webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
I wonder if I'll ever spend another Thanksgiving in America? It all seems so hard to imagine, especially given that I don't think there's really any "family" celebrations for me to attend anymore now that my grandmothers have died.

I'm celebrating tomorrow by bringing a pumpkin pie into work (to the Thursday meeting I'm always writing about, the one that's so comic). I'm going to do a quick PowerPoint presentation on turkey day as a kind of "morale improvement exercise," then give everyone some pie. They may not care about pilgrims, but I just bet I'll get them with the pie. No real reason not to have a big family harvest dinner here, too ... and God knows we could use something to keep them from putting the Christmas decorations up in the stores on November 1st.

Later in the evening I'm going to BoDeans for their big turkey dinner with my American friend Josh. It also features *drool* smoked ham. MMM Mmm MMM and no dishes!
webcowgirl: (ActionFigure)
Today we have no Thanksgiving like plans whatsoever. No dinner invites; tried to get into a place serving Tday food but there must be a lot of us out there as I couldn't get a reservation.

No, today we're both going t work, and tonight we're going to watch Ponyo, the new Miyazaki movie.

I was hoping I was over caring about Thanksgiving but after 40 years of it being the second biggest holiday of the year, it just doesn't go away so quickly. I really sympathize with all of those immigrants back in America who couldn't let go of their traditions; I really know how it feels now.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Q: Seven guests come over. Two bottles of wine are opened; one is left in the bottle and the other is poured into a pitcher. There is some fancy lemonade and in the fridge some weak-assed orange juice. Dinner consists of chicken fried steaks for nine, a roasted squash, souffle for six, mashed potatoes for six, gravy for eight, cornbread, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and kale (with bacon). What do you do the next day?

A: Throw out the cornbread, eat the leftover steak and gravy and biscuits for breakfast, heat up the quiche for dinner, and mix the leftover wine (in the pitcher) with the cheap assed orange juice and drink that with. Oh, and wash dishes for two hours. Any food remaining can be taken to work on Monday. You won't need lunch.

Secret fact: of course you have to use the wine in the pitcher, because the other wine was rioja, and it is all gone, along with the fancy lemonade.

Was somehow up at 1:30 AM watching YouTube last night. Found a Lene Lovich song I'd never heard before. Damned cool.



PS: this is the closest I'm getting to Thanksgiving this year.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Well, in what is doubtlessly the most exciting article to hit the New York Times in weeks (looks like election season is well and truly over!), the secrets of making perfect gravy are revealed. Now, making perfect gravy is one of my superpowers, but I don't consider it a loss for this knowledge to become more widely disseminated. Key element: "one tablespoon of fat to one tablespoon of flour to one cup of liquid will make gravy." They've also got a nice article about good side dishes, which is always the element I fuss over every year. Of course, this year I'm not cooking Thanksgiving, so I don't have to worry about finding the ingredients to make sweet potato gratin with orange zest ... though, who knows, maybe I should.

Meanwhile, the NY equivalent of an Oyster card has been used to get a man out of jail as its verified his alibi. As near as I can tell he's been in jail since May, so this is a really good thing.

In other "which news is most interesting or useless" we have an article about teenagers socializing on the internet as well as Project Runway, when will it return (critical news this!). And finally, happy people spend less time watching TV, but it doesn't seem to be a causational thing.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
I just got a yes to an invite to Thanksgiving from another American I know who works in London, my friend "Jose" (Josela if I've been drinking) that I used to work with at Tripadelic. He's even willing to take the day off work and do it properly.

I was all ready to can Thanksgiving altogether this year as just Too Much Work (washing dishes for three days afterwards killed my buzz), but now suddenly I'm all excited about it and I'm thinking about who else I can invite (my retired uncle! my Kiwi friend that lived in America for years!) and when do I need to make a reservation to get a turkey and should I take off the Friday too. I'm going to have to keep it really small, no more than eight people, so everyone can actually sit at the table. (Makes me miss the one I had back home, I tell you, and the two extra tables I could stick on to it to make enough room for 16.)

