Saturday, October 25, 2014

Excited, anxious and just can't wait . . .

UPDATE: It's here! Here's the link: Got a "Good" for our review. I'm so happy!

till tomorrow. The New Times came to the restaurant and did a review. We are hoping it comes out tomorrow [Sunday, 10.25.14] and it's a good review. The photographer came to restaurant the friday before last and took lots pictures of dishes, the restaurant and us.

And in the meantime, we got a GREAT surprise [I totally forgot about this] and got on the The Home News and Tribune Best of the Best Middlesex County list for Best Thai Food and One of the Best Brunch. Thank you all for helping us out and voting for us to get us on the list. We are so happy and appreciate all the support. Thank you so much!

Here's the link to the the Best of the Best list.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Feeling kind of make-y

Been making stuff like crazy. Going from one project to the next. And a lot of ripping out in between.  Most projects are one-off. I've been taking bits and pieces of patterns that I like to come up with something of my own. 

That's how my red ombré slouchy hat took form. The yarn: scraps from 7 projects; the pattern: I used from my the rib from my favorite slouchy hat, the Wurm, shorten it by half and instead of the purling, I knitted all the way working the different yarns into the ombre. I had the most of the burnt orange which I ended with. I added a partial row of darkish red of thick/thin yarn because I like the feel of the yarn and thought it gave the hat a little interest. 

I'm going to have a hard time letting this one go.
It really came out great, the ombre is so beautiful. After a soak and some blocking, it's soft and slouchy as I wanted it to be. 

Oh! By the way, I'm working my way to opening a etsy shop to sell my goods. Most of the knitted items are one-off using yarn from stash during my stash busting year. Also thinking of sewing up pouches and totes from my fabric stash. I have a lot of vintage fabric that I should start using up. Need to figure out a name--I'm leaning towards a suggestion from a friend--aprilMADE. I'm trying to launch by end of Oct/beginning of Nov to try and get some holiday shoppers. Stay tune.

Sunday's Lineup

UPDATE: I only got 2 items from list done--marmalade and salad. Got side track with knitting and cleaning. Oh well, there is always next week.

It has nothing to do with sports but what I want to make today. I think I have I high hopes. Let's see what I can get done. 

First up--mandarin and lime waiting to boil
  • mandarin and lime marmalade--got some mandarins at a great price and guess who brought me limes again. Giant pot of marmalade!
  • a batch of lime curd
  • raspberry lime bars--with the lime curd I make and using Dorie Greenspan's recipe
  • toasted almond dacquoise--trying out's recipe
  • chai tea cake
  • vanilla buttercream
  • layered cake--using the last 3 items above. Been dreaming of this cake of layers of chai tea cake, lime curd, vanilla bean buttercream and almond dacquoise. 
  • cheesecake
  • salad prep--this week's lunch

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Never Ending Stash Busting Post

Been try to finish this post for over a month. Trying to get pictures of all of my projects. Getting distracted by busier schedules of seeing friends this past month and all of my cooking, baking and jamming. 

I've stuck to my goal and I still haven't bought any yarn. Thought I'd be going to NJ or NY sheep and wool festival this year and I even tried to make plans for it but that has fallen through. I guess I'll be keeping on track.

I've shared many of finished projects. So far I've made: 

  • 3 sets of burping cloth and bib {1 skein each of various 100% cotton yarn}
  • Blue/Brown Cowl {2 skeins Paton wool}
  • Color Block hat {1/2 skein each of green and teal Stitch Nation wool}
  • fingerless sleeping mitts {1 skein celadon and a little bit of pumpkin Morehouse Farm merino}
  • my cotton cardigan I almost finished on vacation {3 or 4 skeins of Lion Brand cotton-ease} 
Not bad for a princess that has way too much to do. Knitting and crocheting is usually my quiet time when I can sit and only concentrate on my project. Mostly it doesn't last too long because I feel guilty that I'm not doing something.

But guilt hasn't stopped me starting more projects. To keep me on goal to finished these projects, I'm posting pictures of in-progress.

Mystery Yarn blanket

I posted about this earlier here and still working on it. I really like how it is coming out. Figured out the fiber content, wool blend. I used the burn method that I found on the on Ravelry Forum. 
On my second skein, I think this blanket may be bigger than I thought
Still wondering who would like this blanket. If you get a surprise box from me it just may be the blanket.

