It is a personal belief of mine that nothing in knitting is "hard:" there are things that are more fiddly than others, things that may cause a project to take longer than it otherwise would in plain stockinette. But really, when you come down to it, it's all just really two stitches (and their variants), taken, at most, a few stitches at a time. Easy to comprehend, and - when you get enough experience - easy to tell why you're doing what maneuver when.

Lace cables are hard.

No, I do not mean a piece which has lace panels and cable panels - I mean lace in the cables. See swatch:

This little swatch (only 3" square) took me at least two hours. TWO. HOURS. It's tiny. I've got the movements memorized at this point, but I still don't know why I'm doing them exactly, and why I'm doing them when. I really have no clue - I'm just blindly following instructions at this point. I think the last time this happened was when I learned how to turn a heel of a sock, well over three years ago, and even then, I saw the reason for most of it shortly after. Still stumped here, but you know what? Rhodion is going to be beautiful (it's just is going to take three [very long] months).

Posted by Picasa

Oh yeah... yarn.

I feel bad, because the name of this blog is Fiber Salt. Fiber Salt. When’s the last time I’ve talked about any sort of fibry thing? Months and months and months ago. And I mean, I bet a lot of you are reading this because I was published in Knitty, for goodness sake! Well, I’m going to remedy that now.

Here it is:

The current project. Crazy Ribs Gloves for my mom. I'm done with the first one, and just started the second. I wasn’t blogging about them because I wanted them to be a surprise, but then I realized that she picked out the pattern, and knows what the yarn looks like. And they’re awesome, and I really want to share them. They’re the first pair of gloves I’ve made where they actually fit like they’re supposed to (aka the finger joins aren’t a half inch above the finger splits on your hand). I really, really like them, so I might just have to make a pair – or some sort of variant of it – for myself.

On the cooking front, I know in real life I’ve expressed my deep love for my crockpot, but I don’t think it’s been adequately expressed on the blog. I. LOVE. MY. CROCKPOT. I use it for practically everything: steel-cut oatmeal, dry beans, soups, etc. I use it so often it earned a space on the countertop instead of hidden away in the back of a cabinet.

My theory is, if it cooks over a low simmer on the stove, you can make it in a crockpot. So, yesterday, when I made the Trader Joe’s 17 Bean and Barley Soup recipe from the back of the bag of the bean medley, I made it in the crockpot. I also might have modded it a little. But either way, it was super delicious.

17 Bean & Barley Soup [crockpot]
2 cups dry 17 bean & barley medley
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1-14.5oz can diced tomatos (plain), drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
6 veggie bouillon cubes
The veggie amounts are roughly equal to ~½ a jumbo onion or ~1 regular one, ~3 whole carrots, and ~4 stalks celery. If you want, instead of water and bouillon, you can use 6 cups of veggie broth.

The first, and really vital step is this: bring a large pot of water to a boil – think you’re making a pot of pasta. Now, add the beans, and boil them for 10 minutes. This isn’t vital to the cooking process, but it is important for your health: red beans can have a toxin in them that can cause severe symptoms after eating just a few beans where it’s present. The boiling denatures (for not-science people: kills, destroys, renders useless, etc.) this toxin, as crockpots don’t reach temperatures high enough for denaturing. Don’t forget this.

Drain your beans, and then – are you ready for this? – put everything in the crock pot. Stir it a little bit to mix. Cover. Cook on high for 8-9 hours, or on low for 16-18 hours.

Yes. That’s it. It’s magical, wonderful, and fantastic. Long live crockpot cooking!
Posted by Picasa

Carrots and Oatmeal

We have a plethora of bread in our refrigerator. We have bagels (not real bagels - grocery store bagels. Real bagels don't exist in Miami), english muffins, tortillas, whole wheat bread, and beer bread. Despite this, I felt the need to make bread. Mostly because we didn't have any sort of white bread. I like whole wheat bread, but there are some things that it just doesn't taste as good with whole wheat (in contrast, there are some things that taste a gazillion times better with whole wheat, and should only be made with it).

I had previously made King Arthur Flour's Classic Sandwich Bread, which is very good, but I wanted something a little different. I have a ton of quick oats in the pantry (which are being neglected due to my switch to crock-pot steel cut oats), so I decided to make oatmeal bread. The recipe was King Arthur Flour's Oatmeal Toasting & Sandwich Bread.

This picture was taken about an hour after it was taken out of the oven:

It's at least half gone. It should be gone within 24 hours. Probably. And then I'll make another loaf.

Yes. It's that good. I highly recommend.

For dinner, I pulled out one of my favorite recipes from home: Carrot Patties. It's wondrous and delicious, but requires a food processor unless you really want to shred two cups of carrots by hand.

Carrot Patties
5 medium carrots or 2 cups shredded carrots
1 small onion
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs cornmeal
2 eggs
2 Tbs milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp pepper (roughly equal to a few turns of a pepper grinder)
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs veggie oil

Shred the carrots in the food processor. Note that '5 medium carrots' is roughly equal to about three of the carrots in the bags at the grocery store. I shredded '5 medium carrots' from this bag of carrots in the food processor, and ended up with 4 cups. Anyway, finely chop or mince the onion. Again, you can do this in the food processor. I was lame and forgot about this (the food processor is new), but it makes things so much easier. Beat the eggs, lightly. Add everything except the butter and oil to a bowl, and mix to combine.

