in Boston in the Fall.

I made a modified version of this recipe to accompany our soup for dinner last night. (I know, I've gone soup crazy. It's the weather.) In order to make it a side dish for two, rather than buffet item for many, here's what I did:

Fig, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tartines
1 demi baguette
6 tbsp goat cheese
1 small onion
6-10 dried Mission figs (depending on their size)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 C of wine (I used the Big House White that we had in the fridge, but I think any wine decent enough for drinking would be fine.)
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp port (optional)
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the figs into rounds and simmer in the wine over low heat for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, increase the heat and allow the wine to reduce by half.

Thinly slice the onions and cook them with the olive oil (season to taste) over medium high heat until lightly browned.

Add the figs/wine mixture to the onions, season again if necessary. At this point, I added a splash of port to the mix, but that's entirely optional. Allow to continue cooking for another minute and then remove from heat.

Slice the demi baguette lengthwise and slather each half with about 3 tablespoons of goat cheese. Top each half with a generous portion of the fig and onion mixture.

Bake the baguette halves face up (obviously) in the oven for roughly 10 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese melty.


The original recipe is also delightful. I just don't want to host a party every time I have a hankering for goat cheese and figs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Must Read More Judy Blume...

Words I thought I would never need to consider, as my childhood/young adulthood was spent in a mighty fortress of Judy Blume lit.

The Judy Blume Quiz

Score: 82% (9 out of 11)

But then I got an 82% on The Judy Blume Quiz. Oh, the shame!

I didn't even know that Ms. Blume had written a teenage divorce guide! I really could have used that in my teens. OK, it's going on my list. Along with a reread of Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself.

I'm sorry, Judy.


Tonight I'm going to whip up a double batch of Martha Stewart's Crumb Topping to keep in my freezer. I did this last winter and whenever we had last minute guests (or wanted a cozy dessert) I just had to reach into the freezer and sprinkle a portion of the crumble over my fruit of choice and bake. Easy peasy.

*Image from The Kitchn

My favorite fruit-bake combo is granny smith apples and blackberries, but the classic apples tossed with cinnamon and sugar is pretty hard to beat. For guests, I posh the whole thing up by using cute individual ramekins. For just BB and myself, I tend to pack the topping directly onto halved, cored apples.

The Kitchn over at Apartment Therapy has two more Crumble Topping recipes that you can use in exactly the same way.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Kuri

BB and I had a particularly autumnal weekend, full of leaves, farmers markets and Red Kuri Squash. I had never actually cooked with Red Kuri before, but certainly will again. They're a beast to cut, but your efforts are well rewarded flavor-wise.

I used my mighty muscles to cubed them up, roasted them and used them in an improvised soup. My brain still isn't entirely jet lag free or I would have roasted up the seeds with some spices as a garnish.

Here's the recipe, which is really more of a formula. I just drop in different vegetables according to the season and my whims.

Red Kuri Squash Soup
1 ½ lbs of Red Kuri squash cubed
1 quart of chicken stock
1 medium onion
1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp fresh thyme
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss Red Kuri Squash and 2 tbsp of olive oil, with a pinch of salt and pepper and roast (uncovered) at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Chop onion and garlic and sauté in remaining olive oil in a medium sized Dutch oven. Once the onions are translucent, add the squash, thyme and chicken stock and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Season to taste.

After 30 minutes, blend to the desired consistency. If the soup seems too thick, it can be thinned down by adding additional stock or water.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brutal Forgetting

I've just become aware of Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, Eating Animals and am really looking forward to reading it.

There's a sentence in the book's description that really grabs me, "Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting." Brutal forgetting. What a very precise description. I've been thinking about this act a lot recently, with regard to more than just dietary practices, and have been labeling it "compartmentalizing" or "wishful compartmentalizing". But that doesn't really put a fine point on what I want to express.

How satisfying to finally have the right words.


While in Florence, I picked up a set of bookplates that caught my eye and I find myself going through a strange book vetting process now, trying to figure out which of my books are worthy of a beautiful bookplate. Should they go in my children's and YA lit? Will I have to tear out the bookplates if I want to pass them on to my potential children? Should they only go in hardcovers? And, truth be told, I'm not even sure what name to write in them. (I'm finding the whole name changing thing more difficult than anticipated.)

So rather than confronting and ultimately answering these troubling and somewhat less so questions, I'm going to focus on pretty bookplates. Here are some that you can buy on Etsy:

You can buy these lovely Octopus Hooking Onto Mermaids Tail bookplates over at articles47.

Or these darling Swan Girl plates at The Black Apple.

Or these Personalized Vintage cuties from Oiseaux

Or these mad, Deco Magical Forest Ride numbers from nouveaudesigns that I'm entirely tickled by. I find myself drawn to this type of design more and more lately. I'm not even quite sure what to call it. Magical Deco? Folk Deco?

Ah well, back to the name dilemma...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Things That Make Me Happy

Wednesday/Thursday Edition:

1. Abbey Road (Remastered)
2. A quiet dinner at home with my BB
3. This candle that smells just like a fireplace
4. My rekindled enjoyment in knitting
5. Finding two fantastic food blogs I hadn't known about before yesterday: Tiny Urban Kitchen and Eat Make Read

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We're back! The wedding and honeymoon were both divine! I'm adjusting to being back at work and distracting myself by reading Eat Make Read and planning imaginary dinner parties.

If my apartment was clean, I'd host one this weekend. But as there is no chance of that happening, I'm safe to daydream. My easy-peasy autumnal meal would consist of my Mom's macaroni and cheese and a garlicky green salad. For dessert, poached pears over Spice Bread from the Hi-Rise Bread Company. For good measure, I would serve it on my special owl plates with these polka dot napkins from Dwell:

And I'd bake the mac and cheese in this: