“I live on good soup…not on fine words.”

Today is a gorgeous, clear, albeit pretty warm fall day. Despite that, I had a serious hankering for some sort of soup–and my favorite happens to be the above veggie.

It’s obvious that every now and again we all desire a seriously hearty soup–thick and creamy and absolutely rich. But, let’s face it. Talk about fat overload.

So this is my alternative. It will leave you totally fufilled and completely warm. It’s like wrapping up in an afghan and watching a horrible Lifetime movie on Sunday. And that’s even better with this soup.

You can make it really any way you want–vegetarians can use veggie stock; but I like chicken because its more flavorful. And I used a can of petit diced tomatos and an onion-carrot-celery base. There are no rules to veggie soup. I like mine a bit spicy (cue the red pepper flakes!) and I’ll never leave out beans or pasta or both to give it more oomf.

Obviously, fresh veggies would be the tops. But I like to use frozen corn and frozen green peas because you can always get them and they are cheap, and fresh when frozen! Budget friendly veggies are always a plus, methinks.

Play around with combos and send me yours! I’m always looking for new soupy soups.

“Nose, Nose, Nose Nose! And who have thee that jolly red nose? Cinnamon and Ginger, Nutmegs and Cloves, And that, gave me my jolly red nose”

Yesterday, my cohort and I had an afternoon of craft-up and flick watching, and while finishing off some cabled fingerless mitts I’ve been neglecting for some time, I also decided to whip up a loaf of my by now famous Cinnamon Toast for Laura’s roommate Ashley, whose birthday is today.

It made my entire apartment smell ooey-gooey, sticky sweet and buttery and would make anyone drool for a bit o’ bread, even if they’re not a fan of the sweet.

This cinnamon toast is pretty much idiot proof–and doesn’t involve any crazy starters, just yeast and butter and milk, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and flour. The bread itself is slightly sweet (cinnamon is in the dough) and the filling will melt when you toast it up. Yumsies!

This is the dough rolled out and smothered in butter after its risen for about an hour and puffed up to double its size.

And the best cinnamon to use, hands down, is this Watkins stuff which comes cased in one of those old school tins, which is delicious in its own right.

Someday soon I’ll share the recipe, but for now, I have a few thousand more loaves of this bread to make for people I know.

“On the Seventh Day, God created bacon.”

By now, most of you should already know my serious love for the pig–and my constant fight to stay away from the pork product as a result of this love (though bacon is religion, as my cohort Laura Cutter declared last Friday night while we gorged on tapas, “On the seventh day, God created bacon!”).

My life with piggy and pork is a storied one. If you forget how I narowly escaped death by spiral ham, then perchaps you should venture to my other love and read all about it–and gobble up some Mama Cass, who was rumored to have died by ham sammich, many yearsago.

That being said and slabbed out the way, some months ago I began work on a new pattern–to be called “I heart Pork”, it is meant to be a giant, stuffed and felted spiraled ham with bone in and cloves atop. And while I’ve left it by the wayside for some time, this morning I got a chance to pick it up and work on some of the kinks again. It is by no means finished, but its closer.

Expect an experimented felted spiral ham to hit this space soon. Here’s to hoping it will be my first for sale pattern!

File Under: Praying to the Patron Saint of Bacon that all these knitting increases and decreases are correct.

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore”

Amore, it is. The pizza, I mean. Not the moon.

Yesterday was a perfect fall Sunday for a homemade pizza extravaganza and post birthday eat-a-thon in the Wolf household–and so began a collaborative effort which began with my Mum making up her famous bread dough.

My sister was in charge of all things thoughtful–rolling out the dough for absolutely perfect round pies (she’s OCD) and of course, those famous cheesy bread sticks she makes, which are just the aforementioned dough rolled into logs, baked, before being smothered with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and melted in the oven. Yum. Yum. Yum.

My job was toppings gal–so we went with a meatball (my brother needs his hearty meats, which was actually so tasty!), fresh mozzarella and tomato white pizza (my favorite), a regular cheese which my sister wanted square and thick, and of course, sweet cinnamon sticks made of the remaining dough for dessert.

