weekend.

I’ve got something to say. All weekends are better with homemade french fries. My weekend is only half over, and these have already made it extra awesome. Another high five to Kaela over at local kitchen for these spicy oven fries. I used my first farm potatoes of the season. After I took this picture, I may have poured myself a generous amount of ketchup for dipping.

And then I finished the first Lucy sock, so named for the colorway, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Why have I not been knitting handspun socks all this time? I am in love with this sock. I cannot wait for there to be two.

Motivated by the awesomeness of my handspun sock, I sat back down at my wheel. You know, to finish whatever I’ve been spinning so that I can get started on another 3-ply. For more socks. It is a vicious, vicious cycle. This is an in progress shot of the second bobbin of whatever delicious Hello Yarn Fiber Club fiber I was spinning. (I just looked — Finn in the Shaking Leaves colorway, from January 2011.)

And here’s a picture of it plied. More of this soon, once it’s dry!

Can this dog get any sweeter? I managed to grab the camera with my right hand today after Boh put his paw on my left. He must have been transmitting some good, productive vibes, because even with all the fibery goodness, I managed to write a few pages today. And now it is bedtime.

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long overdue mitt repair.

Last night, after taking way too long to read a relatively short book, I was itching to have that great feeling that comes with crossing a long-overdue task off of my list. Out came my thanksgiving day mitts: knit three years ago in a purple-y shade of Cascade 220, these were my go-to mitts until Boh managed to attack one of them in fall 2008 or winter 2009. Since then, they’ve sat patiently on top of a bowl of yarn odds and ends, waiting to be mended. And yesterday was the day. I dug out my very special set of knitting needles (from a woman I think of as an honorary grandmother) in order to find a set of size 5 dpns. (So great to be able to look up what needles I used on ravelry!)

And then I re-knit 15 or so rows, including the thumb-slot, and bound off, all while my dinner simmered away on the stove. The discerning eye can tell the old from the new sections, but after a bit of wear, and the gentle felting that happens to well-loved mitts, I think it’ll be hard to tell that anything was ever the matter with these mitts!

The dinner I spoke of (soon to be today’s lunch as well) was this potato-leek soup. Simple and delicious, all from farm food. I sprinkled some smoked paprika on top just before savoring this comforting bowl of soup. Can’t wait to heat up the leftovers!

And here’s Boh, sick of me putting the camera in his face and tempting him with dinner in order to get him to look at me. (He can be surprisingly — and adorably –stubborn.) I think he knows that we’re back to school today, and his routine is about to change for the worse. Shorter cozy reading sessions on the couch, more time alone at home…poor Boh. (Little does he know that once the semester is over, he’s getting a lake house! Thanks for all of your kind comments about that. It is wonderful to have that to look forward to, as this is going to be a crazy semester for me.)

Off to campus. (Sigh.)

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!

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!

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!