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…

tomatillo, -illo, illo.

Pronounced incorrectly, the word “tomatillo” calls to mind a certain pop song (circa 2007). Not exactly my preferred genre, but the suggestion of said song does make me smile, if only because the memory a particularly enthusiastic ’round the campfire acoustic version takes over in my brain and makes me think of my time in the Southwest. What else makes me think of the Southwest? Tomatillos. (-illos, -illos…)

And now I have to tell you about a new blog that I’ve read cover to cover since I came across it on Friday morning: local kitchen. Kaela makes everything from salsa and mustard to jams and booze-y preserves, and it is all beautifully photographed and thoughtfully described. Swoon. My adventures in blog-reading on Friday evening may have prompted me to print out a slew of ideas for my kitchen binder. And then I had to retire my kitchen binder and transfer everything to a bigger 3-ring set up. That’s how great Kaela’s blog is. Local Kitchen was a timely find — here I was, with a kitchen counter COVERED in farm produce, and without a good idea for what all of that deliciousness was going to become.

First up, Kaela’s Salsa Verde. Tomatillos, green peppers, hot peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro…yum. I might make another batch this week.

Next? Cherry Tomato Confit, also from Local Kitchen. The boy and I went to the farm on Saturday to pick more produce before the season’s first frost, and several of the cherry tomatoes were literally splitting as we picked them — bursting with juice and flavor. I took a pint of these and slow-roasted them in the oven, turning them into Cherry Tomato Confit, and now there is a tiny 4 oz. jar in the fridge filled with the powerful flavors of sweet tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, garlic, and olive oil. On pasta? On pizza? Straight out of the jar?

I also harvested several big handfuls of mint to hang to dry in the kitchen (also something I learned from Local Kitchen). I love these pictures so much. Something about the vibrant greens.

And that isn’t even the whole of my Local Kitchen-inspired weekend adventures. Yesterday I may have been saying aloud (to anyone who would listen), “I don’t want to be a grad student right now. I just want to play in the kitchen.” Sigh.

And I do actually very much want to be a grad student. I’d just really like to press pause on life for a week in order to focus on preparing my kitchen for winter.

More produce, and even some spinning next time!