Yes, it was carb overload…and I’m not even talking about the beer consumption. Thank god for Sundays.

The roots of bread baking…

Birthdays can be such wonderful things; thanks to my latest obsession with bread baking, my sister Nicki-Cha gifted me the brilliantly large New Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton, which I highly recommend for any bread baker who wants whites, ryes, sour doughs, brans, oatmeals, sweet breads, corn breads, and everything in betwixt (never mind the yummy copy of the new 30th Anniversary edition of the epic Alex Haley book Roots).

Its absolutely brilliant and I’ve been thumbing through it all morning, drooling and frothing at the mouth about all sorts of breads I want to bake up this week if the weather is fall-ish. What’s more, my Mum bought me a new Nodic Ware loaf pan, which I’ve been desiring for some time. Drools.

Any takers for the French White Bread with Chocolate? I intend to buy up some deliciously expensive chocolates tomorrow and try my hand at this.

When Loretta Lynn felt like a pie, she told you so…

As Loretta Lynn once so brilliantly noted, “Sometimes it’s like you’re a bit pie settin’ on the table, and everybody runs up to gets their piece of you. When it’s over…the plate’s empty.”

And the other night, while hunkering down on the couch to consume more of Loretta Lynn’s (auto)biography The Coal Miner’s Daughter, I thought of the aforementioned and savory pies began dancing in my head.

What happens when one has savory pies, or any pies for that matter, dancing in one’s head? Well, bake one up!

So came the above Leek and Feta pie with a deliciously buttery filo dough crust–making this one of the fastest savory pies to make, and even friendly to the cooking inept. What’s more, you can add or take out bits you don’t like–let me know if you give this a whirl and change it up! I’m always looking for new savory pie recipes and hybrids.

How to?

You will need:

1 Frozen package filo dough (found in the grocer’s freezer case)

2-5 Large Bunches of Leeks

1 container or brick of feta cheese, depending on how much you like it

2 tbsp dijon mustard

Several sprigs tarragon

Several splashes of white wine

olive oil

salt and pepper

To make up?

Leave philo dough on on counter top to defrost. Must be soft in order to roll out! Do not attempt to roll it out frozen or it spells disaster.

Cut each bunch of leeks by slicing in half lengthwise and then trimming each side. Throw out extra green tops and place leeks in a cold water bath to remove any excess dirt.

Dry leeks after clean by patting them with paper towels. Add to frying skillet with a bit of olive oil and get cooking over medium heat. Leeks will slowly become limp; add tarragon without the stems, dijon mustard and white wine, stirring occasionally. As leeks deflate, add salt and pepper to taste, about 10 minutes. Take leeks off heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out defrosted filo dough and place in pie plate. Work top of dough to make nice crust. Pierce bottom of pie with fork. Add leek mixture and sprinkle feta cheese throughout.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for approx. 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden.

Eat.Eat.Eat. Enjoy! Let me know if you try it out.

A whoopie of a good time…

“Let them eat cake!” is certainly not one of my mantras–and despite the often, you know, actual reference to yummy dessert, I’m glad it’s not my mantra regardless.

Every year, my Mum tries to deliver a birthday dessert that does not involve, yes, you’re right, cake. Last year, it was oatmeal cookie sandwiches; the year before, it was strawberry shortcakes the New England way–with biscuits, not pound cake, for that’s cake, you know.

And for 25? A mound of whoopie pies, filled with marshmallow frosting…and let me tell you, it was a whoopie of a good time.

Thanks Mum! My waistline is…weeping.

Birthdays are so succulent…

Tomorrow I join the quarter-century old club, and as a welcome gift as entrance into a life of tending to my garden, bread baking, knitting, and other granny-like endeavors (because I’m old, people!), my Mum bought me some various succulents and their new, brightly painted potted homes.

