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You knew most alliums are edible, comprising the garlic and onion family.  I suppose the decorative alliums are edible as well, but are really just grown for their flowers.  At the grocery the other day, I saw these:


Elephant garlic shoots.  The tag decribed them as tasting sort of like asparagus, and that they should be treated roughly the same — sauteed or steamed.  Always game for an odd vegetable, I brought them home.

Ready for our close-up, Mr. DeMille!

Tossed in a hot pan with olive oil until hot and lightly browned, but still a bit too crunchy.  I threw in a little water and covered it for a minute or two, then served it forth.


Alli-yum, indeed! A bit woody at upper end of the stalk, where it meets the flower head, but otherwise crunchy garlicky goodness.

Also on the menu, live spot prowns (well, not by the time I was done with them), lightly boiled. So sweet and tender!

Spot the prawns

And the grocery was having a special on clams.

Clammy, how I love ya, how I love ya

I plucked some mint from the garden and made Clams with Mint, Chilis, and Bacon from The Herbal Kitchen.  Sounds odd, but it’s really good.

Artful steam shot

As I mentioned a while ago, I’ve been working on the Tsock Tsarina’s design, Blue Stocking, and have finally finished the pair!  They are lovely, and only need a tailored linen skirt, an elegant shirt-waist, and some jazzy mules to complete the outfit.  Or, a great pair of jeans. 

This is not a pattern for the novice sock knitter, but the adventurous soul who can read directions, keep a steady gauge, and breathe deeply, will be rewarded with The Best Fitting and Coolest Socks Ever.

The yarn is the truly delicious Electric Slide, custom dyed by Jennifer at her farm in upstate New York, vanCalcar Acres. It’s a yummy superwash merino/nylon blend that is soft and warm.

You gotta feel it (It’s electric!)

The Yarn Fairy included a skeinlette of a lighter blue with the shipment, so I did a trial run on the pattern first, knitting the toe, about an inch of foot, then the heel.  Feeling encouraged, I started with the real stuff.  At this point, the pattern was in a beta phase, meaning that the directions for the first sock were done, but not the second.  I happily knitted away, and was approaching the heel when the second sock directions were available.  Now, this sock is knitted in Half-Veil stitch, and the Tsarina has a great tutorial on doing the stitch, complete with pictures, helpful arrows, and much textual hand-holding.  As I scanned the directions for the second sock I realized I had been doing the first sock incorrectly, twisting counter-clockwise when I should have been clockwise, and doing the shaping increases and decreases on the wrong sides of the foot.  Because the Half-Veil stitch travels laterally to create the fishnet look, the socks are designed to be mirror images of each other.  If they were identical, they’d both twist, say, clockwise, and it wouldn’t look as good.

So.  My sock was wrong.  Should I undo it all to the toe and start fresh, or make the corresponding errors in the second sock to balance them out?  I decided to start the second sock with error adjustments and see how it looked, as well as compare it to the first sock.  Much brain twisting later, I had two half socks I could try on and evaluate. “Fine enough,” I decided, and moved ahead.

Creeping up the leg

Note that I’m knitting from both ends of the ball at once.  The trick to this is, when knitting from the outer end, turn the ball so that the center-pull end is underneath, and the outer yarn won’t keep crossing it after every revolution, making a gawd-awful tangle. My thinking is that I’d rather end up with one small ball of leftover yarn than two tiny balls.

These socks look very odd when they are not on a foot and leg, but behold when they are done and properly filled out!

Ta dah!

And note the adorable picot edge:

Adorable picot edge

I’m not entirely happy with the ribbon — the blue satin at the local store was rather too greenish, so the white is a fill-in until I get something better.  Maybe a trip to Nancy’s Sewing Basket is in order.

Anyway, do give this sock a try.  Just be sure to follow the directions very carefully.


Last fall, I planted three allium bulbs.  These are relatives of chives and onions, and are not grown for food but put out honking big flower heads.  This spring, the leaves emerged, got a bit slug-nibbled, but persevered.  The flower stalk poked up, topping out at about three feet tall. Then, the buds started to break open . . .

Stand back  . . . 

a bit more  . . .

It doesn’t smell like onions

The final result, a perfectly round cluster of tiny flowers, about five inches across. I need more of these! 


Also in bloom, Euphorbia “Fireglow”.  Yes, it really is pretty close to that color!

The view from here


We were enjoying dinner the other night when my daughter looked out the window and said, “Oh, look!  A heron!” We peered down at the dock, and sure enough, there one was.  It stood still long enough for several pictures to be snapped, including this quite good one by my husband, although the massive reduction in pixel numbers wrought by the website process makes it look rather more Impressionistic than the original photo. If you’d like a copy of  the 238 KB original, I’ll be happy to send it to you.

 Curiously enough, we were having bouillabaisse, along with a fresh loaf of NYT Bread, but the heron was more interested in very fresh fish.  After we got several pictures, I walked down to see how close I could get before it flew away — about 20 feet.

Up, up, and away

If you are making bouillabaisse and have some salmon skin that you are about to throw away, try this:

Skin shot

Cut salmon skin into smallish pieces. If there is a little meat still attached to the skin, so much the better.  By the way, a hemostat is a great tool to use for pulling those pesky bones out of salmon fillets. Lightly oil a frying pan, bring to medium high heat, and toss in salmon skin. Fry on both sides until golden and crispy, adjusting heat as necessary. Salt and enjoy your delicious salmon chips!


Oh, this is too funny! The most comments ever (some ended up here), and it’s on my humble stitch markers.  Lest you think all this adulation has gone to their heads, here they are,  hard at work.

Humble and dedicated

They are marking the nifty inverted wineglass heel detailing on the Blue Stocking, designed by the astonishing Tsock Tsarina, knitted in the amazing custom dyed Electric Slide colorway, available from the talented Jennifer.  (Whew!  I think that sets a personal best for links in a single sentence.) I’ll go into more detail about these lovely socks later.