Learning a craft

Ever thought of learning a craft?  Painting.  Pottery.  Cooking.  Knitting?

Grandmothers used to be the only one who knit..  However today both women and men enjoy knitting.  As a matter of fact in 1973 people were surprised when LA Rams star Rosie Grier wrote a book “Needlepoint for Men”.   In addition to needlepoint Grier was also an avid knitter and crocheter.  Film star Cary Grant was a trailblazing knitter, too!

Knitting offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Create beautiful things for yourself.  There’s a certain satisfaction in wearing something you have created with your own hands.
  • Gift giving becomes more personal.  When you’ve knitted something to give as a gift the person receiving will appreciate the time and care you put in to create it.
  • Knitting is a great way to unplug and unwind (no pun intended).  Knitting takes your mind off your day to day worries and helps you relax; listen to music or an audiobook

Learning knitting is fairly easy.  We’ve all heard, “knit one, purl two” and really those are the two basic things you start off with.  Once you’ve mastered those you put them in various combinations to create textures and patterns.  With the wide array of yarns available the choice is endless.  YouTube is full of how-to and tutorial videos if you get stuck.  Websites like LoveCrafts and Ravelry offer patterns for free or for purchase and include projects for everyone.

These days learning a craft couldn’t be easier.  Most yarn/crafting stores like Joann offer either free or low cost beginner classes, too.

Try it!  You’ll love it!

Baked Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

With the bounty of fresh tomatoes from my garden I was looking for recipes to help us use them up.

In a recent Sunday New York Times I found this recipe tucked away in the corner.  The recipe is unusual in that the stuffing is entirely made of cheese.  Most recipes for baking tomatoes have the breadcrumbs in the stuffing.  This one has them on top.  Gluten-free?  Just leave them off or use GF breadcrumbs instead.

Don’t worry about the anchovies!  When cooked with the garlic the fishy taste disappears. Then you’re left with a wonderful savory alternative.

I’ve made these several times. It only takes about 20 minutes and is absolutely delicious. Follow the directions to the letter and make sure you use firm tomatoes!

  • 2 to 3 large firm tomatoes, or 4 to 6 small firm ones
  •  Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovies, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup panko or other coarse bread crumbs
  •  Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If necessary, slice a very thin layer off bottoms of tomatoes so they will stand upright. Core tomatoes, and carve them out, stopping about about 3/4 inch from bottom and sides. (Do not remove too much, or tomato will collapse when baked.) Season inside of each tomato with salt. In a small bowl, stir together mascarpone and goat cheese.
  2. To prepare topping, melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and anchovies, and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in bread crumbs, and sauté 2 minutes more. Season with pepper.
  3. Fill each hollow with mascarpone mixture. Top generously with bread crumbs. Transfer tomatoes to a baking sheet, and bake until they are slightly blistered and the tops are golden, about 10 minutes.