Okay, first off... I just made tomato paste. But I'll get back to that.
Yesterday, since our nephew and his girlfriend (in their twenties) were coming over, I had to get my normal Saturday activities done early. Good thing Lily woke us up around 3:30am with some strange night terrors, huh? (This is totally uncharacteristic of her... She has "slept through the night" almost since birth...). So, I got up, started some bread, spent the morning chatting while the bread rose and then, when the bread was done and my chat buddy gone to bed, I put on my hoodie (cuz it was drizzling), packed my bags into my little market caddy and headed out to do my Saturday morning shopping. It was SO great to do it by myself. Just the walk there where I didn't have to constantly tell Ryan to hurry up or slow down or stop shuffling in the gravel or not to step in dog poop... *sigh* Can you tell I haven't been anywhere completely by myself (other than that time I saw the cardiologist, um, and we all know that doesn't count) since my Franco-American friend left to go back to the States. That's INSANE!!! It was FABULOUS to feel like a grown-up, and on my way to do grown-up shopping on top of it all. And armed with my new debit card and the power to go completely by myself. (Are you getting the message that it was nice to be alone? Cuz I'm not sure I'm expressing that clearly... Let me try again... IT ROCKED TO BE ALL BY MYSELF IN PUBLIC AND WITH PURCHASE POWER IN MY POCKET... That should be clearer.)
I stepped out of the metro, went to the ATM, got this week's market budget out in cash and set off to make my purchases. I got carrots, green beans, cauliflower, potatoes, leeks, basil, thyme, parsley, onions, tomatoes (yes, more tomatoes), a chicken and a half (cuz they didn't have any more big'ns ready to go) for lunch, cukes, eggs and goat cheese. I'm sure I left something out. I did it all in less than two hours (and that includes travel time) and spent less than Sam did last week. I'm magic *waves jazz hands*
I rushed home afterward, singing that Sarah Bareilles song, "Love Song" (can't get the damn thing out of my head because it's CONSTANTLY on the video channel... well, that and the fact that I bought the CD) and enjoying all the people staring at me for humming/singing in public, tee hee hee, while on the metro.
I got home, threw together that cool cuke, tomato, basil, apple salsa that I made a few weeks back, scooped it into artichoke rounds and got a gratin started. Good thing it was raining like mad at that point and our guests were late cuz it gave my gratin time to cook.
So, we had a great meal and super great conversation which I can't share here because I never know who's reading this thing and if my sister in law gets ahold of it and reads what I discussed with her kid, I'm not sure the kid will ever talk to me again, yo. Suffice it to say that it was a GREAT conversation which made us (them and me) very validated and connected and "right." And that's always good, right?
This morning, since we had a birthday party to go to (Sam is the godfather to about three or four kids... In France, it's tradition that the only gifts you really get come from your parents and your godparent, and well, Sam is this kid's godfather and hasn't given him any sort of gift since he was like three, so we felt compelled, now that he turned NINE today, to get him something and show up for his party).
But of COURSE, I've been meaning to do a few things all week. So, instead of sleeping in, I got up and blanched/froze most of the stuff I bought yesterday. Well, okay, not MOST, but the carrots, the cauliflower, the green beans and the herbs. THEN, the plums that Sam bought last week, I boiled them down into plum preserves. THEN, I took a cookie sheet, oiled it with olive oil, put chopped onions, garlic, basil, green pepper and salt and pepper on it and stuck it in the oven to roast. In the mean time, I peeled and seeded the tomatoes that Pepe gave me last weekend (because they were so ripe that they barely held together... and my recipe called for tomatoes that were that ripe). When the stuff on the cookie sheet was good and roasted (when the onions were clear), I put all the stuff together in a big pot and let it boil. It turned into a soupy mess. YAY!!!
When we got home from the birthday party (around 7... so that means seven hours after I left the soupy mess to "steep" on the stove), I strained the soupy mess and collected the juice and JUST the juice. Then, I let it boil down until it was TOMATO PASTE!!! And not that sugary bland stuff you get in a can either, folks. This stuff is good enough that I could put a couple of tablespoons into cooked pasta and not need any extra sauce. It is AMAZING. And it was SO easy and empowering... I needed a win, you know. After the yogurt fiascos and the not-so-rising bread lately (been cold and windy).
The plum preserves made me feel pretty good too (which is prepared similarly to the tomato paste--just boil the plums, a splash of water and some honey/blonde sugar down until it gets all thick and jammy).
And after all the activity, I'm exhausted (plus, well, it's after midnight here right now). So, I'm gonna go to bed and MAYBE tell the birthday story tomorrow (again, I never know who's reading and I can't be COMPLETELY honest cuz I don't wanna hurt feelin's and what not...We'll see what I can throw together). Y'all just be glad it's a short one for once, eh?