The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Melange of Things

Okay, I'm not really sure it's a melange....but isn't that just a cool word? I gotta use it when opportunity presents itself....kind of like tintinabulation (no, I haven't found a good place for that yet...but I'm hopeful). Anyway, first things first:

I have an absolutely delightful sister (whom the world at large persists in referring to as my sister-in-law, but she and I know better) whose only real fault is in living half a country away from me so that I don't get to see her often enough. Oh, and she doesn't knit much....but I'm working on that. She wrote the other day to ask me for the cookie recipe I invented for Mr. K when we first started dating (when I found out that he didn't think of chocolate as a food group...well, let me tell you, that nearly soured the deal right there....) and I thought I might as well put it on here and share it with you, too. It uses the caramel from the brownie recipe I posted earlier, and the rest is way simple (didn't your mother tell you your face would stick that way? Have faith--you can totally do this!). Oh, and try to make yours a bit less blurry than this....

Okay, so go dig out your 9 x 13 pan. You don't have to grease it but, as before, I line it with foil because I hate scrubbing pans. I wouldn't grease the foil, either, unless you really like little square greasecakes. Now, warm up the oven to 350. So far, so good. Dig out your mixing bowl and dump in a cup of real butter (remember, margarine is not your friend in cookie baking, no matter what your mother might have told you...though I'm sure she's a very nice woman), 2/3 cup of sugar, 3 egg yolks (I once saw someone on the cooking channel separate eggs by breaking them into her hand and letting the whites run through her fingers. If you're into a palmful of eggsnot, by all means go with this--it probably works pretty well) and a teaspoon of real vanilla. Turn your hand mixer on medium and beat these ingredients until they're really smooth. You can use the time to figure out what to knit when you're done with your current project. Okay, smooth? Awesome. Now put 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour in the bowl and mix it again. Start with the mixer on low or you'll get that "I just made paper mache in a wind tunnel" look. Once it's smooth, press it into the pan and bake it for....oh....12 - 14 minutes? Sorry, I never really paid attention to the time, but I think that's about right. Just take it out when the edges are starting to brown and the middle seems set. Now cool it completely by placing the pan on a rack for awhile and knitting a few inches (the knitting isn't essential, but I think it makes them taste better). Once it's cool, make the caramel like before (click on the link above) only, when the five minutes cooking and stirring are up, stir in an amount of chopped macadamia nuts. These are expensive, I know, so feel free to substitute. Almonds would taste pretty good, too. Oh, and I think I use about 3/4 cup of those nuts, but it's a matter of taste. Now spread this all on the cookie crust. (You do have to be careful here--those little nut pieces have a way of viciously tearing up the crust if you press too hard, and then you just have a pan of bready caramel....and no one likes that. ) Let the caramel set (you need to be able to lightly set your hand on the surface without making a mark or getting sticky. If it's too soon, you get to lick the caramel off your hand so everyone's a winner). Lastly, melt a bag of white chocolate chips (go for quality here--white chocolate isn't really chocolate, technically speaking, and the cheap stuff tastes pretty nasty) and spread it over the caramel. See? How easy was that?

Okay, next item: Thank you, Kim and Faren, for your nice comments (did I mention that I LOOOVE comments? I'm an attention hound, I'll admit it). And Kim--thanks for your input on those pockets. That's exactly what I thought. The lady at the yarn shop (and let's just let me have my little delusion that anyone who remotely knows about me would ever believe that I patronize just one yarn shop, 'kay?) said that she also thought it was too short and would make it longer. I don't know about doesn't really have any shaping and it's a bulky pattern. I'm afraid if I made it longer I'd end up looking like I was wearing a wooly phone booth. Wouldn't you think?

Finally, carryfairie just posted a list of things that she really wants to accomplish in her lifetime. Now you know I have to try my hand at that. And you also know that, being Ms. Knitingale, I will have to be at least a little irreverant--but I mean it all in good fun. Okay, here goes:

1. Become a nurse. Okay, so this is rather a case of "statement of the obvious theater", given the nature of my blog, but it seemed worth including. And anyway, it does include comprehending the logic behind required courses like Statistics. I'm thinking that a person having a heart attack in front of me would rather have CPR than a statistical breakdown of his chances of survival....but I could be wrong.

2. Locate the SOB designer who decided that "skinny pants" would be in style again this fall. That's just plain mean. you think that hanging around starving models might make a person mean? I'll have to think about that.

3. Kick the tush of the abovementioned designer with my decidely muscley and not remotely pipe-cleaner-like leg.

4. Be able to hear the song "Old Time Rock and Roll" (which totally rocks, by the way) without the disturbing mental image of Tom Cruise in his underwear from "Risky Business". (I apologize wholeheartedly if you like Tom Cruise...personally that image makes me throw up a little in my mouth.......)

