Monday, August 23, 2010

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Compote

A few weeks ago I had a bumper crop of fresh and juicy cherry tomatoes, so I decided to experiment one Saturday when Brian wasn't around and make myself some fresh chunky tomato sauce.  It turned out really well, but was so think it was less like a sauce and more like a jam or compote (yet still delicious on pasta).  So, I thought I would share my very basic and easy recipe. 

The only thing I would change would be to remove the skins from the cherry tomatoes by putting a little X in the bottom of them and dropping them into a pot of boiling water for maybe 30 seconds then tossing them in ice water.  After you do that, they should peel easily.  I didn't think of this beforehand, but some people may not like the skins in the sauce.  I got over that quite quickly however.  


2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half (can also use fresh regular sized tomatoes, chopped)
1 tbsp. Fresh Thyme, minced
1 tbsp. Fresh Oregano, minced
1/2 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

So, it's pretty simple, I just prepped all the produce and herbs, then sauteed the onion in the olive oil until the onions started turning translucent.  
Then I added the tomatoes and let them cook down a bit.

Next came the white wine, which poured in and  then let cook off for a few minutes to take the raw alcohol flavor out of it and let the flavors meld.  Then I added the balsamic and let that reduce a it as well.  Finally I put the fresh herbs in and stirred everything around right before serving it on top of angel hair pasta.
This was totally good.  I'm going to have to try it again sometime.  Sorry if my measurements are a bit weird.  I tend to just pour this in and dump that in.  Since it's not baking and don't have to worry about messing much up, I just do as a please and play with the seasonings as I go.  Oh, and you should put some salt and pepper in after you saute the onions, oops!

Friday, August 13, 2010

If you don't like cute mice, don't watch this video

About three weeks ago we opened our grill to find a nest of three newly born baby mine and their mama.  Being decidedly prone to the preservation of cute furry animals, we researched and found that baby mice wean in three weeks.  Thus it was decided that we would put the cover on the grill for three weeks and let the babies grow up as they are want to do.  Today was the three week point, so we cracked open the grill to see who was still at home.  Turns out there were two mice there.  The first one fairly flew out of the grill when exposed to us and the other, well.... reacted differently.  Truly, we fail at mouse wrangling.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Reasons to Love Bacon

1) It's bad for you, but not too bad for you to not have it once and a while.

2) Anything wrapped in it tastes like heaven. (Dates, scallops, shrimp, steak, you name it!)

3) You can even find vegan varieties for those of the anti-meat persuasion. (see Tastefully Simple's Bacon Bacon Dip mix)

4) It's &%$@# delicious!

5) When you have to get up early on a weekend, nothing makes it more worthwhile than a hot breakfast involving bacon.

6) Ummmm..... I can't think of any more reasons because the previous 5 are enough for me!

Ha! Take that !!!! You Horribly Written Lace Pattern!!!

Ok, I'll admit to the use of far too many exclamation marks in the title of this post.  But you just don't understand how incredibly happy I am right now.  I am victorious!  I finished a lace swatch.  Not just any lace swatch.... it's one that has been plaguing me for over a year.  

Last September I found a pattern on ravelry that was just gorgeous.... gorgeous, amazing, almost impossible to acquire and perfect for knitting to wear as part of my costume for King Richard's Faire.  The pattern was the Madeira lace variation on the Medieval Hooded Scarf found in the book 220 Projects for Cascade 220.  I had to shell out $30+ bucks to get this pattern book from an obscure seller on Amazon because it went out of print years ago, but that didn't matter because I HAD to make it.  

The coveted book arrived, I got some beautiful dark purple cascade 220 and I was ready to go.  Did I fail to mention I had never knit lace before? No big deal right?  Ha....ha ha ha.... sob.  Needless to say things didn't go well and I ripped what I had done out at least three times.  Finally I started getting serious and start really paying attention.  I counted every repeat twice, made sure everything was lining up, but still things were off.  So, in September of 2009 I put the scarf down in disgust.  I finally started to think all the problems weren't because of me and there just might be some blame to share with the pattern itself.

Two weeks ago I got the itch to knit for King Richard's Faire again.... and I thought about the hooded scarf.   /facepalm 

So I dragged out the yarn and book and decided to swatch the lace pattern to attempt to diagnose the problem(s) instead of casting on the 534 stitches for the entire project and deciding to have a cathartic burning of supplies when I inevitably make that fated mistake.  The swatch was a good idea.  I re-knit it a couple times and the leaves still didn't look right. I was doing this at knit night and some kind soul (I believe it was Heather) suggested I chart out the pattern so I could visualize it better and see any mistakes.  EUREKA!!! That did it!  I noticed 7+ mistakes just with the number of stitches in each row.  So, last night at knit night I started another swatch (#4,354 most likely) and made allowances for the mistakes as I saw fit.  
It started working....

This evening I finished my swatch, notating all the changes I made, and it looks beautiful.  I just about cried when it was done and all pinned out.  I still can't believe it.... so, hopefully I will have this beautiful hooded scarf to wear at Kind Richard's Faire this year.  I am going to be so proud of it :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Very Productive Weekend

This weekend I was faced with a startlingly large amount on free time.  So, for once I actually attempted to be useful and get some things done around here.  Of late I have been so full of sloth that I have only been able to come home and bury my face is a good book for the evening.  While the reading was lovely and still beckons, my other hobbies and those darn household chores have been waving madly at me in an attempt to get my attention.

I finally managed to block my Otono shawl I finshed a few weeks ago.  I had picked up some blocking wires and a set of interlocking blocking mats to make the chore a bit easier on me.  I was able to add a couple inches of length and width the the shawl which makes me really happy.

I was also able to wash, thwack and measure my most recently spun up yarn.  The fiber is Falkland in the Straw colorway from  I am very happy with how it came out and the Falkland spun up like a dream.  I chain plied it and there is about 150 yards, so I'll be able to make something fairly large out of it.

I also worked on the spinning I have on the wheel a bit.  This fiber is Polworth, again from and it is the Sherwood Forest colorway.  This fober doesn't draft as well, I think it has a much longer staple length than I tend to draft at, so it's harder to keep things even.  Nevertheless, I am enjoying the process and I love the color.

This is a picture of the raw dyed fiber I got in the mail.  Pretty huh?

Other than that, I did a lot of laundry and cleaning all weekend.  But that's stuff's boring.  I don't think you really want to hear the details of scrubbing our shower :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things To Bring on Vacation

  1. Camera - To document your trip, silly moment and allow you to blog about it all once you get home.
  2. iPhone - Your mobile internet playland.  I just adore being able to check my email or play on Facebook while on a sailboat.
  3. A Good Book - My love of reading is extreme, but time doesn't always allow for the obsession.  Vacation is a perfect time to catch up when you have a few spare moments.
  4. Sunscreen - for those who burn at just the thought of sun.
  5. Crafty Project - I can't leave home without one.... and believe me I've tried.
  6. Husband - Vacations are way better with him around :)
  7. Flip flops - I hate shoes.... so flip flops are the closest to being barefoot.
  8. Healthy Snacks - For going to the beach, on a sail or a late night craving when everything is already closed.
  9. Sense of Adventure - Try something new!  Go kayaking, biking or for a hike. 
  10. Spontenaity - Be open to all opportunities.  You never know when something interesting will fall in your path and you'll have to jump on it to take advantage.