Chihuly Scarf Finished At Last!

Now this is one knit I am going to miss knitting.
It's a sea of stockinette with color changes a go go,
so was perfect for the "grab it on your way out the door" knit
that we all need to have to keep itchy fingers at bay.

Almost a year in the making,
 this was my companion at
the movies
the waiting room
coffee meet-ups
any meeting
car rides
and dare I say it, church.

Knitting helps me concentrate.  It's true.  As long as there are no tricky stitches
it's truly mindless for me and does help me focus.

During the photo shoot our neighbor Toby came over to say howdy do
and to bum a Pupperoni.  It was his birthday, he is 3!
We made a fuss over him, naturally.

The name was inspired by the gorgeous ceiling in the Bellagio lobby in Las Vegas.

The yarn is GORGEOUS!  I love how Rowan is changing up their Kidsilk Haze
and offering us more choices with this beautiful yarn.
So far, to KSH, Rowan has fluffied it up with Aura, Creation and now Trio, 
they have glimmered it, striped it and in October I heard they are coming out with 
a beaded version.  I will be first in line.
It's no secret that I love KSH.

So I envision endless ways to wrap this around me this winter.
I may end up making one more in another color as I really do think I will miss it.

I have all the details on my Ravelry page.

Fall Dinner for Six

Reporting back as promised with the pictures of our weekend dinner party.

 The table was so pretty set for fall with a grey and yellow striped sailcloth tablecloth,
bright orange nasturtiums, my aunt's stemware, Pottery Barn dinnerplates in saffron,
and my new salad plates, Vietri's Tortoise Shell Glass.

The new salad plates shimmer with green, gold and brown.  
They look gorgeous with so many things I already own.

I love bright nasturtiums.  They are going pretty wild around here now.

For the appetizer I made a beautiful liver and veal pate, recipe below.
That was a show stopper in my opinion, the best pate ever.
I served it in the living room with little french bread toasts
and champagne grapes marinated in Couvoisier.

For first course I served crab cakes.  I do love this recipe, it's fast and easy but
the key to a great crab cake is starting with the freshest and best tasting crab you can find.

After the first course I have my guests help themselves at the buffet table.
I had a platter of our home grown tomatoes, with a grilled red onion, grilled fennel bulb 
and roasted red bell peppers, also from our garden.

I roasted pork tenderloin with a topping of minced garlic and shallots,
paprika and ground fennel.  I found the recipe in my files, given to me years ago
by my friend Rene, and at the top I had penciled in "Terry loves".
(Terry is my husband)...and with a recommendation like that, I figured I must make it.
I also served a make ahead pureed eggplant souffle.
We all loved it.

 I let myself off the hook for dessert and cut up some apples,
a Pink Lady, Mackintosh and Honeycrisp, (Honeycrisp won!)
bought some Scharffen Berger chocolate in 3 different cacao strengths,
41%, 62% and 82%, (82% won!)
and served Ina Garten's macaroons and currant cookies (a tie)
and we had a little taste testing.

That was fun and there is no man on the planet that is not pleased 
with a platter of cookies, apples and chocolate!

Now for the recipe!

Veal & Chicken Liver Pate with Muscatels in Cognac

A coarse and crumbly pate.  Make a few days in advance to improve the flavor.

For the muscatels:

1/2 C cognac or brandy
1/4 lb. muscatels on the stem

Put the cognac and muscatels in a shallow bowl, cover and set aside at room temp for 24 hours.  Every so often mix them up and recover.

for the pate:

4 T olive oil
4 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 t dried tarragon or 2 T fresh chopped
1/4 t each grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon
1/3 C port
2 T cognac
3/4 lb. lean veal (for scallopini)
1 lb. chicken livers cleaned of all fat and sinue
about 1/2 lb. lean bacon

Heat oil and butter, add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, tarragon, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Fry gently without browning until the onion is soft.  Remove from heat and cool.  Put onion mixture, port, cognac, veal and livers into a food processor.  Puree to rough puree, do over process.  Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.   Next day, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a loaf pan with bacon, pour pate into it and cover with more bacon.  Cover with foil and bake on a rack for 1 hour, maybe a bit more, until it has shrunk a little and looks as though it is floating in its own juices.  (My pate measured 190F when I took it out)  I also broiled the top uncovered for a minute to get the bacon nice and brown.  Pour out juices.  Cover with foil and weight top to compact it, I used canned goods.  Once it is cool, you will have a little more juice at the bottom to drain, remove weights then place in refrigerator until needed.  Unmold the pate and serve with the muscatels on the top.  This slices beautifully and is best served with brioche toast or french breads toasts.   We ate half this weekend and I sliced up the rest and double wrapped individual slices in plastic wrap, apparently it will last in the freezer for up to a month. 