Seaweed Shawl

The yarn is made out to seaweed and I got it a while ago [long while] from my sister as gift. Kept looking for something to take advantage of the color. But now that pick my patterns on the basis of if I put down too long, can I pick it back and start knit, this was what I could find that I thought would look good and fit within my pattern parameters. I think it will look great as winter addition for me. 

{HOLD EVERYTHING! It has taken me so long to write this post and I just realize that I'm not really enjoying this pattern. I'm going to frog it and look for something else to knit. Not that it is looking bad. But all the fun of this pattern is after you finish, when you drop the stitches and I'm too impatient.} 

Pom Pom Peds

Haven't worn pom pom peds since I don't know. But picture on the pattern link in Purl Bee look so much fun. These will be a very late bday gift. The yarn is from a vest a frogged a long while ago. I need to stop frogging stuff.
Turned the heel
Turned the heel

Chevron Blanket(s)

I originally wanted to make a colorful granny square blanket with intersperse squares that my cousins sent for a baby blanket for a cousin. But many years later, since I haven't gotten to it and wanting to stash bust, I decided to make this chevron blanket(s). If I have the will, I'll make up 3 of these blanket for 3 little girls I know. Maybe one will be that granny square blanket with the squares from the cousins. I make no promises--only the hope that I finish one blanket.

{Arghhh! Well, I spoke too soon. Another one goes to the frog. Not enjoying working on the pattern and what it looks like. So off to look for another pattern. Want a fun crochet pattern that keeps my interest. Stay tune.}

Linoleum Dishcloth
Finished the first one for a handmade gift as bridal shower. And decided to make another one because it came out great. Using my 100% cotton from Lion Brand outlet and the pattern is from Mason-Dixon Knitting. These are fun. May use up my stash of 100% cotton on these.
Wish I had more colors in100% cotton
Wedding Gift Blanket
I didn't know what I was going to get for the gift. And then I remembered that I was almost finished with my Hemlock blanket I started a while ago. The pattern was quite easy to follow and looks great from right out of the gate. I planned out to use Lion's Brand Fisherman's Wool. Had a lot issues with this yarn. Lots of breaking and thinning--lots of ends to be woven in. I hope to have the energy to make this blank again for my house. Most definitely using an different yarn but I have to wait till next year. 
D & J Hemlock Blanket
blocked and dried
Office Donated Yarn Scarf
People at my office leave me stuff--yarn, project that are started that never finished, needles, books, etc. . . I've got a whole blanket-worth of granny squares to be stitched together. Most of the time, it's some kind of boucle-type of yarn not my favorite. But it's soft and washable and everyone seems to like buying tons of it but not using it. I've decided to keep a project in the office to knit during lunch. I have frogged this project 2x so far. What is my problem with the frogging projects. Well, hope 3rd time is the charm and I'll keep this one. I'm using potato chip scarf from Krafty Kash Design. Hope I can finish it by holidays to give it as a gift. 
 I frogged this to start the potato chip scarf
I guess the hemlock blanket left me with a lot of creative juices flowing as I finished this in 2 days. WG wanted a tam for the winter--watching too much Outlander. Looking for a pattern and saw this on ravelry and thought this may be a good pattern. I had a bunch of this boucle [donated yarn] and thought it may have a good drape to make the hat. I double the yarn up and with a bunch of energy, tah dah! Something to keep WG head warm with his scarf from Scotland from his mom. {FYI: would look better with a different type of yarn, something something smooth without a texture. But it didn't come out too bad}
Weekend Tam
maybe I'll get a pic of WG with it on

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The next best thing

to jump on a non-stop flight to Hawaii for a plate of laulau, is be to test out a recipe for crockpot laulau. Found a recipe from a shared post on FB that took me to 3sister3kitchen blog that looked good. 

Of course, being here in NJ means no luau leaves aka taro leaves. After some research for a substitute, I decide on collard greens. The 3sister3kitchen recipe suggest spinach but it has such strong flavor I was looking to try something else.

I found this video from Sunny Anderson from the Food Network talking about her version of laulau and using collard greens. How it was good substitute because the greens are usually cooked with pork. When I looked at the green, I kind of thought they even looked a little bit of taro leaf. So that's why I decided to used it for this test. I also read that kale may work well with this. Maybe I'll try it for another test. I'll keep the kale for my chopped salad that I've been loving.

Here's the start of my crockpot laulau test. 

Crockpot Laulau with collard greens, pork butt and salmon
Filling up the pot with the goodies
Following the recipe, I lined the crockpot with the blanched greens, add pork then layered the salmon on top. I seasoned with hawaiian salt. Wish I could find butterfish here, but it's not too easy. Been craving butterfish misoyaki. I guess I have to test out misoyaki on salmon or chilean sea bass.

