Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Streetcar to the Pearl

I just really loved this exterior wall of a building we passed on our way to lunch. Here Arne is trying to figure out how to get a ticket out of the machine while we are on the streetcar to the Pearl District. It took dollar bills! You could get an "all day " pass and there are "free zone" areas that don't cost anything to ride in.
A beautiful arbor -looking thing we saw in our travels. Waiting for the next streetcar back to town. The weather was so great. This area seemed so clean and quiet! Of course it was on a Sunday. So that could be why it was so quiet.
The lamp posts added a quaint touch to the neighborhood.

Visiting Dublin Bay Knitting Co.

When I saw this knitting shop online, I knew I wanted to find it when we got down to Portland as it promised to carry some lovely wool. And it surely did! As well as many other fine sock yarns and a variety of other yummy finds. Here's their site:
Dublin Bay Knitting Co.
They were so kind to help me find the perfect Aran Wool, imported from Killarney, Ireland. I believe they are the only shop in downtown Portland that have the Kerry Woollen Mills wools.
And so kind of them to help me wind, and wind ...and wind my skeins. It took her forever, but she was still smiling. The shop is located in the Pearl District and we rode the streetcar which was very easy to do to get there. Since it was an Irish wool, of course I chose a lovely green called Green Bushes with flecks of blue and brown. It will make a fine warm sweater one day! If you ever get down to Portland, there are a few other yarn stores downtown as well. This was my only yarn stop this trip. I recommend taking the easy trip on the streetcar to see this one! A beautiful store and well worth the trip!

Portland City- Bay 13

For our second eve out, we ate at Bay 13 in the Pearl District and it was also a fantastic place to eat. We were also able to walk to this one from our hotel easily. The weather was nice for outdoor seating. There were modern lounge chairs behind us. My entree was this beautiful braised beef on potatoes with red onion and wine sauce. Real rocks in resin decorated the wall by our table. My dessert of peanut butter chocolate tart and salted caramel ice cream which I "shared" with my husband. Ha! We are so full from eating all this food now...

Portland City Trip -Benson Hotel and Sauce Box

The Benson Hotel is right on Broadway in downtown Portland. We found it was very noisy on that side of the building on the weekend, so we asked for earplugs. The decor is elegant.
Lobby carpet was pretty...
The ceiling in the lobby was very ornate. We saw a wedding party get photographed on the steps in the lobby and another bride and groom arrive on Saturday.
We ate at the Sauce Box the first night just down the street. It was a very "happening" place and was popular with the younger crowd. The food was amazing. The wait staff knew their stuff. Candles were on the stairs so you had to be careful going up. Two Bachelorette parties were going on in the room we were in. This was our view into the lower dining area. Reservations a must at this place. Lots of goodies to try. Tapioca dumplings were interesting and yummy. Everything well presented.
My salmon with fried leeks, spinach...good but on salty side.Arne's squid which he really did eat in that curry sauce. He really did swallow it whole! Ew!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pedicure and Parade

Time for a summer pedicure! They sat me in the chair and turned on the chair massager and I couldn't turn it off! It was nuts! I thought I would fall out of the chair. Meanwhile, the one lady is doing my feet while the other is doing my hands. Surprised she could even do them straight. But she did pretty good. Hope it lasts a few days for our trip to Portland!

We went to the Mountlake Terrace Parade and it was big-time fun for a small city! Complete with Sea Fair clowns...one of which sprayed my daughter with a huge super-soaker! A gorilla.... Sea Fair Pirates....and their cannons (BOOM!) And the famous Toe Truck that used to live downtown. And of course drill teams, fire trucks and the whole nine yards. It was a rip roaring time! Off to Portland we go!........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Still Eating

Here we are still eating away....I would have to say that I am doing more eating than knitting, and it's got to be because of the fruit thing and the summer thing going on. This is my absolute favorite appetizer in the world. Fresh mozarella on Vinta crackers with ripe tomato and fresh basil. Got the live plant at Trader Joes and it is great weather for keeping it alive. Sometimes I bring it in out of the sun to let it have a break. Nothing like fresh basil!

