Monday, May 17, 2010

A Trip to Our Land and Roasted Tomatoes

TBHITW and I spent a wonderful weekend on our land.

First we took a tour of the mill that will make the logs for our home. We were very impressed with the craftsmanship, attention to detail and out and out LOVE of what they were doing. When they are milling the logs for our home, it is our home and only our home that they are building. They work on one home at a time. Then, once everything is milled, the house is actually built. Each log is marked in a complicated system of letters and numbers, then the house is disassembled and shipped to the building site. It boggles the mind. Or at least my mind, which can easily be boggled.

After the mill tour we met with our sales representative, Joan. We spent the better part of the afternoon discussing designs, options, wants versus needs and pricing. Joan is incredibly knowledgeable about the building process. She also gave us tons of good advice regarding design, function and livability of a log home. So many choices, further boggling of the mind.

We stayed overnight in a lovely old hotel on a trout stream and the next morning headed out early to our property.

The best part of the weekend was once again walking the land. Every time we drive up here we pinch ourselves and ask, "Is this really ours?".. We feel incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to be stewards of this lovely piece of land.

The first thing we did was clear a small patch of meadow and plant some pumpkin seeds.

A very small pumpkin patch in the center of a four acre meadow.
I planted some sunflowers too.
It felt good to put something into the earth. The ground was rich and brown and warm.
Then we walked to the stream to get some water.

We really like having a stream.

It is beautiful.

Later in the day we met with a local contractor and made arrangements for the driveway to be built. It's a lonnnnggg driveway. About 380 feet. Lots of stone. The driveway is one of the first things that needs to go in. It will accommodate the heavy equipment needed for building. It will also allow us better access to the land.

In the late afternoon, with the waning sun, we drove home, stopping on the way at what we are convinced will become one of our favorite watering holes; Buffalo Zach's. Really good food, reasonably priced and staffed with happy people.

It was a lovely way to spend the weekend and I am looking forward to so many, many more.

Tomatoes won't ripen for another two months around here but I am already craving a meaty, zesty tomato sandwich. In times like this, when I just can't wait another few weeks for the real thing I roast up a batch of Roma tomatoes. Unlike other brands of greenhouse tomatoes Romas are surprisingly flavorful and juicy, year round.

I know, I know, this goes against all my locavore beliefs. But sometimes a girl just needs a good tomato, you know?

Roasted Romas:

10 ripe roma tomatoes
olive oil - about a tablespoon or two
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

Wash and dry the tomatoes. Slice off the stem end and slice in half the long way. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Very lightly drizzle olive oil on the tomato halves and using your hands, toss around to coat. Arrange tomatoes cut side up on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt (about a teaspoon).

Roast in the oven, undisturbed, for about 4 hours or until edges are curled and middles are still juicy.

Remove from oven.

To use:

Serve a few tomato halves with a round of herbed goat cheese and slices of crusty baguette.

Or rounds of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves.

My favorite sandwich:

Roasted Roma halves
Fresh mozzarella round
fresh basil
a few slices of ripe avocado
drizzle of olive oil
sprinkle of salt
On fresh baguette.

Yum. I can't wait for summer.

A Cook's Notes: Store your roasted romas in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The tomatoes will actually taste even better after a day or two and will keep up to 4 days.


  1. Land, in and of itself, makes me very happy. Just standing there and breathing it in. Lovely. I'm glad you had a good time - mind boggles and all!

    And I made fried romas the other day. Looks like I'll have to test out roasting when I get my new oven.

  2. Oh your land sounds soooo wonderful..all that space and a stream of your very own..and space for all your animals!!!.a dream come true! I can't wait to see pictures of the house going up! I have had that sandwich before! one of my favorites I make for me and Hubby..we love it on hot summer days.. I can't wait until my tomatoes are ready in our greenhouse!!!.

  3. It's so unbelievable exciting. I can't wait to see your home built.

  4. Kate - I've never fried red tomatoes but am a big fan of fried green tomatoes. In fact green tomatoes are usually the first things I pick in my garden.

    Marlene - sometimes it all seems like a dream.

    Uknown - I vacillate between excited and scared out of my wits!

  5. Your house and land will be everything you hoped for! A stream is sauce for the goose!

  6. Oh my so much here! First of all - your property is absolutely stunning! That stream is to die for! I really want to visit you some day when it is finished because following along since the beginning has been so fun. Second - I'm am so curious to know about the log home you are building as we are thinking the same thing when we move to Portland in a couple of years (I'm watching for land as we speak.) And the tomato sandwich sounds heavenly. I'm going to do a batch of romas today.

  7. Oh - if you can put your house near that stream you will never be sorry! We live right next to one here in the mountains and the sound puts me to sleep every night.

  8. Oh, now you are talking my favorites...I love panini with tomato, basil and mozarella! Mmmm. think I may have to fix that for dinner...yup, it'll be a late one tonight...And your new home sounds absolutely fab! I'm almost envious...:-) ~Janine XO

  9. It all sounds fabulous, the land, the house, the food...

    How long is it supposed to be before the home is actually built and ready for ya'll?

  10. Your land is really beautiful! What an adventure.


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