saep lai.

That means “delicious” in Lao, and that’s exactly how I feel about last weekend. A dear friend came to visit (long-time readers may remember him from this post), and it was the perfect way to re-acquaint myself with home after my month on the road and the whirlwind that is the beginning of the semester.

D. arrived on Friday, after a long bus ride. I took him straight to a Lao feast, complete (though you can’t see it here) with Beer Lao I picked up from our local beverage store. Tam mak heung, nem khiaow, khao niaow, and a red curry fish dish with a Lao name I can’t remember. Saep lai.

On Saturday morning I made pancakes and we ate them on the porch!

And then we went to the farmers’ market and on a short walk to these waterfalls (seen here in D.’s hipster-view).

On Saturday night, I made a tomato tart with goat cheese and about a quart of farm cherry tomatoes. (This is the one with the dijon mustard slathered on the inside of the crust.) That salad is all farm veggies, too: red peppers, grated beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce. D. brought a growler of a delicious amber brew from his home.

On Sunday morning, we drove to a neighboring lake to go out for a fabulous brunch on the deck. Cheesy grits in homemade sausage gravy, corn beef hash with poached eggs in a dijon hollandaise, rosemary potatoes…so good. Then we visited a distillery and tasted brandies, bourbons, gin, and rye. I was too busy enjoying myself to remember to take any pictures there.

And then it was time for D. to catch his bus home. It was a full (and tasty) weekend!

I enjoyed another glass of beer from the growler D. brought, and prepped Monday morning’s class.

I also ate these roasted vegetables. The eggplant was particularly delicious, and a nice way to conclude a fantastic weekend. I also started another pinwheel blanket (also a wedding present). Pictures of that soon!

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back to life/back to reality.

You guys remember that song, right? Okay, hold on, I need to Google it. Soul 2 Soul, Back to Life (However Do You Want Me), big hit in 1989.

Anyway, this jam (isn’t that what we used to call them?) popped into my head when I was thinking about how the routines are starting up again all around me, but that I’m not really going back to school (get it?) this semester. Instead, I have a semester of dissertation research and writing ahead of me, without any teaching obligations. (I’ll be teaching again in the spring — this time, my very own course.)

So instead of a back to school photo, you get a back to life/back to reality photo. This one’s not blurry. And it counts as a stripe-study-in-action shot! (I’m not sure it is actually cold enough to wear this out of the house, but at this very second, it is about 52 degrees outside. And on my porch. So I’m going for it.)

I’ve also got some baked goods to share:

This is Deb’s raspberry buttermilk cake (I know I’ve linked to it before) — super simple, incredibly delicious. I might have eaten it for breakfast AND lunch yesterday. Might.

And last night, when I got home from yoga, I scurried to get this tomato tart (farm tomatoes, local goat cheese, mustard, honey, thyme from my yard, and pie crust) in the oven. It took longer than usual because I was using a pie crust from a batch I made over the weekend rather than the tart dough that this recipe calls for, so I was pretty hungry by the time it came out of the oven. Leftovers for breakfast!

mojo?

Have you seen mine? Because I’ve had a hard time finding it lately in the knitting/spinning/blogging department. (Also, the dissertation department.) But you know what? I’m newly resolved not to let it bother me. I’m sure it will come back; after all, this space is dear to me.

But enough of that. Want to see what I’ve been up to this week?

Swimming. (Suit drying on the porch.)

Eating. (More specifically, eating tomatoes: in tarts, broiled on bread with cheese, and straight from the cutting board.)

Picking flowers. (And putting them all over the house.)

Lounging with Boh.

And today? Well, today I’m taking Saturday seriously. I slept in, made pancakes, read for pleasure, and frolicked a bit with Boh. I even put on my swimsuit in order to encourage the sun to come out. See?

Still rainy, but it might clear up enough for me to take a quick dip.

I’m also macerating blueberries on the kitchen counter. Later today, they’ll become this blueberry crumble. (Berries courtesy of Laura.)

I don’t have any new pictures to share of my Whisper cardigan, but I have been knitting on it. Photographic evidence soon. Happy weekend!

beginning the bind-off.

This is going to take awhile, but boy, is it ever pretty! The knitted bind-off option for the hemlock ring involves a repeat that includes turning your work, and then knitting and purling into one stitch several times to create that lovely loop. Then you turn back and bind off those stitches, and continue on to the next grouping. Slow, but worth it, I think.

Also, last night we had a super easy, super delicious meal, completely inspired by this tomato tart over at inoakpark. I followed the recipe that K. links to, though I used slightly less butter in my crust, and didn’t need the additional tbsp of water. Also, I only slathered whole grain spicy mustard on half of the dough, as the boy is not a huge fan. I used mozzarella instead of goat cheese, fresh flat-leaf parsley for the herbs, and tucked a few stray rounds of zucchini into the gaps left by my tomato slices. The dough took less than ten minutes to make, and requires no resting time. Thirty minutes after that, this deliciousness came out of the oven. I’m not ashamed to say we polished off the entire tart. I will be making this again.