Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We gathered together...

To ask the Lord's blessing...

Ahh, if only the turkey had considered this philosophy... or the cocktail shrimp...

That being said we cook as a family in my kitchen. Things learned? The turkey cooks much faster in convection oven... We had a humongous turkey... in the over 20 lbs variety.. it would have been done in 3.5 hours if we hadn't turned off the convection.

The girls will now and forever more play an important part of the creation of the meal... Their accomplishments this year? The Angel prepared candied sweet potatoes that included mini marshmallows and candied pecans. Imelda? She was in charge of cranberries and is responsible for jellying them.. However there was no Jello Brand Gelatin to be had in her concoction... she used real... plain... Knox Gelatin and fruit and juice.... I have to admit that she was not entirely sure that it would work... yet somehow it did. (Told ya' baby!)

We had good old fashioned mashed potatoes that were peeled and cut within an inch of their past lives... (The Angel likes to use the chef's knife) after being drained they were mixed with butter and cream cheese which I find a bit richer than cream.... They were eaten up quickly. We even had soup... Pumpkin soup, with cumin and coriander and chiles.. very American. The soup was topped with sweet and spicy pecans.

Dad made the stuffing and therefore I am unable to report the actual recipes.. but I can tell you that there were apples and walnuts involved.... oh.. and it was really dressing. Because we are adherents of Alton Brown's belief that stuffing is evil, it is important to point out that our seasoned and damp bread was cooked and served in a container other than the germy uncooked turkey. Why dry out the turkey meat and create a haven for bacteria at the same time? (btw... turkey picture courtesy of the Angel)

My worst dish? steamed asparagus.. I got a little distracted when Dad took over the kitchen for the ending of the cooking...(he taught his grand daughter's how to make gravy AND how to carve a turkey) to say that it got a little over cooked would be an understatement. Eh. So it goes...

My favorite part of the meal was the dessert. In years past, we made too much dessert and ate none of it.... This year we clued in. I made one item. Not a pumpkin or apple pie... but maple. I have to admit that I got the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. It was a breeze and sooo, so good, that I wish I had some leftover. (tart picture courtesy of Imelda)

As you can see, it turned out to be a pretty good day. Good food and fun with family... Heck, the girls are not even trying to strangle each other in this picture! Can you top that during the Holiday Season? Oh, you probably can... but it is a big deal here! Now all we have to do is get ready for Christmas...

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tea with Nigella

Yes, that is Imelda and I... at the Ritz Carlton... having tea with Nigella Lawson... She spoke beautifully about love, loss and food... Food and memory of family was the over all theme of her discussion. In particular, how do you create those kinds of memories in your own family when we all lead such busy lives. She described some of her favorite foods from childhood and from her family now and how she manages to keep it all going...

Pointing out that three pre-early teenage kids inevitable means extra mouths to feed, I had to laugh as I recalled the day my girls brought six, yes, SIX girls over for an inpromptu sleepover... Since her children are the same ages as mine, I definitely felt a connection to her. Maybe it is what connects all mothers, or women in general.

She lamented how television and chefs have complicated cooking making it look so precise and complicated when in fact, it can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make your meal.... When told by an editor that she needed to list the amount of parsley that the dish she was writing about should be sprinkled with, she described being completely perplexed. How should SHE know how much parsley the reader at home wants to use. And that is part and parcel what I like about her. It doesn't have to be complicated, nor should it be.

She told a story about coming home at the end and literally wanting to cry at the thought of chopping onions... so she used scallions... just because they are so much easier to chop up. Also she pointed out that when you are hungry at home and want nothing more than roast chicken and mashed potatoes, the last thing you want to see on your plate is eggplant stack. And you know what? She is absolutely correct.

The things that she tends to worry more about are the freshness of the ingredients that she uses when cooking. She will try to use organic if it is available but only worries overly when it comes to eggs and milk as there has sadly been too much cancer in her family. Other than that, she claims to buy her food from the people that know it best. Meat comes from the butcher, fish from the fishmonger... All things that I feel strongly about myself. So I can't argue there...

Cooking at home should be about feeding your family and creating memories together.

I know that Imelda and I won't forget this experience....

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Awww, Shucks!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Doggies need food too!

And believe it or not, I made treats for my pooch, Cinnamon.

The ingredients?

Two eggs, a handful of dried parsley, a cup of flour, another of cornmeal, a little garlic and a container of chicken livers. The package that I used was from Perdue Chicken and contained 1.25 lbs. I took all the incredients and poured them into my food processor and whirred them around until it was smooth. The smell was nasty and so was the look of it... but this is for my sweet pooch.

I poured the mixture into a foil lined jelly roll pan and then into a 3750 oven for 25 minutes. And no, the smell did not improve. But Cinnamon went NUTS, so I could tell I was on the right track.

After the treats cooled I cut them with a pizza cutter and placed them into a zip-lock bag where the stench is contained from both man and beast.

But Cinnamon is happy. Hell, she is my slave currently. So I think I did alright by her.

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