What My Mother Taught Me

About a year ago, I was given the opportunity at work to talk about someone influential in my life, I chose to talk about my mother, who was far along in her decline from dementia by then. My mom passed away last week, and I can think of no better memorial than to share those words I wrote a year ago.

If you knew my mom and have stories to share, please do so in the comments.

——

 One of my favorite Onion headlines reads as follows: 97-Year-Old Dies Unaware Of Being Violin Prodigy

 The article goes on to talk about how the woman spent her life completely unaware that she was one of the most talented musicians of the past century and possessed the untapped ability to become a world-class violin virtuoso, had she just picked up a violin once.

I’ve always liked that article, because in it’s typical satirical fashion, the Onion is highlighting that so much comes down to opportunity. This fictional woman could have been an amazing musician, if she was ever given the chance.

My mother was the person who put the violin in my hands, metaphorically speaking. Also literally in the 5th grade, but I didn’t turn out to be a violin virtuoso. I’m hardly a prodigy in anything, but most of the skills that I feel are so integral to my person today are things that she nudged me into.

My mother introduced me to the performing arts. We both took dance classes at our local studio and she fed me a steady diet of old movie musicals, introducing me to Shirley Temple, Gene Kelly, Vera Ellen and Ann Miller.  She got me a waiver out of health class, so I could take choir. She accompanied me to piano and then harp lessons. Because of her, I know the Good Ship Lollipop, Mozart’s Requiem, and the ballets of Tchaikovsky.

At eight years old, my mother put needle and thread in my hands and taught me to cross stitch. She took me to fabric stores and let me flip through the pattern books and glide my fingers across the rows and rows fabric bolts.  She demonstrated the magic of sewing by making me the best Halloween costumes on the block and she taught me that finish matters, even on pajamas. She loaned me her sewing machine and helped get me first job ever, at our town’s fabric store.

As our elementary’s school’s librarian, she gave me a sneak peek of all the new titles as they came in and let me draw new dust jackets to replace the damaged ones. My mother double majored in science at college, but she encouraged me in every creative endeavor I ever pursued. I probably had one of the few parents out there telling me I should take more art classes.

But the greatest thing my mother ever did for me, was not let her fears be mine.

My mother was always anxious. She had social anxiety that meant she hid in her room every time my friends came over to visit, but she let me have friends over as often as I wanted. She asked me to apply to the college closest to home, but didn’t say a word against it when I moved out of state. Once, after I had moved to Chicago to work in the theatre, she told me that she thought I was very brave.

 It struck me as a strange thing to say. Brave? To be brave you had to be up against something scary and there was nothing scary about it.  I only realized later, that for her, to go to someplace where you had no family, knew nobody, and were trying to make it on your own was about as scary as it could get. But never once did she try to talk me out it.  Time and again she tamped down her own fears to let me do it my way, giving me the space to pursue my dreams.

My mother gave me the tools to be the artist I am today, but the biggest influence she had on me can perhaps be summed up in the words of Shirley Temple in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, “I'm very self-reliant. My mother taught me to always be that way.”

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Golden State

The year after I graduated college, I drove cross country with my high school best friend (highly recommended) from California to Maine in 2.5 days (the timeline is less recommended, but I had a scheduling crunch). During our journey, one of the things we decided we wanted to do was learn the nickname of every state we passed through - the road signs made it clear that Utah was the “Beehive State”, we asked a waitress in Wyoming to learn it was the “Cowboy State.” We passed though the “Hawkeye State” (Iowa) , the “Keystone State” (Pennsylvania), the” Empire State” (New York) and the “Bay State” (Massachusetts), among others before finally arriving in The Pine Tree State (Maine), but the land I left behind in 2005 was the “Golden State.”

Since moving out east, I’ve been a regular visitor to California about ever other year, but I’ve been thinking a lot more about California recently. 2019 marks the year that I’ve lived outside of California longer than I’ve lived in it. It’s the 15 year anniversary of my father’s death. It’s the year I went out to show Little Miss Cleaver my hometown for the first time and to see my mother for what is likely the last. I came back from my most recent trip with two shoeboxes full of family photos. I’m feeling a little nostalgic to say the least.

