Photographically frustrated

Given that I'm the in-house photographer and none-too-swift, yet another pattern is on hold until I can get passable shots. But here's a hint, it's black and you can carry stuff in it.

Reading Lolita in Anchorage

Like you, we've been receiving a slew of emails about the real and supposed horrors perpetrated on Alaska by Sarah Palin. Being the good party warrior, I've wanted to believe them all, but hesitated forwarding the emails because my not-so-keen BS alarm sounded.

I did, however, disseminate a list of books Palin allegedly wanted removed from the Wassila library. Though Palin did ask the Wassila librarian about a process for banning books and eventually threatened to fire the librarian for lack of support independent of this incident, the list is false and I regret sending it.

As a believer in the spirit and letter of the First Amendment, I am alarmed Palin even asked. But she and I share at least one thing in common besides a love of lipstick, neither of us knows what vice presidents do. In the worse-case scenario of a McCain presidency, I hope he will take his vitamins and a page from Bush 41 and busy his veep at ribbon cuttings and other important missions so she won't worry about the contents of the Library of Congress, squashing civil liberties or nosing around the data on my hard drive.

Want to know whether the candidates are speaking the truth? Visit the non-partisan factcheck.org.

Tomatoes for bags

Last week I received a powerful lesson in the currency of homegrown tomatoes. Mom had stopped by--new knitting bag in tow--to grab some of my green ones. She loves them breaded and fried. I admired her new accessory, a slouchy hot pink number from Namaste. She asked me for a plastic sack, removed her billfold from her knitting bag and gave it to me.

Wow. Who knew the power? I'm going to start bringing tomatoes everywhere I go.

Namaste's Malibu in Hollywood Pink

Nature calls

Basically, I've got nothin'. But thought I'd close out the week with a reminder that nature gets all the colors right.

A recent sunset from the ranch:

Fast Food Thursday: Baba ganoush

Every Sunday Ferris pitches his awning in Westcliffe on Highway 96 next to Western Auto to sell fruits and vegetables mostly from Pueblo. His farm stand produce is gorgeous and he keeps a nice patter up with customers. We've been buying from him for years. This Sunday we came away with a huge bucket of beets--much to Mitch's dismay--two fat eggplants and a basket of peaches from Palisade.

We both adore eggplant, so last night I consulted a cookbook or two and a few Internet sites for a solid baba ganoush recipe. Overall, they are pretty consistent:

1 eggplant, grilled and peeled

3 Tbs tahini

1/2 - 1 tsp salt

the juice of one lemon

2 cloves garlic, minched

Instructions: Whip it in your food processor until the ingredients are unrecognizable and garnish with something, cumin, paprika or chopped flat-leaf parsley. Chow. (Great on pita bread, pita chips, baby carrots, your finger.)

I'd show a picture, but as delicious as this combination is, it really does look like moth-colored glop garnished with something. 

Changes: I'd cut way back on the garlic, maybe half a clove. (My breath today would fell a stegasaurus.) Also, I recommend grilling the eggplant as opposed to roasting. Imparts a nice, smokey flavor.

Also makes great finger food for convention watching. Cheers!

What if you were a VEEP candidate?

In reading the reaction to John McCain's VP choice--much of it quite sexist, in my opinion--I was struck by the boundaries the media is willing to cross when the candidate is a woman. And, the double standard.

Of course, I wonder about the qualifications of a self-professed "hockey mom," a heartbeat away from the presidency with the world's largest nuclear load under her command. But the jokes about her go-go boots and mini-skirts (hello, who didn't commit fashion crimes in the '80s?) are frankly chauvinistic. Isn't that what post-feminism has been about? To wear lipstick or knit or display a well-turned ankle without being smacked down by men, society or other women?

Who among us could withstand the kind of scrutiny female candidates receive? I was joking this weekend about how I would survive such scrutiny. 

A scene from the McLaughlin Group:

"The candidate has a master's degree...in creative writing!" Pat Buchanan collapses in laughter, rolling on the floor kicking his legs.

"Yes, but her grades were stellar and she has executive experience."--Eleanor Clift.

"As president of the Colorado Authors' League!" interrupts Monica Crowley. "This qualifies her to lead the war on terror?"

"I see a lot of positives with this choice," observes Clarence Page. "She's from a swing state..."

"With 8 electoral votes," Buchanan still giggling interjects.

"Let me finish," Page says. "She's from a swing state. She's been a terrific advocate for higher education access, the environment, women's rights."

Crowley: "She'll alienate the religious right. I'm also not sure the core can accept her inter-faith marriage."

Eleanor Clift: "She's a crackerjack writer."

Buchanan: "But have you heard her speak? She can't think on her feet. Slow as molasses in January.

