Food By Mom -- Chicken with lemon & Olives

I love the flavors of Moroccan foods. I first encountered them way back in 1964. That summer, the year I graduated from high school, my brother got my friend and me jobs at the World's Fair in New York. We worked just part-time but we were able to spend the summer away from home, exploring New York and the wonders of the Fair. One day we decided to have lunch at the Moroccan pavilion and that day, my love affair with Moroccan food began. So today, a favorite of mine. I have no idea where I first found this recipe or even when. Over time, I have added and subtracted to it so by now it is an interpretation rather than anything like an authentic version. But it is GOOD.

No pictures today -- just try the recipe.

Chicken with Lemon and Olives

2 teaspoons paprika 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric 

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces use chicken thighs (the dark meat is more flavorful)

I try, really I do

I try not to make this blog too political, really I do. But today I can't help it, this is just too good -- at least to me. My daughter sent it to me --


My grandmother was a suffragette, by the way.

Maybe I should call her Lilith?

She's wily and seductive, this one. Just when I am feeling uncertain, it all starts to look good again. Like here --


The little trees will look the way they should even though they are much more delicate in this cobweb weight yarn. And I can already tell the beads, tiny as they are, will give enough added weight to make the drape more fluid.

On Eve1, I used a bead mix from called Rose Garden -- a lovely mix of reds and greens. But on this version, I am using a mix of green beads in the edging and mixed red and pink beads in the main body of the stole. No compelling reason except that I think they look better with this yarn.

Choices like that -- which color and size of bead, size of needle -- are such a part of knitting lace, aren't they? And this is part of what I so like about it. The key is to feel free enough of the designer's choices to make your own just because you like them. I think this may be what inhibits some who try knitting lace for the first time -- that they really can make different choices because lace is very forgiving and should in fact become a realization of the knitter's vision and taste.

Eve's sister

I have continued work on the Eve's Temptation variation. I love the way I got the tree to work out but it is hard to chart because I shaped it as I went along.


The one issue I have is with how to get to the width I want because this is very fine yarn knit on a size 1.5 needle so it takes a lot of stitches to grow it to a good stole width. So as it is now, it will have long ends. Oh well.

And do you love the red apple? Yeah, I know it's hard to see. The curse of trying to photograph such a dark color.


Food by Mom -- pot roast

I make great pot roast. And actually it is something I learned from my mother. So I'll start this theme off with Pot Roast.

I start with a chuck roast -- like this one:


I prefer flat to roundish and usually around 3 pounds.

I brown it in a little olive oil in my saute pan --

Then I add a couple of quartered onions, several cloves of garlic, a bit of salt and pepper. Around 1/3 C of red wine, a good splash of soy sauce, and a teaspoon of Thai chili garlic paste. The soy adds a nice full flavor -- called umami, a Japanese word meaning savory.


Now put the lid on and set it to simmer -- really just above warm. And let it cook for at least 3 hours -- longer is even better.


And it will look like this.

Some people put carrots and potatoes in with the meat but I prefer to roast additional vegetables instead. You can reduce the liquid in the pan and make it a nice sauce. Or I suppose you could make gravy, but I am not a gravy person so don't tell me about it if you do this.

There you have it -- one of my favorite cold weather comfort meals.

What do you know?

When I was growing up, though I knew about turnips and parsnips and rutabagas and such, my mother never cooked them. A reaction maybe to the kinds of things she had to use during the use during the Depression when my brothers were little. So of course, because I hadn't tried them, I imagined I didn't like them.

Well, Tuesday my husband brought home these --


a lovely bunch of winter root vegetables and sprigs of fresh thyme. In the bundle were salsify, several kinds of turnips, parsnips, beets, leeks, a rutabaga, kohlrabi, and fennel (which I did know I don't like because I detest anise, licorice and fennel). So we decided to be brave and try them.

We cut up the veggies, and then tossed them in olive oil and salt and pepper. We added some lamb and pistachio sausages from the Co-op. And the thyme. And then roasted the mixture.

And it was terrific! So I know now that I like turnips, parsnips, salsify. I already liked beets and leeks. Kohlrabi is okay. Rutabaga -- not so much. I'd eat it but I wouldn't choose it.

