Sunday, November 12, 2006

Crumbs and other bits of weekend musings

In response to Bruce’s question, I made moose sausage stew. From frozen sausages to yummy stew in under 30 mins. Nothing more that browning the frozen whole sausages, some onions, carrots and celery and topping it with stock. I only had a few cups of stock left so I added a parmesan rind, some Moroccan olives to add more flavour to the diluted broth. I let it all simmer away for 20 mins. The last of the roasted veggies went in at the end. I cut the sausages with a pair of cooking shears while they were still in the pot so not a drop of savory moose juice would be lost to a cutting board. The sausage was made from a moose that Kev’s uncle took down this fall. Lucky for us, Kev’s folks were willing to part with some of their stash. Moose is so tasty. It has a rich taste but not gamey like you would think a moose would be.

I made enough to see us through the weekend because I had a pretty full dance card and also wanted to do a bunch of reading, baking and knitting.

This is what I’m reading:

I heart Julia Child.

This is what I baked:

I made a batch of Pesto-parma bread, a hearty peasant rye and a kasha seed bread. All made with flours milled by True Grains bakery in Cowichan Bay. The flours are such a pleasure to work with. It makes up such a soft and supple dough. Hopefully this will last us for a couple of weeks.

I love breadmaking. Even though I have an awesome KitchenAid mixer that can handle most bread doughs, I still like to do most of the kneading by hand. One of the great by-products of making your own bread, is well, you get to make your own bread. The process itself is a joy, especially when you have freshly milled flour. I didn’t realize the different it would make until I started buying my flour fresh.

I love the process of taking a sticky mass and being actively part of the process as it evolves into a dough. With my feet firmly planted, channeling the energy from the ground, along my legs, through my pelvis and along the pliant curve of my spine, my shoulders and out along my arms and from my palms and fingers into the dough. I am a firm believer of we are what we eat. I also believe that we eat what we are. The foods we choose reflects the relationship we have with ourselves and the world around us.

When we cook, our energy, the thoughts that fill our heads and hearts go into our food. The intent comes through in the food we make. Bread is very sensitive food that absorbs whatever you put into it.

Never bake or knit when angry.

Though kneading bread is a meditative and sometimes cathartic activity, you do have to work the dough with energy. The energy is intuitive and aware, listening to what the dough needs (sorry about that pun) and slowly letting the dough form and strengthen it’s bonds to create a chewy, tasty bread. Using the dough as a punching bag to take out your frustrations will lead you to a sticky, gummy mass that may not rise simply out of spite;)

And for the knitting part…(drum roll please…)

I finished the kimono-shrug-wrap!!! Yippee!!

It took a whole week to finally finish up one of the straps and put on a collar but it’s done! I can’t believe I managed to finish most of a sleeve in one day but it took me a whole freaking week to do the finishing bits & pieces. Things just kept popping up, folks just kept popping by and I just kept popping around.

But last night, I managed to get to the final push and had it blocked by a quarter to midnight. Whew, no sweater turning into pumpkin fiascos here.

Like most of my pieces, I have only a vague idea of what the end product will look like. I had certain criteria to abide by.

- For function, I needed something I could throw on in the early morning as I worked at my desk. Generally it’s only my upper back and shoulders that get a chill thanks to the wonky insulation in this old house.

- I needed to use up the yarn leftover from a wedding afghan I made for Kev’s sister. I also had a gorgeous Noro yarn salvaged from a scarf that I got bored with. I supplemented this stash with more Noro yarn.

-And like every other sweater I’ve made, it has to be something I can’t buy at the mall because really, what’s the point of putting that much energy into something that doesn’t carry your personal stamp of style?

I chose to do something in the spirit of Kaffe Fassett and decided to go with this as my pattern motif. It’s from a Vietnamese planter that my mom got me years ago.

(my interpretation of the above motif)

I am in love with sleeves. Full, wide sleeves that can house a bird’s nest and a quiver of weapons and my lipstick. It’s from watching too many Chinese historical movies ;) I’ve been playing around with deconstructing traditional Chinese and Japanese clothing for the last few years and reinterpreting elements in knit. Yes, there’s an Asian undertone to this whole piece with a Vietnamese inspired motif, Chinese clothing elements and Japanese yarn.

I can’t wait to wear it.


Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

- Maya Angelou


Anonymous said...

That sweater is gorgeous! Kaffe Fassett would be so proud!
You've inspired me to design my own sweater. Is there a book that will help me figure out the measurements & dimensions?

Gina said...

I want to be your neighbor and drop over for a bit of knitting and a bite of moose stew.