So, as is only natural for a creative, I’m digging into that nostalgia and reflecting on the Golden State in my designs. Exploring bits of my person history and the history of the state at large, considering how the 31st state in the Union shaped me and shaped the country. There’s a lot to mine there (pun intended!) and honestly, a lot of emotion, so instead of trying to pull together a collection with a set deadline, I’ll be working on this project over the course of the year, releasing things as they are ready and telling the story in bits and pieces as I go.

I’ll start with the first release in the collection - “All That Is Beautiful.”

When I chose to focus my next batch of designs on the Golden State, I knew that John Muir was going to show up somewhere.

My dad and brother, both Eagle Scouts, were/are outdoorsy people with a particular love of the Sierra Nevada, so I grew up well acquainted with the legacy of Muir and once visited his homestead when my brother was doing research for a school biography project. 

For those unfamiliar with Muir, he was a Scottish-American naturalist and writer who championed preservation, was instrumental in the establishment of Yosemite National Park, and co-founded the Sierra Club. Unfortunately, Muir also prioritized natural preservation over the native people who lived in those environments and the creation of Yosemite evicted the Ahwahneechee and other portions of the Southern Sierra Miwok from their native lands. An act that was repeated with other National Parks.*

Muir was a prolific and often poetic writer, and this quote from a state promotional brochure published by the California State Board of Trade, particularly struck me in several ways. It is important to examine the full impact, both positive and negative, of the people and places we respect. I look at this quote and it serves as reminder to me that there is beauty in all nature (which I take to include all life, including human and animal), but also that we can overemphasize an unrealistic idea of “wild” - since there are very few places not impacted by humans and that not all human impact is negative. It’s part of reason I chose a brown for the text rather than a sharper black, because not everything is black and white. It was only natural to pair the text with the California Poppy - the state flower that grows wild in profusion in the state.

The design is available as a complete kit, printed panel, or PDF pattern in my shop.

As a small acknowledgement that there were many other residents of California before the Americans arrived, a minimum 15% donation of profits from any Golden State collection item will be donated to charities that support self-determination and community/economic development led by and for Native Californian and Latinx peoples, including the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples and the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

*For more on the Native American History of Yosemite and the displacement and erasure of Native Peoples from National Parks, check out the following resources as a starting point:
https://www.fresnobee.com/news/special-reports/yosemite-at-150/article19521750.html
https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/erasing-native-americans-from-national-parks/



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The Cakes My Mother Made

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot recently.

It’s only natural. Back in February, I took a trip out to California, where (among other things) I took the time to say goodbye to her. My mother has dementia, and while she may have many months left to go, she is far along in the progression of that disease. Her memory has failed her, but I’m finding comfort in my own memories.

It was not surprising then, that a few weeks before I left for that trip, I thought of my mother’s birthday cakes.

Growing up, we had two cake-decorating books that I absolutely adored. The pages, I recall, had become a little loose with wear. In the weeks leading up to our birthdays, my brother and I would flip through the pages to pick out the perfect birthday cake. Then my mom would make it and even in the pre-Instagram age, it would be photographed for posterity.

The books fell out of favor as we grew older. The books were used for the last time sometime when I was pre-teen - my father and brother were out on a Boy Scout trip and it’d just be me and mom for my birthday, so in a fit of early nostalgia I requested a large tiger cake as a nod to my love of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Tigger. The cake was huge, and my mother was by then diabetic, which meant I largely ate the cake alone. I made it through the tail and hindquarters before throwing the rest away. Still, she made it, all I had to do was ask.

I didn’t think of the cake books much after that and it didn’t come to mind when I made a list of items I wanted from my mother’s house when my brother moved her from our childhood home. So I caught myself a bit off guard when they sprung to mind a few weeks before my trip.

I was struck by one of those late-evening obsessions. The original copies of the cake books were gone or buried deeply in my brother’s garage, perhaps I could find them online. A Google search for “1980s birthday cake book” gave me the titles I needed (as results one and two at that), then a few minutes of searching used book stores online and a $10 charge to my credit card later, both books would soon be mine.

They were waiting for me upon my return from California, about a month in advance of Little Miss Cleaver’s own birthday. I shared the books with LMC, who was a bit less enthused than I had hoped, (though in her defense photography and styling from 1980 doesn’t age particularly well), but in the end she did select a cake.

