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August 26, 2009

I knit on Liesl for almost 2 hours Monday night, and still didn’t run out of the first ball of yarn.  I think there’s only about another two rows’ worth of yarn left.  I fully intended to polish it off last night, but then I didn’t.

No real reason, other than I just.  didn’t.  feel.  like.  it.

So there.

I tried it on when I’d stopped knitting Monday night, and it’s a couple of inches past the armholes.  Methinks that’s pretty impressive for a single ball of yarn.

Since I only have one other ball of this yarn, I decided I’m going to knit the body until it’s as long as my Whisper is, then take the remaining yarn, divide it in half, and use one half for each sleeve – when it’s gone, it’s gone.

I’ll probably knit some tonight, at least to finish that first ball of yarn.

The girls are coming over for dinner tomorrow, so with any luck I’ll get Veronica to take a couple of in-progress photos.  Look for those Friday, I guess.

In other news, I’ve been expanding my summer cooking horizon beyond meat + grill = dinner.  I’ve been getting my inspiration from the Pioneer Woman (it seems that everyone is lately), and have tried a couple of her recipes so far.  And bookmarked several others.

On Sunday, despite the fact that it was about 9800 degrees with 97% humidity, I slaved over a hot stove for about a half-hour.  Not even for Sunday dinner, mind you; for Monday night dinner.

God knows I’m not usually this organized.  But Monday I was supposed to be going to my friends’ monthly supper club (I didn’t actually get there, but that’s another story), so I made my portion of the meal in advance.  And even though I didn’t attend, I sent the food along nonetheless.

The other thing I did on Sunday was poach a couple of chicken breasts, for a riff on TPW’s Panzanella.  Which was supposed to be Tuesday’s dinner, but turned out we ate it Monday.  And as it turns out, the chicken may not have been completely necessary after all.

Panzanella is a great, simple, elegant dish.   It basically means “stale bread”, which happens to be the main ingredient, although TPW used pita chips in hers; I’ll give that a go next time.

So, here are the guidelines for my Panzanella – “guidelines” rather than “recipe” because it’s totally open to interpretation.

Summertime Panzanella

half a loaf of day or two old bread or rolls (I used 3 deli-style rolls)
1 pound poached chicken breasts, cooled and cubed (completely optional)
5-8 ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 red onion
couple of fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bread into thick slices and toast on Light, just to dry them out a bit more.  Then tear the bread into bite-size pieces; no need for precision.

Chop the tomatoes into about a 1-inch dice, and finely chop the onion.  Tear the basil leaves into small pieces.

Combine the chicken, bread, tomatoes, onion, basil and parmesan in a bowl; toss to combine.

Whisk the oil and vinegar together and pour over the contents of the bowl; add salt and pepper to taste and toss again.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

Larry, the Peep, and I each had two bowlfuls.  The small amount of leftovers from dinner were perfect for lunch the next day; I was worried the bread would be too too soggy, but it wasn’t at all.

I could imagine adding red peppers (roasted or fresh), or some small bits of mozzarella.  The chicken was fine, but a completely neutral element; I think it could have been eliminated without anyone noticing.  That said, it did make for a complete meal.  Without the chicken, maybe you’d need a small sandwich to round things out.

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