Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sausage and Potato Soup

Sausage and Potato Soup with riceThe weather has cooled substantially, inviting thoughts of warm, filling soups and stews. While grocery shopping I noticed Basque sausages were on special at the meat counter and I simply couldn't resist. At home I started throwing things into the pot until it all 'looked right' and by golly, it turned out so perfectly good I didn't even need to correct the seasoning at the end. So here I share with you my own version of Basque Sausage and Potato Soup.

1 lb. uncooked Basque Sausages, cut into bite-sized bits
6 large potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups chicken broth
water as needed

In a 6-quart dutch oven heat olive oil over a medium flame and add potatoes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking too badly. When the potatoes start to color a little add the sausage. When the sausage is mostly cooked add onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as much as you can. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, celery salt, thyme and enough water to cover everything with liquid. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serve with some crusty bread or over hot cooked rice.

Note: If you can't find Basque sausages where you live, just substitute your favorite sausage.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finished Projects

The blue socks for Mom are finished. She is happy, they fit her perfectly. There's nothing quite so comfortable as a pair of handknit socks.

I didn't manage to knit them in public in any exciting places. Maybe I'll be more fortunate with the next pair.

During the hot summer months, knit woolens are something we make for loved ones who live Up North in cooler climates. Now that the weather is cooler we are enjoying being able to think about wearing socks and sweaters ourselves without fear of heat stroke. I do love autumn.

Baby Surprise JacketBaby beretI've also finished the fuschia Baby Surprise Jacket. It needs buttons and embellishment. I'm thinking about crocheted flowers for this one.

I found a great beret pattern to go with the jacket in the Debbie Bliss Simply Baby book. It's just too cute, you have to try it. I found the book at my local library.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still Knitting

a pile of dishclothsreverse side of striped clothYes, I'm still knitting these 4-corners dishcloths. While I have run out of brown and turquoise, I haven't yet run out of cotton yarn entirely. Some of the cloths I've made have already been given away as gifts.

The photo at right shows the back of one of the striped cloths so that you can see how it looks when you carry the yarns along the edge of the knitting.

Dishcloths aren't the only things I'm working on.

Blue socks in progressHere are the blue socks I've been working on for my Mom. The contrasting heel is finished and I'm about to start the instep on the second sock.

I don't know what it is about socks, but it always feels like they take forever to knit. This pair have been to assorted waiting rooms and to my local yarn shop, much more interesting places to visit than my laundry room.

Baby Surprise Jacket in progressLately I've been noticing a lot of people making Baby Surprise Jackets. I've never actually made one, though I have been a long-time admirer of Elizabeth Zimmerman. I've been meaning to make one, and there's no time like the present to start one.

I've chosen some Patons Astra in 08728 Hot Fuchsia, which has been discontinued. I'm debating whether or not to play with stripes on this one. I'm leaning toward making this first effort in a solid color, and then playing with stripey goodness in the future. This color makes enough of a statement all by itself.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Those Addictive Dishcloths

Striped 4-Corners dishclothsI've continued to play around with Abigail's 4-Corners Dishcloth pattern. In the photo at left are some simple stripe patterns in solid colored cottons. As you can see, the gifts I'm making for weddings this month are in the brown/turquoise color scheme. It's a fun and stylish combination, and even if it isn't quite the newlyweds intended kitchen decorating scheme, they're 'warshrags' for heaven's sake, they're meant to be used up!

The stripes are so much fun to play with, just carry the yarn along the edge of the cloth and wrap yarns neatly on alternate rows to keep things tidy.

4-Corners dishcloth with contrasting corners4-Corners dishcloth with contrasting squares and trianglesStripes are wonderful, but there are other design possibilities to be explored with this pattern.

Simply change color for each quadrant and you have a 4-patch square (see photo left). Further, change color after decreasing and before increasing and you get contrasting triangles. Combine the two for different quilty results (see photo right).

What's next, you may ask? Why, all sorts of Gee's Bend-inspired dishcloths, of course. This could take a while.