I did my best attempt at the Butterfly Cake from The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book for LMC’s 6th birthday, which just passed. A cake design that my mother had made for my own 4th birthday back in 1987. I think her version was a bit more elegant, but mine passed kid muster all the same.

LMC, as with most cakes, ate the frosting off her slice and hasn’t touched it since, so like that Tigger cake all those years before, this cake was mostly for me. And you know what? I’m okay with that and also I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last…

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Knitting Vertical Pleats and Pintucks

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It’s no secret that I learned to sew long before I learned to knit, and I still love them both, but while sewing is essentially the art of taking a flat piece of fabric and manipulating it into a 3-D structure, the magic of knitting is that you can work that structure into the very fabric itself.

The simplest example of this is knitting in the round - rather than knitting a flat piece and seaming it into a tube, you just make the tube to begin with. Similarly, increases, decreases, and short rows can be used to form curves and undulations. I love designing my stuffed animals in the round, because it forces me to think in three dimensions from stitch one. But when it comes to garments, I’ll admit to finding a bit of a thrill in translating traditional sewing techniques, like pleats and pintucks into knitted forms.

Just like with sewing, working a knitted pleat involves securing folds in the fabric. To work a horizontal pleat, like in my Bob & Wave Cowl (see bottom of post), you pick up and knit a stitch from several rows down together with every active stitch. The vertical pleat, as used to shape the hands of the Turning Leaf gloves, is worked across two rows and is a tad more involved, so I’ll walk you through the process step by step.

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Here I use the the term “tuck” to cover pintucks (which are very narrow tucks) and any other vertical pleat.

The Turning Leaf Gloves (used as an example here) have a series of three tucks across the back of the hand. The tucks start at three stitches wide near the wrist, and then decrease to a two-stitch tuck, and then one-stitch tuck just below the fingers.

I’ll be showing the three-stitch tuck throughout, but the same technique can be applied to a tuck of any width. A tuck with more stitches being folded will be more visible and decrease more fabric.

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In the image above, I’ve already worked four rows of the three-stitch tuck pattern. You can see the three tucks, and the four recessed “channels” that fall on the sides of the tuck. Worked over two rows, the tucks are formed by slipping the tuck stitches on every other row and pulling the working yarn very tightly across the back, which pulls the stitches on either side of the tuck closer together, essentially folding them and holding the fold together.

ROW 1

  1. Knit to the start of your first tuck.

  2. Slip the tuck stitches (here, three stitches) on to a spare double-pointed needle or cable needle held in front of your work. [NB: if your tucks are small, you can use the same spare needle for all the tucks in a row]

  3. Tension the working yarn tightly as you work the first stitch post-tuck. The more snugly you work the stitches together on either side of the tuck, the more visible your tuck will be. Continue knitting normally until you reach the next tuck.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you reach the end of the tuck section.

In the example shown, the tuck section is 11 stitches wide: three tucks three stitches wide, plus one spacer stitch on either side of the center tuck. When you finish working your first row of tucks, you should have nine stitches (width of tuck x number of tucks) on your spare needle (or needles, if your tuck is very wide).

ROW 2

  1. Knit to the start of your first tuck.

  2. Pick up and knit the tuck stitches (here, three stitches) off the spare needle.

  3. Knit normally to the next tuck.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all stitches are back on the main needle.

It will take a couple of rows until the tucks start to look like anything on the right side of the fabric. On the wrong side of the fabric, you should clearly see where the working yarn has held behind the slipped stitches. Try to keep that horizontal line the same length for tucks of the same width, and the short it is, the more prominent your tucks will be.


GET KNITTING!

Try out the pattern below which incorporate tucks, horizontal pleats, or smocking!


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Indie Design Gift Along 2018 - My 24 Top Picks

It's Gift-Along Time again! 

Every year a growing group of independent knitwear designs band together on Ravelry to host a knit-along to kick start your holiday gift knitting! 

This year there are 349 designers from 30 countries and 6 continents, with over 20,000 patterns eligible for the giftalong's 2,000+ prizes.

