BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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For Every Bird a Nest [of Kale]

For every Bird a Nest –
Wherefore in timid quest
Some little Wren goes seeking round –

Wherefore when boughs are free –
Households in every tree –
Pilgrim be found?

Perhaps a home too high –
Ah Aristocracy!
The little Wren desires –

Perhaps of kale so fine –
Of leafy greens e’en superfine,
Her pride aspires –

The Lark is not ashamed
To build upon the ground
Her modest house –

Yet who of all the throng
Dancing around the sun
Does so rejoice?

[Ever so slightly adapted from] Emily Dickinson


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An Unexpected Interloper

It’s been a banner year for our postage stamp-sized garden out back, finally turning out greater yields than the miniscule seeds that went into the ground in the first place. Predictably, with greater growing success comes the need for greater vigilance, as plump tomatoes gleam brighter and redder by the day, proving irresistible to both human and animal passersby. As if it wasn’t difficult enough to let the immature fruits ripen on the vine, as deeper shades of blush tempt a premature harvest, keeping other creatures from that same impulse has become something of a full-time occupation. Flimsy netting can only go so far, especially with the creatures smart enough to burrow beneath that loosely applied barrier.

Such was the case when one particularly ambitious (or perhaps, merely hungry) rabbit made it past the fence unhindered. Seemingly stunned to have stumbled upon this treasure trove of produce, he couldn’t quite get his bearings, unsure if it was all real or just a beautiful dream. Standing slack-jawed on a big green hill to get a better view of this bounty, it never even occurred to him that it was in fact a baby watermelon right beneath his feet. Beggars can’t be choosers, but when faced with a near limitless selection of edibles, this particular herbivore singled out the one thing he wanted most, neglecting all the easier prey: Carrots.

Upon spotting the green, frilly tops shooting up from the tender earth, there were no suitable alternatives as far as the rabbit was concern. Leaping off the neglected melon that might as well have been made of stone, he made a beeline for his beloved, fervently scooping away the dirt and yanking those promising sprouts with all his might. Possessing impressive might despite his size, he made quick work of the task and soon took one rapturous bite full of…

Parsley root? Indignant, he spat out the mouthful of beige tuber, still in disbelief at what he was tasting. Seriously, who plants parsley root instead of carrots? To call this a disappointment wouldn’t even scratch the surface at what this industrious rabbit was feeling, especially after all of the obstacles he had to overcome, all for that subtly celery-like taste. It wasn’t sweet at all! Who on earth would eat, let alone plant such a bizarre, unlovable vegetable?

Suddenly realizing that the garden mistress must be a raving lunatic, he was gripped with fear, sensing the gravity of his hunger-crazed and thoughtless actions. He fled the scene without a second to lose, abandoning his unwanted plunder right where it lay.

Rabbit amigurumi pattern from ABC Crochet by Mitsuki Hoshi. And yes, I do happen to love parsley root; deal with it, you silly rabbits.


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Herbivore Dinosaurs

For a blog that began life as a showcase for all things crafty, there sure has been a dearth of new handmade projects or ideas gracing these pages. Not for any lack of ideas or desire, time and patience are simply at a premium these days, leaving little room to squeeze in just one more extra endeavor. It takes a whole lot of effort to get yarn on my needles and hooks these days- Happily, my good friend Glauce provided all the inspiration necessary. Expecting her first child, her request for a mobile made with five soft, stuffed, amigurumi dinosaurs was impossible to turn down.

Mind you, this was way back in the late summer of 2011. It only took me a whole year to complete the whole thing, proving yet again that perhaps I’m not cut out to accept crochet commissions. Ever accommodating and understanding, Glauce still graciously accepted the finished piece to share with her now nearly one year old son.

All photos courtesy of Glauce.

Maybe I’m just over-analyzing this, but I think he likes it?

As luck would have it, Glauce is also hosting a big cookbook giveaway to celebrate the relaunch of her lovely website, and a copy of Vegan a la Mode is included! Be sure to enter and browse through this inspiring resource while you’re over there.


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Raising the Sushi Bar

Coordinating shared meals can be tough enough with just one or two family members, but when everyone’s home at the dinner hour at once, it can be nearly impossible. Greatly disparate tastes define us, ranging from the fairly healthy vegan (hi there!) to the vegetable-hating omnivore, making it challenging to get a universally agreeable meal on the table, to say the least. In a pinch there is at least one safe haven where we can all find something good to eat, however: The sushi bar.

Topping this list of “must order” items is edamame. Those young soy beans are one of the only green edibles that said vegetable-hater will actually consume, and even willingly most times! Trust me, that’s a big deal in our household. Thus, a big bowl of edamame always graces our table, to be shared communally.

Vegetable gyoza are another staple found on most menus, and what’s not to like about chewy wonton skin stretched around a savory filling? Steamed or fried, plump parcels or dainty half-moons, even bad gyoza are pretty darn good.

And of course, the main event, the sushi. There’s so much more than just the standard cucumber and avocado, but there’s nothing wrong with those reassuring staples either. Nigiri is usually off the menu for me, but hey, when it’s made of this much fiber, it’s got to be vegan!

Tiny sushi bar pattern by Anna Hrachovec

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