Isn't this silly? I'd been thinking I was going to go to Morocco instead this year and now I'm back to figuring out a recipe for sweet potato pie. I guess all of these years of having wonderful Thanksgivings at my house has made it a day I just can't stand to pluck out of my calendar.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Well, that went well. [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady, [livejournal.com profile] ciphergoth, [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgingirl (who decided this morning that she was free after all, and it was lovely to have her come by), [livejournal.com profile] booklectic, [livejournal.com profile] dr_d, and Holly (who was very good until about ten minutes into dinner, when she was done for the night (though not actually particularly "bad" or anything), and who gave off good energy all night even if she wouldn't fit in the oven), [livejournal.com profile] wechsler and my uncle all joined us. I think everyone had a good time, though we never even really got around to the pie as we were all exhausted, me and J from cooking, everyone else from running the stall at the Christmas Fair.

Okay, I'm really just too tired to even be posting right now. I'm going to do a little Christmas shopping and collapse as soon as I've made sure all of the food is put away. I'll deal with dishes tomorrow.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
So it's ten til six and my guests seem to substantially be here (missing one person but I don't know if she's coming), and they're all entertaining each other in the living room. I successfully kept them out of the dining room by strategically placing Portuguese cheeses, crackers, and the fresh onion dip (and pita crackers that I made) in the living room. I hear lots of laughs, so clearly they're not starving away while I'm trying to convince the squash to get baked and making the stuffing for it. [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady and [livejournal.com profile] ciphergoth are wearing their dodgiest t-shirts, which I didn't notice at all and am sure my uncle will say nothing about if he does, but it's amusing nonetheless.

Right, back to the stove. Dinner looks like it's going to be at about 7 now.
webcowgirl: (HappyHat)
Okay, I went from being turned down by at least five people (and looking like I was going to have dinner for, er, four, not worth bothering in my book) to having far more people say yes than I expected, and it's all just gotten out of control. I need a second TABLE and chairs, but there's a coffee table in the living room and we will just make do.

[livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy has made the deep dish pumpkin pie and it's time for me to get to work on the stuffing. He's also making be breakfast. I like that. :-)

I get the feeling I should make another side dish. Eek!
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
I'm pleased to say [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy found a meat thermometer while he was out today (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] envoy!), though there was a bombing out in the pie pan department. We've decided to use the Emile Henri pan, and somehow deal with the fact that one can of pumpkin will only fill the pie half way. I think a coating of whipped cream will take care of everything, and it made a lot more sense than trying to unpeel the chocolate pecan pie from its pan so we could reuse it.

I should stay up and cook more stuff but I'm awfully tired already. I'll have to come up with a good game plan tomorrow about what should go in the oven when, but I won't really bother with that until I've cooked up the stuffing.

The house is going to be very full and I'm feeling quite sad about no longer living in a house where I had plentiful folding chairs, three dining tables, and two card tables (oh, the game parties I used to have!). [livejournal.com profile] wendolen is hopefully getting good use out of my old table and chairs. [livejournal.com profile] wechsler has kindly offered to bring over another folding chair tomorrow, so we should have just enough.

As usual I've panicked and thought I should just cancel everything twice today and asked, "Why do I do this to myself?" Fortunately knowing a bunch of people are going to show up at my house and will decidedly notice if I am cowering in my room under a pile of cookbooks keeps me honest, or at least moving forward.

I made it out of the house to see Parade at the Donmar, which bills itself as "A New Musical." Well, it isn't really new, and it's actually more of an opera, given the heavy subject matter and lack of tap dancing. It was a way more satisfying experience than Billy Elliot, and yet it was obvious why Billy is getting the filled-to-the-rafters houses. To be honest, I think every standing spot at the Donmar was filled tonight, but, still, it's a tiny house. Every performance was quite good, but ... I just couldn't get into the rather esoteric subject matter. I'm more interested in internal struggle rather than historical moments, and that of the characters in this play was just too slight. That said, the "character definition and story telling through music" was far stronger than last night, and, to be honest, the dancing was better, too. But Venus as a Boy is still winning my prize for best play of the fall - the perfect combination of actor and storytelling. (Macbeth is a great night at the theater, but it didn't make me care as much as Venus did.)

