Knitstant Gratification

The crafting adventures of a knitter, music lover, and hockey fan.

Archive for July, 2013

Culinary Firsts for Me: Freezer Jam and Ice Cream

Posted by Andi on July 20, 2013

I’ve been trying to expand my culinary horizons in the kitchen. I don’t do much of our cooking, but I’ve been trying to find ways to make new things.

Over the holiday weekend I started with freezer jam. Tim’s mom picked a ton of cherries and shared some with us. It was too many cherries to eat, so I decided to make some sort of jam. The only roadblock was the fact that we have no canning equipment. It was okay, I figured I could buy some because we wanted to get some eventually. Instead, I managed to find cherry lime freezer jam that only required me to buy pectin and freezer jars. I wanted to try this recipe in particular because of its low sugar content. We don’t own a cherry pitter, so I had to pit the cherries by hand. It worked out well because the recipe required mashed cherries, so the fact that they got torn apart as I tried to remove the seeds didn’t matter. The jam is great, except I think the lime is too strong. Our limes were really big. The recipe calls for two limes, but because ours were so big I probably should have only used one. I like this recipe so much, in fact, that I’m already thinking of how I can tinker with with to make other flavors.

I can say the same thing for the ice cream recipe I tried. I’ve had an ice cream maker for a couple of years, but always made sorbet with it. This year I decided I would start making ice cream. At first I was looking for recipes for ice cream with bacon in it, but then notice I had a can of lychees that had been sitting in the pantry for quite a while. My first ice cream had to be lychee ice cream. I found this recipe for lychee ice cream. I chose this one because it used relatively few egg yolks. I didn’t want to find a place to save a bunch of egg whites. This recipe is basically a plain custard with fruit in it. It turned out amazing. The plain custard allows the fruit to be the star. Tim said it’s better than ice cream from the store. If it was this good with canned lychees, I can just imagine how good it is with fresh fruit. I’m already thinking about what fruits will be in season in the coming weeks and making more ice cream.

One of the benefits of making jam at home is that it makes a lot of jam. I exchanged a jar of my cherry lime jam with a friend who lives down the street whose mom had just made strawberry freezer jam. He told me that his mother uses the strawberry jam on top of ice cream sometimes, so I put some on top of the lychee ice cream and it was fantastic!

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FO: Blackhawks TGV

Posted by Andi on July 14, 2013

Blackhawks TGV
Pattern: TGV (High Speed Knitting) by Susan Ashcroft
Yarn: magic and moonshine handkerchief trick, 1 skein
Needles: US 5
Date started: June 8, 2013
Date completed: June 30, 2013

This is the first project I knit out of yarn I bought at this past spring’s YarnCon. This is from one skein of yarn that was dyed to be self-striping. There were so many beautiful, bright color combinations. However, when I saw one in Blackhawks colors, well, you know I had to have that one. I wanted this to be finished in time for the Blackhawks Convention at the end of July, that way if it gets cold in one of the ballrooms I will have a scarf in Blackhawks colors to keep me warm.

This is a great pattern, and definitely worth the money I paid for it. It was easy to memorize, and I will probably use it to make gifts in the future. I just kept knitting until I thought I had enough yarn to bind off, but I was mistaken and had to bring in another scrap of yarn to finish the bind off. I was so close! I don’t think you can tell, though. I thought about blocking it a bit bigger, but in the end decided against it.

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Garden 2013 – Update 2 – More Veg!!

Posted by Andi on July 9, 2013

We spent some time in the garden on July 4, and there has been some great progress.

First, the bad news. Something ate a bunch of our cabbage. All of the cabbage plants looked like this.

Destroyed cabbage

We took off the chewed up leaves. On Sunday we went back to the garden to do some weeding, and there were a few leaves of cabbage that were fully grown and not chewed up, so we were able to harvest some cabbage.

On the other end of the spectrum, the kale looks great!

Kale

We harvested some of the kale on Sunday. When I came home from work this evening I discovered that Tim made some kale chips today. I was very excited, thinking it was the kale from our garden; however, it was kale from our market box. Oh well. If the plants keep growing as they are we will have plenty of kale for salads and for chips.

Daikon!!!

Daikon

We were able to harvest several daikon, but we left a few in the ground. Huh, as I was typing this I realized that we didn’t plant any new daikon to take its place. Oh well, we’ll have to do that this week. Have you ever wondered what a daikon blossom looks like? It looks like this:

Daikon blossom

I was surprised to see that, all of a sudden, we have squash blossoms!

Squash blossom

There are several, so I hope there are enough to pick some blossoms as well as keep some until they become mature squash. Fried squash blossoms are so yummy!

We also have a ton of cucumber blossoms, so hopefully we will have tons of cucumbers soon.

Cucumber blossom

I hope we have enough left over to make pickles. And we have a few tomatoes!

Our first tomatoes

They are all still green, but they are growing. And finally (at least as far as photos go), the broccoli is still doing well.

Broccoli

We were able to pick some more on the 4th.

We spent Sunday weeding and planting. One of our hot pepper plants died, so I planted some more seed. One is still growing, but there are no hot peppers yet. We have our first bell pepper, though, and there are lots of blossoms so I think we’ll have as many bell peppers this year as we did last year. The new radishes have sprouted and will be ready in a couple of weeks.

Best of all, there were a lot of large, plump green beans ready to be picked. It seemed like they grew overnight. There is nothing like fresh green beans from the garden. Green beans from the store just aren’t the same.

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FO – 4th of July Dishcloths

Posted by Andi on July 7, 2013

DSC04126
Pattern: Grandmother’s Favorite
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Print in Americana, 1 skein; Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid in White
Needle: US 6
Date started: June 1, 2013
Date completed: July 2, 2013

I found this skein of yarn in mid-May and decided to make some dishcloths for the 4th of July. I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn, which is why you see that one has a white corner. We kept that one, and gave the other three to family members. I knit the first two dishcloths while watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs — not during Blackhawks games, of course, but during some of the other games.

I have another skein of cotton yarn. I’m thinking of trying another pattern, although I like this one a lot because I have it memorized.

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