The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tomato Row!

Tomato Corner

I find myself lamenting over the ending of summer and putting up a large amount of tomatoes.

On tap for this weekend:

Tomato-based Steak Sauce
Cocktail Sauce
Tomato-based BBQ sauce.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

In an attempt at being neighborly, I left some tomatoes out for the other tenants.

Neighborliness Continued

Much to my surprise, no one took ANY...not one tomato. I took them back and put them in my new steak sauce recipe...more on that later.

Later for my neighbors!  ~ksp

Friday, October 15, 2010

North African Cuisine

I introduced a colleague of mine to my travel agent with whom he later booked a trip to Morocco. Being the thoughtful professional that he is, in exchange, he brought me bags of spices.  Much to my excitement, I got both spices I use regularly and some less-used items.

laurier = bay leaf
I've traveled to Africa and love the cuisine, mostly stewed meat and grain combos that rely heavily on tomatoes and palm oil.  Despite this orientation, I knew little of the flavors of the northern part of the continent.

As a learning experience for myself and a thank you to his thank you, I prepared for him a Moroccan-inspired chicken dish.  It relies heavily on lovely combined spices and an old legume stand-by.

After figuring out a spice mix, I browned the chicken and then simmered it over the stewed lentils.  I have an issue cooking in small portions.  Please note that you will have spice mix leftover and the recipe below will feed 4-5 adults.


Chicken Du'moroc avec Lentils
(Moroccan Chicken with Lentils)


1 tsp paprika
¾ tsp habanero powder
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
¼ tsp allspice
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves
1½ tsp cracked pepper
2 Tbsp kosher salt

1 whole chicken (cut up)
1/3 cup canola oil (any cooking vegetable oil will work)

3 cloves garlic, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 pint diced tomatoes
2 tbsp cider vinegar
4 cups water (or chicken/vegetable stock)
1 can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 bag lentils (rinsed)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Clean chicken using your usual method and pat dry. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken.  Cover completely.

In frying pan heat oil and brown chicken pieces on all sides.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Switch the remaining oil to a Dutch oven and fry the vegetables in the remaining oil.  Add the vinegar and scrape the renderings from the bottom of the pan.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and water/stock.  Bring to a boil and add the lentils.  Place the chicken pieces on the top of the mixture.  Simmer until the lentils are tender and the chicken is fully done. 

Finished dish!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Coming in from the Cold

I have abstained from adding to the craft swag for some time now.  Of course there are financial benefits to cutting back, but the truth is, I was not producing crafted items.  I was just collecting yarn, fabrics, etc. and it started to feel both wasteful and gluttoness.  I've taken this time (over a year) to focus on first, using what I have and encouraging myself to strive for greater creativity.
Last week, while away on a business trip I took a night and caught up on my blog reading.  Lately, my work has been all-consuming and I threw my back out, combining to rob me of the time to read like I'd like. Hell, its robbed me of my ability to do much of anything...but I digress...

It was then that I read that blog crush Brooklyn Tweed had brought to market a domestically-sourced and processed woolen yarn - SHELTER.  During a conference break, I skipped a workshop ran to Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA.

I am a huge fan of rationalizing (any of my therapists can attest to this) so in order for me to make a purchase I needed to tie it to something practical and immediate. Enter rationalization here:

As fall settles in and winter quickly approaches, I need to line-up my winter woolen accessories. Anyone who has met me in person can attest to my having a big head and a lot of hair, thus making purchasing commercial hats IMPOSSIBLE. 


I chose two skeins in the brighter of the 2 yellow offerings of SHELTER with the plan to make a tam (w/ requisite pom pom) to coordiate with my "dressy" winter boots.

I searched Ravelry and will start a extra slouchy version of Moss Stitch beret (rav link).  I hope to have a few yards remaining to coordinate into a scarf and/or mitten.  So, as winter fast approaches, I plan to use SHELTER to keep out the cold*.

You got to coordinate.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.

*Pun intended