Friday, August 26, 2016

It's getting krauted in here...

Heads are rolling.  Cabbage heads that is.

Growing up, I never liked sauerkraut.  Wow, what a taste explosion I was missing.  Homemade/canned takes it to another plane.

Last year our cabbage production was more than enough to keep us supplied with coleslaw and extra for making kraut.  According to my husband, 18 pints is not enough.

This year we planted six plants with the intention of sharing most of the cabbages with our neighbor that is no longer able to put in his own garden.  He took most of them, leaving me with two heads to deal with.  Instead of making slaw, because honestly, I'm the only one that really likes it, the most prudent decision was to make more sauerkraut.

Easy peasy.  And now it sits in the dark in my basement perking away for several weeks until it reaches the ideal level of krautiness, at which point it will take a little soak in the water bath canner and join the ranks of canned goods in my "grocery store".  

In other sort of related news...only because it involves food memories from my childhood...another recipe experiment was also conducted this past week.  Besides sauerkraut, as a child, I detested meatloaf, stuffed bell peppers, La Choy Chop Suey and chili made from those frozen orange blocks of nastiness that were chili only because that's what the label said.  As an adult, sauerkraut and meatloaf have made it into my personal recipe repertoire.  This year's garden has also blessed us with far more bell peppers than we can eat or I can chop and freeze for use in a timely manner (there's still peppers in the freezer from three years ago!!!!...relax, they do just fine in sauces and MY chili).  But what else to do with them?  Stuffed bell peppers.  Yeah, I went there.

I called my father to see if he knew where my mother's recipe was, but he was not sure where it might be.  My sister wasn't sure if she had it and a dear friend did not have a recipe either.  A search of my cookbooks turned up nothing.  It was not even in my recipe box of favorite family recipes.  Although, since I hated the suckers, I can't even begin to imagine why I would have written it down all those years ago.  Finally, my sister located the recipe and I got to cooking.  

The result:  they were every bit as nasty as I remembered.  It's possible that the recipe could be tweaked, but not likely that it's going to happen.

Now if only the tomatoes would hurry up and do their thing.  I have travel plans coming up and would bet a dollar that the bulk of them will ripen while I am gone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

By hook or by crook...

Several months ago, okay maybe it was over a year ago, I got the idea to make a sock yarn blanket.  If you visit Ravelry very often, you know that sock yarn blankets abound.  It seems that the most commonly produced version is one with a bajillion little mitered squares.  I don't like mitered squares that much, nor am I a big fan of picking up stitches.  So, no thank you.

It is no secret that sock knitting is probably my favorite.  That being said, it should be painfully obvious that there are loads of bits of leftover sock yarn lying about...or stuffed unceremoniously into a plastic tub in the basement.

Back to my blankie:  no mitered squares and no picking up stitches...solution:  something like 300ish (I've forgotten the exact amount and it doesn't really matter as you will soon see) stitches on US2 needles and the ever popular garter stitch.  What could go wrong?  How about:  garter stitch is beyond boring, tiny needles (nothing more need be said about that), eyeballs that are growing older and have trouble with tiny stitches,  the pain in the arse that it is to pick up a dropped stitch that you find after several more rows are done, and most importantly that lonnnnnng row of garter stitch does absolutely nothing to highlight the gloriously beautiful sock yarns that I love to purchase.

So, I did what I do best...ripped it out (sort of).  Instead, one day (the 4th of July to be exact)  I grabbed a hook and began crocheting a granny stripe blanket with the end of the latest yarn bit in use.  Two rows in and I was hooked (hahahaha).  Why did I not do this in the first place?  What was plain and boring stripes of random bits of color in the blanket quickly transformed on the hook into a beautiful colorful metamorphosis of yarn that was perfect.

Simply create a chain that will make the desired width and go to town with the basic stitch of granny squares all over the world.  Mine is about 4 feet wide.  I will keep going, adding new yarn leftovers as desired, until I think it is long enough.  In my mind's eye, a simple border will be added.  It's a yarny version of a crazy quilt.

What a difference technique makes in showcasing beautiful yarn color ways!


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