Top layer of collard greens
ready to start cooking
Then I layered the rest of the greens on top. Now to wait all day for it to be done. 

After all of the laulau prepping, I decided to give my kitchen a good scrub before I start something new. I already finished up a batch of apple butter this morning. 
Add vanilla bean to this recipe. Smell so good
[Oh, my, oh, my only 3 1/2 hours into cooking and it already seems so good. 6 1/2 hours to go. I hope I can hold out till then for a taste. This will be my lunch for tomorrow. I can't wait. I better cook a pot of rice.]

Meanwhile after the good scrub, I decide to try again with the macarons. I know from Hawaii to France. Who would have thought. But I've wanting make both of these for a while. I was just in the mood today.

Made up this batch using the recipe from I have batch of vanilla bean swiss buttercream in the frig and some lilikoi curd plus a bunch of other jams to fill with 

2 pans of macarons.
waiting to set up
First sheet in and out. Cracked. :(
Cracked! :(
Cracked and no feet but still taste good.
Could be not rested enough or under beaten meringue. May need another minute. I got this troubleshooting macarons from Not So Humble Pie blog. Let's see if second sheet comes out better.

Second sheet. Better.
Second sheet, better.
These have little feet.
Well, not too bad, I'll still fill and eat them. And try again soon, maybe at the end of the week. I hope they come out better. 

And now for what I've waited all day for. Tah Dah! Crockpot Laulau. Smells so good. 
Almost done.
Right before it was done.
Tah Dah! My Crockpot Laulau.
first scoop
Crockpot Laulau with collard greens and salmon. Waited all day for this. Can't wait.
my dinner!
This is so delicious and worth the wait. Not the exact flavor of the laulau and the collard has a different texture but the pork is so soft and greens has a great flavor from the pork and salmon. I think by adding the salmon gave it that umami flavor that food from Hawaii have. Like adding the the sea to it. 

If you don't live in Hawaii, craving some laulau and can wait 10 hours, this is most definitely a dish to make. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Raspberry and Lilikoi! Yum!

Wow! Sampling the raspberry lilikoi bars before breakfast. My bowl of oatmeal looking pretty sad now.
So good!
Can't believe how great these are--Raspberry and Lilikoi Bars. Used Dorie Greenspan's Raspberry Lemon Bars recipe, I substituted my lilikoi curd instead of lemon curd. I went a little crazy with the raspberry but wanted to use up what I had left. 

For lilikoi curd, I used Ina Garten's Lemon curd recipe [I posted about it here.] substituted lilikoi pulp [I got it frozen, can't grow it here in NJ--:(], I used 3/4 c of pulp and added 1/8 c more of sugar. It's such beautiful yellow color. Smells and taste great. Definitely worth making for a gift. 

I used about a cup and half of curd which is pretty much a whole recipe of curd. This is why they are so delicious. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

My walk home . . .

from my day off in the city.
The river at the bottom of my hill
I stopped by the river to get a quick picture. The light in the late afternoon was really beautiful. The river looks a little low. Been a little dry for a couple of days. I usually see some interesting birds hanging out on that tree on the left. No birds today.

I was coming back from the city after meeting up with my old roommate from Pratt. We had afternoon tea at Bergdorf Goodman. We hadn't seen each out in close to 30 years. She introduced me to WG. We had a nice time talking and catching up with what we were up to. She's quite the busy lady. 
Ms. M and all of goodies for our afternoon tea
The restaurant was quite beautiful and with a lots of fancy people lunching [I probably was underdress with my gap/target ensemble]. From our seat, we had view was of Central Park South. Our afternoon tea consisted of tea sandwiches (egg, chicken, tuna, turkey, cheese, smoke salmon and prosciutto/cheese), scones with jam and honey and sweets (macarons, petit fours and mini tarts). I had a pot of Earl Grey and she had Yellow Lemon [I think]. Overalll, BG was a nice place to lunch, talk and catch up with things. Not too loud and noisy. Food could have been better, especially the sweets--too sweet for both of us. But we were there to see each other so the food was secondary. 

Weather turned pretty nice--the sun came out as we left the restaurant. Weather reports said hot, humid and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Expected my walk home to be miserable. But it turned out to be pretty nice. 

On my way up my hill, I stopped to take picture of my favorite street sign. They may need to add snakes to the sign as there was squished snake right by the sign.
Check out the blue skies for my walk home