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Yup, it’s that time of year again. Nothing maudlin or startling to say except that I wouldn’t be 21 again for anything.
- This year I’ve continued to learn about bread-baking.
- I’ve really broken the habit of eating out – more importantly I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing my lunch (where’s the “old” derrick when I need him for encouragement? Oh right, he’s obsessing about food in general now. Just teasing Derrick – happy 4th blog birthday).
- I’ve learned how to make a pretty darn good mojito. From scratch.
- I’ve learned how to use a chain saw – scary but necessary.
- Got a new sewing machine that’s very fast and way cool to use.
- There are those new kittens, Archie and ‘Rasmus (only 6 mos old and on their way to huge!) and the older cats: reluctant-to-lead Deirdre and “could I have that water on the rocks please?” Gus. Why does a cat decide that ice cubes are good? Catnip dementia setting in? Anyway, hours of entertainment there.
- Planted my first veggies in years, picked lots of blackberries and enjoyed my flower gardens.
- I’ve done more reading. Right now I’m reading Thoreau! Walden!
- My assignment for the weekend is to undo some problem areas in my current quilt project. Figure out the facings for it too. Maybe make some more postcards for FFAC.
- Oh, and enjoy life and those I love and the weekend.
- And to look forward to another great year. And one with my own name attached!
Isn’t it fun when an idea – a good cause idea at that – catches on? Here’s the staff of the International Quilt Festival making postcards on company time. Now that’s my kind of job! Since the “boss”, Karey Bresenhan, is also honorary chairperson of the FiberArt For A Cause event, I thought it was great that she got her crew involved.
Today was round two of the tomato canning event at my house. Yesterday I did 9 quarts of “whole” tomatoes; today I did 8 quarts of “puree”. Why the quotes? Because whole tomatoes in this setting are really quarterd and pureed means that I put them through the kitchenaid’s grinder. And let me remind you what a tremendous mess THAT is! The directions should start with: “cover all nearby surfaces with a plastic tarp, and specifically, drape some food covering plastic over the exit area of the grinder such that whatever squirts out goes into the waiting container rather than across the room.”
at least I remembered to raise the level of the waiting container to minimize splashing there. But, all good, lots of tomatoes for next tomato-less season. Hope to do some more of that.
In the bread category, yesterday I tried to remember how to make pain au levain. Turned out ok, but not a lot of rise. I think it was too cool, honestly.
Today I made St. H’s Light Rye. The presence of big warm things is a good thing for making rye bread. In fact I may have done the unusual and over-risen this bread a bit, having mis-judged how warm the area over still-warm jars of tomato or still warm huge canning pots of water are. But it looks good and smells better and that’s what counts.
I’m officially done in the kitchen. Off to get some hand lotion and then do some quilting!
Just as I had rounded up all my huge pots, my canning pot, my foldup table and my jars for today’s project, the phone rang. Lo and behold – the voice in my ear was no other than online baking bud’ Fortune Elkin! I won’t spill the beans on her reason for calling but it was quite exciting and very sweet of her to call moi for my opinion.
Then it was back to getting those big pots all full of hot boiling water (except for the one full of cold water to shock the skins off those tomatoes). Canning tomatoes isn’t really hard work, but it takes awhile because of the prep – washing the jars, assembling the pots, bringing everything to a boil, dunking the tomatoes in boiling water and then cold, skinning them, cutting them and trimming where needed.
I decided to go with hot packing this time around which meant all the bits went into a big pot and boiled for 5 or so minutes (while the canner came up to speed too). Then it got put into the jars and into the canner for awhile. Now the first batch has started cooling (12 hours) and the couple of extra jars are in the canner.
Meanwhile I started my pizza dough. I also began a batch of pain au levain as a change from the ciabatta. I kept looking at the formula going – oh that’s right, no added yeast here. OK. Oh yeah, I remember autolyse. Oh yeah – shaggy mass. Got it.
Today was one of the worst days at work I can ever remember so I thought it would be a good day to recall my first martini.
Quite a number of years ago, in a job a few jobs ago, I had a terrible terrible day at work. Terrible. I also had a dreadful headache to go with it all.
Circumstances and some encouragement from a co-worker conspired to put me into the office, nay – inner sanctum, of all-powerfulness. The place where, it turned out, my co-workers went to get away from it all and hang with the bigwigs and to enjoy themselves.
I walked in with this less-senior guy and the office owner looked up and said – have a bit? to my co-worker and then looked at me.Â What have you?, I asked.Â Martini?
I’d never had one but I figured, what the heck! So out of a finely chilled container, drawn from a bottom desk drawer came a shaker, a beverage container and soon I had an icy beverage in my hand. I sipped. Heaven. I had no experience with gin then, but I appreciated the herbal overtones.Â And in a moment my headache had disappeared.Â In another moment or two the day didn’t seem so terrible.
While I still consider a martini to be serious stuff, the good news is that I find them to be just as therapeutic as that first sip.Â And so tonight – my headache has eased and my caring about anything work-related as well. Plus – olives – good for you and your heart and a nice salty snack to boot, eh?
It’s time for your yearly reminder:
People have tried and tried, but sex is not better than sweet corn. — Garrison Keillor
and while you’re at it, eat a real tomato or two. Summer’s short and corn and tomato season even shorter. Now go.
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