My dear friends,
Today marks another chilly January day. It's been bone-chillingly cold here in Columbus, and each dark morning and cold evening seems to mark one day further away from Summer. And yet, today somehow I'm reminded of Spring. Maybe it's the bright yellow wool I'm working on dyeing, or the taste of lemon I squeeze into my jar of water every morning. Maybe it's finishing the last of my canned sun-dried tomatoes from the Summer, and hoping that something sweet will come my way soon and carry me through to warmer months.
Earlier this week, I opened my mailbox to the most wonderful surprise... a seed catalog! Last year, I signed up to receive one, and I had completely forgotten until yesterday. I felt like a kid at Christmas time, circling my favorite toys. There are many herbs, greens, tomatoes, and dye plants in our future, and I'm so excited at the many other possibilities that Spring will bring; Graduation, camping, warm nights, and long dresses alongside bare toes, or at least toes covered in only one pair of socks...
Above image: My current WIP of the keyhole scarf by Northside Knit Co
In other News:
* I spent Winter break sewing, knitting, and cooking. I really enjoyed using premade patterns, and just getting to follow the directions to create some beautiful garments.
Part of me has felt overwhelmed by the process of creating my collection, and by the sheer amount of different work, (designing, sourcing fabrics, and yarns, patterning, dyeing) all before the actual creation of the garment. To be able to streamline the process a bit, and just focus on the sewing and knitting part has reminded me why I love creating, and it honestly felt like such a great way to relax. Below you can see me wearing my completed Harlene overalls!
* A few weeks ago, I started nannying for an 18th-month-old. I was reminded of the Wiggles and the importance of a morning walk. Main complaint: How much she loves the Baby Shark song.
* January Make-Believe... Inspired by a blog I love dearly, here are some objects and images I'm day-dreaming about...
In no particular order:
- 1940's knitted sweaters
- These Salter House hemp garden clogs that remind me of the green rubber, and red flannel lined garden clogs that my neighbor Cindy Hempe always had on her back porch.
-Beautiful glass jars for summer-made jams
- Leon mac and cheese aioli bites
- A handmade linen apron
- Knitted neck scarves. In particular this Misha and Puff one, and this knitting pattern by Northside Knit Co.
- San Marazano tomatoes and Flaky sea salt
Something I made this week:
The "Cupcake" tomato basil soup. Aka the soup of my childhood... I don't know who of you will remember the Minneapolis restaurant Cupcake. They were best known for their neatly decorated and cleverly named cupcakes. However, they also served a small lunch menu, which included a modest, yet unbelievable tomato basil soup. The soups rotated, and they didn't always make it the same. Depending on who was cooking the spice level would change. I'm not sure why I fell in love with it. But from time to time, my mom would take me on a special lunch date to cupcake to *fingers crossed* get their amazing soup.
Some of the highlights of this soup include:
- A mountain of parmesan cheese grated on top, causing your spoon to emerge from each scoop stringy and exciting.
- Deliciously sweet and creamy
- Almost too much pepper, and enough cayenne to leave your mouth just slightly tingly
- Served with crusty bread that had been baked early that morning.
Here is my rendition:
- 2 TB butter
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 Tsp salt
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 celery stalk diced (I didn't have any, but I think it would be a good addition here)
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 cups tomatoes* (I used about 3 Roma tomatoes and 4 larger tomatoes)
- 1 (8oz) can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 1/2 C chicken stock
- 1/4 C white wine
- 1/2 parmesan rind
- Basil (fresh is best, but I just used 2 Tsp basil paste from Aldi, you could also use dried)
- too much pepper
- cayenne to taste
- 1 Tsp chili flakes
1. Add the butter and olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, carrots, celery, and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 5-6 min stirring occasionally.
2. Add in the tomatoes and garlic. Cooking for an additional 2-3 min. 3. Add all spices and basil to the pot, tasting for flavor. 4. Add the stock and wine, lowering the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking for 30min-1hr. The longer you cook, the sweeter and thicker the soup. I simmered for closer to 1 hour. 3. About halfway through cooking, I used an immersion blender to blend the soup to almost smooth. You could also use a blender to blend 3/4 of the soup, and then return it to the pot. At this point add in the parmesan rind, and continue cooking.
* Because it's Winter, and tomatoes are less flavorful and less sweet right now. I actually added 1/4 cup brown sugar. But I think using cherry tomatoes, summer canned tomatoes, or an extra carrot would make that sugar irrelevant.
ENJOYING: My last semester of college!
RETURNING to: my morning yoga practice. I've been loosely following along with Adrienne
THINKING about: hustle cutlure and more specifically this podcast
INSPIRED by: This artist
WORKING on: Dyeing lots and lots fabric yardage - photo above of my indigo in process.
USING: This lotion! And feeling so cared for each time I do.
FEELING: energized for the semester ahead
I'll be peeping my nose into your inbox again soon, but until then, much love from me to you.
Your Nosy Neighbor,