Mmmmm, donuts

I sound like Homer Simpson. But DCist (ok, all those _ists out there) have this post out on how to make your own donuts. Tempting, so tempting…

I so totally want to make donuts. But I expect that they warm and melty and delicious like Krispy Kreme donuts. I mean, who doesn’t love a Krispy Kreme donut that’s just hot and fresh, and melts in your mouth? Heaven! I remember the world before I discovered Krispy Kreme and I used to – very rarely – go to Dunkin Donuts. In fact, I recently bought a few donuts there to bring as dessert to a friend’s last minute dinner get together – and we were all horribly disappointed. They were dry and hard and, oh, just terrible. Is it just me, or does Dunkin Donuts really not make good donuts any more? Are they all about the coffee now?

Then there’s the beignet version. I haven’t had any – heresy, I know – but I’ve heard great and delicious things about them. I’m sure there are great ones and not so great ones out there. Btw, did you know that they’re the official state doughnut of Louisiana? I didn’t even know that there’s such a thing as a state donut!

Berliner

Germany has its own donut version: the Berliner, the jelly filled version, and Krapfen, non jelly filled. The Berliner is typically filled with raspberry, red current, plum or strawberry jam, or some mix of that, while the Krapfen is the dough by itself, which is then deep fried, although there are also apple versions, which include apples in its dough. The dough is a sweet yeast dough, and the finished Berliner/Krapfen is typically dusted with sugar or powdered sugar. You’ll find especially in the days – ok weeks – leading up to Fasching, aka carnival or Mardi Gras. Nowadays you’ll also find newfangled versions filled with pudding or even ‘black forest’ versions with cherries and whipped cream.

Btw, I always found President Kennedy famous speech “Ich bin ein Berliner” rather hilarious, at least when I was a child, because it basically translates to “I am a jelly filled donut.” Yes, I know it is meant to show his solidarity with the West German people, particularly those of Berlin. But it still makes me chuckle.

Oh, and all for all those Simpson lovers out there:

What to do with…?

I’ve been part of the 10 shawls in 2010 group for a while – so long that the group moved to 11 shawls in 2011 and now 12 shawls in 2012. I haven’t managed to reach the group goal in any of the past years, although I’ve given it a good try. It’s just that there are so many other things to knit up, plus requests, gifts, and so on.

So I’m trying to figure out my which projects I absolutely want to knit this year, especially since I’m participating in the 12 Wollmeise in 12 month KAL. I figure this is the perfect opportunity to match some of the yarn and yarn colors I love with patterns that have been lingering in my queue.

The problem is, what would I do with all those shawls? I’ve already distributed some of the FOs among friends and family, and there are some people that I’ll be knitting for. And I do want to gift shawls to people where I feel they’ll really appreciate them. But beyond that, really, how many shawls can I wear? I’m the kind of person to stick with one accessory for a long time. I have a favorite cowl – hello, American Apparel – that isn’t even handknit, and a favorite handbag that I use all the time. I have a few finished shawls that are lingering in their accessory box. And I’d hate for shawls to sit in a pile, unappreciated.

What do you do with all those shawls that you knit?

green blanket

Split Pea Umaro

When I started knitting, I went around offering various family members to knit up something for them, whatever they’d like. That was when my queue was short and when I didn’t know what to knit next. (For the record, my queue is currently 37 38 pages long). And my knitting skills were just in their infancy.

My cousin asked for blanket. That was it. No guideline or anything – no choice on colors, lace or no lace, machine washable or not. At that point of time I got most of my knitting patterns from Lion Brand – I hadn’t yet discovered Ravelry. So the original plan was to knit a blanket out of Lion Brand Handspun – the reviews were good, and hey, machine washable is always good. That was before I actually knit out something out of the Handspun (btw, the name is so ironic – it’s not even remotely similar to handspun yarn), and before I really learned how to look at Ravelry project notes. And suddenly I had a world of patterns at my fingertips. Plus a pile of yarn I didn’t want to knit up.

Fortunately I was able to rehome the yarn during my destash. But I’d completely forgotten about my promise to knit something for him until a few weeks ago, when he asked me where his blanket was. I figured it would make the perfect engagement/wedding present for him and his girlfriend/fiancee. We decided on BrooklynTweed’s Umaro pattern, in Quince and Co Puffin, colorway Split Pea, to match their shagalicious carpet.

I haven’t knit with Quince and Co’s yarns before but the reviews look good. It’s a single ply, and it’s pretty durable, although it didn’t withstand the toddler test. What is the toddler test? Well, it’s when a toddler is trying to help me knit by pulling on the yarn, and me pulling in the other direction. But it’s ridiculously easy to join – spit join – so that was easily fixed. That also means that there are no ends to weave in – yay!

Since it isn’t machine washable, it’ll be somewhat more difficult to take care off. And I’ll be blocking the finished project, to show off the pattern better. Still, it’s bulky yarn so that means it’s pretty gratifying to see the blanket grow.

