Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tomato Time and Babs Walker and I are Becoming Tight!

OMG!  My tomato jungle is going crazy.  It's producing so many tomatoes that I barely have time to knit.  Seriously, that's a scary thing.  To give you an idea, here are a few pictures.

This is the first pick.

Most of these guys were eaten in any number of salads and also given away to the neighbours, except for the roma tomatoes.  Those bad boys are MINE!
Aren't they beautiful?  Now some of you might wonder what the fuss is over tomatoes.  Well, when you live in the Pacific Northwest, you have a small window when you get fresh tomatoes.  Some years, it has been to cool to really get any tomatoes at all.  Those are very sad years indeed.

Anyway here is round two!

My hands were stained green from picking all these guys.  Now really, this was round three.  Round two happened while I was up in Seattle for the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat.  Jeff had one of our neighbours come over and have a tomato picking fest.  I'm actually kinda weird about my tomatoes.  I have a hard time parting with them.  My friend Erica never shares her tomatoes; so, I guess I'm okay.  Besides, if I didn't, I'd be canning these bad boys 24/7.

Now, I think I hear your brain asking, "What did you do with all of those tomatoes?"  Well, let my brain let you in on one of the easiest ways to process your summer tomatoes.

First, you will need these items.
An apocalypse of tomatoes, fresh basil, a sweet onion and, of course, garlic.

Now (OMG, you're going to die at how easy this is) get a big sheet pan, cut your tomatoes in half and set them cut side down in the pan.

Cut up that sweet onion and stuff it around all those tomatoes.
Take as much garlic as you want.  In my opinion, more is better because garlic is one of those things like bacon. It's amazing!

Scatter those love cloves in and around all those tomatoes and then go for the basil.

Do exactly the same thing with the basil.  You don't need to cut it up just tear off the leaves and stuff them in there too.  Throw the seeds and flowers in there too.  They taste just like the leaves and no one will know that they are there.

Now, drizzle all over with some nice olive oil.  I get my oil from a guy in Pensacola, Fla.  If  I remember correctly, his family owns this giant olive grove on the isle of Crete and they produce this oil.  It's really good for cooking and salad dressing.  It's about thirty bucks for three liters shipped to your door.  You can find him on Ebay, Shoreline Foods.  What???? your brain was talking.  No, I don't know him and I am not getting a kick back.  Although, free oil would be fantastic.

 After you have put a healthy dose of oil all over the goods, sprinkle the tomatoes all over with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Isn't is beautiful?  Now seriously, you haven't even broken a sweat making this have you?  

Okay, now pop the whole thing into a 400 degree oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the skins on the tomatoes are brown and puckered.

This is what you're looking for.   Mmmmmm, roasted tomato goodness.

When the tomatoes have cooled, pluck off the skins.  Some of them might stick a bit to the tomatoes.  Just squeeze out the pulp when this happens.

Okay, here it is. the black looking stuff is the basil.  Don't worry, it's supposed to look like that.  Now, get out your food processor and and scrape all of this into the bowl and pulse the mixture about seven to 10 times.  You want to blend the ingredients but still leave a little texture. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures at this point.)

And now you have some amazing fresh tomato sauce.  Here is mine all tucked away in the freezer waiting for a cold day in December.

Okay, now that I have gotten that out of my system, let's move on to Ms. Walker and all the fun that I'm having knitting up her stuff.

So, here we are on page 14.  This is the last of the missing installments.  Of course, my swatch is backwards from the pictures in the book.  The bottom section is Ripple Rib Stitch and the top one is Escalator Pattern.

Time to get down and dirty on these guys.  Let's start with Ripple Rib Stitch.  I wasn't wild about this at first but I think it has potential.  In its present form it's a pretty mediocre pattern; however, if you off set the diagonals at the point where they change direction you would add more interest.  Also, it might be fun to offset the the diagonals at the same point but keep them going in the same direction.  I'm adding that to my list of interesting things to do to Babs' patterns.

Now, onto Escalator Pattern.  I'm going to give my impression in four words, "Can you say yawn."  There you have it.  So, let's go back to the Ripple Rib Stitch

This is the back side.  Hmmm, I just heard your brain.  It's just like the front side!  I really like that when that happens.  Every time I come across a pattern that is reversible, my brain starts talking about cardigans.  For some reason, brain thinks that a reversible cardigan is what I should be knitting.  Well, just so you know, I have already purchased yarn for a cardigan.  Just don't tell my brain.  It will start hounding me to get busy creating the damn sweater.

Anyway, that's it for this installment.  I actually have to go and pluck the skins off of a batch of tomato sauce that came out of the oven whilst I was writing this.  YUMMM....


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