From now until midnight EST on Nov 29, over 6,000 of those patterns are 25% off with the code giftalong2018

But 6,000 patterns is a lot to look through, so I thought I’d highlight some of my personal favorites from the offerings -and hopefully introduce you to some wonderful new-to-you designers..

Clicking on any photo above will take you to a Ravelry bundle of my favorites where you can peruse and purchase any of the designs. (Note: not all patterns shown are on sale, but all are eligible for the KAL and prizes in the gift-along).

I've got 18 patterns in the sale,  specifically chosen for their gift-ability.  Not on Ravelry? The same patterns on MsCleaver.com are also 25% off for the same time/same code.

Happy gifting!!

Pattern Links

(all attributions for collages work clockwise from top left)

Shawls & Cowls

  1. Sand Ripples Shawl by Stephannie Tallent

  2. Chance Cove by Allison O’Mahony

  3. Trailing Leaves Cowl by Sandra Nesbitt

  4. Rugby Shawl by knottygnome crafts

  5. Shh! Wrap by Jennifer Weissman

  6. Majestic Shawl by Gabrielle Vézina

Feet & Hands

  1. Leighton House Handwarmers by Ella Austin

  2. Moving Forward by Tisserin Coquet

  3. Card Game Mitts by Knitwise Design

  4. Flower Garland - Blomsterkrans by Aud Bergo

  5. Zippertooth Mitts by Clare Lakewood

  6. Falling Petals Socks by Rachel Gibbs

Sweaters & Tops

  1. Juniper by Ash Alberg

  2. Mount Pleasant by Megan Nodecker

  3. Wild Grass by Asja Janeczek

  4. Valerian by Tonia Barry

  5. Nest Pullover by Solène Le Roux

  6. Winter Woods Pullover by Knitwise Design

Hats

  1. Midterm Tam by Virginia Sattler-Reimer

  2. Tracery by handmade by SMINÉ

  3. Bramble Birds by Sara Huntington Burch

  4. Taupe by AbbyeKnits

  5. Great Ocean Road Beanie by Georgie Nicolson

  6. CCC Hat by M K Nance



 

 

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Introducing STORYTIME

Opening the Book on the Storytime Collection

My mother was an elementary school librarian, so my childhood was filled with all sorts of children's literature modern and classic. The Storytime Collection draws it’s inspiration from some of my favorite pieces of classic children's literature and might include some of your favorites too! 

The collection, which includes a sweater, gloves, two embroidery designs and a sewing pattern, is available as kits, pattern bundles and stand-alone patterns and has projects suitable for beginners to more advanced makers.

Goldenbook Cardigan

The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Tawny Scrawny Lion, Poky Little Puppy – since the first Little Golden Book was released in 1942, these titles and many more have become classics read by multiple generations.

Inspired by the iconic spine of Little Golden Books, a long band of colorwork forms a statement collar on an open-front cardigan. Knit from the top-down, the pattern uses the contiguous method to form a well-fitting one-piece yoke and is finished with clean folded hems and deep pockets. The pattern is available in bust sizes up to 56.5"/143.5 cm and includes helpful fit tips throughout the pattern to get the best fit for your body. 

Can be purchased as bundle with the Turning Leaf Gloves.

Turning Leaf Gloves

In the early days of publishing, a sheet of paper with printing on both pages/sides was commonly referred to as a leaf - a less popular usage now, but one that lives on in phrases like “to turn a new leaf, ”loose-leaf” paper, and the French word feuille. The Turning Leaf gloves were inspired by the gilded leaves of hefty leather-covered tomes (be they the Bible or The Wonderful Land of Oz), this inspiration reflected in graceful pleats that shape the hands of these vintage-style gloves.

Gloves are worked from the cuff to the fingers. The cuff is worked flat, with the hand and fingers worked in the round.

Can be purchased as bundle with the Goldenbook Cardigan.

Little Readers Embroidery & Ms. Marian Pillow

Is there anything better than cozying up with a good book?

The Little Readers are vintage-inspired designs that use a single color to create a strong outline, a technique known as redwork (or bluework, depending on the color). The paired-down design is a great introductory project for beginning embroiderers and would make a wonderful gift for the book-lover in your life.

Named for The Music Man’s Marian The Librarian, the Ms. Marian Pillow turns your hoop art into cozy and beautiful home decor. Mitered corners and a checkerboard band increase the elegance of the design, which is suitable for intermediate sewists.

