In my oven right now is a tray of the most amazing tomatoes- some from a friend, some from our garden, all local and home- grown. I'm oven drying this bunch, which is a day- long process that makes the entire house smell like heaven. I threw in some garlic for a little while there, too, just to have some roasted garlic on hand. I've spent the whole day just sniffing the air and rubbing my stomach.
Drying tomatoes is a cinch: halve the tomatoes, remove the seeds/ guts (if you want to- this isn't mandatory if you're packing them in oil), lay on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper, and just a hint of thyme. Put it in the oven for about 6 hours or so at your lowest setting- 125 or thereabouts. I'll be packing mine in oil, so I'll take them out of the oven just a little bit early, while they still have a little juice to them, then I'll quickly dip each tomato in white vinegar, then cover those and some fresh garlic cloves with good olive oil in a mason jar. Voila! Oven- dried tomatoes and tomato- infused oil, for no money and almost no work.
These little things- my weekend cooking expeditions, our Sunday brunches, putting together our shopping lists and planning projects for the next seven days- this is everything that matters. Tonight we will have dinner, do laundry, change our sheets and pretend to seriously consider staying up late to watch Mad Men- it's so good! In the end, we'll DVR the show and watch it tomorrow night, opting for sane, very grown- up 9:30 bedtime, which is full of it's own small routines.
I love our little rituals; they keep me grounded in the here and now, in what we are and how we live. It is easy to be here now when the now that we have created is full of the small pleasures we've placed throughout our day: good clean food, public radio, dedicated knitting time, joint efforts, reliable routines. It absolutely is all in the small things.