Episode 70: High on the Hog

cover70This episode includes the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, Sheep to Shawl, The Back Porch, Off the Shelf, and Yarn Lover at Large. Thank you to recent listeners who have introduced themselves and contributed star ratings and reviews on iTunes. I’ve been practicing my #powerpantry skills with a yellow pea and ginger soup, served over roasted cauliflower. You’ll hear about the second session of Sheep to Shawl, my adventures in spinning Hog Island fiber (plus some background information on this conservation breed), and a review of Chapters 2-4 of Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.


Snow Day Ginger Soup

yellowpeaTaking ideas from several intrepid cooks, I played ‘the pantry game’ and used what was on hand in my kitchen to make this rich and tasty soup. Two handy finds were a partially-used jar of roasted red pepper strips, a small container of frozen kale pesto, and some Greek yogurt for a creamy garnish. What appears to be split pea soup is actually pungent with curry, ginger, and pesto.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp. sweet curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. roasted red pepper, diced
  • 3 inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 c. yellow lentils, soaked for one hour
  • 3 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1/3 c. pesto
  • 1 head of cauliflower florets, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces


Preheat oven 350º

Heat 1 tblsp. butter or oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Sauté carrot and onion until translucent. Push vegetables to one side of the pot, add salt and spices. Stir gently while toasting — about two minutes.  Add pepper, ginger and garlic. Stir to combine all ingredients and cook for two minutes more.  Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Simmer lentils in stock until tender, about 25 minutes.

In the meantime, spread sliced cauliflower on a foil-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and roast in oven for 25 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula. Cauliflower should be crisp and crunchy, but not burned.

Stir coconut milk, pesto, and onion mixture into lentils. Bring to a simmer.

Serve soup over roasted cauliflower.  Garnish with freshly-squeezed lemon and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Episode 69: Dense & Moist

redbelliedThis episode includes the following segments: Yarn Lover at Large, Ever-expanding Skill Set, The Back Porch, Sheep to Shawl, Off the Shelf, and Double Happiness.  I thrilled by the number of folks saying that they plan to participate in the podcast’s first read-along.  Have you secured your copy of Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson?  I suggested a read-along because my reading life has dwindled over the past few years, just as my interest in crafting has increased. Now that I’ve begun this novel,  I’m really enjoying it. It’s not too late to join in!


Yarn Lover at Large

sistermaryelizabethBack in September, when I visited the Southern Adirondack Sheep & Wool Festival, I found out about a farm tour that takes place in the spring. The details for the Washington County Fiber Tour are finally available online.

Saturday & Sunday
April 25 & 26, 2015
Washington County, NY
(north of Troy / east of Saratoga Springs)

Two days of touring, sampling local products and specialties, shopping, and adventure. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

I plan to arrive in Greenwich on Friday late afternoon/early evening and depart by Sunday at noon. Would you like to get together for a meal or at a farm? Let me know and I will provide updates in this thread.

My itinerary for the weekend is not firm at this point, but the following locations are a priority:

  • Battenkill Spinning Mill — Greenwich, NY
  • St. Mary’s on the Hill — Greenwich, NY
  • Ensign Brook Farm — Greenwich, NY
  • Dancing Ewe Farm — Granville, NY
  • Argyle Brewing Company — Greenwich, NY
  • Dish Bistro — Greenwich, NY

Please contact me if you plan to attend this event. It will be fun to make new friends.

 Ever-expanding Skill Set

This month, we’re playing “the pantry game,” cooking from our pantries and sharing recipe ideas and suggestions. In this segment, I repeat several listener contributions from February’s #powerpantry thread on Ravelry. So many good ideas!  I found myself with 1/3 a container of high-quality ricotta cheese, so I searched for a recipe and the Food 52 blog called up Louisa’s cake. Dense and moist, this cake is likely to become a standby. What and ingenious idea to add one grated apple to the recipe! I substituted orange rind for the lemon, and, as usual, I reduced the amount of sugar by 1/3.

Sheep to Shawl

sample1In preparation for next weekend at Fiber Craft Studio, I’ve spun some samples of Jacob fleece. I sorted the locks into batches according to color. Then, I used my hand cards to prepare loosely-formed rolags.  For these samples, I prepared three distinct colors: white, gray and brown.  But I would like to increase the colors to four or more by working carefully with the gray. I noticed that there is a gray-brown and a silvery gray; perhaps I could also add a bit of white to the gray for additional variations. The carded rolags spun beautifully. I’m amazed and the softness and the loft of my samples. My Jenkins Aegean (turkish) spindle works well with this fiber, so I plan to bring it with me for my class next weekend. Find a collection of photos and details of my Sheep 2 Shawl course on a specially-designed project page on Ravelry.