Clift: "She just needs to get through the debate."

Crowley: "Well, there are all the rumors, too."

McLaughlin: "Oh, for goodness sake."

Crowley: "They say she's a knitter. Do you know they say she has six bins of yarn in her basement?"

Clift: "She has every right to knit. It's supposed to be very calming."

Buchanan: "I don't think we want a candidate knitting like Madame Defarge when our troops are going into harm's way."

McLaughlin: "My prediction: She'll take the knitter vote. Bye bye."

Nake-id Knits moves and grooves

Nake-id IT has been at it again, moving me from Subtext to BlogEngine.net. Look, smilies!Laughing

Of course, it will take us awhile to get things all prettified. So in the meantime, have a great Labor Day weekend. We'll be basking in leftover blue glow from the DNC deep in the red part of the state. I'll be the one wearing a Knitters for Obama t-shirt with the bullet bra. Innocent

Free Pattern Thursday: The Coolest Un-Poncho You Totally Will Wear

It's a poncho, wrap, capelet, scarf-cum-schmata

Ponchos are so 2004, but I reach for this little garment again and again. Though it began life as a poncho, it "reads" as a wrap. Bunch it around your neck as a dramatic scarf or cover your shoulders when the early fall air begins to chill.

The Un-Poncho

Yarn: Fiesta Yarns Rayon Boucle in Onyx

Amount: 2 skeins

Needles: Size 9 US

Instructions:

CO loosely 56 sts.

Proceed in k3, p1 ribbing for 34 ins.

BO loosely.

Finishing:

Weave in ends. Bring short end of rectangle over to meet top of long side of rectangle and seam. (If your neck edge seems floppy, pick up stitches around neckline and bind off loosely for a more finished, tighter look.)

Wear with flair and an air of mystery.

***

To customize your garment, follow this formula:

Measure from your neckline to your wrist. That's the width of your rectangle. To figure the length, divide the width by 4. Multiply that result by 9.
Example: you want the neck to wrist measurement to be 15". Divide that by 4 (3.75"). Multiply that by 9 (33.75") Make 1 rectangle 15"X34".
Plug in your stitch gauge and your row gauge.
 
With the Un-Poncho, the beautiful Fiesta Yarn does all the work!

Fast-Food Thursday: Squash-Buster Curry

In the continuing quest to expedite dinner and get on with the knitting, I've been experimenting in the kitchen. Because we are the beneficiaries of a bumper crop of yellow squash (we are awash in squash, crowded by cucurbits, gorged by gourds and generally at our wits end as to how to process these saffron-colored beauties), much of what I've been cooking lately features the oh-so-common yellow crookneck.

Happily Mitch is not one of those fellows who's averse to a vegetarian dish now and again. And he doesn't get all squeamish and fussy when presented with an unusual spice or food stuff. Let's give him a round of applause, shall we?

What follows is not a traditional curry, but a lady-with-stuff-on-hand curry. Note: You may need to adjust the amount of curry based on your own preferences and the heat-factor of your spices. 

We both enjoyed the above rendering of the latest harvest, a quick vegan curry with homegrown tomatoes.

1 large yellow crookneck squash, cubed

2 tomatoes, cubed

1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbs of your favorite yellow curry spice (I used the Medium Yellow Curry from the Savory Spice Shop) mixed into a paste with an equal amount of water

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs soy sauce

Crushed peanuts, raisins and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Saute garlic and ginger in olive oil until soft. Incorporate curry paste. Add squash and cook until tender, then add tomatoes and cook until hot. Season with soy sauce. And garnish with crushed peanuts, raisins and cilantro.

Achieve samadhi. Go knit.

Fast Food Thursday: Squash-Buster Salad

OK, my food styling makes it look like compost, but this salad is wicked good. Even my dear husband, who has come to fear my culinary experiments (ask him about Soba-Noodle-Goat-Cheese-Tomato Surprise), said, "This is good enough to feed company!"

And it kills off two squash.

Squash-Buster Salad

Dressing

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs finely chopped fresh oregano

salt and fresh ground pepper

Salad

1 small head Romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 yellow crook-necked squash, sliced lengthwise

1 boneless chicken breast

4 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup feta cheese

2 tsp lemon pepper

1 Tbs dried oregano

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

salt and fresh ground pepper

Croutons (optional)

Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in sealed container and shake like crazy. Set aside.

Salad: Prepare grill. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper and brush squash with olive oil and dust with oregano, salt and pepper. Grill chicken until thoroughly cooked and the squash until its soft and tender. Allow to cool briefly.

In the meantime combine vegetables and cheese in a salad bowl. Add grilled chicken and squash and toss with dressing.

Serve with pinot grigio and dine al fresco.

Bon appetit!