Monday, February 27, 2012

Following Instructions

Jim was laughing the other evening at or with me, you decide. 
“ha ha ha hahahaha....You hadn’t made that recipe before so followed it exactly………only you made a little change….“
And then he laughed even more and I joined in and we both laughed uncontrollably for a few minutes.

It was true.  I had said that.  We were having a nice venison vegetable soup for dinner that Jim had been slow cooking all day. 

‘Wouldn’t some nice biscuits or scones taste good with that?’ I thought.

And I remembered how delicious the jack cheese scones are at Panera’s paired with their Sonoma Chicken Stew and wanted to make something like that for us.  A bag of unbleached organic pastry flour in the closet had a simple one on the back.  It was a dried fruit scone so I thought I could follow it and just change out the cranberries for some grated asiago cheese.  Num.  Love asiago cheese.  I could taste it before I even started.

Jim is the baker in the family so I really don’t get why one ingredient is added in one recipe and not in another.  This particular recipe also called for sugar so I used some low glycemic coconut palm sugar. It listed egg whites and I had that too.  It also wanted soy milk which I don’t love so substituted lactose free 2%.  The ingredients went together well. Rolled out on the counter nicely and baked beautifully as I remembered to reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes to account for the palm sugar.  Nice easy recipe.

When I ate one fresh from the oven they were OK but a little odd.  Not the taste I had imagined.
"Oh no, maybe this wasn't such a great recipe."  
Then paired with the soup they actually tasted funny.  Another kitchen disaster in the making I thought.  Another reason why I don't do much baking.  I was getting myself ready to feed them to Basel when Jim started laughing.

Once he stopped he explained that starting with a sweet scone recipe will end with one too unless the sugar is either way reduced or eliminated.  Sure enough I checked in James Beard and next time will leave the sugar out or just make a sweet scone. Sheesh!  They turned out to be very good though for dessert and with a little butter are quite tasty.  Saved!

Which brings me to the latest project I am working on.  My mother was so thrilled with my Heart to heart pattern in Knitter’s Magazine K105 that she carried it around in the bag on her walker.  She is at Tamarisk Assisted Living Center in Rhode Island;  fantastic place with amazing caring people.  I think she must have showed that magazine to everyone she encountered for several days.

A couple of weeks ago she asked me to make her a sweater from the magazine.  She likes Amber Waves on pages 64-67.  We discussed what she liked about the pattern and what she wanted.  She absolutely did not want long sleeves.  OK that makes it easier. Then I told her I would try to find that Malabrigo yarn as she wanted that color. 

“Oh no, I want you to dye the yarn.  I want your yarn.”

Flattering but mimicking a commercially dyed color is difficult.  I asked her if sunflower would be OK and she said yes as I couldn't see myself knitting this in orange.   So off to the dyepots I went.  The first pass through was too yellow, but after a dipping in some saffron we now have sunflower. 

Then I read the pattern carefully and made a swatch.  The swatch told me that I needed to use smaller needles to get gauge but also that my mother would not be happy with the way that sweater fit.  It is mostly twisted ribbing with some eyelet rick rack.  The 3-st eyelet is fun and lacy but the ribbing is what shapes the sweater and she will not wear a fitted sweater.  Hmmmmnnnnnn .  So I decided to substitute stockinette with some vertical twisted stitches for interest.  Alas after about 40 rows I realized my verticals were not lined up properly plus I had automatically treated the back seam edges as though they were front edges.  Sigh.

As I frogged I mentioned to Jim that I was enjoying this pattern as it was a nice break from designing to simply follow someone else’s instructions.  He burst out laughing reminding me about the scones and how I simply follow instructions.   

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