5. Finish this quilt...:

...of which Mr. K is quite fond, and which I began during a time of unfaithfulness to my knitting muse (whom I'm sure looks a bit like Shaun the sheep from Wallace and Gromit...but I digress). I do like this quilt, and I do want to finish it....I think it's the precision required which scares me. There's nothing quite like cutting tiny pieces of fabric and ironing them and stitching them painstakingly together for four hours, only to discover that the finished square doesn't BEGIN to line up with its friends. Seriously, it could drive a person to irresponsible behavior with chocolate.

6. Design a knitted sweater. Preferably one that doesn't make me or anyone else look like a wooly phone booth.

7. Slim down my stash. (HA HA HA!! Oh, I crack myself up!)

8. Knit a lacey shawl so lovely that complete strangers will stop to admire it. Not, of course, that I'd probably be able to make myself wear it outside if I made something that cool....but I'd want to.

9. Teach Mr. K how to put on a new roll of toilet paper. (Okay, so that's kind of a fantasy goal)

10. Run a marathon. (WHEEEE!! See? I'm cracking myself up AGAIN! Okay, so I do work out every day and I'm not a sofa blob or anything...but running and I have just not gotten to be good friends, in spite of my many kind overtures. I admire the heck out of people who can do it but, frankly, I can think of only two ways to get me to run 26 miles: 1. Leave a trail of m&m's or 2. Move my stash about 26 miles away from me and threaten it with a horde of pregnant moths. And hide my car keys.)

11. Visit Ireland. No seriously. I really do want to. And, given that my biological father's last name was O'Doherty (I dare you to try to say that without an Irish accent), I'm fairly certain that I might feel at home there.

12. Meet the Yarn Harlot when I'm actually in full possession of my faculties and at least appear to be using the family brain (don't you love how I link to her, like anyone reading a knitting blog couldn't get there in their sleep?)

13. Block my mother's pink cashmere sweater without ruining it (not that I'm stressing about this)

14. Learn to do Fair Isle work without whining. (Again, this may be a fantasy goal)

15. Go into a yarn store without buying anything. (Whooo--I'm just killing myself today!)

16. See any craft without believing that I can and must attempt it. We won't discuss the boxes of beads, fabric, drawing supplies, fabric paint (an earlier incarnation of myself, I promise) and other assorted craft stuff. It gives the house character. Really. It does.

17. Learn to spin......which possibly flies in the face of number 16.

18. Be telling the truth when I say I really don't mind the few extra pounds that have found me since I met Mr. K (okay, if I gained them....who lost them? I'm quite willing to give them back....)

19. End this post before you all fall asleep and the sound of foreheads hitting keyboards disturbs the fabric of reality. I'm off to tackle number 13 (don't you love a list you can cross things off of?)


  • At 4:05 PM, Anonymous suburbaknit said…

    Hey Flo,

    You may not be the type of person who uses 'em, but why don't you make the quilt into a table runner? It'd probably take you and afternoon to finish up the border, bat and back it, then machine quilt it. Your points and seams don't look to terrible to me. To quote the famous Rowena of Rostitchery...almost is good enough. As far as the sweater goes, I too, vote pocketless. Still cringing from the image of me in a similar pocketed sweater from the eighties, 'course, that's all the fashion right now.

  • At 4:39 PM, Blogger CarryFairie said…

    Ok, first I'd like to take credit for derailing you from the quilting, except that Mr. K might not let me visit anymore! :)

    And, second, I'd like to add that you DO look SO MUCH better with the few added there...COW! ;)

  • At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Faren said…

    That recipe sounds really bad I don't really bake, it is slightly more likely I would make the brownies, which sounded great too.
    The sweater probably would look better without pockets, were you thinking of continueing the cable pattern all the way down the sweater if you don't add the pockets?
    Love the quilt, suburbaknit has a great idea too. Or if you ripped out the center seam and put the blocks 4 across and 3 down you could make a lap quilt (or wall quilt) with some borders.
    I would love to get into quilting and spinning too. I sooo know what you are talking about on 16. I am thinking about getting a spinning wheel for my birtday.

  • At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Jill said…

    I love your list, I wish you all the luck with the toilet paper thing. They really don't seem to get it, do they?

  • At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Life just gets curiouser and curiouser.
    I love your list, I have O'Murphy in amongst the family names, so let's catch a ride to Ireland and then jump over to Scotland, just for good measure.
    Your quilt points look fabulous from here.
    And I'm so with you on the spinning.
    Oh, and Carryfairie? does that mean you enabled this knitter to knit more?
    I did away with the roll holder, completely, much easier now.

  • At 3:57 PM, Anonymous marti said…

    spinning...we can teach you that!

  • At 5:57 PM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Careful, Marti--I'll take you up on that!


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