Thursday, July 20, 2006

A pinch of this, a dash of that

First, the promised kitty pictures. A box full of Mirando:

And Geronimo in his kitty bed, with his enormous paws that are too big to be in the bed:

Next, a gardening update. I did some replanting and "weeding." I put weeding in quotation marks because I'm not sure the mystery plants were weeds. The basil, AFTER I harvested 3/4 of a cup of leaves for pasta last night:

I left in the mystery plants with the basil since they're not in the way at the moment, and I'm really curious as to what they are. I ditched the cilantro and parsley, which refused to thrive. I re-potted the now-quite-large mint plant into the former cilantro pot:

Now the mint has room to grow and the cilantro doesn't mock me with its sad little leaves every time I look out on the porch.
And, left to right, the rosemary (which had decided to grow in with the tomato plant, through no effort of my own), the tomato plant, and the pepper (which I'm sure I need to thin out).

The rosemary and tomato were right next to each other, but the roots hadn't tangled together too badly, so I'm hoping the transplant was a success for both patients. I think I'll get the rosemary plant a friend at the farmer's market this weekend. Apparently, I am a green thumb when it comes to rosemary, since this is clearly thriving and I didn't even plant rosemary this year.

Yarnthrower, I was cracking up about your nonsensical shouting at the automated phone system. I will have to try that. As for computers, they're fantastic! Unless something goes wrong, and then they are absolutely horrible. I used to have whole days at work where, instead of doing actual work, I had to be on the phone to SBC, running all over the building unplugging routers and modems and restarting computers. Definitely not a timesaver in those abacus and a notebook would have been better :) I hope your technology problems resolve themselves soon.

Knitting: Woo! Yes, Lee, count me in for Stitches Midwest :) Fun, fun, fun! Not much progress to report, just a bit more on Hourglass. Marie, I'm hoping that line is less visible with blocking :) Stockinette wants so very badly to curl that even with the hem in place, it's trying to lean upward.

I've been, quite possibly, the WORST Amazing Lace contestant there is. I haven't done any of the challenges, I changed my project way past the last minute, and I only have 10" of lace. I blame Butterbean :) But, though it's past the deadline, here is my Challenge #4. I may try to go back and do a little something for challenges 1-3 this weekend.

Amazing Lace Challenge #4: The Early Bind-Off

If I bound off my project RIGHT NOW, it could clearly be used as a book cozy. See how well it warms Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?

Reading: Goblet of Fire (now extra-toasty).

Writing: Still in revision.

Cooking: Last night, I made improvisional Penne alla Vodka. It was amazing. I also made Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream from Cooking Light. I cut the recipe in half, as suggested for smaller countertop ice cream makers. It was a pain in the patoot. You have to cook two separate mixtures, cool them completely, then put them in the ice cream maker. It took forever and produced an unreasonable number of dirty pots and bowls. After about an hour or so, I was thinking, "There is no way ANY ice cream is worth this much effort." And then, it wouldn't thicken properly in the ice cream maker. Which I'm pretty sure is my fault. Either the mixture wasn't cold enough or when I subbed frozen blueberries for fresh, I should have thawed and drained them before cooking. It finally finished (way past my bedtime), and I called my husband in to help me. "Honey, can you take a few bites of this ice cream so I can fit the lid on the container?" Matt pronounced it "awesome" and expressed his opinion that several more bites might be needed to make the lid fit. I tried it, and it is sooooooo good. Probably worth all the effort. Very rich and creamy (and purple!), and LOWFAT. Unbelieveable.

Penne alla Vodka

1 pound penne, cooked according to package directions
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL butter
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup vodka
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup basil, chopped
3/4 cup Parmagiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese, grated

Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pepper and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add vodka, cook one minute. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste, cream, and olives. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and summer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Toss pasta, cheese, and sauce thoroughly. Serve hot. Serves 6-8.


lee said...

I'm glad you tried that recipe. I was so excited to get that issue with al the ligt ice cream recipes but I haven't made any yet. Instead I've been playing with full-fat favorites like strawberry creme fraiche and tonight I'll churn the black currant mascarpone that I made last night. Yum!

Marie said...

The green growing things are all so lovely! That mint is certainly growing rapidly! I love your use of the lace as is...lucky Goblet of fire! :)

Rain said...

Lol, I think the Goblet of Fire is warn enough by itself.

The cats looks so content.

Stefaneener said...

Holy cow. I look away and you're up to a book cozy. In my experience, peppers are really heavy feeders.
Ice cream sounds good. I think
i'm going to lie about on the couch today.

KnitPastis said...

You are killing me with all this yummy food your cooking. I am off to the kitchen now to find something to eat, thanks. Your plants look so healthy. Hope you are feeling well sweetie! xoxo