Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Little Progress

I grew peppers!

A lot of peppers! What on earth will I do with this many peppers? I have six jalepeno plants (you could only by them in six-packs at Pike's, and I figured out of six, I could probably keep one going). They are all bearing fruit. I think it's almost "pick a peck of pickled peppers time." I was really unsure of my gardening, and I've kept these guys in pots, unwilling to commit to actually planting them in the ground. My mint and basil are also doing beautifully, though my cilantro has had a lot of trouble. If peppers are this easy, I'm definitely adding tomatoes next year.

Knitting: I am loving the baby blanket! The Cotton Fleece is lovely to knit with, the bright color is cheery, and the pattern easy enough that I don't have to pay that much attention, yet interesting enough to keep me going. I chose this Alpaca Baby Shawl that I can't make in hand-wash alpaca for a non-knitter. I just can't. The Cotton Fleece looks lovely in the pattern. The two photos are kind of redundant, but whatever. The color is close in the photos, I think. It's maybe a bit pinker than magenta.

Reading: Oh, wow. I cannot believe how much I've read since my last update.

The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley

The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives, The Sisters Grimm: Unusual Suspects, The Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child, and The Sisters Grimm: Once Upon A Crime by Michael Buckley

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles: The Nixie's Song

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

The Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Goodbye, Ms. Chips by Dorothy Cannell
Berried Alive and Paint by Murder by Kate Kingsbury

Writing: Trying to get the children's book down on paper before I forget it.

Cooking: I made two recipes from 101 Cookbooks and both were amazing. I'm going to use a four-letter word here, so brace yourself: tofu. Now, I like tofu stir-fry and tofu on the grill, but I am generally skeptical of tofu in strange situations. No tofu in dessert or baked goods or to lighten a dish that will supposedly taste the same. But I decided to stretch myself a bit (because, frankly, if it worked, it opens up a whole new world of lower-fat cooking), and since I trust Heidi's recipes, I decided to go for it. I made Chocolate Mousse and Artichoke Dip. And they were fantastic. The mousse is a little thicker than traditional mousse, but you can't taste the tofu at all. I "unveganified" it by using Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, vanilla soymilk with 2 TBL Godiva cocoa instead of the chocolate soy milk, and topping it with freshly whipped cream (with a touch of powdered sugar). I used Frangelico instead of Amaretto because hazelnut and chocolate = yum, plus I had hazelnuts to chop for garnish. This was delicious. Even my tofu-wary husband liked it. The artichoke dip was also a huge success. Here's my usual artichoke dip recipe. I usually make it with reduced-fat sour cream, mayo, and 1/3 less fat cream cheese. It's delish. But even reduced-fat is sort of a lot of fat. I found Heidi's recipe to be even more artichokey, with less fat obscuring the vegetable. Everyone loved it. I doubled the recipe (but not the garlic) and baked it in my big casserole dish. I did notice that some liquid separated when it was about half gone, but a quick stir fixed that cosmetic problem. Consider my tofu-related horizons broadened. Note: silken tofu is used in these recipes for its smooth texture and complete lack of its own flavor. This is not the stir-frying tofu I buy water-packed in the refrigerator section, but vacuum-packed tofu on a shelf in the health food section. Mori-Nu is the brand I most commonly find, and I used Firm with excellent results.


YarnThrower said...

Your peppers are way ahead of ours. Of course, ours are surrounded by lots of weeds, probably because of all the rain we've had, and I haven't looked at them in a couple of weeks. (Perhaps we should try growing them on the front porch in containers just so we can keep a better eye on them, instead of out in the back yard with all the mosquitoes.)

The baby blanket is going to be very nice! I wasn't familiar with that pattern, but I love it!

turtlegirl76 said...

The blanket looks great! I love green peppers but I'm not so keen on hot peppers. But hey, I know I couldn't grow them myself! I'd forget to water them!

Stefaneener said...

If they're jalapenos, couldn't you either pickle them or freeze them? Or make salsa? It all sounds good.

The blanket is nice -- I love how pink it is.

mle said...

Oh that blanket is going to be just gorgeous! I love that pattern and the cotton fleece is perfect!

Amy said...

Great color pick for the blanket. Pretty pattern.

Lurrve your commentary on tofu - I'm in the same boat with you there, where I usually stick to stir-fry and don't mess with the silken. Your experimentation is inspiring! Big fan of 101 Cookbooks as well. I'm sold.

Bet Heidi has some ideas for your peppers as well...