Tuesday, April 8, 2008

comfort food and comfort knitting

When my mom first taught me to knit, she started with a little stitch sampler, and the obligatory garter-stitch scarf. But soon after she taught me to make The Slippers. The garter-stitch slippers, with ribbed toes, that filled (and still do fill) my childhood home. My mom churns these things out like you wouldn't believe - she has a little shelf under the table by her bed that had easily 10 pairs on it. These are just the current crop; there's more on deck plus more set aside to be gifts or in case anybody happens to need a pair of slippers while anywhere in her vicinity. When she showed me how to make them, she left me the pattern -written out on the spot, from memory. I honestly think for a few years there, before my sister and I took up knitting, they were all she made.

You know the ones I'm talking about, right? They are, frankly, neither attractive nor particularly foot-shaped. They're knit flat, all in garter stitch except for the toes and a line of stitches on either side of the foot that makes it fold into the slipper shape. In spite of their flaws, I confess that I love them. I am a sucker for nostalgia, it seems. So I recently made each of the boys a new pair (none for Baby Sister - they're not called "slippers" for nothing). When my mom makes them, she uses worsted weight yarn, held double, on size 6 needles. Yes, you read that right. She does this because she's a very loose knitter, slippers need a thick fabric, and also she is a crazy person. Doubled worsted weight on size 6? I think I'd prefer to keep the use of my hands. So I decided to get a thick fabric a different way: I knit them larger than I wanted, on size 11 needles, and felted them down to size. Bonus: no garter-stitch loops to get caught on any little rough spot on the floor and create a giant hole. Yay!

Little Brother got orange and red, and Big Brother got blue and red - all miscellaneous feltable stash leftovers:

Yeah, pretty they are not. But they're quite warm. And, as I mentioned, a connection to my knitting heritage. Or something like that.
As for the comfort food:
Samosas - mmmm. I found this recipe in a recent issue of Real Simple (my very favorite non-fiber-related magazine) and I've become a little obsessed with it. Every couple of weeks or so, I've made a batch and frozen them to bring to work for lunch.
It's pretty easy:
  • Cook one medium onion, chopped fine, in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until it's soft and brown. Add salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp of curry powder, and turn off the heat.
  • In a bowl, mix 2 cups of frozen peas with about three servings worth of mashed potatoes (leftovers, instant, made fresh, whatever). Add the onions and mix together.
  • Here's the best part: take refrigerated pie dough, unroll it, and cut into six wedges. Spoon a little bit of the filling into each wedge and seal it up.
The recipe in the magazine says it will make 12 samosas, but I usually get 15, or even 18 before I run out of filling (I don't really mind leftover pie dough, as I know I'm going to be making these again).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. They're good hot, cold, and with or without mango chutney. I shall be forever grateful to my cousin for introducing me to Indian food. Yum!