Wednesday, November 26, 2008

As I was preparing to start my thanksgiving cooking , I thought I would share my system for getting it all together. For years I have been a recipe collector. Don't use them much but love to collect! I am more of a do it once and move on though some have stuck through the years. Especially when it comes to the holidays and family tradition.After years of trying to recollect which book had the recipe I wanted, I decided to put them all in one binder labeled Thanksgiving. I put in tried and true but also ones I run across that I think I might make someday. It is so easy now. Last year I sat down and made a master grocery list. I make a copy of it (s0 I do not lose the original) and off I go to do my shopping. This year I added pictures of decorating for the holidays that appeal to me. (My trick for this is to make copies as soon as I read the magazine so I do not have to go back and hunt for them. Also leaves the magazine or book intact). Someday I hope to make one for each of my kids so they will be able to carry on the family recipes.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving and memories of my Mother

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about thanksgiving and what I needed to work on. I started with my dining room table and chairs which were in need of serious cleaning. The table was pretty straightforward with a simple cleaning with Liquid Gold (I love the smell and how it makes wood glow) The chairs were a bit more of a challenge. I ended up cleaning them with fine steel wool to remove white streaks(?) and a coat of liquid gold, new screws to replace missing ones, some gluing of split wood and finally new felt pads on all the legs. A nice sense of
accomplishment. These chairs were some of my Moms favorites and she gave them to me before she died. They are not exactly what I would have picked for myself but she loved them and I have come to appreciate them as they are very lightweight but also very sturdy . My next project was realizing that I did not have enough plates for thanksgiving dinner this year. Thank God for E Bay! I now have 14 which is what my table seats. These are also from my Mom. They were her wedding china (Old Rose from Maddock and Sons) and have been on our thanksgiving table for as long as I can remember. She loved setting a beautiful table with these plates and her Sir Christopher silver. Once again they are not exactly my colors but the history is so much more important. So now I set my table with her things and wish she were here to enjoy it..Below is a picture of my Turkey collection. The big one in the middle is from my Mom. Every year she would get it out and do a beautiful fall arrangement in it (She was a flower arranger extraordinaire) It was always on our thanksgiving table and now its graces mine.
I have added a few to her original bird and this picture does not reflect the two I bought last week in summerland!
This year our family is going in different directions and will not all be here but but we have a common bond and I know we will all be thinking of Mom wherever we are. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dia de los Muertos puercos

Our neighbors and good friends, Gary and Jackie, had a day of the dead pig party last Saturday night to celebrate the trapping and killing of the wild boar that had been coming down over the mountain they live on .The pigs had been eating everything in sight and were keeping them up at night with their midnight raids on the newly landscaped garden. The roast was delicious and Jackie and Gary can finally get a good nights sleep!
The party was great fun. Most people came in costume and a beautiful bounty of food was shared.
I will eventually figure out how to put text and pics in right order. For now I am doing good to get them posted.

Dracula carving the pig

The Hostess with her shrine

The tooth fairys came

Butternut squash Gratin

This is one of the dishes I took to the party It came from Bon Appetit
Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts
31/2 pounds butternut squash (about 2 med), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (8 cups)
2 T olive oil
coarse kosher salt
4 T. butter
3 cups sliced Leeks, white and pale green parts only
1 1/2 t. chopped sage
1 5.5 oz log of goat cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash cubes and olive oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until just tender and beginning to brown, stir occasionally, about 35 minutes.
Melt 3T. butter in heavy medium skillet over medium low heat. Add sliced leeks and chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Coat 11 x 7 inch baking pan with 1 T. butter. Spread half of leek mixture over bottom of prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of squash and half of cheese. Repeat layering with leeks, squash, and cheese. Do Ahead:can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 3750F. Pour cream evenly over gratin. Sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts. Bake uncovered until gratin is heated through and cream is bubbling, about 30 min
This is delicious and quite rich. I think it would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving and the best part is you can get it out of the way the day before.