twinset.us

Twins bound by a love of knitting talk about knitting and more.

Archive for the ‘Recipes’


21 ping salute

Hi, Jan,

The cherries have been piling up in my freezer.  I’m not making enough pies, obviously, but you know, I’d just eat them if I did and there would be more room in the freezer and less in my clothes.  When I noticed one of the packages had 2006 written on it, I knew it was time to take action.  Cherry jam action.

51.jpg71.jpgMaking jam is even more suspenseful than typical canning.  Not only do you wait for the pings, you cross your fingers that things will set up.  I followed the directions with care – wow, 6 cups of sugar to 4 cups of cherries!  It is fun watching it mix in – it goes from a solid to a soup in about 45 seconds as the sugar draws the juice out of the cherries.

8.jpg9.jpgAnd then we have the most dangerous thing in the kitchen – hot syrup.  All of it got into the jars and not on me, and at the end of a long afternoon I had a tower of rubies.  And today, I can report that it seemed to set up very well.

.

.

31.jpgMy Bohus hat is making me happy, too.  I subbed in a couple of colors from Forest Darkness in order to do the complete design repeat – I only had yarn from the wristers extras that I’d received from Susanna for doing some knitting for her.  That dark olive was not completely settling in when I had just added it, but now that it is balanced by more of the dark teal, it is adding a little jazz without stubbing your eye.

41.jpgI’m going to spend the rest of the evening finishing the hat off.  Even though we are having a wonderfully warm Labor Day, you can never be too prepared in MN!

Love,

Ellen

P.S. I got around to publishing this a day after I wrote it, and yes, the hat is done.  Pictures to come…

Slowly and steadily they pile up…

116.jpg25.jpgBoth the snowflakes and the cookies have been coming fast today.  Our yard is filling with snow, and I chose to stay in all day and bake.  I don’t do that much for the holidays, especially in the years when we travel.  No tree, simple window lights with no outdoor lighting, a poinsettia and now my Solstice cactus – gee, this sounds like a lot now that I list it, but compared to friends’ homes, it really isn’t.

3.jpg4.jpg

What I do pursue intensely is cookie baking.  Some years I’ve done over a dozen kinds, but this year I’ve only gotten to 9, I think.  This year we have 2 different kinds of cut out cookies – sugar and gingerbread.  Note the many gingerpeople for dressing up to look like the other guests at the decorating party.  Also plenty of dinosaurs, as I believe some Dinosaur Comics re-enactments are being planned.

5.jpg6.jpg7.jpgDate pinwheel rolls are in the refrigerator  chilling for baking tomorrow.  They are one of Karen’s favorites.  The almond cookie dough, which used to be made into adorable mice which took forever to mold and decorate, now get a simple cookie stamp and taste just as good.  The cinnamon logs, being drizzled with glaze here by Jenny, are one of Merry’s favorites.

8.jpgI was going to make a new recipe for Macadamia Lace Cookies, but guess what?  Even frozen, macadamias just don’t keep for years without going rancid.  (Jenny definitely has a point when she suggests my freezer may be a bit, ahem, overloaded.)  Guess what else?  Pine nuts make a great stand in.  I’m calling these Lacy Pignons.

9.jpgHelen loves the lemon slices.  They look pretty convincing here, but wait until they get piped with lemon glaze to mark rind and segments. I’ve also got dough in the refrigerator for a Swiss chocolate spice cookie that I recollect Helen liked quite a bit.  Why Swiss?  It uses Dutch process cocoa and spices from the other side of the world.  I guess anything that tastes that good doesn’t have to make sense.

10.jpgAnd finishing the day as it started, with a snowstorm, some Mexican wedding cakes or Russian tea cakes or whatever you happen to call these goodies.

With the peanut butter kisses from earlier in the month, I think we are fairly well set.

Sweet things to you,

Ellen

Smells like Solstice

Dear Jan,

114.jpgCan you see that aroma rising from the pan?  Cloves, ginger, cinnamon – the basis for the gingerbread cutout cookies that are a standard at our house for the holidays.

Last year was the first time in about two decades that we didn’t host a young ladies’ (and gents) cookie party.  I am happy to report that we will be having one this year.  Jenny reports that the guests (most of whom have been here for them before) are as excited about it as we are.

Love,

Ellen

Quick Bits

Dear Ellen,

I decided to find a means to do a brief post while on this trip — otherwise I will keep waiting for enough time for a proper post and will never get one up at all. So here are a few photos and some minimalist comments to accompany.

squirrel-watching.JPGMax hates squirrels. They have no place in our yard. Here he is diligently on guard for the squirrel who has had the audacity to make a nest in the tree growing next to our fence. Technically the nest is outside of our yard, but as the branches do emanate from our tree, he feels it is a violation of policy. When the squirrel comes out of the nest, Max barks ferociously and chases the squirrel along the fence till he/she (I have no idea which) leaves the area. max-has-a-boo-boo.JPGIf he/she does not leave the area, and instead chooses to chatter at Max from the fence corner post, Max will charge said corner post and nearly scale the upright to try to make it clear to the squirrel that this is totally unacceptable. As a result, Max will sprain his ankle and be required to wear ruby-sleeps-curled.JPGfashionable leg wear in the form of sock and bandage to help provide support and compression. He also got to have ice compresses…and seemed to enjoy all the babying. This was just over a week ago and he is trotting around just fine now. Ruby pretty much slept through it all.