Magic Flute the movie, Magic Flute the Play, and King Lear on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday ... this uncle of mine will leave me a mere husk before he departs!
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
I have just spent almost two hours going in nearly every store on the high street looking for a few simple things: a pie pan (reusable or disposable), a meat thermometer just like this one, and a rolling pin.

I came back with: a box of Christmas cards, and some aluminum foil.

Woolworths, Robert Dyas, M&S, Sainsburys, Tchibo, Argos, Waitrose had NONE of these things. The crappy Shop & Save did have a five quid wooden rolling pin, but I couldn't bear to buy something so ugly and so cheap just to use once. Where did my old ones go? The Robert Dyas, it had a crappy meat thermometer, the kind you have to open up the oven and pull the turkey out to read, but it was only three quid cheaper than the one I really want and I didn't want to waste money on something that with luck I will only use once.

The utter lack of any sort of pie pan on the entire high street really shocked me.

I'm in a bit of a bad mood now. I thought, okay, we can save this by using my gigantor ceramic pie pan and just doubling the recipe for the filling, but no, can't do that either because NO ONE HAS PUMPKIN. Sainsbury's did have it but since they reorganized/remodeled their store they haven't got it back in yet.

This is not helpful. How are we going to have pumpkin pie tomorrow? It's one of the Five Requireds for Thanksgiving: turkey, stuffing, potatoes & gravy, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce. Anyone can host Thanksgiving with just those items and in a pinch you can not make stuffing.

Truly, I despair.

Now my uncle and my husband have gone out to Do Things (including getting the turkey) and I am going to have myself a little nap as I'm quite worn out. Perhaps they shall find a pie pan while they are out, and even a blessed, fancy, ass-saving meat thermometer. It will make tomorrow so much better if they do. I shall think good thoughts in their direction as I become horizontal on the couch ....
webcowgirl: (Default)
It's Thanksgiving and I'm celebrating by spending the day with my uncle, doing my Thanksgiving shopping and making cranberry sauce. I failed at finding broccoli rabe (okay, I found it at Waitrose, but for 2 quid a package and me needing four packages, I'm going to try Borough Market instead) and forgot I was out of pecans. Now we're off to the Notting Hill Taqueria for some lunch, then either a gallery or Borough Market. The weather is being very accomodating today and I find myself ill inclined to spend it inside, no matter what master's paintings I'm missing.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
It's all a bit late for me to be getting this together as normally I have my shopping and half of my cooking done by now, but since I've got a few days leeway, this is good enough.

Onion dip and veggies/pita bread
Cheddar/herb biscuits
Apple sage dressing, possiby with dried cherries
Stuffed squash circles (may replace the apple with pear or otherwise fuss with the recipe)
Creamed corn gratin
Honey chili lime sweet potatoes
Broccoli rabe with garlic (I don't think this is the original recipe, where did it go?) (LATER: Found it! Read more... )

And of course turkey, taters, gravy, chocolate pecan and pumpkin pies, and cranberry/ginger relish.

YUM!
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Wow, Turkey Day is just around the corner.

As usual I'm looking for "a few good recipes," hoping maybe this year I'll find one good enough to crack the list of regulars (the most recent addition being the creamed corn gratin from three years back). I've loosened up on the stuffing and didn't made the 1789 "Heartstopper" Stuffing last year, going for a cornbread based one instead. Unfortunately this dried apricot and cherry stuffing seems designed for small portions; this apple rosemary recipe has now caught my eye and may be this year's new member at the table. (Not that this winter fruit one isn't looking at me flirtatiously right now, too.)

And a freshly made onion dip to keep my guests from starving while they wait? Yum!

This article on vegetarian options is impossible. Lentil croquettes? "Oven-Baked Marinated Tempeh?" I don't see much to be thankful for with those recipes.

