Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Peachy day in on the Rusty Coast

Yesterday was an intensive day of baking and an impromptu knitting lesson and even a wine lesson for me. At the end of the day, I was tired and blissed out on the joys of the day. This was dinner I managed to cobble together:

Island grown free ranged chicken, local onions and BC mushrooms sautéed and deglazed with a glassful of Cherry Point’s Coastal white wine. I finished it the sauce off with a pat or 2 of butter. The veggies are collard greens from Nanoose Edibles and were simple steamed with drizzled with some Marley Farms kiwi vinegar. Talk about 100 Mile Diet heaven!

Usually I would leave the chicken breast in one piece but DH’s left arm is in a sling due to his surgical overhaul. He looks like one part hunky husband and one part gimped T-Rex. LOL! Obviously he can’t use a knife and fork so everything has to be cooked bite-size so he shovel it all into his mouth with one utensil.

I’ve been scheming and dreaming a local wine and cheese tasting evening with my tribe of 100 Milers to celebrate spring and all the wonderful island grown vinos and artisan cheeses. As mentioned before, most island grown wines can be found at independent liquor stores and the gov’t stores do carry 1 or 2 of them. I was poking about a local wine store and struck up a conversation with the clerk, who was an local wine fan. I was informed that many of the vineyards on the mainland are bringing in red wine from as far as Chile to blend into their red wines. YIKES! It’s one of those dark secrets of the wine trade. Not all that Okanogan wine is actually from the Okanogan. Together, the wine clerk and I a bit of research and found that most of the local island wineries are truly locally grown wine. Yippee! Bring on the Bete Noire!

After my mini-wine lesson, I popped by a local yarn store for a mid-afternoon pick me up ;) and ran into my latest knitting apprentice. My apprentice has only been knitting for a month but what a month it has been! From the moment the needles were passed into her hands, it’s been full speed ahead.

Like most knitters, I have the honor of being a doorway to the wide world of knitting for non-knitters. Some just poke their heads in. Others take in a few steps, admire the view and find a nice comfortable spot to chill out or wander along the nicely patterned pathways. Every once in a while, I find someone that wants to explore the backcountry of this whole wide world.

I don’t refer to myself as a knitting teacher but more as a knitting guide. Where would you like to go today? The lovely province of Fair Isle? Perhaps a visit to lacework? How about a little bit of intarsia? It’s a nice day for some cabling.

Everyone learns and travel through this world of knits their own particular way. Some are comfortable and happy following patterns and I’m happy to show them any new techniques that come that way. Some just want to knit scarves and their lucky family and friends will have nice and toasty necks. For some, the quiet, meditative unbroken line of stockinette in the round is a perfect way to relax at the end of the day. I have a couple of knitting apprentices that are happy to experiment on their own terms.

The odd thing I’ve noticed is that despite how good they become, they seem to build a mental block about certain techniques. Some are fine playing around with stitch patterns, experimenting with knit and purl variations but are overwhelmed by the idea of cabling. Others are Aran phenoms but think lace is way beyond their capabilities. Many don’t dare venture beyond the printed page and some can’t fathom the idea of altering a pattern to fit their own bodies. Some (the smart ones) stay far away from doing intarsia.

Take it one stitch at a time, I say. It’s the only way to knit an elephant…or afghan…or…you get the picture.

Once in an indigo moon, I find someone who is eager to learn it all and experiment and be led by imagination and intuition. Such a person is my new apprentice. Who's piping in the ‘Emperor’s Theme’ from Star Wars???

Over a cup of tea taught her how to do short rows, mitering and other shaping techniques. You could almost hear the gears in her head turning as she took this new info and imagined all the spiffy ways to apply it. I can’t wait to see the wonderful knitting that will bloom from this new seed!
Samples of shaping experiments

For the baking part of the day, I made up a small peach galette. It was pretty easy peasy with a homemade pastry dough I found in the freezer and island grown peaches that I had canned from last summer. A sprinkle of island grown hazelnuts and a 30 minute spin in a 350F oven. A really long 30 minutes. Plus another super long 10 minutes to let the darn thing cool down enough so it would only scorch the roof of our mouths but wouldn’t burn it so bad that strips of skin would peel off.

Yes, it was absolutely divine. It’s during these younger months of the year that have me grateful that I spent the time last summer canning and preserving summer and fall’s bounty. Talk about a lesson in delayed gratification :p

The pastry dough is I used is Fast and Dirty pie dough recipe. I used sifted organic flour from True Grains, island butter and a touch of fair trade cane sugar. A bit of cold water and viola, you have a quick pastry dough. It’s a great pastry dough and it keeps for a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. It’s a brilliant thing to have around for those times that you want a little something special or just because it’s so good to eat!

Have a great day!


Nanaimo's 100 Mile Diet Challenge


Diana said...

I've been enjoying your blog!! You are an amazing knitter and cook. Wow! Having fun checking your archives too. Found you through Knitters Review.

Stephanie said...

Jen Jen Jen!!! I can't find your email address to write to you not from the blog, so I'm doing it this way. Have you seen things like these?

I was thinking that this would be a very cool way to use some very wonderful yarn bits. Have you ever seen directions on do's and don'ts for making such things?