For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Philosopher's Kitchen mushroom salad

Today, Eldest and I headed to a specialty grocery store and picked up the missing ingredients to make the mushroom dish she wanted. (Recipe posted yesterday.) She was tolerant enough to let me take photos as she made it to go with today's supper. :-)

I prepped the ingredients for her - the mushrooms are white buttons, crimini (baby portabello) and oyster mushrooms. We also got unsalted pistachio nuts. We weren't able to get the fresh herbs we wanted, so just the parsley is fresh, with dried sweet basil and mint.

Because we were using dried herbs, she mixed them in with the oil and vinegar first thing, leaving them to sit and reconstitute a bit while the rest of the preparations were done.

Then she chopped up some Italian parsley.

Then shelled and chopped the unsalted pistachios.

Then she grabbed a few of each of the mushrooms and sliced them to make about 2 cups.

Once everything was ready, she popped the mushrooms, pistachios and parsley into a mixing bowl.

Then she poured on the oil, vinegar and herb mixture.

Finally, she sprinkled on some coarse salt and pepper and mixed it all up.

We had this with our supper of steak and tortellini with Alfredo sauce with sundried tomatoes. No, I didn't go quite all gourmet - the tortellini was frozen, and the sauce was from a jar. *L*

Youngest didn't like it, but she doesn't like pistachios or mushrooms in the first place, so that was no surprise. It was very different from what we usually eat, with a strong vinegar flavour, and went really well with the tortellini. It's not something we'll have often, but it went over well. Dh even included it with the lunch he packed for himself for work tomorrow. :-D

Friday, August 15, 2008

Drawstring bag

One more post for today, and I'm all caught up.

I've been working on a crochet sweater for myself; a project that will take at least another month to finish. Every now and then, I have the urge to FINISH something. So I went through our basket of odd bits of yarn from an exchange we'd done in the spring, got out a new, large size hook I'd just bought, and made this.

It's a pretty basic drawstring bag done almost entirely in double crochet. I made it up as I went along. The base is just a flat circle, though with this yarn, it doesn't look flat at all. The flat part is just 4 rounds, then I stopped increasing and built up the sides until it was as deep as I wanted it. The top was decorated by first doing a row of single crochet, then making a row of small loops of 3 chains in between double crochets, skipping one stitch from the previous single crochet row. The final row was made up of 4 double crochet in each loop and 1 single crochet in each double crochet in the previous row. The drawstrings are just a pair of long chains, woven into a row of double crochets under the single crochet row. Although they're in the same row, I wove them under and over alternating double crochet pairs, so that they finished opposite each other. Then I tied the ends together and trimmed them to the same length. The bag is closed by yanking the knotted ends in opposite directions.

That left me enough yarn to make the tassel, which I sewed into the starting ring. I even have a tiny bit of yarn left over, much to my surprise. :-D

I gave the bag to Youngest. She loves it, even though she has no idea what she'll use it for. *L*

Youngest, meanwhile, splurged on some gorgeously soft chenille yarn in lovely colours and made some new scarves. I'll have to get some photos of them to post here. :-D

From the Philosopher's Kitchen

One of the cookbooks I'd borrowed a while back was The Philosopher's Kitchen, which recreated recipes from ancient Rome and Greece. We'll be borrowing it again, soon!

Eldest wrote out this recipe that she wants to try, though she neglected to write out the title. We're still looking for the raspberry vinegar (though I've got red wine vinegar to use, if we can't find it), and some other types of mushrooms. Once we do, I'll be sure to write how it turned out.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
salt and fresh milled pepper
2 cups very thinly sliced assorted mushrooms
3/4 cup assorted fresh herbs, such as basil, mint and parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped pistachio nuts

She didn't write out instructions, either. I imagine it's just all tossed together.

Back to the library list

We've been rather lax with our library trips for that past couple of weeks - things would come up, and we just couldn't make it. Some things we were able to just renew, but most would end up in the drop off chute outside the library, on the way to somewhere else.

Even today, we ended up having some time constraints, but that didn't stop us from getting a good selection.

I've actually hung on to two books from the last trip we made. One is The Whole Soy Story, which I've finished and will be writing a review for on my other blog. The other is A Mediterranean Feast; The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisine of the Mediterranean, From the Merchants of Venice to the Barbary Corsairs, with More Than 500 Hundred Recipes.

What is it with these incredibly long sub-titles???

Youngest just picked one book for herself, again from The Enchanted World series, Seekers and Saviors. She also grabbed another Miss Marple dvd, At Bertram's Hotel.

Eldest got her usual eclectic variety. She chose:

The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace, The Heretic in Darwin's Court: Wallace and Darwin were contemporaries, and sometimes rivals, who had come up with the Theory of Evolution independently. Today, Wallace is largely forgotten. It should be interesting to learn more about him.

The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche: This was originally published in 1908 as part biography, part explanation of Nietzsche's ideas.