table-rock-group.JPGI have continued to enjoy knitting with the “Spinners with Altitude” group. Here’s a shot from the meeting two weeks ago at “Table Rock Llamas.” The lovely space in which we are seen knitting (okay, I’m not seen — I’m taking the picture) is the back room where there is some extra storage and where classes are held for dyeing, knitting and especially spinning. The problem with this group is that they are trying to tempt me into yet another craft by offering the claim that spinning is really just a “companion craft” to knitting — not to be considered a detriment to knitting time. flash.JPGI don’t know, but I must admit it truly is starting to tempt me. Flash (Anne’s new baby) is not tempted by spinning, but he does enjoy a comfortable sweater (Anne’s Enchanted Forest sweater). I have a feeling that Flash could be spun into a delightfully soft yarn and all that would be left would be a cute little bark.

office-in-need-of-organization.JPGWe are all moved in now — my office is making progress. This photo is about a week old and there has been much improvement to include the stashing of the stash in “cube” shelving that I put into the closet. When I finish I will post photos of the completed effort to prove that my office/craft room was very neat and organized at least one moment in time.

The day before our birthday I had a surprise party and cake at work, the day of our birthday I was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” by both NPR (coincidentally they sang “Happy Birthday” to their listeners to embellish a story about wacky copyright issues) and the Colorado Navy community at the annual picnic. There were two huge cakes at the picnic, one chocolate and one vanilla, and I was told I was expected to have a piece of each. (NPR did not provide birthday cake.) That evening Dale had a few friends over and we had red velvet cake that he baked himself. (He is truly mastering high altitude directions!) So, that made it a 4 cake birthday…guess there’s some good in turning 50 after all! I hope you had a wonderful day too!

Love, Jan

Great Great Aunt Gene’s “Honest, They Really Won’t Kill You” Lemon Cookies

Today’s post inspired by Mason-Dixon Knitting and their Grandma Mabel Memorial Recipe Box Show & Tell Contest.

Hi Ellen!

Lemon Cookies I’m sure you remember these cookies from our youth. Mom found a scrawled recipe in Grandma J’s stuff. (For readers — Aunt Gene was our Grandmother Hazel J’s aunt. That made her our mother’s great aunt and our great great aunt…following?) Mom thinks it is the one that Aunt Gene and Great Grandma R (ours, not our mom’s) used when they made their lemon cookies.

Recipe Front

Recipe Back
She copied it out on a 3X5 card for me, stuffed it in the Recipe Boxback of a drawer and sent it to me several years later. I then carelessly left it lying around to be water-damaged carefully preserved it in my recipe box and waited several years to try it out. This was the year!

The really audacious thing about these cookies is that they are made with ammonia — it took a while to convince Dale that baker’s ammonia could be consumed…especially after he got a whiff of the kitchen. I explained that the ammonia really didn’t stay in the cookie, but was how it was leavened. (Not sure he got that.) If you want to try to make these, I got my ammonia and the lemon oil from Penzey’s. The pencil marks on the card are mine…my experimentation to determine to what “about 1/2 crock of flour” equates.

Cookie Close-UpI know I didn’t get the icing right, but after the marathon baking session we did earlier in the season, a lemon glaze was all they were going to get. Fortunately the nonpareils dress them up a bit. (We always have nonpareils in our household for that very reason — if I’m too lazy for even lipstick, nonpareils do suffice.) The cookies themselves are tender and have a delicate but distinct lemon flavor. It really makes itself known after the cookie has already been gone for several minutes. It’s that lovely piquant sensation you get from citrus oil…a bit of a tingle and a note of lemony-deliciousness. And it’s pretty addicting. I didn’t roll out all of the dough…will see how it freezes.

These would be awesome if I could figure out a nicely tangy lemon icing that could just be dolloped on them. Maybe lemon curd even?

There also has been a bit of knitting going on. I am down to 8 pattern repeats for the center panel of Marie’s wedding shawl. That said, I needed a break with something requiring a little less concentration. (I have no idea how folks memorize 12 row repeating lace patterns…I have to check every row. Though I do have the rows pretty well memorized, I just can’t keep track of which I’m on without checking.) Hearts for HeidiSo I started “Hearts for Heidi” the socks I promised Heidi for her to wear at the wedding. Hearts Close-UpI also have to get busy on my own shrug, but have at least progressed on that to the narrowing down to 8 patterns stage.

Guess What VestI’m also working on this. Can you guess what it is?

Gotta get going…Dale is slowly building resentment that I am playing on the blog while he vacuums in preparation for our very casual gathering tonight. Some friends and their mom/mom-in-law are coming over. We’ll go to the “Scottish Walk” in Portsmouth and come back to our place for heavy finger foods (the foods, not the fingers, though after this holiday all parts are a bit heavy), some champagne and celebration of the New Year based on Greenwich Mean Time. Yes, we are as young as we feel…and that would be fairly old!

Love, Jan