mid-week dining al fresco

we had a nice little dinner for two last night, sitting on the porch, watching the clouds gather for a storm. crab cakes - which i thought i could entice the kiddo to eat if i called them "crabby patties" a la sponge bob (didn't work), garlic bread, and a green salad.

i've been trying to avoid the black hole of time known as the computer when i'm at home, and dipping into my recipe box and collection of cookbooks more and more. so for this meal, instead of killing 3 hours on pinterest or chowhound looking for recipes, i went to my old standby, ruth spear's cooking fish and shellfish.

she actually recommended tartar sauce to go with the crabcakes, but i am a fan of remoulade and will look for an excuse to make it. i thought i had anchovy paste in the cupboard, but i was mistaken, so i substituted one actual anchovy instead. also, rather than garlic and onions, i used the lovely scapes that came in our veg box. the result is more subtle, but lovely.

garlic scape remoulade

6 garlic scapes
1 anchovy
2 tbs capers (drained)
2 tsp fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh tarragon
grated zest of a lemon
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
chop the first 5 ingredients all together - i used a mezzaluna on a wooden chopping board for this. combine with lemon zest and add to mayonnaise. stir well. best made a few days ahead so the flavours have time to come together.

crab cakes

2 cups crab meat
1/4 cup milk
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (i needed more, as they were too wet)
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp worcester sauce
butter for frying

combine all ingredients, except the butter. allow to sit for a minute so the crumbs can absorb some of the liquid. shape into patties - the recipe recommended 4 or 6, but i made 8 smaller ones - and place on a tray lightly dusted with breadcrumbs so they're easier to handle. fry in butter, 3-5 minutes each side, until nicely golden.


the end is nigh!

i am finally, finally, finally almost done the donner sweater vest for the kiddo. after the heartbreak of realising too late that i should not have dropped a needle size for the corrugated ribbing, i had to set it aside and not think about the tediosity of said ribbing for a while, before ripping it out and starting over.


now, i've got about six inches left of the i-cord bind-off, and then i am done! done the knitting, that is. i still have a metric tonne of ends to weave in. but i cannot wait to get this thing tagged and added to the fair entries pile!

edited to add: i finished! well not the ends, but still.



summertime is picnic season! today we went on a picnic with the kiddo to meet some cousins and their news baby. they brought mini fritattas, lemonade, and kale & beet salad (i have only recently learned the trick of massaging kale! definitely more palatable raw once massaged), and we brought watermelon wedges, rhubarb squares, and sandwiches. initially i was thinking of some yummy sandwiches i had at the home the chef of the westerly: ricotta, arugula, and ... was it salami? pancetta? i forget - on a baguette, then sliced into manageable pieces. but one of our picnickers has a gluten sensitivity, and one doesn't eat pork. so.

i started by making gluten-free baguette, that was obvious. i thought about chicken as a filling, but it felt like just that much more work. instead, i focussed on stuff i had on hand already.

arugula is easy, there is loads growing in the garden. cheese - instead of ricotta, i went with an aged organic cheddar, for more umami and bite. but it's pretty crumbly, could get messy. unless it was melted.

also, if the sandwiches were grilled, and maybe brushed with some nice garlicky olive oil, that would lend some added crusty crunch, which is tricky to get with gluten-free baking, and no doubt sorely missed by the gluten sensitive.

finally, some sweet red onion balsamic relish. yum. they were a hit!

cheddar arugula picnic sandwich

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 baguette (made from jeanne's gluten-free recipe, in this case)
1/2 cup red onion relish
1 big bunch baby arugula, washed and stems removed
2 cups grated aged sharp cheddar (about 6 oz)

warm the olive oil over low; crush the garlic and add to the warm oil. simmer 2 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

slice the baguette lengthwise (i also cut it into 2 shorter halves, to make it fit more easily onto a baking sheet). brush with the garlicky olive oil, getting oil right to the edges, and make sure to spread the crushed garlic around too.

place oil side up on a baking sheet, broil about 4 minutes, till golden.

spread the red onion relish over the bottom half of the baguette. top with arugula. cover both halves of baguette with the grated cheese.

broil 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted. close the two halves of baguette to make a sandwich. cut into 1" slices to serve.


the lesiure dream

i am currently pretty much in love with these pyjamas. aren't they the most gorgeous ever? right now i'm reading serious pleasures: the life of stephen tennant, on the suggestion of this blog. tennant was among the group of bright young people that initiated the jazz-age craze for pyjama parties and other frivolities in the 1920s (like the "bath & bottle" party with a "bathwater cocktail" invented for the occasion - anyone have the original recipe? there are a few different versions floating around - but none feels entirely authentic somehow).

but wouldn't these jimjams be perfect for carole lombard in my man godfrey? i've already ordered myself a ridiculous pair of marabou mules, but i really can't justify spending over two hundred dollars on antique pyjamas. will simply have to find time to make a pair!


my weekend off

a few pics of what i did with a weekend to myself!

first: finished the kiddo's xmas pjs, and made pj bottoms for tg & me. all tagged and ready to go to the fair. why yes, i am making coordinating jimjams for the family for xmas, that's completely normal.

next: hung pictures! some had frames, some needed frames. there are also a couple of prints - an a.j. casson that was a wedding present, and paintings from cardiff and devon. n.b. it's hard to take a photo of a long wall in a narrow hall.

then i cut my hair! took maybe 10 minutes in the bathroom mirror. there are a few sticky-outy bits i need to fix tonight.

here are pics of my other ready-to-go fair entries. in the category of "child's cardigan," the space invaders cowachin for the kiddo:

and in the catgory of "infant's dress, knitted" (this one needs a pressing):

i also did a 750-piece jigsaw puzzle, cleaned the bathroom thoroughly, and tidied up the kitchen a bit. whew! but i am sorry to say that even in a dark room with newly-lined curtains, i still wake up at 5 o'clock. boooo.



i find myself with an unexpected weekend home alone. lovely solitude! just me and the radio, haven't even looked at the internet till now, haven't answered the phone.

i spent most of yesterday doing a jigsaw puzzle. tidied up the kitchen a bit, made blackout liners for the bedroom curtains (finally!!), ate cake for dinner, finished the kiddo's xmas pyjamas, as well as pyjama pants for myself & tg - tops to come later, but there are categories at the fenelon fair for ladies' and men's "sleep pants" and fair entries are my priority at the moment. i now have 5 entries done and tagged! yay.

also watched the last time i saw paris - a bit melodramatic. curious to read the book, surely fitzgerald couldn't be quite so facile - and there had to have been more to charlie's relationship with marian. and i have to say, it's a good thing helen (liz taylor as a gorgeous young thing) never visited canada, she would have died on the spot. but oh, would i love to have her wardrobe! van johnson was a bit of a stick, but it was neat to see roger moore - before maverick, before the saint, well before james bond.

now, with this blog post, i feel i've done my socializing for the day and will go hibernate a while more!