I’m still knitting the same things

I continue to knit the same three projects. There isn’t much more to discuss on the knitting front. I will have some more interesting knitting things to talk about after I make it through this week alive.

I did mention previously that I love fall and that I want to blog about my favorite season and maybe discuss some of my all-time autumn things that I enjoy. Food is certainly an all-year-round joy for me. When I have time, I cook. I even cook when I don’t have time. Today is one of those days when I have to cook quickly. If you’re interested, keep reading. I’m going to share an old-time Spanish classic recipe with you: lentil stew.

Lentil stew, or estofado de lentejas, is a Spanish dish I learned to make about 10 years ago. My Spanish partner taught me, of course. Let’s get down to the ingredients and instructions for making this yummy deliciousness and then I’ll offer some helpful hints. Really, there’s nothing too complex about cooking the recipe. Finding the ingredients outside of Spain could be difficult depending on where you live. This is fast, delicious, warm, and oh so nutritious and hearty on a chilly fall day.

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Recipe for lentil stew (makes enough for four people):

Ingredients:

3 generous handfuls dry pardina lentils (also known as “baby lentils”)

1 medium-sized potato, peeled and cubed

1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped

2 bay leaves

4 cups beef broth (approximately)

1 chorizo (about 6 ounces), peeled and sliced

1 clove of garlic

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Add all the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Add the chorizo and bay leaves and continue to sauté for a few minutes more. Add the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the broth into the pot. Use just enough liquid so that there is about an inch of liquid above the lentil-vegetable mix (you can probably eyeball it with a wooden spoon). Cover the pressure cooker and set the pressure to high. When the pressure of the pot is at its highest turn the heat down to medium and allow the stew to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and wait for the pressure to reduce all the way to “zero.” Sometimes dried legumes take longer to cook, sometimes they take less time. When in doubt, it’s better to stop cooking them, check them for doneness, and proceed from there as needed.

Serving:

You can eat this stew as it is, but in Spain, we like to garnish our legumes with some sherry vinegar. Also, depending on family tradition and geographic region, you can serve this dish with diced, hardboiled egg.

Helpful tips:

  1. You can easily double or triple this recipe. Just use more lentils. There isn’t really much in the way of measurements for this dish. Everyone makes this stew their own by adding more of some ingredients and less of others (or leaving them out all together!). If you want more garlic, by all means add more. If you want more carrots and peppers, go for it. It’s your stew.
  2. Finding Spanish chorizo is sometimes difficult. In the United States, if you live in a big city, you can probably find a good selection. If anything, you can always buy the Goya brand chorizo that is usually available at many supermarkets. It’s not the best chorizo in the world, but it does the trick.
  3. Likewise, pardina lentils are sometimes difficult to find as well. If you can’t find them in a regular supermarket, try a middle eastern grocery store or a whole foods store. Regular lentils (the label on the package will just say “lentils”) are not appropriate for this dish because it is supposed to be a chunky stew, not a pureed soup.
  4. You may think that this dish sounds light, but it is very hearty with a hunk of crusty bread. I honestly can only eat one serving and I’m a pretty big eater.
  5. Leftovers: if you have any of this stew left over, you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave, but you should add some water to it. Another option is to process your day-old, cold lentil stew in a blender or a food processor, add some flour and an egg yolk, mix it up into a batter, and make some lentil stew patties that you fry in the frying pan.

It feels like fall today

  
It’s truly a knitter’s glory when the weather starts to get slightly more chilly and it starts feeling more autumnal. On this glorious Sunday I could wear a pair of wool socks, snuggle under a crocheted afghan, and knit away on my traveling cable scarf.

Fall has always been my favorite season. First of all, it lets you don your knitwear. But I just love fall foods, too. Root vegetables, beef stew, baked beans, pot roast, apple pie, apple crisp, roasted chicken, and the list goes on. It’s a time of year when you can put on the oven and the extra warmth is a good thing.

Of course, Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays. 

This year, after a truly boiling summer (unusually hot even for Spain), I think I’m going to use my blog to celebrate Autumn. Expect to read about my fall favs. I’m so enthusiastic about the seasonal change that I’m going to throw caution to the wind and blog about things that may not be knitting related. Why not? The Internet, after all, could use more beef stew recipes.

I’m also thinking about Halloween. When I lived in America I used to go all out. Here in Spain it’s not really an important holiday. The best way for me to get into American holidays while far from home is probably to decorate and make some cool stuff, right?

I finish things and I keep on knitting

Quite a few months ago I finished some vanilla socks (my own personal in-my-head pattern) and I never bothered to photograph them or talk about them much. Here’s a pair I knit up with Rowan Fine Art hand painted sock yarn from the cuff down:

Photo Sep 25, 3 39 49 PM

After that, I finished a pair of toe-up socks with some rainbow sock yarn I bought at Tiger and now I’m happy to report that I have my own toe-up pattern in my head, although I’m going to experiment with the heel in the future:

Photo Sep 25, 3 40 29 PM

I’ve also finished a few other things but I didn’t bother to photograph them and I’ve already given them away. That’s life!

This is what I’ve been working on:

Photo Sep 25, 3 35 40 PM

Yup, I’ve got all that on the needles. I’m still working on that blue cardigan. The back is almost finished. I blogged about this before, but the photo was yucky. Here’s a better detail on the stitch pattern:

Photo Sep 25, 3 36 04 PM

This pattern is simply called “Cabled Cardigan” and it’s published by Hayfield. Of course, I’m not using the suggested yarn. I prefer something more wooly, so I’m using Drops Nepal.

I’ve also decided to invent a scarf with a traveling XO cable. The scarf will be reversible and maybe one day it will be a free pattern offered on my blog. Who knows? I’m having fun with this scarf. It’s very easy for me to knit.

Photo Sep 25, 3 35 54 PM

Quite naturally, I’ve been making progress on those vanilla socks with little shell rib I talked about in my last post. I’m still on the first sock, but I’ve turned the heel, decreased the gusset, and now I’m just ticking away at the foot portion:

Photo Sep 25, 3 35 46 PM

I think that’s a lot of knitting. Let’s see if I can keep my attention focused long enough on my cardigan to finish it. I love knitting it, but for some reason I just get distracted. Every time I consider casting on yet another thing I just sit on my hands for a moment and then work on my cardigan. That should do the trick, I think, at least for now… dun dun DUN! (*sinister knitter laugh*)

Why not try a different ribbing?

A must for every knitter’s library is the book series A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker. It’s especially useful when you want to turn something basic into something more interesting to knit and admire.

For a sock knitting fiend like me, all the variations on rib stitches are especially attractive. Do you knit your socks with a k3p2 rib? I don’t, but I use k3p3 a lot. There isn’t much of a difference. That’s why I decided to spice up my vanilla socks with “Little Shell Rib.” I’ve started the first sock and I really like how it looks: