cheese by night (or This Week In My Kitchen, minus the hopping)

cheeeeese

Thank goodness, we finally have a batch of cheese that is not palloumi (what we call our kinda sorta paneer/halloumi hybrid that keeps happening by accident). It’s just delicious, soft goat cheese. Simple. Not perfect. But hey, pretty darn good, anyway.

thecheeseweb

It’s the nighttime routine these days: kid goes to bed, we (he) make cheese or some sort of ferment from our CSA pick up. This week, it’s a bread and butter pickle, but I’m trying a new method.

pickles

Ferment first, with just salt and pickling spices, and then jar it up, replacing the brine with a 50/50 solution of raw honey and apple cider vinegar. After a week or so in the fridge on a slower ferment, they should be ready to eat. Hopefully, this will result in pickles less cloyingly sweet, with the added bonus of not inhibiting fermentation with the raw honey. Stay tuned…

pesto

Aaaaaaaand, I might finally be done with the pesto. Maybe. We lost all of our basil plants, so I’ve had to buy basil from the market. Usually, our crop is ridiculously robust, but the plants all turned brown and crispy before getting productive. This time of year, though, it’s cheap enough at the farmer’s market that I easily filled three ice cube trays with concentrated pesto (I’ll add the parm and more oil when I thaw for use) with a $9 bouquet of six bunches.

Heather’s blog hop isn’t hopping this week, but you know, my kitchen just doesn’t stop.

What’s happening in your kitchen?

late summer

boyweb

river swim

the coolness of yellow painted lines on coal-hot pavement

a red leaf

maybe two, but we pretend not to see them

not yet

one more late morning with no place to be

yes

and one more afternoon to stop and appreciate the randomness of bales in a field

bales

Yarn Along

knitting

Whew, haven’t played this game in a while.

Joining Ginny of Small Things and her sweet Yarn Along, here’s what I have going on in the reading and knitting department this week: a copy of Watership Down that my mum sent me, randomly, in a care package from the home land. It has the flawless, flowing script of her signature in the upper right corner of the front page, and it just so happens that I’ve never read this book, so it’s a Very Nice Thing all around. I happen to be enjoying it very much.

I am also beginning to enjoy my Turmeric Sweater after a brief falling out. Somehow, tinking back 370+ stitches takes about ten times longer than knitting them, but now, the sleeves are separated and the going is simple and steady. The yarn was dyed by the fabulous Adrian of Knittink, and the colorful fabric growing in my hands is playful and happy-making. It’s a nice, seasonal transition piece that will warm me up for the next project, for which I’ll be leading a Knit-Along for the Wonderland Yarns Ravelry group (if you didn’t know, I’m the fiber division at Wonderland/Frabjous Fibers, which is why The Spun Monkey has taken a bit of a back seat).

Even though TSM has been on the backburner, there are several things of note coming up:

On September 5th, I’m teaching a class at Fiber College of Maine called Spinning Your Story. There’s a plethora of amazing workshops, and the whole event is sure to be a blast, so come check it out if you’re near!

On September 6th, and for the rest of the month of September, my work will be on display with other talented area artists at the Crowell Gallery in the Moore Free Library of Newfane, VT for the Windham County Sampler of Weavers and Felters exhibit.

On November 1st-2nd, I’ll be repping the aforementioned fantastically awesome Adrian of Knittink at the Fiber Festival of New England. I’ll have some Spun Monkey goodies there, too, but if you’re worried that she moved away and took Knittink with her, I’ll be ensuring her presence at the FFNE, don’t you fret!

Also, I’ll be scheduling some classes in felting and spinning at Madison Wool this fall, so stay tuned for that.

Heh. Well, that almost looks like a schedule of events! Whew.

Pick a Color, Any Color

my post on Luminous Traces Collective this week…

studiobird

I had something completely different in mind…a hue lively and bright, to help me pretend summer has not yet begun its exit while my tomatoes are still young and green (hint, hint)…but then, this guy paid a visit to my workplace and changed everything.

I spend so many of my waking hours adding color to whiteness, that it only seemed fitting and, perhaps, necessary, to celebrate a blank canvas.

And then we dyed him teal. KIDDING.

Anyway, full set of images here.

in celebration of curvilinear shapes

Because, why not?

beetweb

I didn’t realize when we’d planted “cylindra” beets that they would actually grow into a cylindrical shape rather than a sphere. I had been wondering what was wrong with them until C reminded me of the name. Oooohhhhhh, right. Of course. Ahem.

lilyweb

The anthers on this thing are unbelievable.*

btw, that beet is the farthest I got with kitchen photos, so no blog hop for me. I thought our schedule was nuts last week, but just getting dinner on the table every night this week could be interpreted as divine intervention. Amazing things happened even though I was exhausted and didn’t bother to plan..the sorts of delicious, serendipitous Throwing Together of Things that I couldn’t repeat if I tried, and if I made an attempt to record a recipe, no one would believe me, anyway. I will just say this: beautiful things can happen with the Chevre That Wasn’t.

*How often do you get to say that?

the deep well

pathweb

This is the well-worn path between our house and our neighbor’s house. And still, sometimes I forget that I am part of a community. Sometimes, I forget that I am loved unconditionally by my family. Sometimes, I forget that our small trials are not the end of all things. Sometimes, I forget that I have something to offer in this world that can be such a damned overwhelming place to live in.

The forgetting is usually fleeting, but there have been a few times I’ve fallen in the well. I haven’t stayed terribly long there, compared to some, but I know its darkness, and the trip to the bottom comes without warning. In the well, you don’t see the hands reaching down, and you don’t hear the faint, distant voices that float down to you from the top. In the pitch-black at the bottom of the well, you are utterly alone, and there is no hope for a way out.

I had written a looooong post about how my stone cold sober, always and forever unintentionally Straight Edge self could also get sucked into the abyss, repeatedly since I was a teenager, and how it’s terrifying until you don’t even care that the dark is scary, and how shitty I think it is to use words like “selfish” when describing victims of suicide (victims, yes…and if you use the word “selfish” or “cowardly,” please read this), and about how I once did my art thesis on depression and eating disorders and no one commented but to say “nice work” except for one of my instructors who opened up about his wife and her similar experiences because people are afraid to look the Darkness in the eye and to really talk about it. But, I erased it.

Instead, I’ll just say that I only wish that every time it happened to me, I came through with a “fear-proof exoskeleton”:sad5alt4

From: Hyperbole and a Half, Adventures in Depression

I’d like to think it’s not a sugar high, and that perhaps I could encourage exoskeletal growth with goat kefir smoothies and time spent in the garden.

Peace.

This Week in My Kitchen :: Blog Hop

Another awkward summer week of limited childcare, evening shifts, and general overwhelm, so I really have to give myself (and C, for his part) a small pat on the back for somehow managing to keep us all fed (and photographed to join Heather for This Week in My Kitchen blog hop):

kitchen2

Smoothies are the staple around here, especially in the warmer months. We have so much kefir now that I have to keep up on the culture every day, and prefer to dress it up rather than drink it straight. I keep it simple, and just throw bananas, berries (still using up frozen from last year’s picking!), and sometimes nut butter, coconut oil, and/or flax. The extra gets poured into popsicle molds for cool probiotic treats anytime.

kitchen3

So, the oven is broken. Again. It needs a new, expensive part, so I’m not sure how long it will be, but if I can get my hands on a cast iron pizza pan, then my whole world will change. Because, really, my first thought was…but pie season has only just begun! As long as the grill holds out, we may make it through just fine. With pie.

kitchen1

No kitchen post would be complete without sharing whatever wound up in a jar this week. Our lemon balm patch is diminishing…weird, I know, but there it is. I was only able to harvest just enough for one batch of our new (since last year) family favorite, Honey Lemon Balm Jelly, but no more for drying. Although Heather says this “isn’t really the kind of jelly one would slather between two slices of bread with some peanut butter,” that is our preferred way to use it! Of course, it’s wonderful with soft cheese on crackers, especially a tangy chevre, but for school lunches and on-the-go snacks, cheeses never fare well (for us). If you make this, please do give it a try with nut butter, also! The sweetness is subtle and the herbal bouquet soothing. It’s like delicious tea that you can spread. I’m encouraged now to try it with other teas, like earl grey…anything that wouldn’t be too weird with lemon juice.

What’s happening in your kitchen?