Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crochet Baby Hat

`Crocheted a couple of these jobbies this week for all those soon-to-be babies in my life... Super simple (a one-nighter) and pretty cute. I'm still getting my sea legs with regard to crochet, so crocheting in the round for the first time was a bit of a challenge, but they came out pretty well! I used Cottontots yarn in Wonder Dreams, a variegated pastel cotton yarn.
Probably looks cuter on a real baby.

Carne Asada Tacos

Last week, Amy made some carne asada based on this recipe from the LA Times. She switched things up a bit, using straight adobo sauce instead of tomato sauce plus chipotle plus adobo, and with significantly less oil. Pretty good overall!I think if we made it again, we'd add more heat and perhaps a little more salt to the marinade. Also, our steak must have been thicker than the one used in the recipe, as it took much longer to cook to medium rare.

Not pictured, but totally awesome with the carne asada: homemade tomatillo salsa. Mmm...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Turquoise and Gold Crochet Necklace

The Lizinator had a birthday this weekend. We had a lovely evening drinking sangria and playing a little bocce on the patio at Vinoteca. I made her this pretty crochet necklace with gold wire, turquoise chunks, howlite barrels and gold filigree beads. We ate chocolate cake with the fudgiest chocolate frosting I've ever had. Good stuff.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Asparagus, Pepper and Steak Stir-Fry

Again, to Tim's dismay, the spring asparagus just keeps rolling in from the CSA... I thought I'd shake things up by cooking the asparagus in a stir-fry- turned out pretty well!

I based the stir-fry on this recipe from Simply Recipes, but rather than use flank steak, I used some shaved steak that Tim picked up at Trader Joes to make cheese steaks. I sprinkled sesame seeds on at the end for some crunch.

Chile-Braised Pork Tacos with Rhubarb Salsa

Amy bought some tasty looking pork shoulder from Truck Patch Farms via the 14th and U Street Farmers Market, and we had some dried chiles leftover from a delicious batch of pozole she made a few weeks ago. Put them together and you get... ta da... chile-braised pork shoulder tacos! Pretty tasty! I think perhaps next time I would leave a couple seeds in the chiles, though, as it wasn't as spicy as I was hoping for.Coupled with some rhubarb salsa (loosely based on this recipe, but simplified even more- just lime juice, scallion, jalapeno, cilantro, a pinch of sugar), the tacos were a tasty treat. I served them along with some black beans with toasted corn, and followed them up with some delightful Mexican spiced chocolate pudding (which I made a few years ago and loved).

Asparagus Pizza

Mmmm... asparagus season continues, much to Tim's dismay and my delight.

Slice the asparagus thinly on the bias, mix up some chopped tomato with minced garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, olive oil and salt & pepper. Throw it on whole wheat pizza dough with some mozzarella. Bake it super hot on a baking stone.
Good stuff.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Tartlets

One of Tim's all-time favorites is strawberry-rhubarb pie. Luckily it's easy to come by these ingredients at the CSA in the spring. Armed with super ripe berries and tart rhubarb, I decided to use a recipe for lattice-topped mini-tarts that I found in Martha Stewart's New Pies and Tarts cookbook (snagged, along with her cookie book, for a cheap price at TJ Maxx on Friday). I tweaked the recipe a little bit to my taste, as described below, and they came out great! Not too sweet, super buttery crust.

Here's how I adapted the filling:

  • 2 cups strawberries, cut into tiny dice
  • 3 stalks rhubarb, cut into tiny dice (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 TBS orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • Sautéed Polenta with Sausage and Mushroom Sauce

    Dudes, this pan-fried polenta recipe is good stuff. The typically reliable Alton Brown brings us a good go-to recipe yet again. The method seemed somewhat unorthodox, starting it out on the stovetop and finishing it in the oven, but it worked quite well. The polenta was creamy and delicious!

    Grilled on my cast-iron griddle, topped with a sausage and mushroom ragu, and sprinkled with some grated Parmesan... mmmm.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Knitted Cotton Baby Blanket

    Babies, babies, babies... as I mentioned before, amongst my friends and family there is a wealth of babies being born or getting ready to be born in the next few months. I am taking this opportunity to use my expert knitting skillz,*

    I thought I'd try my hand at a project a little bigger than my scarf. Namely a baby blanket, which is basically a wide, short scarf. Ta da!

    I loosely based the blanket on this pattern (mostly just to get a sense of generally how many stitches it would take me to get the width I wanted), and rather than use different colored yarns to make stripes, I used a pretty variegated cotton yarn that you can regularly find on sale for super cheap at most of the craft stores: Lily Sugar N' Cream Stripes in "Violet Stripes."

    * My "skillz" consist of doing one stitch, the garter stitch, repetitively.

    Ruffly Crocheted Scarf

    Sorry for the break in postings... just recently got back from a trip to sunny Florida where we lounged on the beach for a week. While on the beach, my constant crocheting of this ruffly scarf helped me to fit in with the aging crowd that hangs out down there. And the scarf got finished just in time for Mother's Day, although I'd put money on the fact that it won't be worn until at least October. Time for some cotton knitting projects!
    For the scarf I used Lion Brand Yarn's "Homespun" in lagoon. This yarn is kinda "rustic" in texture (lumpy), which works out for me because it covers flaws pretty well. I followed one of their free patterns, which worked out quite well. I made only one change to the pattern, which was to add a 5th row of stitching- one single crochet in each of the double crochets in the previous row- both because I wanted to widen the piece a little bit and because I had extra yarn leftover.