Tuesday, November 28, 2006

our kitchen is on hiatus, but--

we are doing a bit of cooking here and there. Actually, the kitchen is stalled, while D figures out what is causing the minor leak in the corner by the cupboards. This was a relief, because takeout palls after a while.
But I was very glad that my sister had volunteered to do Thanksgiving. She did the turkey, gravy, stuffing

--all in our mother's time-tested ways--and the mashed potatoes, also the cranberry sauce (we have to have the canned, complete with molded lines, for tradition's sake). I did the salad and veg (green salad w homemade dressing, roasted carrots, and green beans). Our aunt made the pies: two pumpkin, one pumpkin chiffon, and as she always does, pronounced the dinner a triumph. Here she is, approving the table settings.
The green beans were steamed and unadorned; the salad with a simple vinaigrette: our family believes in some plain food on holidays to go along with the fancy. But the roasted carrots were gussied up a little, and got their modest share of compliments.
Roasted Carrots
16-20 medium to large carrots
2-3 tbs olive oil
a pinch of salt
juice of half a lime
2-3 tbs brown sugar
I cut the carrots in chunks, splitting some of the largest first, then tossed them with the oil and juice and sprinkled them with salt. I roasted them for about 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven (until fork tender), then took them out and tossed them with the brown sugar. I did them a day ahead and heated them up in my sister's microwave, and they were very good, fitting accompaniment to the glamorous turkey.
My surprise of the day was how much I (a fanatical lover of the regular version) liked the pumpkin chiffon pie--my aunt has promised the recipe, so maybe I'll post it later. As with so many great dishes, it was devoured before anyone (me) thought to take a picture.
Here's the youngest and pickiest Thanksgiving diner, left, turning his nose up at something.
And his cousin, right, planning an assault on the mashed potatoes. They haven't learned to like the stuffing yet, but maybe we won't tell them how good it is for a while.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Here's the reason there haven't been so many cooking posts lately--the only things on our stove are a tub of plastering stuff and various implements of renovation, plus an attractive frosting of plaster dust. D is fixing the ancient water damage, that we ignored for as long as we could (some might say it was way too long), and because he's a perfectionist, he's decided that not only will he do his own plastering, but that he'd redo all the ceiling problems, cracks, flaws, dimples, etc. All the books say to leave large plastering jobs to the experts, but D was undeterred. My part is to be encouraging; to call out "What's wrong?" in a calming voice when he starts swearing; and not to complain about the dust.
So there's been some take-out, some McDonald's; I had a Big Mac for the first time since the '80s. We have done a little bit of cooking, but it's short-cut cooking, making extensive use of the microwave. I made scones the other day, but all the prep work had to be done in the dining room, since every kitchen surface is a plaster-staging area.
The idea is to have it done for Thanksgiving, when my daughters' families are coming. I have my fingers crossed.