It’s been a busy summer here. I feel like I have spent the entire Summer behind and without enough energy to do everything I want. (or at least everything I think I should be able to do and still have time to enjoy life)
I spent the day with the girls…all day…a day they needed and I needed. We are together all of the time except for the 30 or less hours I work each week. But, I spend so much of my down time trying to play catch up that we don’t spend large chunks of quality time together. So today, we finished breakfast and were in Grey’s room by 10. Grey spent all day working on making American girl doll hammocks using her sewing machine. I was there for moral support and the occasional tech assistance or to talk her down off the ledge. Mycah cuddled up with me and I helped her with her hand sewing and we watched Julia and Jaques make desserts on Hulu. We all had a really good time. I also knit a bit between consultations. Grey said this was the best day ever and I have to agree. Here are pics of Grey creating and of her creations. I am also throwing in picks of the 16 pounds of zuchini I shredded, bread I made, sweater I finished a bit ago and the shawl I started. Busy, busy….but in a good way.
I tried a new recipe tonight because I am drowning in cherry tomatoes. I took about three pounds to work today. I got rid of them in about five minutes! I think everyone enjoyed them! But this afternoon I knew I needed to do some serious picking, so I found a recipe to use them up. I picked another pound or so and used two pints in this recipe. The recipe is from The Heirloom Tomato, a gorgeous book by Amy Goldman. The book is brimming with photos,descriptions and recipes using heirloom tomatoes. The recipe I chose was Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Crumbs…..yes, I said toasted crumbs. Basically you make a tomato and shallot salad dressed in a vinaigrette. It marinates for an hour while you put a loaf of bread through a food processor to make crumbs and then toast them in olive oil and salt in the oven and cook the spaghetti. When the spaghetti is done you toss in the tomato salad and fresh basil. Then you serve it with the toasted crumbs on top and some Parmesan cheese. The girls were very hesitant about it and I was afraid this was going to be a fail…..but it wasn’t. It was amazing. We all loved it. I am so glad necessity made me dig around for something to do with our bumper crop of little tomatoes. I will definitely be making this again.
Irony of ironies….I’ve spent the weekend cooking and this evening knitting. Of course, this is not unusual for me. The weekends around here include all things home….cleaning, cooking, spending time with the girls, hanging out, knitting…ect. None of this could be considered ironic or even odd, except that I’ve been thinking about my sis in France over the last few days, a lot. I was getting ready to post my photos of dinner tonight and my new knitting project, when I just realized that my new favorite cookbook is named Around My French Table and the pattern I just started, Wrenna, is from a book called French Girls Knits. Oh, and I forgot…I made French Onion soup for dinner yesterady!! The recipe for the Onion soup was in the same cookbook.
I also took a photo of the left over scones I made Saturday morning. Some friend of ours moved from here to Decatur, GA this summer. Thier youngest was best buds with our oldest. So, we had them over Saturday and invited the girls from Grey’s class. I made three batches of scones for us to nibble on and made a fourth batch to take to our new neighbors about five houses down. Henry and I have appointed ourselves the unofficial welcoming committee on our street. We may branch out into the neighborhood…just depends on my baking keeping up with the moving! Anyway, out new neighbors are actual a family from our girls school.. We are so excited to have them. The number of children in our neighborhood seems to be growing. I am very excited for the girls.
Here’s a photo of the dinner and a photo of the knitting.
By the way…notice all of those pears?! My Aunt Nancy brought them to us. There is about 3 gallons of them. I plan on making a pear and port compote to can. It sounds like autumn so much, I can’t resist. I am imagining serving the compote with turkey this Thanksgiving. Becca, I wish you were going to be here. Maybe I can ship a jar of compote.
I am not going to do knitting for the K post because that is too predictable, especially from me. So, I cheated a bit and I am going to do canning for K since at least the first letter sounds like a K. It’s my blog and I reserve the right to do as I please ;-). Anyway, I have been canning all weekend…by that I mean 12 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. This is my first real go at canning. I am starting this year because for a while Henry and I have really been interested in where our food is coming from and what goes in it. In early spring we decided that we were going to take down a few trees, build a retaining wall and have a really big garden. It is not finished as it was a bigger undertaking than I first thought, but it will be ready for next year. I decided to stick my feet in the canning pool this year using vegetables that someone else grew. We have a really good farmers market in Nashville, so I made a trip last Friday and stocked up on some in season favorites and supplemented with some items that were regional like peaches, as well as some things that are a little further afield…lemons. My mom let me borrow my grandmother’s water bath canner and a bunch of canning books. I also bought a pressure canner because I knew some things we would want were not acidic enough to be safe in the water bath canner.
I made lemon curd, peach salsa, peach and almond jam with thyme, red pepper jelly, tomatoes and preserved lemons (salt preservation, no canning for it). I have to say that while it was not the easiest thing I have ever done, it was not the hardest either. I do think it is going to prove enjoyable and very, very satisfying and will get easier as I develop a system. The only real issue I had was something called “siphoning.” This happens when the contents of a canned item migrates from the jar into the pressure canner. This happens when the pressure changes too rapidly….the pressure changed too rapidly in my case because I failed to read the part that suggests leaving the items in the canner for five minutes after the pressure returns to zero and after you have removed the vent weight. Live and learn…I had to reprocess the lemon curd. now, the taste did not change, but the color changed significantly. The lemon curd was a beautiful sunny yellow until the second run through the pressure canner…now it is a muddy brown. I have photographic proof of all of this activity below….even the mud brown lemon curd. We have already been into everything and found it to be well worth the effort. I know it will be doubly worth it this winter when we can relive the glory days of summer through food.
Just a quickie…made bread this morning. One loaf for the yarn store gals and one for my family while I am working at the store. The house smells so good and Henry and the girls are excited. They love my bread, but I have been on a bread making hiatus since before Christmas!