Peanuts are not my friends

I so want to make this cabbage and lime salad – it looks like the perfect summer dish. Everyone else doesn’t seem to excited by the idea of a cabbage salad, but that just means that there’s more for me. Yay! Tangy and crunchy, what more could I want in a salad? Oops, the salad also includes peanuts. That’s a bit of a problem. You see, I don’t like peanuts. We’ve just never gotten along. I don’t like peanuts in all their incarnations – not raw, not cooked, not raw and salted, not as peanut butter, brittle or in M&Ms, and definitely not in cake. No Peanut butter just makes my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth. And I’d rather eat Nutella, thank you very much. Hazelnuts and chocolate, what could be better?

I imagine that some almond slices would be a good substitute. Or some chopped up hazelnuts?


Another past project post. (Hmmm, summer salad series, past project post – I guess I like alliteration).

Azzuro shawl

The pattern is Azzu’s shawl by Emma Fassio – a free pattern – and the yarn is Wollmeise in Stella Polaris. Gorgeous. The color is perfect for summer, and it just glows. I modified the project slightly since the Wollmeise skeins have a generous yardage, and I wanted to use up as much yarn as possible. I added another, slightly modified pattern repeat to make the shawl longer so I could tie it into a knot around me. My project page lists the modifications in more details. Oh, and if you’re wondering if I modified the photograph, nope, it’s as I photographed it with my little point-and-shoot Canon, even though the photograph looks like it’s been painted.

Azzuro shawl
Azzuro up close

Watermelon salad

watermelon salad

I had this for the first time at Kafe Leopolds in DC a few years ago. I’d never heard of a watermelon salad before, and the idea of pairing watermelon with feta sounded interesting. Plus the salad included thyme, once of my favorite herbs. The salad seemed simple enough and it was delicious, so I decided to recreate it. The key, in my opinion, is to drizzle really good olive oil on the salad, preferably once the salad has been plated – not a lot, but that little bit really makes a difference. And some crushed sea salt.

Of course I only found out later that a watermelon salad isn’t exactly a rare thing. Some people include other vegetables in their watermelon salad, but I still like my version best. That way the flavors are the cleanest, and each individual ingredient shines. It’s still great the next day – that is, if it lasts that long.

I’m also planning to make some of these other melon salads. Sometime.

ETA: I forgot that I didn’t post the ingredients I used: in case it’s not clear, the salad is made of just some cubed watermelon, cubed feta, fresh thyme, a bit of sea salt and good olive oil. This salad still tastes good the next day, and the day after (if it lasts that long). The flavors will have mingled so it’s a different experience but still yummy.

Pasta Paradiso Perduto

I ♥ Mario Batali. I miss Molto Mario, his show on Food Network. He was on the Next Iron Chef for a while, but I don’t think he cooks there anymore (right? Correct me if I’m wrong). I love his Pasta recipes – although I once made a recipe of his that called for hazelnuts in a simple tossed pasta version, and that just didn’t work for me. I’m guessing though that the fault lay with me, since my hazelnuts likely weren’t fresh enough. Of course I can’t find the recipe now. Sigh.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We made this pasta together with a roasted tenderloin for my father’s 65th birthday. We decided on this pasta recipe because we had radicchio on hand and didn’t want to make a radicchio salad. Despite some initial skepticism the dish worked out perfectly (we used fettucine). The lemon lights the bitterness of the radiccio, and you really should ‘cook’ the radicchio too much, otherwise it wilts and looks sad. But it still tastes delicious. It’s become a go-to pasta for us.

lost paradiso
the radicchio has wilted too much, but it's still yummy

Burgundy dress

I’d mentioned that I’d knit this dress for my goddaughter, Leah. I ultimately frogged the dress and reknit the yarn in a different design for her as a birthday present, but I’ll still put up a post of this past project as a past project post (hello alliteration!). It was my birthday gift to Leah for her second birthday, and I knit it in the 2-3 year old size, figuring that she’d get more use out of it that way. And if the dress was going to be too short on her after a while then she could always wear it as a short dress/long top with leggings or tights.

burgundy dress
the color is gorgeous

The pattern is Child’s Sun Top, a Lion Brand’s free pattern. The pattern called for a worsted cotton or cotton blend yarn so I used Knitpicks Shine Worsted, a cotton-rayon blend. The pattern requires the dress to be knit flat, and to be seamed later. I’m not a huge fan of seaming to I decided to knit the dress in the round instead, and to simply separate the two parts at the armholes. Then I’d just knit the top of the part separately in seed stitch as per pattern instructions. The original dress is bell-shaped, a form that I don’t like very much, so I cast on extra stitches, and I used paired decreases ever so often to try and get the dress into more of an A-line shape (it didn’t quite work).

burgundy dress in a bell shape
yeah, more of a bell shape than an A-line dress

The finished dress was cute and all, but the straps were rather stretchy, even though I’d used a cotton blend yarn. Still, I was hoping that it would hold the shape well enough, and I’d extended the straps so the length of the dress could be varied. I had the cutest little apple buttons that matched the main burgundy color of the dress perfectly. But as you now know, the straps weren’t strong enough to hold the weight of the dress without stretching a lot. I guess I could have lined the dress to make it more stable, but without a sowing machine I felt very intimidated by the idea of sewing on a lining by hand. Instead the dress was frogged, and I settled for a design that’s knit top down so the weight of the top wouldn’t depend on two narrow straps.

burgundy up cloe
the buttons match perfectly

My Ravelry project page has more details on the modifications, if you’re interested. Btw, I found the yarn rather fuzzy, something that I really didn’t expect from a cotton blend yarn. Have any of you had the same problem?