pie and plying.

First of all, thanks for all of your input on my handspun blanket. This time around, the oranges have it, and I am hoping to make some time to wind yarn later today!

I wore my Sunday Market Shawl yesterday, and it was just the burst of color I needed. I reach for this far less often than I thought I would — maybe because of the colors — but it certainly brightens my day when I wear it out of the house. Someday I’ll get around to actually blocking this…

Meet the first pie (for me) of fall. Pears from the tree in the yard of friends, plus one apple to fill out the pie pan, and a crumb topping. Delicious. In fact, this is reheating in the oven right now.

I plied most of my SCF bfl in the reflection colorway while the pie baked, and today I have plans to wash the yarn and set the twist.

Okay, time for pie!

blanket possibilities.

Nope, no hidden meaning in this blog post title. I’m going to cast on a blanket out of mostly handspun as a test-knit for Cosy (you know, and a treat for me!), and I’m looking for some input!

Here’s the first option: greys, reds, burnt-oranges.

And here’s another: greys, yellows, greens, a touch of lavender. What do you think? Pairing solid/commerical yarns is tough enough, so I’d appreciate any thoughts you folks have about how to choose yarns for a project (ahem, for this project!) out of a pile of handspun. Thanks!

Other things going on around here:

I finished spinning the second bobbin of the SCF bfl in the reflection colorway. Boh helped.

A lot.

And I’m making progress on my windschief hat. The more I knit on this, the more in love I am with both the pattern and this yarn. In fact, I’m going to let myself knit a few rows before I dig into the work I’d like to accomplish before I head to campus…

cake for breakfast.

Nope, not birthday cake. Just cake leftover from saturday night.

We watched a movie last night, which means I got some dedicated knitting time. My windschief hat is flying, and I am absolutely in love with the way this yarn is knitting up. The depth of color! The stitch definition! Discuss.

And here’s one more shot of Boh and the birthday boy, because today is the day. Aren’t they sweet?

sundays are for birthday brunches.

The boy is celebrating a birthday this week, so yesterday we headed west, one lake over, for a special birthday brunch. On my plate: poached eggs on top of sausage smoked in house and grilled focaccia bread, with incredible rosemary roasted potatoes. And a glass of organic local grape juice. On B’s plate: focaccia french toast with raspberry puree, rosemary roasted potatoes, and a link of a different homemade, in-house smoked sausage. And a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. And coffee.

B, looking serious. Also, a jazz band! They did a blues-y cover of Springsteen’s Hungry Heart. Swoon.

The view from the porch of the cafe — looking out towards the lake.

And here we are. (I share these here even though clearly I have much to learn in the taking-attractive-photos-of-yourself-with-your-arm-outstretched department. I also have a perpetual problem with closing my eyes during photos.)

And here’s the beginning of my windschief hat. I am very excited about this. Time to start thinking about making dinner after a very long Monday on campus.

saturdays are for dinner parties.

Dear friends came for dinner last night. (Boh was on cloud 9.) Y’all know I love to play in the kitchen, but I especially like cooking both for and with D and T — we have similar tastes (well, aside from D’s brutal hatred for all things eggplant), we belong to the same farm, and we always have a good time together. They brought homebrew, a bottle of homemade limoncello for my freezer(!), beer brewed with Japanese hops for us all to try (it DOES taste like “sunshine in a glass”), and tortilla chips for the mostly-tomatillo-with-a-peach-thrown-in salsa I made. And I decided to test out some new-to-me recipes based on what could be found in my fairly full fridge. After lots of drooling over recipes on my computer screen, I settled on two ideas from Deb over at smitten kitchen: scalloped tomatoes with croutons, and everyday chocolate cake. I paired the tomatoes with a salad of very peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and cherry tomato confit with a homemade vinaigrette with a bit more honey than I usually use. I was really happy with how everything turned out — these recipes have earned spots in my kitchen binder!

Also, here are the results of peaches +bourbon, take two. I did use the immersion blender to make this more sauce-like, and I’m thrilled with the consistency: thicker and smoother, but with chunks of peach.