Sharing the love

As much as I love the new version of Eve's Temptation -- and I do love it -- I want to finish the original as well. So I am sharing the love between them, working a bit on each one each day.  


Don't you just love those little beaded picot bits? They just delight me. As you can see I haven't gotten far into the second half.

And Eve II -- well, I will place the large bead for the apple today --


The green is so dark it is hard to show you the detail.  I hope you get the idea from this.

In other news, I think I became a real writer this week as I got my first rejection notice. I have a fairy tale I wrote and after much delay and avoidance, I submitted to the Fairy Tale Review. I rather doubted they would accept it because it is fairly long and psychological. But it was important for me to at least submit it. I'm thinking I will make it available as a .pdf download  to anyone who wants to read it.

These fall mornings continue to be spectacular. Yesterday was especially lovely -


Fall is absolutely my favorite season. I love the riot of color on the trees and the slow turn to the somber shades of gray and brown and the dark green of the pines that marks the onset of winter. That's coming but for now, when I look outside, I see reds and golds and it is delightful.

Here is the view out my front door today --


The trees bring their own light to this gray day.

And looking across the harbor --



You'll notice there are fewer boats moored out there now -- half the number of last month this time.

This is the last big weekend for tourists this year -- we call the ones who come now "leaf peepers" and they have been here in abundance. After today, many of the seasonal businesses will close until spring and life will slow down to a different pace. 

I'll have more photos of Eve2 tomorrow. I have started the tree branches.

The New Eve

I obsessed over the start of this new variation on Eve's Temptation. I just didn't like having such a long point on it. I tried this and then that and ripped out and started again at least a half dozen times. Until I finally hit on something I like. And then I had to keep knitting because I *really* like it! In the process, I got a more rounded bottom on it and changed to 11/0 beads, which in these end pieces are a minor element anyway. I may end up liking this one even more than the original!

Here is a shot of my progress as of this morning -- knit on size 1.5 needles in cash/silk:


See how the snakey element is winding up on the sides? I like that. The trunk of the tree is just now taking shape so is hard to see here. I am loving the sinuousness of the curves. 

Rising to a challenge

Eve will soon go out to test knitters -- thank you, test knitters, for volunteering. And what has been occupying me the last couple of days? Why a variation on Eve, of course!

Cindy, one of the test knitters, asked if it were possible to rotate the tree in the center by 90 degrees so that it would be upright when viewed on the wearer. My eyes began twirling in opposite directions at the thought of trying to re-chart the whole tree, so I responded that no, it couldn't be done.

But the idea stuck in my mind. And I began to see something like what I started out with -- the tree on either end, with the stole having pointed ends. And I began playing to see if I could do it. I found a different snakey edge that I like and thought about how to re-arrange the elements and I think I like it. My concern is that the pointed end may be longer than I will like which would mean reworking the start into something a little broader -- which can easily be done. 

I am using a Colourmart cash/silk which is a bit finer than Zephyr and a size 2 needle. Here's what I have so far -- believe me the chart is more impressive --

Woo-Hoo! Eve Arrives!

I did it! I completed the first half! I was working out al the branches on the tree as I knit along, which meant I charted each row as I knit it. . I haven't blocked it yet. But I think it will be about 45" long and 30 inches wide. Because I knit it on size 4 needles rather than something larger, the fabric is dense and this will be warm and cozy. I have to go through the charts and deal with the evil "missing stitch" thing and get it ready to be tested.  But here is the tree--


If any of you are interested in test knitting, drop me an email. I hope to be able to release it by late November but no big rush.

Decision time

Well, I am within 50 rows of finishing this first half of Eve and I have some uncertainty about elements of this central motif.

Here is how it looks today, just a few rows to do before starting the branches of the tree -- no blocking has been done at all, so it looks a bit lumpy --


So here is what I am uncertain about:

1. does the border pattern which outlines this section, those little donuts, stand out enough? 

2. should there be a bead in the center of each donut?

3. is the reverse stockinette which sets off the tree too solid looking? Keep in mind that the branches will be very lacy.

Please give me your thoughts. 

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.