a lifetime of tomatoes, passing it on

We had another big harvest today and put these aside for handing out to friends.

We had an impromptu tasting:  Big Rainbow on the left with Kellogg's Breakfast at the top.  The reds are Giant Belgium, Momotoro, Brandywine and the mahogany colored one is a Black Krim.  We never can decide on the best, and proclaim them all winnners!

The rest went into roasters for making tomato sauce.  I had some difficulty squeezing 5 pans into my oven, but I did manage, just.  I always have onions to pick and had one red bell pepper ready to harvest so that went in too.  I managed to find the last head of garlic hiding behind some green beans and also added two summer squash that needed picking.  There's always fresh basil, oregano and rosemary to add.  Then salt, pepper, a few shakes of dried hot pepper flakes and a good douse of olive oil to each pan and they are good to go.  I put in all colors of tomatoes together and my sauce always comes out red! 

Beautifully roasted.

Whirl in a processor.

Strain out the seeds and skins.


It's another harvest day at the Knitionary tomato farm.  Sigh.  Today was about 50 pounds.  We had a last minute tomato tasting, saved the prettiest for handing out and the rest went into the oven for roasting for roasted tomato sauce.  This is our summer routine we do twice weekly, with fresh picks in between for the daily fresh slicers.

Last weekend we made tomato sauce with our granddaughter.  She started out in the garden helping papa with the harvest.  She loved the whole process, and I think it's quite fun myself, turning beautiful home grown fruit/vegetable/whatever! into gorgeous tomato sauce.  While most of it went into the freezer, we did make some quick tomato soup by heating up some tomato sauce, adding a little chicken stock, hot milk (make sure it's hot when you add it so it won't separate), salt and pepper and cooked rice, (we prefer wild rice).  She had 3 servings and asked to take some frozen tomato sauce home with her so she could make tomato soup at home.  She also requested some homemade spaghetti sauce on her next visit and think we'll make it together.  As the tomatoes were roasting Annie kept saying, "The kitchen SMELLS SO GOOD!"  My heart swelled, I loved that we're making memories.  I told her my granddad was a commercial tomato farmer when I was a girl and tomatoes were a big part of my childhood memories; cold chilly mornings in his Ford truck and hot sun-burnt days in the fields with rows upon rows of tomatoes as far as I could see.  We'd visit each week and always take a few lugs home where my mom and her girlfriends would spend a day laughing in the kitchen making gallons of ketchup and tomato juice to share.  It doesn't take much to conjure up those pictures in my mind.

I've updated my homemade roasted tomato sauce recipe with step by step pictures.

I'll be back tomorrow with a winner for the giveaway.
If you haven't entered, there's still time!

Happy Summer!  


Rowan Mag 56 and a giveaway

(Edited 8/3, this giveaway is closed and a winner was chosen.)  Rowan Magazine 56, Fall/Winter, I owned one and I won one.  I don't need two so it's time for a giveaway!

But first, let me give you a peek at some of my favorite patterns.

The magazine has several chapters.  My favorite chapter is always the Essentials that features the basic shapes of the season in simpler designs that are easier to knit and easier to wear.  In my knitting dreams I would make every one of the following:

Drama is designed by Marin Storey, is knit in 4 ply.  I love the split rib.

When I won the pattern book, I also won the yarn to make Ballad by Sarah Hatton.  Knit in the fabulous Kid Classic, I have it in white and cannot wait to cast on.  Have you tried Kid Classic?  It's a glamorous work horse of a yarn.

I have ordered the yarn to make Poetry by Marie Wallin, also knit in Kid Classic.

Look at the back, I love it when the back details are as pretty as the front.

In my stash I have some Angora Haze that I have singled out for Rhyme by Grace Melville.

And if I had all the knitting time in the world I would make the elegant Stanza by Sarah Hatton.  Knit in the new Rowan Mohair Haze, this would turn into a wardrobe staple.

The Wilderness chapter is filled with rugged cables and fairisle.  This chapter has perhaps the most beautiful knits in the magazine.  The likelihood of me knitting any of these?  Nil.  Only for lack of skill, not for lack of loving.  But if this is your knitting style, oh my, you are in luck.

There are some great ones for men in Mag 56.  Ordie by Martin Storey, fairisle knit in tweed.

Roan by Martin Storey, knit in Rowan Tweed and Colorspun.  The picture speaks for itself.

See, I told you there were a lot of great designs for men.  Craggie by Marie Wallin in Cocoon.

Ashie by Lisa Richardson, what a stunner in Fine Tweed.