The succulents, purchased at our favorite farm, Spiderweb in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, didn’t know what some of the varieties were, but like any plant in the cacti-family, they are perfect for those of you who don’t like trimming and misting and the inevitable plant fooding. Succulants don’t require much–just some bright light every week or so, and a dribble or two of water when the soil feels quite dry, on average about every 10 days and up to more.

None of my succulents have pricklers, and the aloe plant is perfect for a dab about my cheeks or somesuch, though I never get burned so I don’t seek a few of its leaves when I’ve been in the sun. For those of you, like my cohort here at Kraftworkin’ with pale complexion, might I suggest having one of these plants in house, though.

If you want more information, Michael McDowell did a great post sometime this summer on How to Pick Out and Care for Your Succulents, which I highly recommend and often refer to if I have a burning cacti-ques.

File Under: for the “I tend to kill anything living” inclined. Or those of you who just like the way succulents look like me.

This mornings unrequited love of the crossword…?

Some gray mornings in Boston, it’s nice to have no where to rush to (except a library job interview in the afternoon) and that means, for me, a nestle in with whatever tome I’m currently absorbing, endless cups of coffee, and all the local paper crossword puzzles.

But like most similar Fridays, might I highly suggest aiding this entire relaxation and mind flexation activity with my friend and fellow blogger Tom’s “My Top Five” podcast. And this week’s is absolutely perfect for gray days, featuring “My Top Five Unrequited Love Tunes”. Think Joe Jackson, The Cure, The Violent Femmes, and welp, you’ll just have to listen to get the rest.

What’s more, your humble blogger over at Pulp and Circumstance–for those not in the know, my absolute baby, my music blog–was approached to do her own “My Top Five” podcast for Tom…which was meant to drop next week, but um, because of serious indecision time, is stretched to the following week.

I’ll give everyone a heads up, but for now, lay about the couch, perhaps take up some knitting if you like, and feel unrequited.

We laugh secretly at your frustrated maneuverings…

Now, people can have children all they want. Go forth multiply, strain the world’s resources and so on. But leave your double-wide strollers at home. We all have to make concessions living in an urban area, and I’m pretty sure when the MBTA makes that announcement about passengers and strollers sharing space, they didn’t mean these giant monuments to yuppie pride. Even if you manage to have two babies at once, something I can only imagine to be extremely heinous, that is no excuse. What’s so wrong with those double-decker ones from way back when? These double-wides have invaded stores, where they block supermarket aisles and doorways while their owners debate the merits of various soy-free vegan delicacies. They make buses and subway cars completely impassable, causing old people to stumble and the rest of us to glare wrathfully.

Just the other day at Government Center, I saw two of those parents, one with bags akimbo on both shoulders, blithely bashing passersby, while the other pushed a stroller of mammoth proportions. And when they couldn’t get that beast on to the escalator, what did Mommy dearest do? Oh yeah she dropped the F-bomb. And right in front of her children, too. So, why, you ask, do we glare at you? Because it is not your child’s fault you have parked them in a double-wide and sealed them in like freshness in a Ziploc bag. It’s yours. You decided to bring screaming, sweaty babies into the city. So, all you hipster parents with bumper stickers about evil SUVs and limiting carbon footprints, think about your double-wides and make the connection.

C’est finis…

It is the turquoise scarf. Those of you who know about any of my projects know that generally what I lack is the motivation for completion. I like to think it’s part of being kind of free spirited, though some might uncharitably call it dilettantism. No matter. I rarely make conventional, functional items, as my kraftworkin’ comrade can tell you. It is unusual that something leaves my hands without being festooned with some alternative material that makes it entirely impractical. I am reminded of a weaving I once made out of twine and sticks in tenth grade. It hung in the guest room for years, thanks to my poor, long-suffering mother. But that is not the case this time! Oh no! This is a real and true gift, meant to be worn by its recipient. I cast on 28 stitches of this turquoise wool and used 4 knit stitches and 2 purls. It was a very meditative project to compete while watching marathons of House as the summer wound to a close.