"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

ricotta stuffed shells for supper . . .

stuffed shells

supper tonight!

giant pasta shells stuffed with whole-milk ricotta, grated romano cheese, a beaten egg, fresh thyme leaves, chives and basil leaves rolled up and cut into strips; filled shells placed face down on a thin layer of tomato sauce, then napped with more marinara tomato sauce, a healthy helping of grated mozzarella cheese and grated fresh parmigano cheese on top.

The quality of the cheeses makes all the difference, it seems to me. Unlike lasagna, the creaminess of the ricotta herb filling balances the acidity of the tomato sauce.

As a side, a caesar dressed hearts of romaine salad. simply scrumptious!


Note: the pasta shells were cooked al dente (6 minutes instead of 10) and the dish was baked at 350 degrees until top was browned – about a half hour (I upped the temp to 375 for the last 8 minutes.)

a lichen-moss knitted top . . .

lichen moss sweater 2

Watching the Swedish mystery series, “Wallander” on my laptop and knitting a wrap tunic at the same time occupied some (a lot!) of my time during this past week. Last Tuesday, I went to Noho and traded in some yarn I didn’t care for so much for some beautiful lichen-moss colored yarn by Berroco called “Blackstone Tweed.”

When I got home, I envisioned knitting a loosely-fitted cropped piece to pair with lightweight turtlenecks that would not be too warm to wear indoors in the wintertime. I made a seed stitch border edging and knitted the rest in a vertical garter stitch – knitting sideways across the sweater rather than from bottom to top. I used to have a brown tunic designed by Eskandar years ago that had a crisscross asymmetrical front that I loved and this design concept inspired me to knit the fronts as fraternal rather than identical twin pieces.

I knitted the back so that it was about three inches longer than the front. And by serendipitous happenstance (and to my initial chagrin,) I had sewn the right front pieces by mistake to the bottom of the elongated back piece instead of midway as I had already done on the left side. But, trying it on, I realized that the loose fit I was looking for would be accomplished by doing the same for both sides (too hard to follow?)

After careful pulling out the left side lest I cut into the knitting which has happened to me before (grrrrr. . .,) I realigned it and reattached it to the bottom of the back, resulting in a floppy kind of fit that was exactly what I wanted but had no idea mentally how to do when I first set out to knit this little piece. I guess the Helpers were standing by even though I didn’t know it. I also knitted two side gussets that I had done with a previous Japanese-designed vest that I had made for C. a few years ago. This design feature allowed the back and front to float on their own and to allow for a cooler fit (pun intended.) The result was just the kind of graceful floppiness of a medieval-looking piece that I had in my mind’s eye when I started the project a few days ago.

The other thing that I did, unable to let this little project go without obsessing over the details, was to knit a narrow band of stockinette trimming that I sewed as a covering over the rough edges of the back collar seams. Having done that, I was satisfied that the sweater was truly finished and complete.

Actually, it even looks pretty good on and I’m thinking of wearing a black plaid shirt underneath it for some contrast.  Vive la difference knitting from scratch and groping one’s way to the end! I guess I lucked out on this one — thanks, Helpers!