Monday, November 29, 2010

Presto Change-o ! Instant Christmas!

We've just come through that magical weekend when we turn off the candlelit, glow of Autumn, with her quiet dignity and turn on the flashing multi-colored production that is Christmas.
The tree needs...something. Last year we were going to be out of town from Christmas day to New Years coming and going through New Orleans so  we put up the tree tossed some Mardi Gras beads at it and feather boas. We didn't bother getting out all the sentimental ornaments.
I thought it looked like a stripper tree (it did seem excessively east to UNdecorate).

My daughter looked at the tree this morning. "Put the Mardi Gras beads on it."

So I did.

Much better!

Disclaimer: No trees were flashed in the making of this holiday decor. ;)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ginger Winter Squash Soup

Ingredients: 

2 Squash, 1 acorn, 1 butternut (baked in halves until tender)
1/4 C. butter
1 onion, diced
8 C. chicken stock
1 tsp. fresh ginger
2 carrots 

2 TB brown sugar                          
salt to taste


An ice cream scoop is perfect for removing the roasted squash from the skin.




 Beautiful & healthy acorn and butternut squash!




Saute onion and carrots in butter, add to stock pot along with other ingredients.




Use only fresh ginger.

 Peel and chop a tablespoon.





Bring to low boil then reduce and simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle soup into blender and puree in small portions.

Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Traditional Southern Coconut Cream Pie

This is a Thanksgiving staple at our house and my daughter's favorite pie. It's full of fat and calories so plan on getting in an extra walk or two around the holidays. It's the real deal from scratch but very worth the effort. 

Ingredients:

1/2 C. sugar
4 TB cornstarch
1/4 ts. salt
2 1/2 C. scalded milk
4 egg yolks
1 ts. vanilla
1 1/2C. flaked coconut
2 ts. conf. sugar
1 TB butter
1 C. heavy whipping cream

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler mix: sugar, cornstarch, salt. Stir in milk until smooth. Cook over med. heat until mixture thickens. Stirring constantly. (I like to use a whisk for this.














Beat 4 egg yolks and add 4 TB of hot mixture, whisking til blended. ( what is tempering?)





Then add egg mixture to milk mixture.




Cook and stir until smooth and thick.






Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, 1 C. coconut, and butter.






Stir and pour into prepared pie shell.





Whip cream with conf. sugar, spread over filling.

Top with toasted coconut. (click here for how to toast coconut)

Chill.

Call in the refill on your cholesterol medicine. :)
 

Dried Cherry and Italian Sausage Stuffing

I've been making this unusual stuffing recipe for several years and everyone loves it. It is practically a meal in itself.

 

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl or pan, combine the celery and onions with the bread, cherries, sausage, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the broth and stir until well combined.
  3. Using a large spoon, loosely stuff the mixture into the turkey just before roasting. Cover and bake any unused stuffing in a 325° F oven for 1 hour; uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve warm.
By Sara Quessenberry,  November 2004


This year I added a twist, chestnuts imported from France. 

Here's why I haven't added them before...and why I did this time. I love a good find!


I love it when frugality and good taste find each other. 


 Hang on, I'm whipping up (get it?) my recipe for coconut cream pie...

Oh, man. 

You've got your cholesterol medicine, right?




Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Epilogue


Five O'clock Thanksgiving morning. Now believe it or not a lot has actually already been done. Okay, mainly pies, but one must have priorities. What you can't see in the background of this picture is that my dining room table is still covered with Mr. Snarky's clutter. I'm beginning to sweat.

First order of business, stuff turkey with herbs and fresh fruit, wrap tightly in foil, toss in oven.
                                              

Next up: potatoes. I do them in the crock pot and I like them a little rustic which means I'm not peeling, only cutting off the bad spots/eyes. Slice them into evenly sized pieces add a cup of water and 5 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, with some chopped rosemary. Put them on high. Forget them until right before dinner.





Mix up: Green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, stuffing , rearrange fridge to make it all fit...









Mid morning chaos.

Panic was about to set in.

I built this island by the way.

But that is a project we can go over at a later date. I'm a little busy at the moment!


Do you see the cat? She's biding her time waiting for the perfect opportunity.





 On to the table...



Remember where we started? Well it STILL looked like this until nearly noon today!
                      I'm a magician in my spare time.

       Okay, I'm a housewife. It is practically the same thing.




             Whew! Table finished...now where was I?

       Time to put all that food in the fridge in the oven!


Let's see cute ways to present food...fortunately I had read the Food Maven's blog and stole this idea...

Salad dressing in shot glasses. Mr. Snarky and I had just been to an estate sale last weekend where we picked up some funky vintage souvenir ones (which you can't see very well). 

              So why not cranberries in martini glasses?


Coffee tray

It's coming together...


                                   YES! I made it!


Okay, while I'm getting these pics of the food my daughter and her fiance are dismayed that I'm not taking a picture of THEM (they both really like to have their picture taken as demonstrated by above photo).

I'm sitting down now to write this after seeing everyone home with leftovers, cleaning my entire kitchen, and hand washing all that china and feeding my chickens and dogs.



                      And I realize...I'm exhausted!

But, there is a fire in the fireplace, I'm slipping into pajamas and house shoes and then it's on to the next family tradition...pumpkin pie and watching Home Alone with the kids!
    "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."    
                                                Psalm 107:1

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Notes from the Kitchen

                                                        
Here's a random look at what's going on in my kitchen a couple of days before Thanksgiving.

 Cutting a butternut and acorn squash in two to begin preparation for a winter squash soup.  An ice cream scoop is helpful in scooping out the   seeds.


If you are short on counter space, place a large cutting board over the sink. 

You cannot have too much chopped onion and celery. 



My dressing involves dried cherries and Italian sausage.

All the little bits and pieces that you would throw away can easily be thrown into the compost pile.

Composting helps us work on a waste free kitchen.



Don't forget to recycle!


The beginning of my daughter's favorite; coconut cream pie. 
You may have fancy pie weights but since I'm only indulging in this southern staple once a year I use dried beans.

The squash for soup when they come out of the oven after roasting for 30 minutes. 
Pie crust after baking and ready to fill.






Sauteed onions and carrots for the soup.



It's chaotic I know.

But that's just how it is! An aromatic multitasking madhouse!