Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Holidays

Check out the great Holiday themed knit stamps from our friends at the USPS!
Makes me want to send Christmas Cards!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Giving Thanks

It all began on Wednesday when the turkey plopped in the brine:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 Onion cut into large chunks
  • 6-8 Bay leaves
  • Sprigs of rosemary, thyme & sage
  • 10 black pepper corns
  • 1tsp or so of Mustard Seeds
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic ( I meant to put this, but forgot!
  • 24 cups cold water
Combine the salt, onion and spices in a saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Let cool. Basically, you're going to take the brine and mix it with the remaining water. I didn't want to pour hot liquid on my un-cooked turkey, so I filled my brining bag with half of the water first. Then I poured a little of the salt mixture into a measuring cup and filled the rest with cold water to temper it. I repeated that until all the salt mixture had been used and the Turkey was covered in water. (I don't think a little more or less water is that big of a deal here.) Then he just sat in the refrigerator until 11pm when I turned him over. I took him out to warm up at ten, prepared him for the oven with butter and herbs, and popped him in around 11:30.

Friend arrived early to help, watch A Christmas Story and keep each other company until the food was ready. Garth made an amazing trifecta of mashed potatoes: garlic mash, fennel mash & rutabaga & carrot mash.

I swear this photo is taken every year!

Team Brussel

During the cooking we decided we should take Thanksgiving Portraits. I think we really only got Garth & Niegel:

At one point I turned around to find my official Thanksgiving decorating committee raiding my room to make a beautiful display for the food. For some reason we always drag my dresser out to act as a kind of buffet. It looks quite charming with food all over it, I have to say, but I try not to imagine my socks and unders though! Kj & Niegel realy went to town with my trees, candles and even an old empty picture frame. (Check out the FLickr Set for more photos!)
Then came the FOOD!
  • Herb Roasted Turkey
  • Brussel Sprouts with Lemon & Walnuts
  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin Gratin
  • Pomegranate Carrots
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Garlic Mash
  • Fennel Mash
  • Rutabaga & Mash
  • Stuffing
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Gravy
  • Apple Pie
We ate and ate bits of everything with my new favorite beverage, Pear Cider! Our tums got so full! We played games and then ate some more! Three plates?

This years experiment: pomegranate carrots. First I cooked the bigger guys in a bit of butter. Then I added the baby ones and let them cook a bit. Then I added freshly made pomegranate juice made by tossing the seeds in my food processor and straining. I let this cook, then added some stock and brown sugar. It thickened a bit, but tried adding a little flour/butter mix to make the sauce more gravy like. I think next time I'll skip the flour adding. The dish was a savory alternative to candied carrots. Not my favorite, but a general thumbs up was given.

The next day was a riot. Everyone showed up again to lounge and work together eating left overs. Here we all are each on a computer. We spent a lot of time playing online scrabble! I think it's about 3pm here and I'm still in my nightgown!

We finished up our Brooklyn Thanksgiving with a rooftop photo shoot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Work Out...New York Style

  • Wake up and do laundry. Make it so you have to do two trips with heavy bags, resulting in going up and down your fourth floor walk up six times (four of those times with bags.)
  • Meet friends for bagel with lox and a latte. Head to Union Square area.
  • Run the pre-Thanksgiving Gauntlet at Trader Joes: grab all the items you want to save $$ on like butter, nuts etc, while avoiding the old ladies ramming you with their shopping carts. Take time to stretch while you wait in line for 20 minutes.
  • Head to the farmers market and fill your bags with vegetables (see diagram 1.) Feel free to sip a hot cider, you deserve it, plus it will increase your balance as you manuver through the crowds to get to Whole Foods.
  • Last but not least, pick out a good sized Turkey (12-18lbs) and hit the train.
  • Take two flights of stairs to get down, three flights to transfer and two flights to get out. Don't bother to sit down, not that anyone would give you a seat anyway. It's good to do this during rush hour, that way it's more of a challenge not to hit anyone with your bags.
    If you leave at 4:30, try to make it back to Brooklyn by 5.
  • Briskly walk to get home and up four flights to apt.
  • Take photo of yourself for blog.
  • Quickly shower and get out of the house by 5:15.
  • Rush back into Manhattan to show a bit of the dance you've been working on. (More flights)
  • Head back to Brooklyn stopping for more groceries. (see diagram # 2.)
  • Take another photo for blog.
  • Clean your house.

Stay tuned for a Post-Thanksgiving workout (not!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I heartebay!

I just bid on this on ebay! Please don't out bid me and please let me win. I promise to never take you off oh perfect hose from the twenties!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well even though today is both rainy and a Monday it hasn't got me down! It's my full day off and I've decided to spend the majority of it on my bed. That is until it's time for my free Bumble and Bumble haircut!

