I have lots of summer memories – great ones that I’d like to share.
Frolicking dogs on the beach.
And this one…
Saturday’s Tomato harvest – the small yellow ones are the lemon pear tomatoes, the small red ones are the cherry tomatoes, the two green and yellow striped ones toward the back are the Green Zebra, and the orangish one at the front right is the Mr. Stripey (but without stripes).
Plus this…one of these days, Brenda Chin, we ARE going kayaking. This is a promise! My coast or yours, doesn’t matter.
Kayaks, and the garden. Two of my favorite things…
And I can’t forget this! The little dog would curl around the man, then trot out to the end of the kayak, then back to the man – but he was a real good little sea doggie.
Just taking the dog for a paddle…lol!
I really hate to say goodbye to summer, so I’m not going to. Especially since I believe we’ll get hot temps into October.
And one of my most favorite memories from this summer. The seal.
Isn’t he gorgeous?
As August winds down and September looms, may the memories you cherish implant themselves into your heart.
From me to you, with love.
Until next time, be good to one another!
…Leads to Dried Tomatoes
At least, at my house this weekend, it did! There are, after all, only so many tomato salads you can eat without getting burnout. I’m not thrilled with canning in this heat, and while it may seem that having the oven on in the heat is the same as canning, let me say that an oven at 250 degrees is not as bad as bending over a hot, boiling pot of tomatoes and canning water.
So – dried tomatoes.
Fresh tomatoes, still warm from the sun. Picked 8/25/13.
I looked for recipes online, but a lot of them seemed like a lot of work. Well, okay – they called for scraping out seeds and pulp, leaving just the rind and the flesh attached. I like my dried tomatoes with heft, and I didn’t want to do the scraping. So I kept looking for a recipe that would suit me.
The sun-dried tomato recipe looked interesting, but I didn’t have screens I could use, didn’t want to worry about bugs, and didn’t want to be drying tomatoes all week. I had just the weekend.
Martha Stewart to the Rescue!
I found the recipe I was looking for at a Martha Stewart site. Not only did it explain how to make the tomatoes, but it also showed how to store them – in a jar, with olive oil and herbs. (I didn’t have any fresh basil, though – mine is all too little. So I used dried basil.)
So, I picked tomatoes, washed them, dried them, cut them in half (large cherry tomatoes, mostly, and then lots of tiny cherry tomatoes). Then I sprinkled sugar, dried basil, pepper and salt over them, popped them in the oven, and let them do their drying-out thing.
Ready for the oven! These are the bigger tomatoes, not the cherry tomatoes. Pretty, aren’t they?
As the afternoon went on, my house started smelling like yummy, professionally-made tomato soup. Rich and meaty and tomatoey – oh my! Totally delightful. After several hours – 5 or 6, I don’t remember – I took the trays out. They were browned on the edges, but ooh – tasted like a blast of tomato in the mouth and a little crunchy. Totally addicting. I believe the hubs ate a full quarter of the smaller cherry tomatoes that I’d done.
Not as pretty afterwards…I decided I’ll never dry the bright green tomatoes again. Red is so much prettier! These are sliced, by the way, not halved.
I did two – or heck, maybe three? – batches yesterday, and I’ve done one batch so far today (with the other batch still in the oven). I’ve got four jars of tomatoes put up, with more to come. And LOTS more tomatoes still on the vine!
Baby tomatoes in pint jar, waiting for its fellows.
Considering how expensive sun-dried tomatoes are in the store, I think I know what I’ll be doing every summer that we grow tomatoes.
On one of the sites I checked on yesterday (I think it was the Martha site, not sure) a commenter said they let the tomatoes cool, then froze them on the tray singly before putting the frozen tomatoes in a zip lock baggie. She said they were great to use in stews and sauces (plus you don’t get the oily taste if that’s not what you want). But the hubs wanted that olive oil. I used a Mediterranean mixed olive oil that’s available at Costco – we buy it by the gallon I think, so I have a lot of it, and it’s not super expensive. But I’m willing to bet that after several months, the oil will taste divine, with tomato, pepper, and basil flavors. A terrific base for a salad dressing.
My jars of tomatoes. I’ll be getting two more jars done tonight before I sleep.
But now, after so many dried tomatoes, I feel the need for something fresh. Like a tomato tart. So as the sun goes down, I’m off to the store for some puff pastry – because that’s something I doubt I’ll ever have the patience to make at home.
Do you like sun-dried tomatoes? Have you ever made your own? What is the most yummy thing you have ever made with tomatoes?
Until next time, cheers – and be good to one another!
The lovely wahine, Jill Marie Landis
I met the award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance and mystery novels, Jill Marie Landis, almost ten years ago, just the once. I doubt she remembers me, but she did me a kindness I have never forgotten.
She spoke to the Los Angeles Romance Authors in 2004; I’d been writing for a grand total of three years at that point. I’d come close with Harlequin, but had gotten rejected. Three times. Always with an offer to resubmit something else, but still. Rejected. So I was feeling very down.
I’m sure I have my notes from her talk that meeting – I keep all my notebooks (not in very good order, but there you go). But it wasn’t her talk that touched me, per se. Afterwards, she was mobbed (we were at our meeting place in Barnes and Noble in Sherman Oaks). I waited until almost everyone was gone, and finally approached her with tears in my eyes. I don’t remember what I said at that point, but she let me cry on her shoulder and she told me to not give up, to keep at it.
I bought her book, Lover’s Lane, went home and read it and a month or so later (since I’m guessing she had a spot in the front where you could write to her if you wanted), I wrote her a note telling her how much I enjoyed the book. I must have thanked her for the words of encouragement as well, and also bemoaned my lack of success in writing for Harlequin (again), because she sent me a lovely card back.
She didn’t tell me I had a lot more writing (or rewriting) to do. She didn’t tell me I hadn’t put in my time, to work harder and write more. No. She told me that, maybe, I’d enjoy writing bigger books, and maybe I should try one. “Stretch that story out – add layers – enjoy.” Enjoy. What a concept!
Jill also said the main thing was to find the joy in writing again – and that “we all get this way”.
I’ve kept that card up, with her writing showing, on my bulletin board since the day I received it. When I’ve been discouraged, I glanced at it and took her wisdom to heart – maybe I needed to try something different. Find the joy in writing again.
It’s advice I go back to, time and time again.
Now, being kind, she said to keep in touch and let her know how it’s going. She even left me her email address – but I was shy (I can TOO be shy!), too star-struck to take her up on her offer.
Today, as I was cleaning up my office, I panicked to realize her card was no longer on my bulletin board. I finally found it, layered between letters from my great aunt and my grandmother to my mother, all dated 1966. I, of course, had put it with items that meant a lot to me.
I shall re-pin that card on my bulletin board for encouragement. For courage. And to remind myself that when talking to new authors, it never hurts to be encouraging rather than critical. I’ve developed a very critical mind (due in main to the company I kept in my late teens – early 20s) and I need to learn that criticism is rarely wanted, or needed, unless asked for. That a kind word at the right time can be the fertilizer that makes people blossom.
Jill Marie Landis is Awesome. And I owe her a lot. So go buy her books.
Thanks for stopping by! What good book have you read lately?