Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Knit in Public Day!

Actually, it's more like Knit in Public Week this year but we decided to kick it off on the first day. And it was the perfect day for it. The weather held (nice breeze, not too muggy). We had several new people show up who were lovely including one absolutely perfect husband who actually seemed to enjoy himself. Of course I had to go check everyone out on Ravelry as soon as I got home and got to see some really beautiful projects that the newbies had done. And I did find one really interesting blog. I'm not a vegan but I do believe in eating as ethically as possible. And I'm definitely going to have to learn more about vegan yarn.

We had some really good summer food today as well. Whenever I'm cooking for an unknown crowd, I try to do something that is not too obviously vegetarian. That way, people can eat without having to declare their food choices to a brand new crowd. I don't usually think in terms of vegan which was a mistake today that I won't make again. It's not at all hard to satisfy the whole room, regardless of their food choices, with some really good food.

So I made my Sort of Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Sort of Pasta Salad. And some people asked for the recipe so here it is. This travels really well and always tastes great.

The Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

I do it all in the measuring cup and then whisk them all together. You can also do in a jar and shake it up. It's a very simple, gentle dressing.

The Salad

2 cups Israeli cous cous (the big pearls)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth (store bought is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 box orzo
2 bunches asparagus trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 pints grape tomatoes
olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
1/2 a red onion sliced as thinly as you possibly can get it
1/2 pound feta cheese cubed (soy feta is available here I would get the lemon and oregano one to go with this salad).
1/2 cup raisins, preferably green grape
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the cous cous and stir to coat. Cook the cous cous in the oil stirring regularly until it gets a nice light golden toast on it (about 3 minutes). Add the vegetable broth and the water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the cous cous and simmer for about 15 minutes. Start checking it after 12 or 13 minutes. You want all of the broth to be absorbed but it will still seem a little loose.

While the cous cous is cooking, make the dressing.

Cook the orzo according to the package directions in plain water.

Mix the cooked cous cous and cooked orzo together in a large bowl and dress with about 1/3 cup of the dressing while the pastas are still warm. They'll absorb the flavors really well.

Put the grape tomatoes on one baking sheet and the asparagus on another. Drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper tossing it together with your hands. Pop it into a 350 degree oven. The asparagus will be perfect after about 17 minutes, the tomatoes will go about 25 minutes.

Add the roasted veggies with all their juices to the orzo and cous cous and mix it together with another 1/3 cup of the dressing. Let it all cool to room temperature then refrigerate. A few hours before you are going to serve it, take it out of the fridge and add the remaining ingredients. Mix it well and return to the fridge. Right before you serve it, toss it with the remaining dressing.

This has been my go-to salad for the past two summers. I came up with it for my mother's decoy birthday dinner (we had a surprise party for her a week later) and it was a big hit. It's a pretty gentle salad--the flavors are just nice and fresh and the sweetness of the raisins and the honey really balances the lemon and the red onion. And if you make it the day before, it's even better.

In knitting news, the second Susie sock was finished, the pair was delivered to its namesake and it seems I've created a monster. She wants more. A lot more.

I'll finish writing up the pattern and post it in the next few days.

Hope you all get out there and knit in public. It's good for the soul.


Permission to Unwind said...

Mmm, that recipe sounds delish!

I've been on a mission to figure out vegan yarn, as well. Or at least find a sweet little sheep farm with animals that are lovingly treated. The latter option is surprisingly difficult to find. *sigh*

skunk & aaron carrion said...

Thanks for including my blog! I may seem a little hardline vegan, but I promise I'm not too crazy!

Vegan yarn isn't too hard to find, I tend to avoid synthetics and aim towards 100% plant based yarns, like cotton, hemp, linen, etc. They're much nicer to work with than synthetics. And searching through Ravelry to find yarn online is really easy using the filters. I actually sell vegan wool that can be used for spinning, and will be hopefully spinning up some yarn to sell soon too. The sheep live at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which is about 2 hours away from Westchester. They're all rescues from cases of abuse and neglect, and they have a permanent home there along with many steers, pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, turkeys, cats, dogs, and rabbits! I volunteer there as well.

And I found a nice recipe for vegan feta online, it's not too hard to make, just takes a long time to marinate.

Thanks so much for having us, and we'll see you next time!


roma.besson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yarnsparrow said...

Thank you for sharing your salad recipe. I made it yesterday morning and served it in the evening. Everyone said it was delicious.
A few weeks ago I discovered your blog and I enjoy reading it.
Love from Switzerland - Romy