There's a line up of white trucks out there making quite a ruckus!

Son of a...

I'm excited to announce that I have two patterns in the latest book by Debbie Stoller! It's all for the dudes!

Tis the Season...

My oven has been on a lot more often these day and the scent of cinnamon and apples fills the air... you know what that means!

I'm getting ready to stock up supplies for the Thanksgiving feast: butter, pie crusts, more butter, soup stock... most of the cooking happens the day before and day of. This year I think I want to brine my turkey. I've never tried that method before, but I just saw a recipe for a cranberry brine, maybe that would be lovely?? I usually just slather the thing with butter and fists full of rosemary, thyme and sage....

I have my favorite standard savory dishes: brussel sprouts, carrots, mashed potatoes, pumpkin gratin and cauliflower. Then of course we'll have the hand mixed buttermilk biscuits, orange zesty cranberry sauce and stuffing. I've yet to find my own favorite and simply magical stuffing recipe though. Last year my friend Anne made a brilliant bourbon soaked fruit & nut stuffing which was pretty effing awesome. I'd like to make that but am also on the look out for the bread variety, because it's just so great with gravy and biscuits!

This year I'm excited about the following...
  • Finding a great new pie to try along with apple of course!
  • Buying grown up wines. I'm planning on going to some tastings soon to pick out some nice simple bottles, even though my guests might not care all that much. Last year a guest brought a great bottle of whiskey that quickly disappeared! It was kinda, no pretty awesome, so I'll be on the lookout for that too.
  • Buying groceries with friends at the Farmers Market, always a great part. Picking out your perfect cheese pumpkin right along with famous chefs and every other inspired New Yorker!
  • Decorating my home to enhance our eating experience. This usually means moving furniture around and filling the room with Christmas lights to provide a warm glow. The wreath I made for my first Thanksgiving is still hanging on my wall, so perhaps it's time for something new....
I'll keep you posted on all developments!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A good yarn for Jacob

This yarn is from Blue Sky Alpacas (my favorite of course!) It is 100% baby alpaca in a sport weight. It knits up to be thin and lightweight, but very warm. I think it would do well for some color patterning. This is just a sampling of colors I think might be nice in combination. Rich and harvesty, with a punch of excitement!Wouldn't it be sooooooooo nice to line your neck with a nice cashmere?

Or perhaps include baby camel?

Manos Del Uruguay is beautiful and also supports/sustains a cooperative of women.

This yarn is called Pemaquid by the Fiber Company in Maine! I'm not sure if the blended colors would work, but the yarn sure is gorgeous!

All images are from

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Jacob's Hat (finally... well, sort of)

Yeah! This kid deserves some ideas already, right? It's getting cold in the north and I want him to look cuter than cute. So I've been pondering and have come up with a couple of preliminary designs. Everything is mix and match of course... I just wanted to see if Jacob might like any of these things... let's see!

My first thought was that with all the snowy outdoor activities in Maine... the boy would need some earflaps for sure! I thought we could play with a very traditional hunter type cap with earflaps or an extra layer that wraps around the back of the neck.

I thought I could find a very nice wool and double layer those earflaps with something soft! I think it would look nice to try a textured stitch pattern like this crossing diamond :
So I would use this stitch, or another texturey one for the body with a defining ridge between them something like this...

I found this version on the Paul Smith Website
Hey, do you like that leather buckle?? I think it could totally work!

Ok, then for a totally different thing I was thinking more old school and doing it up with some crazy fairisle!

Again, thought some earflaps, but what about nice little Maine pine trees and snowflakes? In great, non traditional colors of course!

I found these fairisle examples from the twenties that are just exquisite. I like the trees... but would flip them to be more Maine-ly, like in my drawing. I like the checker pattern too.

What do you think Jacob? How adventurous are you? I can see that Paul Smith hat with a patterned neck part even, and a solid top and of course a leather strap, but that might be too crazy! I love earflaps with long ties too.

I think a mustard gold would be great with your eyes, and some browns. (I totally stole this photo of him off facebook!)

Night at my house

Night photography is quite different than the daylight variety because you have very pointed light sources that change the color of your photo. I can change the white balance on my camera to suit my eye and I tend to like my images on the warm side... so I always make the white balance a little more red. Inside at night though, this setting is far too red. Look at me trying out a mustache....
So I switched my cameras white balance to the incandescent light setting. This makes the light a little more white and sometimes a little green, depending on the light bulb. I also changed my camera to its smallest aperture. Small apertures are great for distance shots because more stuff will be in focus, however it takes more time for light to get through, so you have to decrease your shutter speed. I thought it might be interesting to set up these long open shutter shots in my house... and that they would have a very particular night feeling

My thought now is that they might have been better on film....