A few more options that I might consider. If only the time I had to cook was infinite!
roasted parsnips with thyme
Zucchini and sausage casserole
Sweet potato chilaquiles with griddled salsa roja
Posole with southern greens, chayote, dried cherries, and pecans
Ambrosia!
Smashed rutabagas with ginger-roasted pears
Apple-filled acorn squash rings with curry butter
Butternut squash with tangerine and sage glaze
Haricots verts, roasted fennel, and shallots
Cornbread dressing with roasted fall vegetables (the picture for this is truly gorgeous)
Chestnut, prune, and pancetta stuffing
Wild rice dressing with roasted grapes and walnuts

Oh, MAN! How will I ever decide? (And now I'm thinking, ooh, I really should do a soup this year ... out of ... carrots?)
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Okay, I'm looking at this recipe, for "Corn Pudding With Herb-Braised Chanterelles and Spicy Greens," and I'm finding it kind of interesting. Except, well, I don't like mushrooms. So, my chef friends, how might I alter this to have the taste and texture but not use mushrooms?

The full recipe. )
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Indeed, me not posting at work means that I'm quite busy. I've got a release this Saturday and there's a lot of things that need to get wrapped up by then. Right now I've got my gym clothes on and am about ready to head out the door for Pilates at the Y, which I wish I was doing twice a week as it always leaves me in such a good mood. Unfortunately it makes my lunch take an hour and a half, which is thirty minutes longer than I am supposed to take, but I cleared it with my boss that my staying late Tuesday would cover the extra time.

Yesterday I saw that the New York Times had plunged into the Thanksgiving article/recipe fray. I found one for roasted parsnips with orange zest quite appealing. They also had some tips on mashed potatoes I found quite interesting (more recipes, including Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie, attached via the slideshow), though their assertion that a particular type of masher works better than the one I have only holds water if you're not making your potatoes with their skins on. Then yesterday night they were serving turkey, spuds, and gravy at the cafeteria attached to the BFI, but I was there too late to order any. Man, I can't wait for turkey day to get here! But off to Pilates for me ...
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
There's a nice article about Heritage Breed Turkeys in the New York Times today, with pictures. Bourbon reds, so handsome! Picture here ... )

Does anyone want to share their favorite Thanksgiving recipes with me? Since the savory cheddar biscuits and the creamed corn gratin two years ago, I haven't tried anything new ... I'd love some tips!
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
How cool, the Seattle Times did a nice article on heritage breed turkeys this week! I got mine from that supplier for several years.

I wonder where I'll be getting my turkey from this year? What I'd like best is if I could choose from several suppliers. Last year's was from Kelly Turkeys, but perhaps there's another place to get old breed turkeys from here ... not like I might expect to find Narragansett, the Bourbon Reds, or Jersey Buffs here ...
webcowgirl: (disco ball)
Yep, we've got chocolate pecan pie and a pumpkin pie on the table, we're all drinking white wine (or something of the sort), and now we're ready for dessert! Good group altogether, slightly more saucy conversation than the typical for Thanksgiving, but we're having a good time and everyone is quite full. :-)

PS: Boots downstairs too big, boo.
webcowgirl: (SpaceBubble)
I suspect I make the same jokes every year. Man, that turkey looks suntanned, almost on the verge of being burnt. I'm pretty sure I've overcooked it! The temperature seems to be very different between the front of the oven and the back of the oven ... oh, doom! I'm sure I can get some good meat out of it but it's just all done too fast and I fear very little of it is going to be very good. Dammit. Stupid celcius and kilos. Even my meat thermometer didn't save me.

Now some rice stuffing for the squash. I know I'll be able to feed everyone somehow, I'd just prefer not to waste a bird that was supposed to be as nice as this one.
webcowgirl: (Blythe)
Well, getting the bird in the oven was actually a bit more of an affair than I expected. While the packaging bragged about how this was a turkey with dark feathers, I really felt they could have made a bit more of an effort to actually get them all OUT of the bird. I don't want gravy with feathers in it, thanks. Pictures will follow of me with my tweezers out. At any rate, as near as I can tell this turkey spent its life on a bird resort and probably had a martini glass in its hand until the last five minutes of its life, at least according to what the info in the package said (kindly provided by Kelly Turkeys).

[livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy has made himself proud with his pie, except for the part where it's not done yet and now he has to fuss over it. My cornbread-sausage stuffing (an amalgamation of two different recipes, with homemade cornbread instead of box) is in the fridge, waiting for closer to time. I'm having some fruit juice because I'm feeling dehydrated. Now I'm going to take a shower and dream of a nap and maybe, just maybe, run downstairs to try on those boots.

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