Friday, November 26, 2010

Something Old, Something New

I had a case of camnesia yesterday and forgot to take any pictures of any of us and our food. But I want to make a record of a couple of new dishes we tried that were a big success.

For several years I have been cooking my turkeys breast-side-down, on the theory that it makes the juices run into the breast meat and keeps it more moist. But it's kind of ugly that way, and I read this year that it doesn't really matter, so I returned to the more traditional method. But I continued my family method of wrapping the turkey with bacon, and that does work to create a lovely moist turkey, and a delicious appetizer of bacon for the cooks!

What we did that was new was to make home-made cranberry sauce of the first time. It is so simple and it came out delicious, and it looks really beautiful too. 1 pound of cranberries, a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Cook the water and sugar, then add the cranberries and stir and cook till they are soft.

We also tried a new recipe for green beans which was simple and delicious. Pre-cook a pound of green beans in boiling salted water till crisp tender. Drain and set aside at room temperature. When ready to eat, heat a frying pan and add a handful of walnuts to the dry pan and stir to toast. When the walnuts begin to brown, add a Tbsp. or so of butter and the green beans and stir to re-heat the beans and coat everything with butter. This tasted really good and the walnuts also went nicely with the wild rice we were eating. Wild rice is a family favorite for Thanksgiving. If I have extra left over, I will make wild rice cream soup later on.

We also had baked sweet potatoes, which were delicious. They taste especially good right next to the cranberry sauce. I only got 2, since Sam doesn't like them, and we had a lot of other food. I choose smallish sweet potatoes, the kind with reddish skin and bright orange interiors. Wrap each sweet potato firmly in foil. Place them on the oven rack for about an hour as the turkey roasts. When they are completely soft, they are done. They give off juice which will burn and make a mess in the oven, so it's important to have them well-wrapped in foil. To serve, remove the foil, cut in half, lightly mash the flesh with a fork, add a pat of butter and a grind of salt. Mmm, delicious.

With the green beans, the cranberries and the sweet potato, the plate was colorful; in the past, I have noticed that a Thanksgiving plate tends to be all shades of brown and beige!

All in all, a totally successful meal and a wonderful day. It was such a help top have Kristen in the kitchen. She carved the entire turkey while I made the gravy and the mashed potatoes. My gravy, in which I take great pride, was once again really delicious. It didn't seem to want to absorb as much stock as I had prepared, but we saved some of the fat, so I can make another batch tomorrow, if we still have turkey left and no more gravy.

Today, we are going to make cold turkey sandwiches on white bread with butter and take them with us when we go out. Kristen was noshing on bits of turkey last night and commented, "Why do people say Quit cold turkey, like cold turkey was a bad thing?" I like the way she thinks! :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I am pre-thankful that Kristen is coming home tomorrow.

And I am pre-thankful that the shawl/blanket I have been working on for 3 weeks is off the needles and blocking. I enjoyed every stitch of this blanket, and then at the end, I had a near disaster. I discovered that I was short of yarn, which i totally didn't expect, since I had 1000 yards, so I ended off the pattern and started the bind-off after 18 rounds rather than 25, and after binding off over 400 stitches, I had 30-something stitches left and not another inch of yarn!

Rather than botch the whole thing by undoing hundreds of stitches of bind-off, I decided that only God is perfect and that I could live with a little imperfection. I happened to have a near-match of gray alpaca, so i tied that on and finished the bind off.

Pattern: Brooklyn Tweed's Tweed Baby Blanket.

Yarn: Natural Baby Alpaca bought at the Torrance fiber festival in early November.

Is this a baby blanket? Not necessarily. I don't have a baby anywhere on the horizon. Folded in half, it is a shawl. Opened out, it is a lap blanket.

I can't wait for it to dry so I can try it. Mismatched bind-off be damned!