Instructions are included for a standard envelope pillowcase and a tote-able reading pillow with book pocket. The sewing pattern includes template/pattern for both Boy and Girl Little Reader embroideries and is a perfect companion to any of my 6” hoop designs or kits. Not into embroidery? Use the center panel to display an 7” square quilt block or panel of a favorite fabric.

The Ms. Marian Pillow Kit provides you with all the materials (minus pillowform) to make one beautifully embroidered, library-themed pillowcase. You can choose to sew it up as a standard envelope-back pillow, or (my favorite) as a tote-able reading pillow with book pocket.



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German Sunken Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

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A friend (who really knows the the way to this girl’s heart) gifted me with Luisa Weiss’s Classic German Baking for my birthday back in July. The summer was so full (and hot) that I rarely turned on the oven, but now that Fall is in full swing (and I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off on Netflix), I was itching to get back to baking and trying some new recipes!

Having done our traditional apple picking trip a few weeks back, I’m up to my eyeballs in apples, even after having made two pies, but Classic German Baking was ready for me with three different Apfelkuchen recipes. I fully intend to try all three in the coming weeks, but based on what was in my pantry/fridge, I went with the Versunkener Apfelkuchen first, which also happens to be the simplest of the three. And since the recipe declared it “great for people baking with small children” I asked Little Miss Cleaver to help out. (The smiley face was all LMC’s idea and execution).

The high egg and butter content makes the cake-crumb similar to that of a pound cake and the batter is lightly flavored with lemon-zest, making it a bright alternative to the cinnamon and nutmeg-heavy desserts typical of fall and making it suitable as a spring and summer dessert too. The raw sugar sprinkled on the top before baking gives the top a pleasing crunch. I didn’t have any cream on hand to make whipped cream, but it would be nice finish to this simple, but pleasing dessert.

To print, see button at bottom of post.

German Sunken Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

Easy enough to whip together on a weekday and fun to make with kids, this classic German cake combines apples and lemon zest under a raw sugar crust for a bright and delicious dessert.

  • 3 medium apples

  • 1 medium lemon, scrubbed

  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (125g) granulated sugar

  • 9 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (130g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 eggs, room temperature

  • 11/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 Tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9” round cake pan (or springform pan) with an oil-based spread (like Crisco or baking spray) and line the bottom of the pan with parchment.

Peel the apples, then core and slice into 8ths (I use a corer/slicer to make quick work of this).

Zest the lemon into a bowl with the butter and sugar. Cut the lemon in half and juice one half. Strain any seeds and set the juice aside.

Using a sturdy wooden spoon or mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla extract and one egg, mixing until fully combined. Add remaining eggs one at a time, fully combining each egg before adding the next.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the lemon juice and flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the apple slices with the core side down in a circle around the edge of the pan, pressing down slightly, so each slice is secured in place. Take the remaining apples and place in the center. Sprinkle the top of the cake generously with demerara sugar.

Place pan in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing pan. The cake should be firm enough that it should be easy to move without disturbing the apples.

Enjoy at room temperature with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.


Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss


German Sunken Apple Cake Versunkener Apfelkuchen

Serves 8 Ingredients: 3 medium apples 1 medium lemon 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (125g) granulated sugar 9 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (130g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 eggs, room temperature 1 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar


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FO Roundup - Into Fall 2018

One of the most fun parts of being a designer is seeing how others interpret your designs.

We’re in October already, leaves are starting to change color, which means we are entering peak knitwear season! Instead of the most recent FOs this go round, I thought I’d share some of my favorite of your autumnal knits.

Click on any image to visit the maker's Instagram or Ravelry page!

I LOVE seeing your makes! Tag me @mscleaver on Instagram, or if it's on Ravelry, I'll see it. :) 


Leading Bird Shawl by Mindful Folk in her own yarn!

Leading Bird Shawl by Mindful Folk in her own yarn!

Cormac by Fullosheep ( pattern available via Interweave )

Cormac by Fullosheep (pattern available via Interweave)

Marketa Mitts by Irr-Saukh ( pattern available via Interweave )

Marketa Mitts by Irr-Saukh (pattern available via Interweave)

Hemingway (Men's) by karencampandknit ( pattern available via Twist Collective ).

