Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Inspired weekend

The weekend can never be too long thesedays. I had such a wonderfully relaxing but short weekend of lazing, baking, reading, knitting and watching TV. Ahhh! Simply heaven. And I'm here to show off to you what I've accomplished. I was partiularly inspired and I actually finished the first of my knit bag! I hauled my ass off to Jo-Ann (an awesomely huge crafts store) to get a simple sewing kit to sew the bag lining. I had previously purchased the lining fabric so I didn't have to get that. After joining the lining fabric to the bag, I next sewed the circular bamboo handles onto the bag with the yarn that I knit the bag with. Initially, it looked a little lopsided but I was able to mend it. Check it out!

Pretty knit bag
Knit bag with pink flowery lining

Isn't it just the daintiest knit bag ever? (You better say yes, you!) Anywayz, the second bag will be slightly bigger and will have a green cotton lining, so that will be less cheery than this bag. I must say that I'm pretty proud of the hemming and sewing I did for this bag, considering I hadn't sewn since home ec class secondary school. I got some tips from the Web and they were very helpful. I did make some mistakes that I will try to avoid for the second bag, though ;)

Besides the crafts department, I also baked. Yippee! I was inspired by Alice Waters' recipe for her famous apple tartine that she serves in her restaurant, Chez Panisse. I encountered the recipe in the Sunday papers' magazine and since it's apple season, I just couldn't pass up making this beautiful apple tart. The original apple tartine recipe was made by Jacques Pepin but has since been tweaked by many other chefs. For instance, I saw a slightly altered apple tartine recipe in a recent issue of Gourmet magazine that uses apricot preserve.

I wanted to use my new food processor to made the pastry dough but was disappointed to discover that it doesn't work!!! I was so sad that my new appliance is crap. I think it's probably the motor and I will call up Cuisinart soon to find out where I can bring it to be fixed! Sigh~ Fortunately, I have a pastry blender on hand and decided to use that instead. It was my first time making pastry dough and it was quite fun though very time-consuming. I had to make sure the fats and water were cold, and after making the dough, the recipe calls for a 30-minute refrigeration before rolling it. Then, I believe I over-handled it because it turned out a bit on the brittle side, but still delicious.
Chez Panisse-inspired apple tartine
Apples .. droolz!

Now is that beautiful or is that beautiful? The sugar that was sprinkled on the apples and crust caramelized beautifully to brown the tartine. However, in retrospect, I used to few apples, I should've lined the up more densely for more apple flavor. So I served the tart with a scoop of extra rich light Haagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream and it was pure heaven on a plate. It is so thin that it is reminiscent of a New York style pizza. So my boyf spread the ice cream over the whole slice of tart and used his fingers to eat it like a pizza. I still have a few slices left and I can't wait to wolf it down after dinner!
Sliced apple tartine with vanilla bean ice cream

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