Saturday, April 24, 2010

Catching Up

It seems like I am always catching up. Here I go again. This time, it's in preparation for:

Hosted by Eskimimi Knits, it runs April 26-May 2, with a different topic every day. I am not a joiner. I rarely do knit-a-longs, read-a-longs, or any other-a-longs. But I first read about this on a lovely blog I recently discovered, Untangling Knots, and I thought, well, I'll at least SEE what the topics are. Then I can grumble that I don't like them and not participate. But...the first day's topic was sort of fun. And the second day's. And well, I could use an excuse to try daily blogging for a week. It beats monthly blogging! This isn't necessarily a knitting blog, but knitting is a big enough part that this seems like a good fit.

Speaking of knitting: Still going on Camisa. I'm knitting the bottom of the back. Stockinette. Not much to say there. I'm not sure I'm going to like the side-vent approach to avoiding waist shaping. We'll see.

Reading: I'm more or less caught up on the book blog. I did just finish a fantastic book, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant, which takes place in a fairy-tale-like German village where girls begin disappearing...and not for the first time. The ending was literally a nail-biter.

Writing: Indeed! I dreamed the opening line for my murder mystery and magically found the exact voice I need. I'm re-writing chapter one in the new voice with some major changes. It feels like I'm finally writing the book rather than background. Much less wordy, less convoluted plot, much more divorced from reality. Um, not that it's based on any real-life experiences working in an insane theater company. Ahem.

Cooking: So we had friends over for dinner, and I used Wine Bar Food for all the recipes. I made Parmesan Flatbread, Faux Gras (yes, faux! not a goose part in sight!), Crispy Toma Cheese With Eggplant (no Toma at my store; I used a goat's milk Brie), a spinach salad with crispy shallots, a stuffed wild mushroom pizza, and Amaretto Polenta Cake. Everything was lovely, though I actually didn't care for the faux gras; it was too meat-ish for me. I really like this book, written by Tony Mantuano of Chicago's Spiaggia restaurant. I haven't been to Spiaggia, but we have been to Mangia, his restaurant in my husband's hometown. The book is nowhere near vegetarian, but I love it anyway. It's organized by region (all vaguely Mediterranean) and explores the wines of each while providing small dishes to accompany them. I mix dishes from several different regions, and I've never cooked a dud from this book. I pull it out for entertaining; it's really not an everyday cooking source.

We have a new Lilah-approved family meal standard. Sesame Noodles With Broccoli has been a favorite recipe for me for a while, but Lilah was less enthusiastic. I revamped it a little and had her help me stir in the sauce, and she ate a big bowl and asked for more. It's also the only way I can get Matt to eat broccoli... Modifications: I leave out the hot chili paste when I make it for Lilah. I always leave out the honey. I don't like raw onions, so I leave out the green onion (although I sometimes stir-fry tofu to accompany this and will stir-fry the onion with it). I also use at least double the veggies (I had three broccoli crowns and four large carrots, which I used up) and don't bother matchsticking the carrots - I slice them and add them to the water when I add the broccoli. I always double the sauce for a pound of pasta, and we use whatever pasta is around (though I personally love soba, Lilah loves corkscrews and bow ties, so we use those a lot).

Lilah stirring:

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