Saturday, October 7, 2017

Solstice Cardigan and Honey Roasted Pecans!

This is my "Rhinebeck" sweater.  Snicker.  Yeah, I know that I'm not going to Rhinebeck but I'm still calling it my Rhinebeck sweater.  To explain, if you are a knitter then you've probably heard of the fabulous  extravaganza of sheep and wool called Nys Sheep and Wool Festival that takes place late October in Rhinebeck, New York (commonly known as "Rhinebeck").  In any event it's the mecca for knitters and over the years it's become quite "the thing" to wear a new handknit sweater to the event called your Rhinebeck sweater. I wish I was going to this or any yarnie event.  But I'm not nor am I ever likely too.  Because apparently I'm waiting for one to come to Topanga, California.  I suspect I'll be waiting a long time.  But I can still have a "Rhinebeck" (sic. fall) sweater and you can too.


Over the years I've knit a number of sweaters, some pullovers, some short sleeve, and a few cardigans and hands down my cardigans get the most wear and enjoyment.   I've found that my sweet spot for sweaters are the chunky cozy sweaters that are squishy and make you feel warm and toasty and impervious to the cold.  Just like this one.  It's an aran weight a a little heavier than any others I've knit but that's what makes it a great outer layer sweater.


To be honest while this sweater was on the needles I had begun to worry that I had made a mistake in selecting this pattern.  It felt and looked like a boring blob of yarn that I was lugging about.  But I persevered.  In for a penny in for a pound I always say.  And I had bought the yarn to go with this pattern so there must have been something about the project that had spoken to me.  And of course once the sweater came together I knew why I had chosen it.  It has wonderful texturing going on and has a quaint vintage style that is easy to wear and will be perfect for running errands or simply to hang out sipping a steaming cup of coffee.  Did I mention it feels fabulous on?


If you read this blog then you know I'm partial to knitting shawls and accessories.  After all I live in a very warm climate (southern california) so I don't have a lot of  cold weather to justify knitting too many sweaters but we do get some cool and down right cold days November through January so it's nice to have a new sweater in the fall.  I'm glad that I picked this one for 2017.


Particulars:  Solstice Cardigan by Cecily MacDonald; 6 skeins Quince & Co., Osprey (lupine colorway); US 10 1/2 circular needles. This is a wonderfully written and easy to follow pattern, although I did find the “faux” cable (running down the shoulder and sleeves) confusing at first. I think the instructions would have been cleared if stated as follows:
Row 3: Sl 4 wyb droppping all yo’s. Using the point of LH needle pass the first 2 stitches over the second 2 stitches LEAVING THESE STITCHES ON THE LEFT HAND NEEDLE. Transfer the 2 remaining stitches on the right needle to the left needle. Now that your stitches are crossed knit them in this order.
Hopefully this will help someone else also confused by the faux cable instructions.  Other than that the pattern is very easy to follow.  There are optional pockets that I skipped and I did tack down the collar to prevent it riding up.

If you are interested in cardigans (versus pullover sweaters) previous posts with a cardigan include Little Waves, Flo, Cabled Riding Jacket, Bud, Exquisite Cardigan, and Rowena.

Honey Roasted Pecans!


Some say that I'm a nutty person so it shouldn't be a surprise that I enjoy eating nuts.  I use them a lot in my baking and I also eat a fair amount raw but my favorite nuts are those that have been roasted.  As fall is a time to celebrate the harvest gathering for winter I thought this would be the perfect time to share a favorite recipe for roasted nuts.

This is a recipe for roasted pecans and before getting into the nitty gritty of the recipe it's important to clarify the type of pecans to use.  For baking no question I always use elliot pecans because of the wonderful flavor they add to baked goods. Over the years I've purchased elliot pecans from Sunnyland Farms (wonderful quality, but their prices have gotten pretty high) so this year I purchased my pecans from Pearson Farms and I am very happy with their quality too.  Incidentally pecans freeze extremely well so don't worry about the quantity of nuts you purchase. But for this recipe I like to use the variety of pecans that you generally find in a grocery store and Costco carries them at a very good price which is handy because this recipe is very addictive and you can go through a lot of pecans!  Honey roasted pecans are wonderful tossed in a salad (try them in my holiday salad!), added to a bowl of popcorn, chopped up and sprinkled on top of oatmeal, or simply by the handful.  There are endless ways to enjoy them!  Oh, and before I forget, packaged prettily they make great hostess gifts too.

Honey Roasted Pecans
~ yield ~ 4 cups

Ingredients:
4 cups pecan halves
3 Tbs. honey (I like a warm flavored honey and use Trader Joe's Turkish Honey)
2 tsp. sugar, divided
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt

Pan preparation:
Aluminum Foil
Non-Stick cooking spray (I use pure olive oil)

Steps:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Add pecans to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with honey.  Mix well to coat all pecans.

3.  Evenly distribute pecans on prepared roasting pan.  If you see any nuts that somehow aren't covered well with honey drizzle them with a dollop of additional honey before sprinkling tops of pecans with 1 tsp. sugar (do not stir).  Roast for 10 minutes.

4.  Remove pecans from oven and stir well.  Sprinkle top of pecans with remaining 1 tsp. sugar, 3/4 tsp. curry powder and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon. Roast for 2 minutes more.  Total roasting time is 12 minutes.

5.  Remove pecans from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to non-stick parchment paper or silpat to finish cooling.  I transfer the nuts while still warm because I find that when I leave them to cool completely on the foil they have a tendency to stick to the foil.

6.  Once the pecans have cooled sprinkle them with 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt.

7.  Store in an airtight container.

Adapted from Southern Celebration's Spicy Honey Glazed Pecans.

Although it has nothing to do with pecans I had to share this picture of Steve and Simcha because it captured my heart.  It's taken on a Friday night as they prepare for Shabbat which for the Jewish religion is on Saturday.  Simcha loves to keep Steve company as he studies and he's also a big fan of his guitar playing too.  As am I naturally!


Until next time be well, love well and have fun picking out your Halloween pumpkin! And for those of you lucky enough to be going to Rhinebeck, or any fiber festival have a wonderful time and take lots and lots of pictures!!!