The Humboldt Current; Nineteenth-century Explorations and the Roots of American Environmentalism: Now this should make for an interesting comparison between early environmentalists and those of today.

Catholic Etiquette; What You Need to Know about Catholic Rites and Wrongs. You know, I was raised a Catholic, and had never thought there was such a thing as "Catholic" manners. It makes sense that there would be, though.

God; A Brief History - The Human Search for Eternal Truth. *snort* Yeah, brief. The book is only 2 inches thick... ;-) A cross-cultural, multi-religious examination of God. It looks to be a very interesting read.

The rest of her choices follow Eldest's interests in historical fashion, including Children's Costume in America 1607-1910, A Visual History of Costume - The Twentieth Century, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Costume and Fashion 1550-1920, and Chinese Clothing from the Cultural China Series.

Finally, she indulged her latest passion for old (or just unusual) movies, grabbing (originally released in 1916), Intolerance, The Glass Menagerie (starring Katherine Hepburn), Blood Tea & Red String (a stop-motion animation), Bela Lugosi 75th Anniversary Edition of Dracula, and Nosferatu; The Vampire & Phantom Der Nacht, a 1979 remake of the 1922 classic.

As for myself, I deliberately went to only 2 sections of the library before meeting the girls in the audio/visual section, and refused to stay there for long. So I didn't get as many books as I would have, if I'd allowed myself to indulge. LOL

I got some more crochet books, looking for more challenging projects.

Hooked on Style; Fabulous Fashions to Crochet: There's a lovely selection of items in here, though very few clothing items are patterned up to my size. I can make things for the kids, though.

Hip to Crochet; 23 Contemporary Projects for Today's Crocheter: I have to admit, whenever I see "contemporary" in the title of a craft book, I automatically expect very weird "experimental" designs in colour combinations that make my skin crawl. There is some of that in this books, but not as much as some others I've seen. *L* This is one I would buy, if I could find it in a book store (and if it was in budget...).

Loop d-Loop Crochet; More than 25 Novel Designs for Crocheters (and knitters taking up the hook): Quite the variety of projects in here! Ranging from accessories to hammocks, as well as children's clothes, a men's sweater that men might actually be willing to wear in public. It's mostly women's clothing, though, and some of the designs are rather daring, so put it mildly! At least with other crochet fashion books I've borrowed, the models wearing mesh and lace clothing had some sort of garment underneath. These models clearly don't! Well, they *are* wearing panties - that goodness! LOL

Next, I grabbed a new batch of cook books.

The Pioneer Cook; A Historical View of Canadian Prairie Food: It's always eye opening to read about what our pioneers ate and how they prepared their foods. A fascinating glimpse of their everyday lives.

The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark; Recipes for an Expedition: Part history book, part cook book. This one is right up my alley!

The Storm Gourmet; A guide to Creating Extraordinary Meals Without Electricity: When I saw the sub-title, I couldn't resist! Growing up, we frequently had power outages. This wasn't much of a hardship, as we still had the old cook stove to fall back on. Few people have those anymore, and this book is geared to them. This is more about preparing for emergencies, and how to weather them when they happen.

The Flavours of Canada; A Celebration of the Finest Regional Foods: A coast to coast exploration of Canadian cuisine. Not the territories, though. Ah, well. I can't have everything... ;-)

On the dvd front, I found some interesting titles - hopefully, the movies will be interesting as well. ;-)

Through the Eye of a Needle; Stories from an Indian Desert: I was actually looking in the "how to" section when I found this. It doesn't seem to be a how-to at all, but rather a history, which needle crafts often play a large, though unrecognized, part.

Carthage; A Journey Back in Time: a Lost Treasures of the Ancient World series we haven't seen yet.

Hadrian's Wall; Edge of the Empire: From the Lost Treasures of the Ancient World series.

Agatha Christie's Poirot; Collector's Set 2: One disc with three movies; The Cornish Mystery, Double Sin, and The Adventure of the Cheap Flat. With how well the Miss Marple movies are going over, I though Poirot might be worth looking into.

And finally, some music cd's...

Growing Pains: Mary J. Blige
Songlines: Top of the World - a CD of world music
The Silk Road: A musical Caravan - 2 cd set of music from Chine, Iran, Kazakhstan, etc. of the 13th century played by 21st century artists
Spin the Weaver's Song: Carla Sciaky - no clue what type of music this is. I actually got it because I liked the photo on the cover, and the weaving themed titles of the songs.

And that's our list for this week. :-D

Friday, August 01, 2008

100 books

I found this at Boombatti and thought it was interesting. Give it a go, yourself! :-)

The rules:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE
4) Reprint this list in your blog.
5) Strikethrough those you hated or couldn’t get through.

The premise of this exercise is that the National Endowment for the Arts apparently believes that the average American has only read 6 books from the list below.

(Note: I can't find how to strike through on this and am feeling too lazy to look up the html for that, so the ones I couldn't get through will be in pale grey. I didn't hate any of them.)

1 Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible -
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables- LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks94 Watership Down- Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo