Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Questions:

1.  Is there anything worse than a summer cold?

2.  Does anyone know if it's possible to overdose on peppermint tea?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meat and Potatoes

I live in a place that produces potatoes.  Like, lots of them.  Like millions of pounds of them every year.  They're everywhere I look.

But I've never been a huge fan of potatoes (let's pull a veil over my substance abuse problem, re: fries and potato chips, shall we?).  I grew up eating (offensive) boiled potatoes that everyone in the family seemed to find perfectly adequate and I found perfectly disgusting.  As my good friend Miranda would say: "Revolting with a capital BARF."  And let's not go anywhere near the word "pierogi".  Retch.  Gag.

Having said all of that,  I've decided that getting old has its advantages.  Namely, you start to like stuff that used to make you want to hurl.  It's like magic.

Enter: Becky's Potato Salad.

This is a grown-up's potato salad.  It is refined, it is elegant and, most importantly, it is healthy.  It is out-of-this-World-delicious.

So who is Becky?  Becky is my veggie pusher.  She runs an organic CSA a few towns over (and just bought herself a rundown old farmhouse that she is slowly painting PERIWINKLE BLUE! - refer to Snatch for the appropriate accent to use when saying that out loud) and she provides us with our organic veggies every week.  We like Becky.  She gives us things like garlic scapes and tat soi and beet greens.  Then, because we have no blessed clue what to do with them, she gives us a recipe sheet with ideas.

That's where the potato salad comes from.  The sheet of culinary wonders.

Here's what you need:

1-1/2 lbs of new potatoes, cubed (but washed first, of course...silly)
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 tbsp minced garlic scapes or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (or just give the pepper mill a good once-over, that's my modus operandi)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 "bunch" washed/dried/torn arugula (not sure what she originally meant by "bunch", but I just toss half the bag in)

Cook the potatoes until tender but still firm (15 mins or so).  Drain and cool.  Transfer to a big bowl.

Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, garlic (or scapes), salt and pepper in a bowl.  Drizzle in the oil, whisking until the mixture thickens (or my personal favourite: stick it all in a mason jar and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE UNTIL YOU CAN'T SHAKE IT NO MO').

Toss the potatoes and the arugula with the vinaigrette (fancy French word alert).  Serve at room temperature.

That's it.  It sounds like a nothing salad, but holy crap on a cracker, it's good.  And just WAIT until you taste the leftovers the next day, after it's had time to marinate in the fridge (if you're like me, you'll want to add a touch more vinegar to it to re-jazzify it).  Gah. 

As a side note: I have humungous hands.  For a girl, I mean.  They're big.  I call them man-hands.  I am relaying this information to you because you need it in order to understand that following:

I have encountered mutant strawberries.

And no, they are not GMO.  These babies are organic and local.  Like, my-friend-Ruth's-garden-local.  Like, down-the-road-5-minutes-local.  And when I say organic, I mean organic.  Ruth doesn't even like wearing bug spray when she is harvesting edibles, in case it contaminates the food.  Guaranteed: they haven't been tampered with.  They're just the T. Rex of strawberries.  They're... beyond comprehension.  But, damn, they're delicious.

And I'm eating them all, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

In other news, I have no knitting progress for you.  I have, however, been doing some sewing.  Nothing to show you yet, but I have an impending surprize that will explain all.  I gave my wheat-coloured socks to Ruth for her birthday.  They fit like a glove.  Sigh, I just love it when that happens.  Am falling in love with a lot of the new patterns I am finding online.  Like thisOr thisOr even this.  Can't forget this.  Oh.  And I bought New England Knits, on sale at Interweave Press (supposedly, it was a "hurt book" so it was marked down to $12, but it's in pristine condition so whatever).  Swoon.

Ok, that's it - I'm going to knit upstairs.  I'll be back soon, I promise.  I feel like I've been neglecting you guys and that just ain't right.  Kisses!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hypothetically Speaking...

I put this out there to my Ravelry peeps this week, but I'm going to send it out to all of you, also:

If I was to set up a knitting retreat here (will not give out location details right now, but suffice it to say that I am smack-dab in the middle of the Canadian Maritimes) next summer, would any of you like to come?  And, more importantly, how much would you be willing to pay?

I am thinking it would last 5 days or so and I could accommodate 6-ish people (most of the cottages out here can hold that many, but we might be able to squeeze more if people were willing to camp out).  I would create a "package" price which would include the accommodations, food, transportation to and from the airport, transportation to and from any events/places we would visit during the retreat, possibly some demonstrations by local people (weavers, spinners, knitters, shearers, etc).  The only additional cost to you would be the transportation to my location (our local airport takes in flights from many major cities in the eastern half of the continent, so you'll all be able to fly in, if you choose) and any souvenirs you want to purchase while you're here.  I am not proposing this as a way to make money for myself - as a recovering student (with the massive loan payments to prove it), I am deeply committed to keeping costs as low as possible for everyone.

So, what do you think?  Is this do-able?  Is there interest?  Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sorry I've been away for so long.  No really, I feel badly about it.  I've just been spending every available moment working on the house, these past few weeks.  Because, you see, something amazing happened.

My mother came to visit.

We've lived here for the past five years and she hadn't been able to make the trip until just now (she left for home this morning).  It's not that she lives so far away, it's that our family is so spread out and it costs a lot of money/time to see everyone (Canada is big, yo).  My disabled brother no longer lives with her - he's in a home just outside of our hometown (2,500 km away from her) - and he understandably gets priority, visit-wise.  Still, it was starting to get to me.  I hadn't seen her in almost four years. 

Anyway, my mom is a professional organizer, so there was no way I was going to subject her to the disheveled state of my home.  I spent three weekends straight, painting every room in the house (there aren't really that many, but you try and paint rooms when they're still full of stuff and you'll appreciate why it took me so long).  We also cleaned up the yard, did some gardening, cleaned all the windows (!), had the electricians in to start making sense of the rat's nest that is our lighting and a host of other little odd jobs that needed done.  All on top of working full time and commuting.


I like having a pending visit hanging over my head as motivation, but I must say: I am a bit pooched.  Am looking forward to things going back to "normal".

It goes without saying that I haven't gotten much knitting or sewing done lately.  The argyle vest is crawling along and I've started another pair of socks to keep my hands busy when they haven't been holding a paint roller.  This week, while we were visiting and sitting on the beach (FINALLY - SOME SUMMER WEATHER!!), I managed to get a bit further on the socks.  I made much better progress on my sunburn, however.

{Can I just say that all this rainy weather has done some devilish things to the local mosquito population?  Holy crap.  And the no-see-ums.  Oy vey.  My mom is a magnet for all flying/biting insects and she was continually ambushed.  Thankfully, she brought this totally amazing Benadryl creme that she applied to each bite and it kept the swelling/itching down.  If you're one of those lucky people beloved by mosquitoes, you must try it.  Awesome sauce.}

Oh, and it was my birthday this past weekend.  Only, I kept forgetting.  Doh.  I ordered myself a birthday treat a few weeks ago, which I will share with you in the next couple of days, when I get it home (it's in town, at the UPS station, and it's being delivered to my office tomorrow) and set up.  Hopefully, I will also have a chance to get reorganized in my sewing so that I can put together my next tutorial for you: how to take a simple pattern for pants and make all sorts of different styles out of it.


Before I forget, did you see Amanda's post about her garden?  Swoon.

Oh, and do you love this as much as I do?