CSA 2010 Week 5

This week’s haul was lettuce, frisee, green peppers, scallions, shell peas, baby bok choy, Swiss chard, and turnips. I also grabbed eggs, and some locally made jack cheese. The shell peas are already shelled, and in a bowl, available for snacking. The lettuce, frisee, and some of the baby bok choy are in the gigantic bowl o’ salad mix.

Last week’s haul was rounded out as follows: I used up the rest of the basil in mini caprese sandwiches I made in dinner rolls. Perfect size for easy eating on Saturday. I modified Penne with Broccoli Rabe, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins with some sweet Italian sausage. It was pretty good that way, but I think I’ll try making it again with double the amount of broccoli rabe instead. I enjoyed the play of the slightly bitter with the sweet of the raisins, but there was barely enough broccoli rabe to give that balance.

Last, but not least, the chard went into Soft Tacos with Green Chard, Caramelized Onions, and Queso Fresco, which is originally from Rick Bayless’s Everyday Mexican. Those turned out well. I was in a hurry, so I cheated by buying some salsa. I also had to go to the grocery store that’s closer to work, but a little lighter on selection, so I ended up with goat cheese instead of queso fresco. Still it all worked well together. I’d be interested to have it with queso fresco, and a homemade salsa, which I’m sure is better, but the quick version was quite good.


Knitting Notes

Here’s the knitting project du jour. It’s the Echo Flowers Shawl, which I’m doing in Tess’s Designer Yarns Superwash Merino Lace in a lovely purple and blue colorway.

So far, so good. Once I managed to get the appropriate level of looseness for the 9 into 3 stitches, everything fell into place, and I really started enjoying the pattern. I’m already starting to plot my next lace project, and am not missing the socks at all.

A Bone to Pick – Charlaine Harris

I have to admit right now, I infinitely prefer Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books to her Aurora Teagarden books. This is the second book in the latter series that I’ve read, and I’m not in a hurry to read more.

In this book, one of the elderly members of the now disbanded club that was the center of the action in the last book has passed away, and left everything to Roe, including her house, which Roe discovers holds a hidden skull. Roe spends the book figuring out home ownership, her new neighbors, as well as where the heck the skull came from.

The action in this book, like the last, went by way too quickly, and just didn’t seem that important. I guess I kind of like the normalcy of Roe’s life, and the trails and travels of falling into home ownership, but it just doesn’t make a whole book, and the actual murder in this one went by way to quickly.

I’m glad I was able to borrow this book. I may get around to reading more at some point, but it won’t be any time soon.

The Wandering Unicorn – Manuel Mujica Lainez

The Wandering Unicorn is the tale of Melusine, a fairy once married to a medieval French knight, and therefore founder of the house of Lusignan. Due to a curse, she must take the form of a woman with a serpent’s body, and has been chased away from her beloved Raymondin. Though she can no longer interact with her husband, and then their descendants, in the flesh, she has stayed with the family castle, and watched the family grow and prosper. The book is written from the present time, as Melusine looks back over her life, most notably, during the time of the Crusades, when she left the castle and traveled with one of her descendants to the Holy Land.

This is an interesting book. It actually reads mostly as a straight historical fiction book, except that the narrator happens to be a fairy. Melusine isn’t much able to interfere with the lives of those she observes, so the action is fairly straight-forward knights and courtly love.

The most interesting part of this book is the part that takes place in the court of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the Leper King. This part of the book works the fictional protagonists into actual historic events, and was fascinating. I’m not that familiar with the Christian kingdoms of the Holy Land that were established during the Crusades, and it was really interesting to get a flavor for that time period.

This is a really fascinating book. It’s in translation, but even so, has wonderfully evocative language, and paints a fascinating picture of medieval times. It’s also a truly fascinating examination of love, and what love can accomplish, as well as destroy. I’d recommend it even to non-fantasy readers, because Melusine being a fairy is really just a device to forward this story, and it stands almost entirely as great historical fiction.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Barrow by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Beckon Merino in the Silver Bay colorway
Needles: Size 3 DPNs

What will probably be my final Sockdown socks for the year are done. These were done for the cable portion of the May challenge.

I really enjoyed this pattern. It looks way more complicated than it actually is, and it has the kind of longer pattern repeat I really enjoy. This one was also sized by switching needles sizes, so by making the larger size on larger needles, it felt like it was going really quickly.

I also liked the TIG Beckon yarn. It has the tendency to go between plusher and thinner stretches, which gives some interesting variety, and actually doesn’t really translate to the finished fabric, which still looked nicely even.

Because I’m crazy, I’ve cast on a lace shawl. I’m still in the beginning stages (frogged once this morning because I was knitting it waaaaay too tightly), so I’ll post more once I decide I actually think I can follow through and complete it.

CSA 2010 Week 4

This week’s haul was: lettuce, basil, baby bok choy, mesclun, broccoli rabe, swiss chard, and frisee. (It was the first week that the different sized shares actually had a different selection, so there was actually more to choose from.) I also took advantage of some of the add ons, and bought two gorgeous quarts of strawberries, some coffee, and some nitrate-free bacon.

So far, we’ve enjoyed some great salad; I love their mesclun mix. It’s easily the best lettuce mix I’ve ever tasted. It’s just the right amount of peppery mixed with the green. One quart of the berries is already curing in the freezer (started on a cookie sheet for hopefully ease of separation down the line), and I’m currently enjoying fresh berries marinated in balsamic and basil with just a touch of creme fraiche. Absolute heaven.

Last week, we ended out the week with a raw salad of baby bok choy, turnips, and radishes. It was really great, including the turnips. I didn’t consider myself a turnip person before this month, but I’m definitely a convert.

Once Upon a Time IV Reading Challenge 3/21/10 – 6/20/10

I’d been holding out to see if I could finish one last book (The Wandering Unicorn) for this challenge, but I clearly haven’t, so here’s what I did read:

Apparently, I read more when I don’t do a set list, and just pull whatever strikes my fancy from Mount TBR. I’ll definitely have to keep that idea in mind for future challenges.

Fables 9: Sons of Empire – Bill Willingham, et al.

After the interlude of the last collection, this volume hops right back into the action, with the Adversary sending a representative to Fabletown, and Bigby visiting his father to attempt to enlist his help in the war. There are also a few vignettes to explain, or further, the back story of some of the other characters.

I really enjoy these books. I love seeing how they’re going to twist the stories next, or the unexpected way they bring in various characters. I’m still loving Bigby, Snow and the cubs, and I love how kindly old Gepetto is the evilest guy around.