I’ve been busy knitting up a bunch of other projects, especially hats, and I still need to figure out my January project for the Wollmeise for 12 month challenge will be. (Yup, I know I only have a few days left til February). I have some time since the wedding is in October, but I still want to pick up the project soon since I don’t want to be knitting a heavy bulky weight project when it’s hot outside. Time to tackle my wip (Ravelry project link is here)!

green blanket
better than pea soup

2011

Let’s look back at last year’s knitting:

My goals were 11 shawls in 2011, 12 pairs of socks, 5 WIPs, and 3 larger items (over 500 yds at least). And I wanted to attempt to knit 52 projects in 52 weeks.

My results:

  • I knit 5 pairs of baby socks/booties, and not a single pair of adult socks. Fail.
  • 3 pairs of shawls. Fail. (Oh, and a really pretty long cowl that’s more of a wrap). Fail.
  • 5 WIPs. Yay, goal completed!
  • 6 projects with over 500 yards. Yay, goal completed!
  • 31 projects plus one new WIP. Fail.

I really wanted to reduce my stash last year, and I did manage a big sale last year, but I also added to my stash. Sigh.

So this year I’m determined to stashdown, and I’m only allowed to add to my stash if I need yarn for a current project, or if I plan to cast on for the project immediately (ok, within two days). Here are my 2012 goals:

  • Photograph remaining yarn and add to Ravelry
  • Sell some yarn. No buying unless an emergency: I’m about to CO for a gift, and giftee present requires yarn I don’t have (Ha!) Project must be CO immediately.
  • Assign yarn in stash to projects (so I don’t go buying yarn when I already have something in stash). Currently I have 26 specific projects with matching yarn mapped out.
  • Reduce number 2011 WIPs before adding 2012 projects. Currently I have one WIP, and four WIPs that’ll be frogged and recast on.
  • 6 pairs of socks, 2 sweaters (at least), wedding gift blanket, and aim for 12 shawls in 2012.
  • Aim for  52 projects in 52 goals, although this’ll be tough since I have a bunch of high yardage projects planned
  • Blog regularly, about current projects as well as old ones, including 2011 projects not yet added to Rav
  • Try to knit more than 10,000 yards
  • Knit up 12 skeins of Wollmeise, one per each month – the plan is to knit up some of the treasured skeins instead of letting them linger in their box.

a tart

lemons and tart, yum
whole lemon tart

Definition:

  • Delicious cream or jam-filled treat
  • A female who is attractive and has the air of being promiscuous, even if she isn’t
  • sour, acid, astringent
    ….

Yum! 🙂

I’m a huge fan ouf things sour, and I love lemon tarts. Sometimes when I’m lazy but have a hankering for lemons I buy one of these small, one person serving size lemon tartlets from Whole Foods. I also love lemon bars, key lime pie, lemon syrup, lemon pasta, lemon in my risotto – basically lemons in all of their iterations. I haven’t tried to make preserved lemons though – at least so far, but it sounds delicious, with many uses.

Anyway, I had planned to make this gorgeous lemon tart as a my contribution for a dinner with family friends, but alas, lunch was cancelled since the lady of the house wasn’t doing well. So I ended wondering when I’d get to make this lemon tart again. I mean, I could have made the dessert just for us, but really, an entire pie just for us? Oh the horror, what a temptation to eat lemon tart for every meal. My waistline wouldn’t thank me. Plus, my mother had made this delicious Mocha cake for me (I’ll post about this another time) – a cake that’s usually made just once a year, for my birthday, and that’s associate with lots of nostalgia and family history.

Back to the topic at hand. Matthias and his wife Lena called Friday morning, saying that they’d like to come over for a short visit. They’ve going moved Toulouse in October so opportunities to meet them are rare. They wouldn’t have much time since their little munchkin Marius would need to be put to bed on time. I’d hoped that I could make them dinner since I’ve had this yummy asparagus, artichoke and shitake mushroom recipe on the backburner, but dinner just wouldn’t work out. So at least I could make a dessert, and now I finally had the opportunity to make that lemon tart.

lemon tart and tea
lemon tart and tea: breakfast of champions

The amazing and usual part about this recipe is that the entire lemon is used in the filling. Ok, the pits are removed, but otherwise the entire lemon is is processed. Not just the rind or the juice (I really need to invest in a microplane grater since I’m usually annoyed to pull out the regular grater – the rind just end up small enough for my taste. Plus it’s not a box grater, so I have the lovely job of holding the grater while using pressure on the end to get the rind off. Clearly it’s time for a microplane grater). I’m all in favor of recipes that put a twist on normal – okay, classic – recipes.

The tart was a huge hit. The center was still slightly warm at serving time, but it was of a great consistency, and we demolished over half of the tart. However, I’d agree with Deb’s assessment – i.e. Smitten Kitchen – to serve the tart cold. Take my assurances for it, the tart is still delicious the next day and the day after – although only a teeny tiny sliver lasted that long. Try it out for yourselves, and I’m sure you’ll agree that this tart is worth making it again. If you have a half-done pie crust in your freezer/fridge, then this is an easily whipped up, last minute dessert. Or a great contribution for a summer cookout. Really, it’s perfect for summer, although it’s surely a lovely reminder of summer in the middle of winter.