Hemingway (Men's) by karencampandknit (pattern available via Twist Collective).

Madalynn by Wolfcreeker

Madalynn by Wolfcreeker

Breakwater by Kahlefam

Breakwater by Kahlefam

A Two-Color Dolan Beret knit by Frances 75

A Two-Color Dolan Beret knit by Frances 75

Honeymaker by Shortrounds

Honeymaker by Shortrounds


Want to make one of your own? Grab the patterns below!


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STORYTIME - Coming Soon!

If I’ve been quiet around here, it’s because I’ve been busy! Busy with work. Busy with transitioning Little Miss Cleaver into Kindergarten and busy with pulling together the pieces of my next collection - STORYTIME.

STORYTIME is inspired by some of my favorite classic children’s books, including Little Golden Books and The Wizard of OZ series. The collection will include two new knitting patterns (one adult sweater, one accessory), two new embroidery patterns/kits and a sewing pattern/kit perfect for spotlighting your favorite embroidery.

After a lot of time sketching and developing ideas, I’m finishing up samples and getting patterns written and reviewed. There’s still a lot of work left to to (it’s a lot to pull together for one person!), but I expect to release the collection in October.

Until then, you can follow my progress on Instagram and if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get to know about the collection release early with a special subscriber-only discount!

Back to stitching for me!


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Garlic Scape Pesto and Asparagus Summer Spaetzle

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I've written before about my burgeoning love of German food, so it should be no surprise that Spätzle/Spaetzle was become a popular dinner in the Cleaver household. 

I'll admit that I've yet to find a way of making Spätzle that doesn't make a huge mess (the noodle dough is super sticky!), but I find the end result worth it. The recipe makes a generous amount of noodles (four adult-sized portions) and can be easily doubled. 

Not in garlic scape season? Try substituting in chives, wild garlic leaves, spring/baby garlic or basically anything in the edible allium family like scallions, shallots, or leeks. No fresh asparagus around? Substitute with frozen*, or try green beans, sugar or snow peas, broccoli stems - anything green with a snap. 

*Frozen veggies beat out of season veggies any day in my book. 

Garlic Scape Pesto and Asparagus Summer Spätzle

This bright and delicious combination of German-style spätzle noodles, asparagus, and fresh pesto stands as a light summer meal on its own, or pairs beautifully with sausage, chicken or pork (especially Schnitzel!) for a heartier meal.

Spätzle Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch of salt

Garlic Scape Pesto 

  • 6-8 garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus some for the pan
  • salt to taste

Note: The pesto can be made in advance, if desired.

Vegetables

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces, (about 2-2.5 cups)

Note: There are several methods to "pressing" Spätzle into it's shape. There's a Spätzle press if you have one (I don't). You can also use a potato ricer on the largest holes, "cutting" it from a board, squeezing it from a bag, or my most frequently used method, using a spatula to press it through a large-holed colander.

On/next to your stovetop, prepare the following: a large pot of water set to a rolling boil, a large frying pan oiled with approximately a 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (don't heat it yet), and a large bowl filled with ice water.

Make dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine dough ingredients and let sit for about 15 minutes.

Make pesto (can be done in advance and refrigerated): In food processor, combine scapes and walnuts, pulsing until finely chopped. Add cheese and pulse to mix. Slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Add salt to taste.

Using the method of your choice, press dough into the pot of boiling water in batches. Once the noodles begin to float (about 2 minutes) removed with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water. Make the rest of the noodles in the same fashion. Drain the noodles. 

Heat frying pan. If using frozen vegetables, saute them lightly first, then add the drained noodles. If using fresh vegetables, add both noodles and vegetables to the frying pan at the same time. Fry the noodles until golden brown, adding extra oil if it starts sticking to pan. Add the pesto and mix until well distributed. Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with additional shredded cheese.  

Enjoy!

Adapted from What's for Lunch, Honey? 

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Garlic Scape Pesto and Asparagus Summer Spatzle

Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 cups flour 4 eggs 1/2 cup milk salt to taste 6-8 garlic scapes 1/4 cup walnuts 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1/4 cup olive oil 1 bunch asparagus
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