domingo, 13 de abril de 2008

My Teachers.

This time I would like to honor the very special teachers I have had in my life. Since a tender age they helped me become the woman I am now and they also taught me the joy and appreciation of handmade objects like knitting and crochet. The above picture shows the very first crochet piece I did at age 7. It is a little tea carpet I crocheted under the patient and loving guidance of my maternal grandmother. It was such fun to see how magically my tiny hands were able to make something out of a hook and a thread! I believe that since that moment an important part of my life was decided: working with fibers.

The above and below pictures show a bit of my maternal grandmother's ability with crochet. She did this pair of gloves that have such a romantic flair and they fit my hands.

The following is another example of her crochet. I think she loved crochet more than knitting!

On the other hand my paternal grandmother was very good at knitting and eventhough she did not teach me how to knit she inherited me the first ever knitted baby sweater she did for my dear father when he was just born. Isn't it lovely?

Now comes my mother who happens to be an excellent crocheter, knitter and was amazing at needle point. I say was because now her eyesight prefers knitting. Here is a little example of what she used to do as a young girl. It is a crocheted carpet (1 of 4) with incredibly tiny cross-stitching.

I hope I will be able to carry on this tradition as sometimes unfortunately it seems to be escaping from the attention of the newer generations. Now it seems there is less time to dedicate oneself into working with a needle or a hook and a thread. This makes me feel even more compromised into making sure that what was inherited to me will pass on and will not stay as "things our grandmothers used to do".

Now to finish honoring the women in my family I baked a very easy and homely cake, one of my mom's favourite: Maple Cake.


- 16 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for pan.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan.
- 2 teaspoons baking powder.
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup.
- 1/2 cup sugar.

- 2 large eggs.

- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

- 3/4 cup sour cream.

Preheat oven at 350oF. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

With an electric mixer, beat butter, maple syrup, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla.

With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool ten minutes in pan. Turn out of pan, and cool completely on a rack, right side up.

From Food Everyday/ Holiday Baking 2007.


miércoles, 2 de abril de 2008

Full Bloom!

Yes, it is oficially spring and it is wonderful to see everything in full bloom in Mexico City. Together with the warm weather and ocassional showers it is time to finally finish the winter projects and start the spring ones, especially since winter in my city is almost non-existant.

For this difficult task it is always good to have the help of dear friends like my little "Dolce" :)

He is a good sport and always likes to test proof yarns, finished knitted objects and everything with fiber......the fuzzier the better! We are now trying to decide which new crochet project to start since it has been a while since I have done any. I was thinking of perhaps an easy scarf or shawl.....any suggestions?

So here is a picture of my black foulard that I renamed "Blackwidow" :)........oh, it took ages to be finished and I have already worn it. Actually while ending the ribs of this project I remembered how enjoyable crochet can be, so now I am hooked again!

Also, I have finished the body of the "Jacaranda" sweater. Yes! I am glad and now I will start the sleeves. Did you know that the name "Jacaranda" comes from a tree native from Brasil? It was brought in the XIX century to Mexico by the Matsumoto family, the best florists in my country. The tree adapted perfectly to the weather in Mexico City and it only blooms once every year, in march, by replacing all of its green leaves with lavender color flowers. Many parts of Mexico City are at this moment colored by these "Jacaranda" trees just like the sweater below.

And now to the recipes part! No desserts or cakes this time, actually a favourite recipe of mine. The classic "Pomodori Ripieni". I know two recipes but have found that this one in particular is quite good and non complicated, just in case you do not want to spend hours in the kitchen because you prefer to knit more! :)

Note: For each tomato use two tablespoons of raw arborio rice. This way you will not end up with a ton of unused rice.


8 large ripe but firm tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup minced parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup raw arborio rice
1 teaspoon saffron (optional)
2 cups hot chicken consomme

Cut a slice from the top of each tomato, under the stem and scoop out the pulp carefully without breaking the shells. Reserve the tops. Strain the pulp through a sieve and reserve (you will use very little of this in the recipe). Place tomatoes side by side in a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Sprinkle each tomato with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper in the inside.
Heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a pan and cook parsley and garlic for a few minutes and add raw rice -without previously soaking it in water- and cook stirring constantly 3 to five minutes. The garlic should not burn. Stir saffron into the consomme that should be hot. Add hot consomme to the rice, and lower the heat. Cover and cook for ten minutes stirring frequently to avoid the rice to stick in the pan. When the rice is "al dente" remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Fill 3/4 of the tomatoes with the rice and with a spoon pour just a bit of the strained pulp and cover with the cut slices. Sprinkle on top with a bit of olive oil and season with a bit more salt and pepper.
Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350oF) for no more than 30 minutes without covering. Check that the tomatoes do not break. If necessary cut down the time in the oven.
A plus: if possible use the "roast" in your oven to give the tomatoes a nice color on top. Allow them to cool down prior to serving.

Hasta Pronto.