Perhaps it's a bit of an ordeal to make this, but I would make this again in a heartbeat, it was that good.  I think it would look beautiful on an appetizer buffet and would be so welcome.  Sorry, I don't have the source, this was an old gourmet group recipe photocopied from an unknown magazine.

Today I have made this blog post and knitted.  That's it.  What a nice day!  I have 3 finished knits that I love and cannot wait to share them with you this week.

xoxo Kristen

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End Of Summer

It's nearing the end of summer and we'll soon be putting our summer vegetable garden to rest.  However, it is California so we'll plant a few beds of winter veggies, but that won't be until next week.  In the meantime, we are still doing big harvests everyday and putting away things in jars and in the freezer.  Here's what we've been up to the last few weeks.

Last week we picked a Bucket O' Beans.

Have you ever heard of a bean frencher?

It's called a French Bean Slicer, I love mine!

French Sliced Green Beans with Bacon.

A few weeks ago we harvested our pears with a few apples too.

I made Ginger Pear Chutney, oh my, it is so good.  Best chutney ever.

I love chutney in turkey patties.  I mix in about 1/2 cup or more chutney with a pound of 99% lean ground turkey.   Add 2 cups finely chopped vegetables (this time it was eggplant, bell pepper and summer squash, whatever I have on hand).  The chutney and vegetables add flavor and make the very lean meat more moist.  Form into patties and saute.  They are great!

Roasted Tomato Appetizer

In ovenproof dish, lay down fresh herbs, I used whole stemmed leaves of basil and oregano.  Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down.  Sliver a few cloves of garlic and push in between tomatoes.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 good olive oil.  Salt and pepper and add a few red pepper flakes.  Bake in hot oven, 400 F. for 30 minutes or until nice and bubbly.  Serve with crusty toasted bread and a big spoon to spoon up all the juices.  It's a messy appetizer, but I've never known anyone to mind! 

Sometimes I'll make the roasted tomatoes just to use in another recipe, like this breakfast yesterday.

I made croutons with two slices day old French bread, cut in cubes and pan toasted in 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Top the croutons with several tomatoes, lots of the juice, some chopped chives and roasted pepper.

Next came a poached egg.  Very yum.  We decided we could have this for dinner.

This morning we picked our last big harvest of bell peppers.  We'll keep the plants in for another few weeks to see if we can't get a few more to ripen.  A few will be stuffed tonight for dinner and the rest will be roasted and frozen into little containers for use throughout the winter.

One of my favorite cookies, recipe below.

I'm having a lady's luncheon tomorrow and picked some roses today.

I met some girls for coffee yesterday and looked what appeared on our lattes, so sweet.

Slice and Bake Currant Cookies
(from the Sun-Maid box)

1 C softened butter
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 C currants

Combine butter, sugars, egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Combine flour and baking soda and stir into butter mixture, mix well.  Stir in currants.  Shape into 2 inch roll, cover and chill until firm.  Slice into 1/4 inch slices, place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 F. for 12 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 4 dozen.  I always double, the cookie dough rolls freeze well.

I now have 3 knits to share but need to get my photographer interested in taking pictures.

I just looked back at this post, it's a frenzy of information.  Phew! 

But look at this busy lady.  Go now to this post, you won't believe all the canning she has done.  Beautiful!

A Winemaker's Dinner

Rene has a beautiful collection of plates and linens.  This tablecloth is from the exquisite French label, Beauville

I thought you'd like to see a buffet party I was invited to this summer welcoming our host's brother visiting from Zimbabwe.

Flowers come from her garden.

They serve their own label, Belle Epoque.

Rene has never been afraid of color or pattern!

Let's take a walk around, I'll give you a little tour.

Dhurrie rug in the kitchen hall.

Smokey charcoal walls in the bathroom!

Rene's newest quilting project.

The buffet table is ready for guests!


Lamb Curry Khorma
Spiced Chicken
Potatoes With Cream
Scalloped Spinach
Sliced Tomato, Beet and Orange Salad
Watermelon and Mint Salad

Cookies and Ice Cream

We sat outside at beautifully set tables with a view of the coastal mountains, I forgot pictures of that.  The weather was perfect just until we were ready for dessert when we came in for shortbread cookies and homemade blackberry ice cream.

The Lamb Curry Khorma was soooo good.  In the late 70s all my friends had the cookbook, San Francisco A La Carte from the SF Junior League.  It was a perennial favorite and still is.  They reprinted it in the 90s and looks like that version is still available here.  It's one of my favorite cookbooks, still!

I hope you are enjoying going to parties with me!  I have a few more parties to share in future posts.  My friends think I am a little nuts as I walk around taking pictures (without people!) and posting them here.  They very sweetly indulge my little hobby!