The Brach Cape might just be may fav from the mag.  Knit in Cocoon and Frost and designed by Lisa Richardson.  I saw this at the mill and it's stunning in person.

Feminine and delicate Moraig by Marie Wallin knit in Fine Tweed.
I saw Carlochy at the mill.  Oh my!  Amazing plaid in Felted Tweed Aran and Frost.  Lisa Richardson.

Incredible colorwork in the great Felted Tweed.  I love the shape of Heilen by Lisa Richardson.

Next is the Craftwork section with knits inspired by the innovative Bauhaus arts and crafts movement between the first and second world wars.

Love the shape and would not mind knitting a few miles of the fabulous Felted Tweed  Franziska by Galoma Carroll.

Young and fresh Gisela by Gemma Atkinson knit in the awesome Kidsilk Haze.

Beautiful texture and colors using the new Mohair Haze.  Isolde Wrap by Gemma Atkinson.

This was a favorite at the mill and I think we'll be seeing a lot of these.  Easy to wear Ulrika by Lisa Richardson knit in Kidsilk Haze and Fine Art.

Rowan Magazine 56 has all the above patterns and more, I'm just showing a few of my favorites.  If you'd like to win a copy, I'll make it pretty easy for ya.  Just be a follower of Knitionary, leave a comment and tell me what you'd make first, and that's it, you're in.  But do make sure you leave me your contact info, like your Rav ID or whatever.  If you win I need to know how to contact you!

For a second chance, like the Knitionary Facebook page and leave a comment under the giveaway post.  I'll leave this open until the end of the week.  Best of luck to you!


and then the party

And so our summer party is done and gone.  It was a great success and now we've put everything back in it's place, it's nice to look out at a clean garden through clean windows.  All the work the week before will be enjoyed by us for at least a few more weeks!

I know I said I'd come back and share my day by day party preps but as you can imagine there was little time for blogging.  Thursday was our big day of grocery shopping, window washing, furniture washing and arranging, baking and cooking.  Friday morning I arranged the flowers and chilled the wine and beer then spent the afternoon knitting and trying to stay cool.  It was the hottest day of the year, 90 F, ugh.  Thank heavens it cooled off by party time, but still I was melting.  I absolutely hate hot weather.  At 4 we started to feel the promise of a cool breeze so I set the tables, showered, painted my nails and poured us each a glass of wine and waited for the first guests to arrive.  Belle fete!


Veggies and chips with dip
 Crabby Bites



Over-sized burgundy Canna leaves make a long lasting dramatic dash to the dining room.

My husband singled out the biggest and best tomatoes for slicing.  The others were handed out as party favors.
In late spring I planted  Chianti, a pollenless burgundy sunflower, just in case we would have a summer party.

Over the years I've collected a good supply of Le Jacquard linens.  They are so easy care and I never tire of them.

I made this bunting last spring.  I meant to hang it outdoors for the party but couldn't, for the life of me, find it anywhere.  I was able to find a few odd pieces stuffed in a drawer so I draped them around a few of the chairs. 

The bar is mostly serve yourself.  We try to serve the first drinks, but thankfully our guests aren't shy about refilling.  My glasses are these from Cost Plus.  I have 12 of the Chardonnay and 12 of the Bordeaux.  They are an excellent entertaining investment.  They are well priced, sturdy and beautiful and dishwasher safe.  Save the boxes they come in for storage.

Four friends and I each purchased a set of these porcelain plates from Cost Plus a few years ago.  They are borrowed back and forth and are perfect for entertaining.  At $25 for the set of 12 and holder, they are a bargain.  I have the dessert set too.

A party gives me a good excuse to wash down the greenhouse.

After all is said and done, I have a few post party helpful hints.  

~ Count your silverware before you take out the trash.  Don't ask me how I know to do this.

~ Put at least one load in the dishwasher before you go to bed.

~ If you can't wash the platters and pots and pans before you go to bed, like if you are absolutely too pooped, then at least start them soaking.

~ Don't let the stains set!  Pre-spot your linens, give them a shake for crumbs and put them in the washing machine.  They'll be fine until morning when you can pop them in the dryer.  Then mine go right into the ironing basket where they can wait until I'm in the mood, and yes, sometimes I am in the mood to iron!  I actually don't mind it.

~ Get rid of all the evidence.  Put the booze bottles in the recycling right away.  It's horrible to wake up to an army of empty wine bottles.

~ View the party preparations here.

Coming up next are knitting posts and a nice giveaway.
I'm off to knit and maybe take a wee nap.


Linked to Creative Country Mom