i cannot be good

i know i said i wouldn’t (or that i shouldn’t), but i did and i know you knew that i would. i couldn’t help myself—just look at that fan-shaped bottom edge

it looks like a parade of ginko leaves—probably my all-time favorite leaf shape. i can’t bear that four other people are knitting it and not me. so this is the deal i made myself: i will work on it in class only, where i need an easy knit so i can listen to questions and such, or when i am just too tired to think about the much more complex project i have going.

ok then.

of course i also have this knit which i started in monday’s class.

my shortie orchid mitts. you can see i did not get a lot done . . i had to rip back about 6 rows when i realized that i had started the chevron lace cuff in the wrong place. i was working from memory instead of reading the pattern. which has been known to bite me in the butt before, so why do i do it? just a lack of attention and/or discipline, i guess.

today i woke up to showers in the morning so i jumped out of bed, all happy that i might be able to knit, instead of watering, for the two hours before work.
ooops.

i forgot about the approximately 20 pounds of ripe tomatoes in the kitchen. so while the coffee perked, i got to work.
i put a huge pot of tomatoes on to cook for puree

and then i cut about a gazillion pear tomatoes in half for drying in the oven

ok, maybe not a gazillion.
now, everyone always asks me how i dry the tomatoes. i got this idea from julia last year and it is the BEST cooking tip i’ve had in years.

see, we love to just stuff the freezer with as much summer produce as we can manage. but at some point we reach the limit. and drying is just a perfect space saver. just look at these pear tomatoes afterward

they shrink to at least half their size, and i can stuff them into zippered bags instead of bulky containers (if they make it that far . . i tend to eat them like candy, they are sooo good). but that’s NOT the best part.

the BEST part is that, when you take them out to throw a handful in a dish, the flavor hit they add is way, wa-a-ay, WAY beyond what the original animal could possible offer. i know what you are probably thinking . . . that i am straying toward exaggeration, right?

but i’m not!

just try it yourself. here’s how:

  • heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  • cut the small tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side up on a parchment-lined cooky sheet (placing them down will make them cook, and you want them to dry).
  • sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • place in the oven and let them dry for anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours, til they are quite dry but not leathery
  • cool and pack into freezer bags, or eat as a snack. OR pack them in olive oil and refrigerate, but be careful about spoilage. you can also use them right away in any or composed salad, cheese plate, or sandwich.

i do a similar thing with the roma tomatoes to make a concentrate that i use as a paste in sauce. i find that the puree from my garden tomatoes, while delicious, tends to make a watery sauce unless it is cooked forever, which is not good for the other ingredients in our vegetarian sauces. and canned paste is awful. so i stumbled on this quick method for making my own—it’s a LOT less time consuming than cooking paste on the stove.

  • heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • cut the roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side up on a parchment-lined cooky sheet (placing them down will make them cook, and you want them to dry).
  • sprinkle with salt and pepper and/or drizzle with olive oil (optional)
  • place in the oven and let them dry for 20-30 minutes
  • turn oven down to 250 degrees and let them continue to dry until the inside pulp is thickened but not dry (see photo below); do not allow these to get leathery on the outside
  • cool and then puree (they should be about the consistency of ketchup); spoon or pour into 8-ounce containers, then freeze

i use one 8-ounce container when i make a pot of sauce and it turns the sauce to just the right consistency—not too think or thin, and not too sweet.
i also use the concentrate for indian dishes where the somewhat-smoky intensity really contributes something special.

today was also a day of more arrivals. chris might have taken briar rose out of town for a show, but she still managed to send me more yarn. sigh. that woman . . . if you think that I’M an enabler, lemme tell you: i got nuthin’ on that one.

this is her newest yarn, a bamboo/merino blend in DK weight that she calls celebration.

they are all wily, these dyers. they think i don’t see through them, but i do. i know that they are tempting me with beautiful gray colors that make me weak in the knees.
they think that i think that they are innocently offering me presents. but i know better.
i know that i cannot say no. i know that i am addicted to chris’s yarn. so there.
ahem. excuse me while i shake of this head rush . . .

now, where was i?

oh yes, and then a package came from judy, too. now, i know how this appears, but believe me, this is different. it IS.
judy and i have been trying to hook up to do a project together since we met at rhinebeck last year. a year. we have tossed the idea around a few times but never acted on it for one reason or another.

but finally, FINALLY, we are going to do it. er, well in a couple of months we are. first i have to get the BSP out of the way as well as a few other smaller commitments. but come late october and i will be ready to dive into this:

on the left is judy’s sock yarn and on the right is her own merino/silk artisan blend which is custom spun for her shop alone from her fiber blends and specifications. let’s just look a bit closer at that scrumptious, chubby-cheeked stuff

the colorway for both is end of winter—ok, everybody together now—O.M.G.
we are SO going to be working with that yarn later in the fall. it has manSomething written all over it. i love that she really got the color of earth going on in there; mmm-mm.

she also sent me some hand-dyed alpaca/silk laceweight in her atlantic colorway

it really captures the feeling of the ocean in winter . .

ok, now, i’m feeling a little flushed and overexcited after all that. i think need to go sit with my knitting and calm down a bit.