The nectarines get ripe quickly in the heat and must be made into Peach (I use nectarines) Pie of course! No need to peel the nectarines. This is a great recipe my sis- in -law gave me and incorporates a little sour cream in the buttery crust and also in the topping you pour over the peaches (nectarines). It is baked covered most of the time, then uncovered to get finished off. A family favorite. I'm sure you could use other fruit in the recipe as well.
On the grill we tried halving the nectarines, brushing with oil and grilling a few minutes each side. I made a raspberry sauce with fresh raspberries and some of my raspberry jam to pour over. Delish!

We had never tried using our cedar planks on the grill so this was our first attempt at doing salmon. You soak the planks first. Another recipe says to oil the plank first. It turned out really nice. The wood burns this way though so I would use a new plank each time if done this same way.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blueberry Sweater Sleeve

I am taking my cue from Busy Bea Knits and doing some summer food and knitting pairing. Check out her site! She has the most tempting raspberry salad and socks you've ever seen! You will love all her latest sock creations! She and I go way back...We met in CA many years ago. And recently discovered we are kindred knitters. She's the one who got me blogging. Thanks, Bea!
So, in honor of you, here's my version of today's colorful garden edibles paired with my second sleeve on the needles:
Looks good enough to eat! Maybe the colorway for this yarn should be called "Blueberry" instead of "Air".

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Finished Sleeve

OK, this is a weird picture, and no, this is not a big men's tie... but it is the first sleeve (TA DA!) as flat as I can lay it out. It isn't blocked yet. It is shaped up at the shoulder. Now I am beginning the second sleeve and so glad to be done with the first. Finally! I am going to try to "match" the striping beginning at the wrist as best I can so hopefully the striping will be similar on both sleeves. I can hope for it anyway. It is difficult with a pieced sweater like this to get the striping to match unless you get lucky and find where to start your yarn just at the right spot in the skein. Overcast day today, so good day to work on knitting. Remember, this is what I'm going for:

I have the back done, the two front pieces done, and one beautiful sleeve done! After the next sleeve, it will start to get exciting!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spinach Strawberry Salad

2 bags fresh spinach
1 pt. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I substituted roasted sliced almonds)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp minced onion (I used white)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup oil
1 Tbsp poppy seeds (next time I will use a bit less than this-ended up with many in my teeth!)
1/4 tsp Wochestershire sauce
1/4 cup vinegar (I used apple cider)
Toss spinach, strawberries and nuts together in a large bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients together and pour over spinach mixture. Toss lightly and serve. It is best to pour dressing on just before serving.

I got this recipe from the Hearts at Home e-newsletter. They have more on eCommunity Recipe Forum! Also discovered a great foodie site called Kitchen Confit.
So check them out! Oh and P.S., on that cobbler recipe I posted previously: the original recipe called for two types of flour for the topping ingredients, but I used just regular unbleached. Another option was to put toasted nuts on the top, so yum-o! Now, I must quit eating and enjoy the sun!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Raspberry Jam and Back to Knitting

This is called a .5 (1/2 flat) of raspberries. They are pricey, so this is all I got.
Enough to make one batch with a few little 1/2 pints leftover for throwing fresh over cereal or salad or ice cream.The freezer's getting full of jam. I will watch out for blackberries to come into season though.

