I wrapped up a couple of projects today and it feels good to get things finished. No pressure, for sure, but good to finish none the less. Here’s my story about one – or at least it’s a partial story!
I’ve made a twelve inch square for a group gift that my group will be assembling for a special member. I’ll explain more after it’s been presented but here is my square …
"The Candle Tree"
I didn’t want to do just a plain square. Tried a couple of stitches that I was unfamiliar with and then found this one in one of my stitch books – Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (if you want to buy a book of stitches, this is one of the ones to buy. Clear concise directions and a ton of different patterns. The only “problem” is that there are more than one treasury … so start your library!)
The pattern (on p. 290) is called “The Candle Tree” and it’s a panel of 35 stitches. I liked the idea of the candles as a memorial – I’ve explained my love of the Jewish tradition of Yarzeit candles before in my blog and that’s part of why I love the pattern. The tree is a symbol of family (think “family tree”) and strength (think “mighty oak”) and perhaps also a bit of the natural circle of life. and the tree as a symbol of family and strength. When I can tell you more about the gift that we’re giving, you’ll understand why this patch or square is significant!
I didn’t get the tree perfectly centered but it’s now blocked and ready to go to the assembly team (of one?) I am excited to see the end result – and if I do say so myself, it’s a really thoughtful gift – and see how its recipient likes it. I think she’ll be very touched.
I also did some baking today. Needed to attach my feet to the ground. I love this recipe which I found on the Internet … Levain Bakery’s Oatmeal Scones. I have been making this recipe for quite some time and my brother once said they were the best scones he’d ever eaten. I use a gluten-free flour and craisins in lieu of all-purpose flour and raisins. Today I even threw a few currants in because I didn’t have quite enough craisins. They are so delicious. You really should try them! And it’s easy to make scones – I mixed all the ingredients together and then added the diced butter and mix it all together with my hands until crumbly and then add the milk/cream/buttermilk and quickly mix it together with my mixer. Rather than mess up my counter, I use an ice cream scoop and have perfectly shaped, similarly sized scones that freeze really well … and we can warm up one or two each morning! I love Turbinado Sugar as a sweet and crunchy sprinkle on top! You could also make a little “frosting” with confectioners sugar and milk or orange juice and drizzle on top. Try it out!
Gone knitting (well, walking first and then knitting!)
There are white caps on the lake this morning. When I look outside from the warmth of the wood stove, it looks (and sounds) a lot like the ocean. It’s a bit misty, too. Not a warm spring day in Belgrade!
We have a copy here of The Settlement Cook Book. Copyright 1944, the “Victory” (26th) edition published by the Settlement Publishing Company during WWII. Compiled by Mrs. Simon Kander. On the inside of the front cover is a lovely “autographed” photograph of Mrs. Simon Kander (if you click on the link above, there is a photo of the page!) who compiled the recipes and (not to worry) they’re “tested” recipes from “The Milwaukee Public School Kitchens, Girls Trades and Technical High School, Authoritative Dieticians and Experienced Housewives” … what a hoot!
As you may know, I love to bake. When I’m up here I like to use what we have around – much of which has been here for 50+ years. This cookbook is one of the things I love (and who’d ever have thought that it’s a rare, collectible book!) The big mixing bowl, is another. Anyway, I digress … Chapter One is entitled, “Household Rules” and it tells you all you need to know about keeping house – literally. Including, how to light a “modern” gas range, set a table, and how to make soap. One of my favorite recipes, though, is a recipe for “Scotch Scones” which I’ve used as the base of my recipe below and have adapted over the years according to what I’ve been eating. Since I’m now eating gluten-free, I’ll give you the basic scone recipe and then gluten-free!
Maine Blueberry “Scotch” Scones(best served warm with a cup of coffee or tea on a cold May day, inside by the wood stove when Lake Messalonskee looks like the ocean!)
2 cups bread flour (I use unbleached all-purpose flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter, cold!, cut into small cubes
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk or cream
1 cup Maine blueberries (frozen or fresh)
Wash your hands now and take off your rings … this gets messy!
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and with your hands, mix butter into flour mixture until it is all blended in by pinching it between your thumb and fingers. Flour will look like larger grains and no lumps of butter will remain. Add eggs and buttermilk and mix until just combined. Fold in blueberries. Toss dough onto a floured surface and pat or roll to a square about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into triangles about 2 inches across. (This time, though I patted mine into a circle 3/4 inches thick and cut it into large wedges.) Transfer to greased cookie sheet, brush with egg white, and sprinkle with your choice of brown sugar and cinnamon, organic raw cane sugar, cinnamon sugar, etc. (My traditional sprinkle is with Turbinado sugar but today I used brown sugar and cinnamon.)
Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
For the gluten-free version, substitute Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mix for the flour and add 3/4 teaspoon of xantham gum but the rest of the recipe is the same.
Now, for a cup of tea and a bit of knitting … new on the needles this morning, the Queen Bee’s Tweed Boulette Blanket. My French daughter and her family are coming to visit after waaaayyy too many years and I’m worried that the baby, la boulette, will be cold. So, what does a good “grand-mere” do? … She knits one!