40 Responses to “i cannot be good”

  1. Sue says:

    Partially drying tomatoes to make puree- what a great idea! Thanks!

  2. RiverCitySTL says:

    I don’t know what I want to eat first, the tomatoes or all the yummy yarn!

    Thanks for the great recipe for the dried tomatoes! Oh, and thanks for showing me yet more yarn I just HAVE to have!

  3. Marianne says:

    Don’t feel ashamed, I would have done the same with such a pretty yarn and pattern :-)
    And see, the recipes are finding there way through this blog after all, hehehe. I just love dried tomatoes !
    Judy’s yarns are such a delight, all of them !

  4. Tonia says:

    Hahaha I new you couldn’t resist. :)

  5. Jess says:

    Oh man… I think this is the first time I’ve said this about a knitting blog… but the tomatoes are better than the yarn. Maybe it’s because I’m hungry? lol! MUST get tomatoes in next year… MUST!

  6. Lynne E. says:

    What treats are in store for us! I love the “gingko leaf” edging–no one else has your talent for coming up with lovely edgings. I also love those “winter” colorways. Husband the tomato lover is going to want to dry tomatoes, too–thanks so much for including the instructions.

  7. Danielle says:

    I had a feeling you might not be able to avoid knitting your newest creation ;) I think she was more of a little lady about it, not pushy just ever so subtly calling to be knit. Maybe this one’s not a diva LOL.

    Ummmm, more tomatoey (if that’s a word) goodness! I think I may just have to give your drying method a whack. It sounds heavenly.

    Oh I just love that grayish yarn from briar rose, I’d love to make a sweater out of that. It almost has a purply hue to it maybe? Oh yarn, *sigh*.

  8. Kay says:

    The yarn is gorgeous. But what (why) are those rocks by your calendar? Curious minds…

  9. MzTallulah says:

    If you have an overabundance of tomatoes, and dried ones as well, I suggest you try this recipe for Chutney: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/smoky-tomato-chutney,1654,RC.html
    It’s unspeakably delicious.

  10. Vicki says:

    What can I say, firstly Of course you should! And it is beautiful. Secondly such gorgeous yarns, I want to come and play at your house. thirdly, thanks for the tomatoe tips! Enjoy the eating, the cooking and the knitting.

  11. Anne says:

    Judy (and her stuff) is soooooo nice. I love her colorways.

    Looks like you got your work cut out for you with the tomatoes. It’s this time of the year you sometimes wish the garden would give you just a 1-day break to catch up a bit, I think.

  12. stacey says:

    look at all those tomatoes!!!!!! I wish I knew about that drying trick last year….I have a few little green tomatoes on my plant, so I’m hoping they hurry up and get bigger. There is nothing like fresh off the vine tomatoes!

    love the new additions – the colors are just amazing!

  13. Mama Urchin says:

    We dry tomatoes too and then freeze them. My hubbo’s allergic to raw ones and we get a ton from the CSA.

  14. Mindie says:

    I only ever tried making plain sauce to store my home grown tomatoes before, never drying them first. Thanks for the tip definitely trying this, this year.

  15. Karen S says:

    ok, I’ll grant you this one… O.M.G!!!!! Such lovely, beautiful, wonderful, pretty… (believe me I have a lot of words just right, but unfortunately all in Danish) yarn!!! You are a very lucky woman ;)

    And those dried tomatoes look really tasty… will go no out in kitchen and eat a piece of fresh baked chocholate cake just to help my self get over all the nice things you’ve shown! (not bad for an excuse, eh?)

    X Karen

  16. nancy says:

    I knit my first pair of socks from Judy’s End of Winter colorway sock yarn… what a way to start a hobby! the color is terrific and the yarn has a great feel. the color screams for some good man-lace!

  17. Opal says:

    Re: working from memory, I always make the same mistake with patterns. I tend to skim through them and assume I know what I’m doing with them. This usually means I miss a vital part of said pattern, which is followed by some highly colorful language and a lovely excursion to the frog pond. I do this again and again. You’d think that both you and I would know better. Maybe we’ll both learn once the needles stop lying about their sizes.

    BTW, those tomatoes look divine and so does the yarn.

  18. Jess says:

    Thank you for the illustration of what you’re looking for when you dry the tomatoes – it’s very helpful!