Form in to patties (they should be the size of normal burger patties). Put on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (they can be in the fridge for up to 12 hours). Yes, the liquid parts are going to be dripping everywhere, and it won't really feel like you're making patties, but rather, flattish piles of carrots and onions, but that's how it's supposed to be.

After the patties are chilled, put the butter and oil in a 10" heavy skillet, and heat until sizzling (aka good enough for frying). Add patties.

Cook for about 5 minutes each side, until they're blackened/dark browned. They are quite fragile, but if they fall apart when flipping, just sort of push them back together again. They'll taste good regardless. Mine were actually quite sturdy today, despite my momentary panic that all the binder was leaking out of them.

When they're done cooking, plate on a plate with lots of paper towel to drain.

Enjoy the yumminess. These things are one of my favorite side dishes from home, and I feel mightily empowered to have the recipe and ability to make them for myself now.

At some point, I was going to post my mom's infamous chocolate chip muffins, but we ate them all too fast for them to be photographed. Next time I make them, I'll post the recipe, I promise.

This recipe was originally posted in Food Digest.
Posted by Picasa


Wikipedia is often dismissed as an unreliable source, and nothing on it should be trusted. However, all of you know if something's on Wikipedia, it must be true. Hence, lots of random things get looked up on Wikipedia, and it's actually quite a good place to start your research for a paper, because of the compilation of actual sources in the references and bibliography section of each article.

Today, however, I used Wikipedia in a way I

thought I never would: recipe searching.

This morning, before I left for work (in a last minute, panicked kind of way, because I thought of it while brushing my teeth, then quickly forgot due to exhaustion and only remembered while waiting for Hannah to leave), I threw some pinto beans in the crock pot. I'd been using a lot of black beans and lentils lately, which was making me feel a little guilty every time I looked at that little Tupperware of pinto beans sitting on my shelf in the pantry. I had no idea what I was going to make with them, but at least I'd have something ready to work with when I got home.

One of the things that goes best with pinto beans is cornbread, or some sort of variant of such. Butter and cornbread and pinto beans, and salt are a marvelous meal, but hard to eat (despite my compartmentalized stomach, I eat these all together). I've tried corn meal mush to make it easier to eat, and I've tried crumbling the cornbread up and stirring with the beans in a bowl (or Tupperware... you know, if you're at work and eating lunch). Today, I decided I might try corn fritters.

There was, however, a problem. Corn fritters actually 1) are deep fried (not the way my mom does them) and 2) don't actually involve cornmeal, but rather creamed or fresh corn, and a flour dough. This was not what I wanted (though they still sound delicious). I was looking for something like fried corn meal mush, but made straight from a batter. So I google fried corn bread. First result? The Wikipedia cornbread article. I figure, What the heck? and click.

On this Wikipedia page I learn of the history of cornbread, and a bunch of different variants of cornbread, all of which I had never heard of. I read the descriptions, pick one that sounds good, and google that. VoilĂ ! I find exactly what I was looking for, which is this wonderous Fried Cornbread recipe.

It took a bit more water to get the batter consistency like the recipe called for, so take note.

For the pinto beans, I caramelized some onion (about 1/4 of a jumbo one) in a tablespoon or two or butter, added the beans for a little bit, then transferred to a bowl.

The goal here is the pinto bean version of mashed potatoes. I added salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and butter (aka veggie oil spread stuff), then mashed.

You like the potato masher? I got it for my birthday. It's already been used twice, and it hasn't been in this kitchen yet for 24 hours.

Anyway, the way you eat this is you spread the bean mixture on top of a 'corn meal fritter' (as I'm dubbing them), and enjoy. They're quite awesome.

Oh, and my new plates for my birthday are awesome. Yay for Macy's.

The Slight Genesis of a Spectrum

Today, I saw a rainbow.

I had just awakened from a short nap, being that I cannot knit while the plane is taking off or landing, and I usually opt to sleep. I almost forced myself awake, unconsciously, because some part of my body could sense that the accent had stopped, and I was so desperate to finish what I was working on, for it needed to be done two days before.

"What would you like to drink, miss?"

"Hot tea, thank you."


"Oh, and with sugar."

The Styrofoam cup with the tea - already brewed (one of the reasons I really like American) - is passed my way, along with far too many of those AA packages of sugar, and a lack of a stirring stick, to my minor annoyance. I stare at my little disposable cup full of delicious hot leaf juice, knowing that all of the sweetness has sunk to the bottom, and what remains in most of the cup is only slightly sweetened and bitter (and not in a good way).

*Shrug* Oh well.

I sip my tea and my eyes wander out the window of the plane. It's amazing how clear the stratification of the atmosphere is when you're in the sky: below us lie large, poofy cumulus clouds, and above are wisps, tendrils. As I gaze down, a million different analogies come into my head at once, simultaneously consciously and unconsciously trying to grasp just what floating upon water or glass these clouds resemble.

A flash of color.

Only for a second..

There? There! You see? It was a rainbow, a snippet of a rainbow in a cloud!

I've never looked down upon a rainbow before.

Look again!

There it is - longer this time, perpetuated by the mists of the cloud as it breaks apart.

And now we've passed the cloud.



But what's this?

Another cloud?

This one is a shade of gray, and distinctly more wispy than the rest below us.

There it is again!

The spectrum dances in the genesis of rain.

Bye now. Bye now, as an expanse of blue lies ahead.