Off the Shelf / Double Happiness

housekeepingThis week, while reading and re-reading Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, I was struck by the references to textiles. I suppose the title should be a strong indication that the text will concern itself with domestic matters. My first find was mention of the word “embroidered” in Chapter 2. So I went back to Chapter 1 to see what I could find in the way of terms and details associated with textiles. I was not disappointed. These references take two forms: 1) details about textiles themselves (fabric, garments, etc.) 2) words and terms for textiles that are used to describe other things — things unrelated to textiles. This second type is a variety of metaphor, in which unrelated things are connected. Consider this example:

“Their lives spun off the tilting world like thread off a spindle.”

Sometimes, abstract observations can seem obtuse, preachy, or over-intellectualized. Here, the use of spinning terminology keeps the Ruth’s observation grounded in tangible things. It also gives us clues about what is important to her — only someone who knows about spinning and spindles could venture to make such a comparison.

Episode 68: Thrummed

68.3Yin Hoo is covered in snow and there has been a lot of shoveling to do . . . but I’m trying to take advantage of the snow day to release another episode.  Congratulations to canyonwren2 and blisskat — winners of the Kauni yarn giveaway! This episode features the following segments: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Ever-expanding Skill Set, Off the Shelf, And Sew Forth. This week I completed the first pair of mitts to actually keep my fingers warm on long walks. Plus, I’ve been washing Jacob locks, swatching for a new sweater, and learning to cut on the bias.


Sheep to Shawl

washedlocks2Here are some of the washed locks from Hazel, a Jacob sheep from Jenny Jump Farm in Hope, NJ.  I used a technique I learned this summer at the Super Summer Knitogether. Sadie of Knitter’s Nightmare explained how to maintain lock formation by separating the tips of locks, placing them in rows in a lingerie bag, then submerging them in a pan of soapy (but not bubbly) VERY warm water for 20 minutes. After carefully removing the lingerie bag and squeezing out excess water with a towel, the locks to dry on an elevated rack. I’m amazed by the softness and the beautiful colors. I cleaned one batch of colored fleece and a separate batch of white fleece. In this photo, you can see that the fleece varies in color as well as staple length (the white fleece has a much longer staple).

And Sew Forth

68.4This weekend, I visited my mom, who supervised while I cut fabric for my Birds of a Feather Maxi Skirt. Though Anna Maria Horner explains a few aspects of the process in her Creativebug tutorial, I discovered that some crucial information has been left out! Cutting on the bias requires special care, as the fabric can stretch out of shape easily. I also learned some techniques to create a double-wide piece of fabric, and to ensure that both front and back skirt pieces could be cut from the fabric. 68.2I was glad to use some of my mother’s sewing tools, including the fold-out cardboard cutting board on the right. There are markings to guide a subtle shaping of the skirt bottom. How clever! Now that the pieces are cut, I can envision the appearance of the hand-applique feathers. My inclination is to place one of the feathers so that it extends down from the skirt waist. Mom disagrees. So, I need to give this some more thought. If I manage to get all of this snow shoveled, maybe I can devote some time to sewing the skirt today!

Episode 67: Handwork

cover67Snow has covered the ground at Yin Hoo and there’s more on the way. Hopefully there will be enough time between shoveling sessions to work on some thrummed mittens while I sit by a toasty fire. This episode includes the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, Yarn Lover at Large, Gratitude Journal, And Sew Forth. I announce the winner of the zebra project bag pictured on the cover of Episode 66. There’s a giveaway of beautiful Kauni yarn just in time for Valentine’s Day — check out the prize thread on the  Yarns at Yin Hoo Ravelry group to make your entry.


Ever-expanding Skill Set

pantryshelvesSince the last episode, I discovered that the can-can sale may be particular to the US East Coast supermarkets. But some listeners have commented about their favorite items to stock when they go on sale: beans, broth, pasta.  My go-to is Annnie’s Mac & Cheese. I know it’s not so great in the total nutrition department, but I can never resist it!