    And yummy-looking!

  19. Rachel says:

    Hmmm, GREAT tips for the tomatoes! I tend to make my salsa a bit watery, but perhaps if I add my own tomato paste, that’ll thicken it right up! Thanks so much, and the pictures really help a lot too.

  20. Tabitha says:

    Love the new lace:)

    And, you are an enabler. I want that End of Winter sock yarn so badly that I’ve been staring at the picture all morning trying to justify buying it when I have too much to turn into socks already. It is perfect!

  21. Diana says:

    I’m very sure now that everything you knit is amazing. I come here for a nice surprise almost daily! The color of your ‘ginko leaves’ is wonderful! Can’t wait to see the ‘mansomething’ from the ocean in winter yarn. Those are favorite colors for me.
    I’m off to get some grape tomotoes for drying!

  22. Kate/Massachusetts says:

    Thanks for the tomato recipes! I will try them. I have always loved making roasted tomato sauce!

    Have you tried putting your cut tomatoes in a smoker? It is yummy! I will do this and freeze the smoked tomatoes in small batches. Adding a small crock of them to a pasta sauce really jazzes up the sauce. Using only smoked tomatoes to make a sauce is much too overpowering for me though!

  23. Debbie says:

    What did I tell you about those tomatoes? I drove a very long way, yesterday, for some fresh tomatoes, only to discover the lady with the fresh produce wouldn’t be there until Saturday!! NOOOO!

    I love the yarn. It’s beautiful. The design is beautiful. I’m glad you have no willpower when it comees to sharing yarn and designs.

  24. Kirsten says:

    Ah, I’m feeling a bit flushed after seeing all of that yarn p0rn myself!
    . . .and that fan shaped edging? You are killing me!!

  25. Carrie says:

    NO WAY, that stuff has ME written all over it! I LOVE Judy’s colors. Can’t wait to see what you do with it – whatever it is, it might have to go on my Christmas wish list.

  26. Maria says:

    The tomato drying recipe is perfect!
    Love your knitting, too!

  27. Kim says:

    Thanks for the tomato recipes! Do you peel the tomatoes that you intend for paste afterward, or just puree them in the skins?

  28. knitnana says:

    Ok. Now I’m REALLY jealous of those gorgeous tomatoes! yummmyyy…dried candy tomatoes!
    Can’t wait to see the ginko leaves develop!!
    (((hugs)))

  29. Stephanie says:

    I too love the dried tomatoes as snacks. I do them in the dehydrator though, still comes out tasty!

  30. Cheryl says:

    Ooh, those tomatoes look SO good. I’ll have to try that out, it looks easy enough!

  31. Sulafaye says:

    toooo much goodness! I’m going to try this with my tomatoes. (Grays get me every time too).

  32. Brenda says:

    Thanks for the methods for drying tomatoes!

    Love the fan edging! It does look like ginkgo leaves.

    You’ve been sent some lovely yarns! Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

  33. Mei says:

    Fresh veg and fruits are always great! Your shawls are always great and when it comes to yarn, I drool!!!!! (And am jealous! *sob*)

  34. Ronni says:

    Oh my, so many pretties! I’m totally looking forward to this next pattern. It looks lovely.

    And thanks for the drying tomatoes hint.

  35. I love grayed colors, love silk blends, and love tomatoes. Thanks for all the lovely entertainment.

  36. Wanda J says:

    Ah, I’ve been dreaming of Judy’s yarns for several months. I’m so close to caving in. :-) Tomatoes are a must dry for us. I’ve never had a problem with leaving the dried romas in olive oil in jars in our pantry. The ones destined for oil are dried thoroughly.

  37. Teyani says:

    so much to comment on!… I love ginkos too – and would never be able to put down that luscious pattern – and oh, btw, maybe you should consider locking the kitchen door, I’ll be by to raid your frig of those tomatoes in the very near future (big grins)

  38. BarbM says:

    Bounced to you sit from the Beefields KAL. The tomato idea rocks. Have just the source and the containers. Did you know that you can cook the fruit on the ginko trees? You peal away the rotting flesh and saute the centers. They are supposed to taste like melon. I’m going to give it a try. We have several blocks of them just up the street. Everything you knit is gorgeous. I am on a quest to find another set of cable needles today.Fell back to a Feather and Fan project to perfect lace skills and it is not worth it. should have just gone on to the next heavy duty lace project insted of making myself batty looking at the Bee Fields and Kiri shawl KALS.

  39. sogalitno says:

    OK, i give, what’s the pattern? LOVE the yarn!

  40. Wanda says:

    I dunno, how can you be good when that yarn is calling you like that? I love Judy’s dyeing skills, amazing. Both of those colors are just gorgeous.