Now back to knitting....I am working on my first sleeve still so nothing too new to show. But for those who were having trouble visualizing a sleeve, I have layed it over my arm -of course it isn't seamed yet. That happens way later.It's hot weather here again this week. But I'll try to keep workin' on my sleeves!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blueberry Cobbler and Strawberry Jam

After calling every store in the vicinity the past two days, I finally found the freezer jam pectin I like. It's in a little envelope. If you have never made freezer jam, it is SO EASY. Just put four cups of cut up fruit in bowl, mash it with a potato masher, and then in separate bowl, mix the pectin with the sugar (my recipe uses 1 1/2 c. sugar to one package pectin to 4 cups fruit) stir the whole bunch together until dissolved, then ladle into 8 oz. freezer jars. Let sit 30 min. Voila! Freezer Jam! NO cooking needed!
I had enough of last year's blueberries in the freezer to do a cobbler recipe I found in the newspaper. The topping is actually more like a crumbly shortbread mixture rather than your typical doughy cobbler. Therefore the name:
(That really was the name)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6 c. diced fruit
1 1/2 c. sugar (depending on the sweetness of your fruit, may decrease sugar)
4 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
lemon juice, optional (I threw in a tsp.)
pinch salt
Place in a sprayed, or greased 7 c. baking dish
Blend topping:
10 T. butter, room temperature (Blend butter and sugars, vanilla together first)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4. tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
Add 2 c. flour
Blend until crumbly. Spoon over filling lightly.
Bake 45-55 min. until bubbling and thick. Topping should be a rich golden brown.
Serve with ice cream, of course! We are going to break out the Donvier Ice Cream maker tonight.
You mix 4 c. of light cream or 1/2 and 1/2, vanilla and sugar (Yes, very fattening!) and put it into the frozen cylinder and crank it for a few min. and there you have it, homemade ice cream!
Now we'll need a jog around the block!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ode to the Chalets

Gordon Clan July 2008
The chalets we will never forget, and the time there we'll never regret! Though musty, moldy, sandy, breezy, misty at times.... we also had so many sunny, blue, glorious eagle-spotting views from up top, good books read below, the beach and the meadow -though it needs a good "mow"....and candles aglow (Jenna's Birthday cakes)...Thanks for the memories, thanks for the years...We'll be back next time for more, oh sandy beach, and discover what you hold in store-agates or crabs or sand fleas galore.
There's sure to be a game on the table, music and laughter in the air, someone knitting in the chair, and fireworks to boot.....what a hoot! ....Until next year!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Garden Delights! Rescuing the Cherries, continued!

Lavendar is growing nicely and the bees like it too!

Honey bee is in center happily buzzing away... Below, a lovely bouquet from my garden.

Updated now so you can see how dark the cherries get after a few more days in the sun! That's more like it! Took my special "plucker" out there and got more today. It was too hot to be out there but they are so gorgeous. I couldn't leave them hanging!


Compared to just a few days ago, they are getting redder and sweeter! Yum!

Beautiful cherries are on our tree in the backyard. They are really coming out now and I am determined that the racoons, the crows and the sneaky squirrel I saw today are NOT going to eat them all. So I took my stick with the nails on the end that we get the cherries down with (a tool my hubby made!) and I went out there today to pluck them. It is labor intensive, and takes forever and makes your neck hurt looking up for a long time. No wonder they are so expensive in the stores. The first year we moved here, we got a bumper crop and my daughter sold them by the bag-full on the street instead of selling lemonade and she made $80!

If I wait even longer, they get redder like a Bing cherry, but they are still good at this stage and I am just not letting that sneaky squirrel get them all! Our neighbors had a racoon in their tree the other night and it was eating theirs. So he shot it with an air gun. That scared it off.

Next we will be waiting for our blueberries to ripen....This is how they look as they are getting ripe. They actually have to be a deep blue before you pick them. That one's almost ready! They need watering every night now.
That is pretty much all we are growing. The apple tree we don't prune so it doesn't produce large apples. I am growing a pot of basil though from T. Joes. It was just as cheap to buy a live plant. My favorite appetizer is fresh basil on Vinta crackers, with fresh mozarella and ripe tomato! Yum! Summer food! It's hot here, so it's yummy salad again tonight: Top Ramen salad with roasted chicken, roasted sliced almonds, roasted sesame seeds and cabbage with the yummy dressing-plus I added Yoshida's gourmet sauce to it!