And here’s what I’m casting on later this morning. I’ve been meaning to start a hat for D. He’s sporting a new haircut these days, and as the weather gets a bit colder, I want to contribute a hat or two to his headgear collection. I was inspired by the Windschief that Laura posted yesterday, so I hopped over to Ravelry to look through other people’s FOs, and ultimately, purchase and print out the pattern. I’m using tosh worsted in malachite, and I’m psyched to cast on.

I really should be reading all day today, but I’m going to allow myself at least a little bit of time for knitting…

peaches + bourbon = weekend.

I subbed bourbon for the rum in Kaela’s Pirate Peaches, and boy, am I excited to enjoy these. My entire kitchen (okay, apartment) smells slightly of sweetness and spirits. (Yep, present tense. Batch number 2 is simmering away on the stove, prompted by the fact that a tiny piece of peach prevented one of my jars from sealing properly. Rather than re-process a single jar, I dumped the contents back into the pot with another pile of peaches that were macerating in the fridge, along with the partial jar of leftovers that I didn’t process yesterday [to get me back up to 3 lbs of peaches], added more sugar, more booze, and the appropriate amounts of lemon juice and zest, and I am once again enjoying the aroma of peaches simmering in bourbon.) This time, I’m going to try to get the peaches a bit softer than they were yesterday, and I may even break out the immersion blender to make more of a sauce. I ran into trouble yesterday with the ratio of end-of-season peaches (which I think are harder than peak juicy peaches) to booze/syrup, which is why I had some leftovers.

Also, I have no idea what kind of peaches I picked up at the orchard, but I can tell you that they are not freestone. (Ask me how I know that.) Also, the skins did not slip off as I expected they would, which made for some serious peach wrangling…good thing the bourbon makes it worth it. Another lesson from this project? Simmer peaches with the lid (mostly) on. There may have been a slightly sticky residue coating much of the kitchen floor this morning…

See? I also did some spinning. I am mostly through the second bobbin of my reflection SCF bfl, and am looking forward to plying this soon. Happy weekend!

leek confit and lazy boh.

What does a rooster with allergies and a sinus headache do after teaching on Thursday? Make leek confit, of course. (And do laundry. And make more chile verde base. And vacuum. And scrub the dish drying rack. I have a problem with sitting still.) This recipe for leek confit also comes from Local Kitchen — so simple, so tasty. We followed Kaela’s advice and spooned this over a bowl of noodles with salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and a little bit of goat cheese. Super easy, and so good.

I realized yesterday that I haven’t been posting as many pictures of Boh lately. Don’t worry, he’s still working just as hard as ever.

Yesterday I snapped a quick picture of my freezer. Not too much room left  — which is a good thing. Seems I am way better at playing in the kitchen than I am at reading books these days.

And here’s a shot of my idlewood — almost time to divide for the sleeves. I managed to knit a few rows while watching the first episode of Bones (Season 6) this morning, which was a lovely way to start the day. And right now, there are peaches simmering in bourbon and sugar on the stove. (Not a bad way to spend the afternoon…)

Happy first weekend of fall!

chard, pizza, simple things.

The first day of fall hit me hard. By mid-afternoon, I was feeling lousy, and was finally convinced to crawl into bed for a nap around 4. I’m not sure if this was allergy-related, or if I’m coming down with some sort of transitioning-to-fall flu. Feeling alright this morning, but trying to take it easy, just in case. So this is yesterday — simple things: chard from the farm, blanched and packaged to go into the freezer, pizza with cherry tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and cherry tomato confit, and, of course, simple things in shawlette form.

Off to campus. (Is it the weekend yet? Please?)

green and partly dilly.

First up: dilly beans. Now I’ve got at least 10 pints on the shelf, which should be enough to both enjoy at home and share. (I actually ran out of pint jars yesterday, and had to pick up another tray on my way home from the farm!) Dilly beans are always more time intensive than I think — mostly because I never trim my beans to exactly the right length, and I always have to re-trim as I’m packing the jars. These are totally worth the hassle, though, and I’m psyched to taste these after they spend a few weeks mellowing and pickling.

