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!