Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More socks and a blanket

Seems I have been very eager about casting on for new knitting projects! I've been working away on all of them, but it's getting to that point where nothing seems to be getting closer to being done. Once again, I'm making the Pomatomus socks (my fourth pair), which I'm giving to my mom. I love how it looks in solid yarns! I honestly tried to pick a different pattern, but it just didn't look as good.

The pinwheel blanket is for one of many babies I know that are due early next year. The baby rush is still going strong!

Other news: I was officially chosen to be on the board of directors for my volunteer gig. Pretty exciting! Sounds important, doesn't it? First meeting is at the beginning of next month. It's nice to have a 'real' position to make up for not being able to work just yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Knitting and Pottery

Spending a week in Deep River was not only very nice family time, but very productive crafting time. There was lots of knitting and pottery, along with some good beaching, kayaking and swimming. And some good butter tarts.

I started the worsted-weight Amelia cardigan by Laura Chau, using Valley Yarns Northampton in Ocean Heather. It'll be fall before you know it, and I'm getting a start to my cooler-weather knitting. One skein has so far gotten me through 1.5 sleeves, which is good because I only have four more skeins left. I think I'll make it.

We tagged along to the pottery studio and played with clay while D's mom worked on new pieces for her display at the Valley Artisan's Guild (click to see some of her work!). Inspired by a photo, D made this cute Trojan horsey donut on wheels:

I managed to throw two rice bowls in a row that looked decent, despite not having been near a wheel in a year! Those cylinders, I tell you...I think it was a plot to prevent us beginners from making too many pieces and crowding the kiln.

I asked D's mum for a brown glaze with ash spots that I think will look really cool, here's hoping they turn out!

Today is the first day of school at D's college, all the eager young kiddies coming to class, probably terrified and getting lost on campus left and right. It made driving a pain in the arse because they were all J-walking all over the place. I told D he should really give them a good scare and tell them how hard his class was going to be...hehe. Seeing as it's not first day of school for me, I am going to spend the afternoon knitting, cooking, shopping, and doing some general organizing. Salmon cakes are on the menu for tonight. No more liver for me!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In Which I am Determined to like Liver

I knew someone once who was determined to like sea urchin roe, even though it disgusted him every time he tried it. When I asked him why, he seemed puzzled and said he hadn't really thought about it, finally concluding that it seemed like he should be able to like it, that as an amateur foodie he ought to overcome this food phobia, and that the challenge of it made the whole thing more exciting. I thought he was weird.

I have found my sea urchin roe nemesis. It is called Beef liver. It is one of those things I think I can and will enjoy, and in my mind has a particular appeal to it - in fact, I can actually imagine how it tastes, and it tastes good. Crispy fried, tender on the inside, with onions, bacon and gravy, I am drooling thinking about it. It has been a few years since I had the desire to try liver (last time was around 2005, I think, not a particularly successful attempt), but earlier this summer, I read a passage in Julie and Julia that reinstated the bizarre urge. In the book, she describes a delicious-sounding calf liver dish that is pan-fried, then baked with breadcrumbs in a delectable sauce that is creamy, rich and wonderful. Ooh. How could that possibly not be enjoyable? Second time's a charm?

Enthusiastically, I bought a pound of grass-fed, organic beef liver but continually chickened out of making it. What if I hated it? What if I could never like liver? It stared at me every time I opened the freezer door. I had returned the copy of Julie and Julia, so I couldn't turn back to it for inspiration. Then last week, after several discussions about cooking liver with D's mum and uncle, I finally got the nerve to cook this thing.

A pound is a lot for two people, so I would use half for our dinner, and half for a pate. I forgot to get D's mum's recipe before we left Deep River, so I used an Emeril recipe I found online - Calf's Liver with Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Sherry. Title sounded good.

Here is a tiny tiny photo stolen from Food Network.
Sorry I don't have a picture, but I was too hot and grease-covered to think about pulling out the camera.

I soaked the liver in milk...caramelized onions...crisped bacon....breaded with seasoned flour...pan-fried to a beautiful golden brown...deglazed the pan with sherry...made a delicious gravy with some beef stock and smelled sooo good. D kept hovering about the kitchen, unable to resist the enticing smells of frying onions, bacon, butter and booze. We plated it up with some mashed potatoes and dug in. The verdict? Tasty! Yummy! first. I actually really enjoyed the first 5 or 6 bites I had. It was perfectly cooked, still tender inside. The sauce was great. But then suddenly it tasted too grainy, iron-y, livery and the texture and flavour started grossing me out. Plus, the thinner part of the liver cutlet tasted more liver-y than the thicker part, which I didn't like. Maybe I overcooked those bits.

To be fair though, the recipe itself was a success, if you were a capable, normal-eater of beef liver. D seemed to thoroughly enjoy his plate and polished off practically the whole thing. He informed me that if I didn't like this dish, than I would probably never like liver. My conclusion is that my liver enjoyment limit, served as a dinner entree, is a maximum of 3-4 ounces and must be disguised in breading and smothered with lots of sauce and bacon.

That still left me with the other half pound of liver to contend with. I couldn't face cooking more liver (even for a pate), so I left it until this morning to sort out. I made the pate this morning and it is now sitting in three cute little ramekins in the fridge, mellowing and developing its flavours. I am so sick of tasting beef liver pate. I still have a lingering liver taste in my mouth and throat even after brushing my teeth twice. I think the pate is good, but I'll have to ask D. I'll report back on that.

I haven't given up on hope on chicken and duck livers. I'm thinking that it's the beefiness I am averse to, and I've read that chicken is milder, sweeter and silkier in texture. I hope all this perseverance is rewarded.