Josh

I made a person!

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Consequently, crafting, baking and blogging may be a bit delayed. Stick with me, though—we will return to your regularly scheduled cookies and fiber arts shortly.

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Mashed Potato Pancakes with Kale

We have way too many potatoes, so for tonight’s dinner I took all 14, washed and chopped and boiled them, and turned half of them into savory pancakes:

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What I put in:
7 medium-sized potatoes (about 2 lbs)
1 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
2 eggs
2 frozen kale cubes (about 2/3 cup of blanched, packed kale)
5 very small onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic

What I wish I had put in:
Another egg
Salt

Once the potatoes were boiled to tender, I drained them in a colander. They sat for a few minutes while I melted the butter in the same pan, then fried the onions until they were starting to turn clear. Then I turned off the heat, added the potatoes and milk, and mashed. The eggs and kale went in next, and I stirred everything with the potato masher until it was relatively smooth.

I heated my nonstick griddle to 350 F and ladled the batter 1/4c at a time onto the griddle. The first cakes didn’t stay together as well—they did a lot better nearer to the bottom of the bowl and/or when I started setting a timer and ignoring them until it went off. 6 minutes on a side seemed to really work, though more egg might make them even less crumbly. The later batches were coherent enough to cool on a rack and freeze, so we will see how they are reheated.

We served them with lox (which was yummy and made up for the lack of salt) and yogurt and applesauce, all of which went very well.

Zucchini Muffins

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Today was a good day for comfort food, and this week’s Boston Organics box brought another .75lbs of zucchini to go with the .75lbs from two weeks ago, so Jr Baker and I made muffins.
She cracked all three eggs herself!
We used the same recipe as the Sweet Potato Muffins, but this time I forgot to make mini-muffins and just did 15 regular ones.

They turned out very tasty—some may get frozen for later.

A sunshine hat

This is my first attempt at a new pattern—a combination crochet and knit summer hat for a friend:

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The color doesn’t come across very well in the photo, but it is Blue Mint from the Caron Simply Soft line:
. The color reminds me of sunny summer day blue skies, getting the “sunny day” feeling without being sunshine yellow, which doesn’t suit most people’s complexions.

The pattern is from Ravelry and I will totally make another to keep.

The crochet part was really easy. The knitting part should have been pretty easy, but I am still so bad at knitting. This is my first completely successful attempt at using circular needles. The places where I had trouble were (1) picking up stitches when my 3yo “helped” and (2) binding off. The first time I bound off it wasn’t stretchy at all, so I did some Google searching and found the yarn-over bind off, which worked great: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAuk8iRSwJ4

Un-binding-off is an amusing exercise I hope never to repeat, but all’s well that ends well.

The final hat is not as slouchy as I’d hoped (I made the medium) but we’ll see how it looks on the intended wearer.

Why gauge is important

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This—cowl, I guess—started its life as a legwarmer. I couldn’t find any patterns I loved, so I took measurements, figured out from that how many stitches to cast on, and only ten rows in realized that my gauge was way, way off. A friend suggested that it might be a sweater for my not-quite-3yo, so I switched from 5×5 ribbing to stockinette to make a prettier sweater.

A few inches of knitting later, it becomes clear that this is not a sweater for even a really big toddler. It *might* be a sweater for me, but I didn’t really want to make an adult sized sweater. So, instead, I put on some ribbing to match the other side, I have this really soft cowl in MIT colors, and a lesson.

Sweet Potato Muffins

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I am really into making muffins at the moment. Just as easy as quick breads, but they come in neat, single-serving pre-made portions—and Jr Baker loves them. Today I discovered that she loves micro-muffins even more!

My sister gave us some adorable silicone mini-muffin cups for Christmas. They were kind of a disaster when I used them for thin cupcake batter (the batter ran over the sides and made them very hard to get out of the cups) but this muffin batter was so thick that I decided to give them another chance.
They’re perfect!
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Jr Baker ate three before I told her that was enough, and then amused herself playing with the cups while I had some tea. (Also a win, tea is important)

I had a lot of sweet potatoes (6, which after being grated was 2 lbs) so I doubled Ian’s Crazy French Canadian Adventurer Zucchini Bread recipe (as adapted by me).

Here it is without doubling:

Dry:
2.5 c flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Wet:
3 eggs
1c vegetable oil
.5 c sugar (the original had 1.5c, but I prefer less sweet muffins)
1 lb peeled and grated sweet potato (or zucchini, squash, turnip, carrot…)

Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, mix wet into dry. Bake at 350F until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.

The little ones baked for 20 minutes, the big ones for 35 (but ymmv, my oven tends to be on the slow side.) For bread in a loaf pan, bake 60-90 minutes.

These are really good. I have only had one failure with this recipe (using frozen mixed vegetables as the veggie) and even that was just a little odd, not actually *bad*.