Friday, October 28, 2011

Gratuitous Walter Photos

 Snuggled on the couch

Walter helps with the laundry

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cider Mill!

A few weeks ago, my friend and med school colleague Mike suggested that we check out one of the local cider mills. I was really excited, and wanted to suggest the best possible cider mill experience, something that would be quintessentially autumnal. I perused online, and must confess that looking back, I feel a bit misled. Although I had heard great things about Jenny’s Farm Market and the Dexter Cider Mill, I opted for Wiard’s Orchard. Their website highlighted the fact that in addition to their cider mill, they had apple orchards, and a pumpkin patch, and even something they called their own “country fair.” When we got there, however, there was a parking lot the size of a football field, there was a high (it seems unseemly to print it here) entrance fee for the country fair, and the cider press proved to be a relatively small piece of machinery that you could watch behind a window at certain times of the afternoon. I feel obligated to note that the country fair also included karaoke, which is ridiculous. In spite of this, I think Mike and I managed to have a good time, but I’m optimistic that we can check out a real cider mill sometime yet this fall…

Mike and I enjoying the beautiful day...

  The best Wiard's had to offer...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Detroit Beerfest!

 Every year I plan to attend the Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsi, and every year I miss it for one reason or another. I think I’ve either missed buying a ticket before it sold out, been out of town, had a local engagement I couldn’t miss, or had to work in the hospital for at least the last 5 years. Enter the Detroit Fall Beer Festival.  After missing this year’s summer beer festival as well, I was thrilled to learn of another opportunity! The Michigan Brewer’s Guild invites breweries from across the state to serve the best they have to offer alongside some delicious local eateries and amongst a wildly entertaining crowd. The only disappointment was that I didn’t know that I should have made a pretzel necklace to wear/eat during the festival – next year!
 Here are Alicia, Heather, Matt, and Patrick enjoying the festival...

It was a beautiful day, and as a special bonus, there was an exhibition of giant apple sculptures (?) at Eastern Market...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More about the middle (Or, everything tastes better with mayonnaise)

I’ve continued to love my CSA vegetables all summer, even though I’ve fallen off the wagon with regard to posting about them here. One challenge that continues to present itself, however, is kale. I like kale, and I probably like it more than your average person. I’ve used it in saag paneer, fresh salad, soup, and muffins, among other things. That said, there is only so much kale one person can eat. In spite of the fact that everyone I know (and even a few people I don’t) has suggested I try kale chips, I’m fairly certain that I made them a few years ago and they were gross. As I’ve continued on my quest for delicious uses for kale, I was inspired by this post from Crazy Aunt Purl about the deliciousness of raw kale salad. It made me think about using kale instead of lettuce in other applications, and reminded me that I hadn’t made any crazy sandwiches in a little while. My most notable and original creations have involved peanut butter (side note: green bean and peanut butter sandwiches are amazing), but I tend to be willing to combine any number of odd condiments and vegetables on a sandwich. In particular I love mayonnaise combined with spices or other spicy condiments. Now, I think to think I’m pretty creative between those slices of bread, but it really hadn’t occurred to me to include kale. Now it has… The kale is nice and crisp, and lasts longer in the fridge than most other sandwich greens. This is also a great use when the share only includes a few small leaves of kale.

Earlier in the summer the sandwiches included tomatoes, which were also in my CSA. My most recent sandwich creation required the roasting of eggplant, which I would highly recommend.

Pesto Sandwich Spread

1 tablespoon basil pesto

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Mix and spread onto a sandwich. Enjoy, and try not to eat it out of the bowl.

Roasted Eggplant Slices
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

As much eggplant as you can eat before it molds, cut into 3/4” slices

Salt and pepper to taste (or other spices if you’d prefer)

Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a cookie sheet generously with olive oil. Arrange eggplant slices on the cookie sheet so that they don’t overlap. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cook until they can easily be separated from the pan – the edges and the bottom should be brown and even blistering. Carefully flip each piece and sprinkle them with additional salt and pepper and roast for another 10 minutes, until the undersides match the tops.

Let cool, and add to just about anything…

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Square One

Some of you will read this post and recognize it as the larger metaphor it could be, and some of you will just enjoy a post about knitting. I can’t decide which camp I fall into at this point, but here it is.

I got some really beautiful yarn for Christmas this year, and I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to make a sweater for myself. I have made myself several vests, and made sweaters for other people, but have never made a real sweater with sleeves for myself. I spent hours on the interwebs trolling for patterns, and finally found one that I liked. (For those of you who are interested, it’s here on Ravelry, and here on Knitty…) I wanted to change the edging, substituting some nice ribbing for the scallops and the seed stitch, but that’s a modification I knew how to make. I printed out the pattern, and finally cast on in April of this year, shortly after finishing my dissertation defense. In a moment of what in retrospect seems like either psychic vision or self-fulfilling prophesy, I named it the “Someday Sweater.”

I knit a swatch, measured, ripped back, knit, measured, ripped back, knit, measured, and finally thought I had something that would work. I also measured several sweaters I already own that fit me well, and compared their measurements with the pattern schematic. I proceeded to knit through most of my trip to Colombia, and on through my M3 orientation. At the end of that long week of lectures, I had what was starting to look like a lovely sweater. Unfortunately, it was also starting to look like a big sweater, not in the absolute sense of the word, but compared to the desired measurements. I set it aside for a week, and then finally tried it on and confirmed that it was too large. I ripped back several inches, added a few decrease rows, and kept knitting. I made a brief pause to whip out a baby sweater, and to start some socks that currently seem never-ending, but mostly I knit on the sweater. It has been hibernating for a while in my bag because I was a little afraid that the modifications I made weren’t enough. The thought that the shoulders are actually too broad and the neckline too deep has been haunting me, and today, as I realized how lovely and cool it is getting and how nice it would be to have a sweater, I pulled it out of the bag. I carefully threaded a strand of cotton yarn through the live stitches and tried it on. It’s too big. My plan for tonight: rip it out and carefully rewind the yarn in preparation for casting it on anew.

Someday I’ll have a nice sweater to wear…