Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving?

Okay, so I'm a day late and am asking was your Thanksgiving happy. Mine was happy enough. I cooked dinner for two, well four if you count the Little White Dogs. We had turkey with all the trimmings and I'm looking forward to leftovers today. The day-after turkey sandwich is better than Thanksgiving dinner if done right. The "right" sandwich calls for sliced white meat on white bread with mayonnaise spread on both pieces, a layer of cranberry sauce and a layer of cornbread stuffing. Mmm, mmm good! The next days you can have hot turkey sandwiches with gravy and even turkey sandwiches with lettuce and tomato. By the fourth day all the turkey should be gone or you won't want any for Christmas!

I made sweet potato ice cream in honor of the day to go with the Mrs. Smith's sweet potato pie I bought at the supermarket. And while I had the DeLonghi Gelato Machine on the counter I made raspberry ice cream as well. No, I did not eat some of all of those! Any I missed I will try today.

Here are pictures of the DeLonghi Gelato Machine in action when I made blackberry ice cream last week. This is a great machine that does not require freezing the freezer bowl 24 hours in advance. It makes a quart of ice cream at a time and if that isn't enough you can make quart after quart with only a five minute wait between batches--just long enough to empty the bowl and fill it again. I has its own self-refrigerating compressor. I was lucky enough to find a new one for a great price on eBay. I love eBay!
Ice cream base:

The macerated and strained blackberries added:

Soft serve ice cream is ready:

Soft ice cream put in carton to firm up in the freezer:

Lidded, labeled and ready for the freezer:

Although the box it comes in and product descriptions everywhere list the amount as 1.5 quarts, the actual capacity of the DeLonghi freezer bowl is 1.2 liters or 40 ounces. There was something lost in the translation from Italian metric liters to American imperial quarts. However, you will not want to put more than a quart (32 ounces) in the bowl unless you want a disaster. The ice cream mix expands as it freezes. Less is better. Trust me.

Thanksgiving evening I decided to cast on for the Pangea Cardigan. That was a change of plans from the hat I had intended to start. Bottom line is I haven't cast on and started anything new in so long I hardly remember how. I love working with long circulars to knit small circumferences in the round. Knitting socks made me an expert at it. However, a few days ago I COULD NOT DO IT! The hat called for casting on eight stitches. I could not get the first round going. I finally gave up and decided to start with dpns. Forget it! I was totally all thumbs. What has happened to me?!!!

So last night I decided to start the sweater, which begins at the left sleeve with a cast on of 76 stitches and calls for dpns and a 40" long circular needle. Magic Loop here I come! Easy for a sock knitter who usually starts with 60 stitches on a 32" long circular . . . I thought. So far I've cast on three times and have yet to get the first round done to my satisfaction. Me, The Sock Lady! So my goal for today is to get that left sleeve started at the wrist!

In my own defense I think I would have made it on the third try if I hadn't had to answer the phone, got a cramp in my hand holding the needles, dropped the cone of yarn . . . and the dog ate my homework.

Here is my fourth attempt waiting for me to pull the cable through between the 38th and 39th stitches.

Maybe I'll add a few pieces to the jigsaw puzzle first . . .

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, November 19, 2010

What I Now Know to Be True

I have realized some truths this week that I will share with you.

I now know that I knit best when I have more than one project going at a time. I need always to have a pair of socks on the needles, something mindless and portable, so that when a major project gets too complicated or grows too big to cart around I can knit socks. After all I am the self-proclaimed Sock Lady. Knitting plain vanilla socks feeds my knitting soul and restores my knitting equilibrium.

I thought devoting 100% of my knitting time to the Volt shawl I fell in love with would get it done in no time. Instead that idea has made it take longer. Knitting in public became tinking in private, too many distractions. So I stopped taking it with me. Not having anything else to knit I found myself getting used to not knitting and didn't always pick it up again when back at home. Not good. So today I will cast on a portable project--a hat, one of the two projects I couldn't live without from WEBS latest catalog. The other is a sweater that will not be started until after Volt.

I now know that when the going gets tough, meaning out of my control, I take control of my diet and exercise regimen. I eat right, exercise, energize and get a lot accomplished. OR I cook, bake, eat too much, laze around and hold pity parties with a guest list of one. Presently I am in cook/bake/laze mode. Thus the ice cream obsession.

I now know (which is very hard to admit) I AM OLD! When did this happen?!!! How shocking it is to hear or read an account of an event where they describe a person as "elderly," state her age and that age is THE SAME AS MINE!!! When did I become elderly? It makes me want to fall on the floor kicking, crying and screaming NO, NO, NO!!! Now does that sound elderly? Having a temper tantrum is not an elderly thing. It's quite the opposite. Therefore, I AM NOT ELDERLY! Old maybe, but not elderly. Okay? You got it? If so, you might want to remind me every now and then.

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's November! When did that happen? Where did summer go? When did summer go? Probably while I was indulging in my newest obsession--HOMEMADE ICE CREAM!!!

Let me back up a bit. It's been a long time since I've been here. Saying the summer was not one of my favorites would be a major understatement. I will omit the gory details but suffice it to say the summer was so bad my knitting suffered. Now that is really B.A.D! My knitting obsession, Volt from The Fine Line, became a nemesis rather than a catharsis. I lost my finally finished vanilla, vanilla socks. And I refused to start anything else until Volt is finished, especially socks.

And then I found ice cream. It all came about because I decided to make my own gelato to appease myself when I couldn't go to Italy in September. I have an old ice cream maker, a Krups I was never very satisfied with, but for this (thanks to rave reviews from BFF Judith) I bought a new Cuisinart. I bought the gelato cookbook, Artisan Gelato and a bottle of Prosecco (it having nothing to do with the ice cream making). Then I went crazy buying all kinds of ice cream recipe books: Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book, The Perfect Scoop and The Ultimate Ice Cream Book.

I happened to have some very over-ripe bananas on hand and decided to try using my old Krups machine while I waited for my new machine to come. Free shipping sometimes takes forever! Those bananas turned into delicious ice cream. I was hooked! The recipe books (cookbooks) gave me much more insight into the making of ice cream than the little books that come with the machines. Had I bought books before ordering the new machine I might have been satisfied with the results from my old Krups. It does a decent job--now that I know that the ice cream should only be expected to freeze to "soft serve." For a firmer product it should be put in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes to reach the desired firmer consistency.

Krups and Prosecco

Oh, and what good is homemade ice cream without homemade cones? So I bought a cone maker as well. Here are my first cones cooling on the rack. Yeah, I had to have a cone rack too. Peeking from behind the cones is the new Cuisinart ice cream maker.

I put away the old Krups when the new Cuisinart arrived and proceeded to make the best ice cream I've ever eaten! Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, peach, chocolate with almonds, butter pecan, lemon, corn (yes corn!), mango, pumpkin, tiramisu, cheesecake, honeydew sherbet, cantaloupe sherbet, and probably some others I've forgotten. Oh! I made bacon ice cream!!! Yes, and it was scrumptious!

Somewhere in the midst of it all I got a gelato maker, a self-refrigerating DeLonghi, but more about that another day. This is supposed to be a knitting blog. I'd better get knittin'!

Bona Fide Knitter