There’s been a lot of discussion about de-cluttering and getting organized, so I thought that this week would be a good time to discuss staying organized. Without good habits, we can easily return to a cluttered, disorganized state. Adhering to the principles of mise en place helps me stay organized in the kitchen, but the principle (known to chefs as meez) can also be applied in other areas of your life. Check out this segment from NPR’s Morning Edition. The All in Its Place blog has a great excerpt from Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, where he explains how important a chef’s meez is to his efficacy in the kitchen.

This week’s question is:

What are your tips for staying organized in the kitchen?

Comment below, make a post to the Ravelry thread, or use #powerpantry to contribute your photos, tips and suggestions.

orchardhouseYarn Lover at Large 

I’ve begun a year-long Sheep to Shawl course, which will meet one Saturday a month. The event takes place at Fiber Craft Studio in Chestnut Ridge, NY. Our class meets in Orchard House, a beautiful old building on the campus of Threefold Center, a training facility for Waldorf educators.

I spent Friday night in one of the dormitory rooms (that corner room was my refuge) and awoke to a dazzling white morning.  There was just enough time before class to meet hazelDeb (L1ttleredhen) for coffee and conversation before class began.

This week, we encountered the beautiful fleece of Hazel, a Jacob sheep raised by Jenny Jump Farm in Hope, NJ. We also got in touch with our primitive roots, and spun using hitched twigs and spindles made from sticks and stones. Homework before the next class will consist of washing 2.5 ounces of Hazel’s fleece. I’m using some of the methods I learned from Sadie’s fleece processing class during the Super Summer Knitogether.

And Sew Forth

featherLast weekend, I completed eight feathers for the Birds of a Feather appliquéd skirt designed by Anna Maria Horner. The project so far has consisted of strip-piecing 6 different types of fabric, cutting right and left sides of feathers, cutting spines for feathers, sewing feathers to spines, and lots and lots of ironing to press seams out of the way and smooth the fabric for ease of sewing. I’m pleased with the way the feathers have turned out, and look forward to another sewing day, when I will make a pattern for the skirt according to my measurements, and cut the skirt fabric on the bias.

Episode 66: Orientation

cover66This week’s episode includes the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, Off the Shelf, The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Yarn Lover at Large, Double Happiness, and Sew Forth. I’ve been the happy recipient of some post-holiday packages, so I thought that this would be a great time to send out a special package to a listener. You’re invited to enter and impromptu contest to win the wedge-shaped project bag featured on this episode’s cover photo. All you have to do is leave a comment below. I’ll announce the winner on Episode 67.


pantryshelvesEver-expanding Skill Set

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the ongoing #powerpanty discussion. I’m learning so much by reading listener comments. It’s a thrill to see photographs of your pantries, cupboards, and kitchen organization.

This week’s question is:

What do you like to stock up on when there’s a can-can sale at your local supermarket?

You can make a comment below or post to the Ravelry thread.

Off the Shelf

housekeepingYarns at Yin Hoo listeners are invited to take part in a read-along as part of our #powerpantry endeavor. The first selection is Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. It is a short novel. I have always thought of it as a novella, so there is at least one potential topic for discussion. Here is a link to information about the novel, and additional resources.

Week ONE (February 1-7): Chapter 1
Week TWO (February 8-14): Chapters 2 & 3
Week THREE (February 15-21): Chapters 4 – 6
Week FOUR (February 22-28): Chapter 7
Week FIVE (March 1-7): Chapters 8 & 9
Week SIX (March 8-14): Chapters 10 & 11


Yarn Lover at Large

ep66.3Have you ever been to a yarn tasting? This was only my second one, but I think it’s something that can be replicated with a group of friends. And it’s chance for a lot of fun. Joanne, the owner of Mountain Knits & Pearls in East Stroudsburg, PA, hosted an excellent event. She was informative, and she allowed a lot of time for trying the yarns and socializing too. I didn’t expect to leave with a few goodies, but everyone got to take home one of the sample yarns.  Mine was this beautiful Triologie, a wool, silk and linen blend.


 And Sew Forth

ep66.1I discuss several tutorials and projects in this week’s episode. Many of these are linked on my Pinterest board titled “Sewing Ideas.” Do you have any suggestions for beginner sewing projects that get great results?  Let me know!

Rebecca Ringquist on Creativebug. She has a blog designs really cool samplers. Her forthcoming book is now available via pre-order.

My next garment project is the Birds of a Feather maxi skirt by Anna Maria Horner.