I also made Kaela’s Chile Verde Base — this stuff is delicious, and so simple: tomatillos, garlic, hot peppers, and cilantro. Basically, you partially roast the first two, and throw all the ingredients in a food processor. I’m going to make another batch of this later. Storing this in the freezer to use as a base for soups and sauces prompted me to clean out the freezer. (Stock from 2008? Green chiles from the Southwest that I did too good of a job hoarding? I’m looking at you.) Now there’s room for lots more chile verde base! Oh, and berries. I might have frozen what we picked on Saturday as incentive to do a good job picking yesterday…

I had plenty of dill remaining from the beans, so I tied the longer stems into a bunch and hung them near the window to dry. I absolutely love the idea of home-dried herbs, and I am excited to use these in my cooking this fall and winter.

Just when I finally had the week’s produce under control, farm day came around again. The boy and I spent the afternoon picking blackberries, raspberries, more cherry tomatoes, more paste tomatoes, flowers, hot peppers, tomatillos, and a whole tote bag full of chard. I’m planning to blanch and freeze this later today. And make more salsa or chile verde base with all the tomatillos.

Also, I might have accidentally visited the orchard yesterday. (Hey, it was on the way home from taking friend K. to have her stitches out!) We might both have accidentally walked away with 8 quarts of peaches. (For 8 bucks.) Oh, and a few apples. Despite being the last peaches of the season (and labeled as “culls”), these are gorgeous. I’m going to cut one up and tuck it into my bowl of granola in a moment…and then I’m going to dedicate another fifteen minutes or so to daydreaming about what these should become. Jam? Butter? Peaches in some kind of (boozey) syrup? More on that soon.

For those of you who come hear for the fiber (and not the food), never fear. I’ll have knitterly things back in the rotation soon. I’ve got another week (or so?) of farmy abundance to process, but once the first frost arrives, I’ll be able to happily gaze at my shelves of winter preparation and get back to my knitting and spinning!

rooster can can.

(A tired joke in canning circles, to be sure. But it is early, and I need a title for my blog post…)

On Sunday morning, I woke up early and set to making a full batch of tomato puree (a la Local Kitchen again). I paused mid-puree to take a picture. (That food mill was actually tucked way in the back of one of my kitchen cabinets when I moved in, despite the fact that my apartment was previously occupied by a solitary male undergrad who made a big mess of the stove and otherwise, to my eye, anyway, did not use the kitchen so much. Whenever I move out of this apartment, I’m taking it with me.) I simmered and simmered the juices from several quarts of paste tomatoes, and ended up with 7 pints of tomato puree.

I am in love with the super bright red of this puree — and am excited to be able to make homemade sauce from on-hand ingredients later this winter! (I also see adding this to hearty soups and stews.)

It is Tuesday again, which means farm day, and I am still struggling to put up all of the additional produce we picked in the fields last week! These peppers need to be frozen or pickled, and I’ve got a full canvas bag full of green beans that need attention.

The canning pot is on the stove, and the jars are on their way to being sterilized for a batch of dilly beans. I’m intending to pick as much as I can this afternoon and then try to freeze or can in all of my spare time this week. Temps have been in the high 40s at night here in town, and up at the farm, the first frost is imminent (after which, much of the field produce that is available for preserving/freezing will be done for the season). I’m just going to keep doing that can can until then — it is (and will be) super rewarding, but man, preserving is exhausting! I may have gotten into bed at 9:30 last night.

I did grant myself a small break from canning on Sunday night, and instead, sat down at my wheel to listen to a podcast or two and finish up the first bobbin of this bfl from SCF in the Reflection colorway. I love these colors, and am really excited to spin up bobbin #2, get this plied together and washed, and then in the mail to a dear friend who knits. (It would be nice to get this to her before the cold comes, so that she has time to knit herself something warm with it!)

Okay, time to pour another cup of coffee and get back to those beans!