Saturday, September 17, 2016

It seems so long ago

It was just August, wasn't it? I mean like, yesterday, right? 
But somehow it is now the middle of September and I haven't blogged at all. 
Well, let's get caught up so that I can start posting in real time. There's been good stuff happening around here!
I was in California for 10 days which explains a lot of the absence.
I got to spend time with my (still) completely adorable nephew, but not enough of course. 
He is very interested in:
1. moving dirt from one pile to another
2. carrying rocks around 
3. loading up drawers of his toys and then dumping them out
4. pushing empty 5 gallonl buckets down the driveway 
5. the gardeners and 
6. chocolate pokey
While I was visiting he was still working out how to make a water bottle with a straw work. Lets just say there is a lot of backwash. He's a good veggie eater too, everything from spinach and kale, to poblano chiles and guacamole. 

We also visited the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo for a great origami exhibit.
I used to go here way back in the '90s to visit the Temporary Contemporary. I wouldn't  have recognized the neighborhood. It has completely changed. For the better - there is a Metro stop right across from the museum. LA is getting public transportation!? Who knew? 
We got an extra little treat because the museum was hosting a free exhibit of the Kubo and the Two Strings movie. I had seen the trailer and would never have guessed that it was a stop action film. The exhibit was of some of the sets and dolls of the main characters.  
What I enjoyed most were the planning boards for each character. Fabric, clothing, foot ware, and accessories were all explored in miniature. 
Here they recreated typical Japanese fabric pattern with a rubber stamp! Love it.  

I was also treated to a wonderful night at the Hollywood Bowl. Yoyo Ma's experimental music group the Silkroad brings together an incredibly diverse group of musicians who make fantastic music together. And I just love the Hollywood Bowl anyway. It was a lovely evening. 

And I got some more type. That is a beautiful little batch of 36pt Cooper.  

The return to Philadelphia was tough. It was a hot hot hot summer and humid as "walking into a dog's mouth" was the best description I heard. And just as gross too. I can't remember the last time I had to have my air conditioners on for so long. 

Of course in all of that heat I decided I needed to try to make ketchup.
 My farm share has been as abundant as ever. The week before I left I received quite a lot of tomatoes, plus several from my garden. I also happen to have a cookbook in the lab that is in need of conserving with no less than 5 ketchup recipes. I used those and several I found online to invent my own thing. I cooked it up and canned it before I left for California. 
When I came back I had a few days off so I opened it all back up and cooked it down to the right consistency on the stove for ten hours. yes. ten.
 Yes. that's crazy. However, the canning and boiling things down later plan isn't so dumb. I think I'll make another batch and can it now, then come February when I need 10 hours of heat in my kitchen, I can open the cans and boil it down then.
How did it turn out? Meh - not so great. It's fine. It certainly isn't as good as Heinz even though it is more natural. But I don't have the right flavors yet. Close - but not quite. I think this is too sweet, it needs more zing. I'll keep trying.