Friday, November 28, 2008
Of course, any true detox course will include plenty of water--assuming that you drink most of it! (Shorty below seems have forgotten the basic need to drink for a few moments. Oh well...)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Note: One type of modern technology that comes in handy, particularly when cooking on Thanksgiving itself, is the alarm clock feature on your cell phone!
If I'm a cookin' for Thanksgiving, my (extremely rough) schedule resembles:
- Sunday--the bulk of the shopping is done today; the only Thanksgiving cooking to be done this evening is making the cranberry sauce. Even if I'm not hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I'm making the sauce tonight to take to the host!
- Monday--if having homemade rolls, make them today, and refrigerate them until the big day. (Storebrought bread for that day already be refrigerated [if yeast bread] or frozen if some other type of bread.)
- Tuesday--purchase or make desserts today. The great thing about desserts (besides the yum factor) is that they can be stored away from the other foods--in a cake pan or something, as most pies don't require refrigeration for a couple of days--so they don't take up refrigerator space, which will be at a premium this week! If cooking a turkey carcass, you should have bought it by now, so that you can begin to defrost it in the fridge.
- Wednesday--prep day! This is the day to either bake most of your side dishes (except for mashed potatoes and greens), or cut up vegetables for dishes to put together quickly for tomorrow. For instance, roasting and cutting up pumpkin if making, say, a pumpkin soup (and cleaning out the seeds beforehand to have roasted pumpkin seeds--umm, umm, good!), making macaroni and cheese, which can then be cooled and reheated on Thursday. If cooking turkey, the deceased critter should be in the process of thawing out by now. Any non-turkey entree should be in the process of being prepared today (thawing out overnight in the fridge, if necessary, etc.).
- Thanksgiving Thursday! Begin cooking at around 10:30 am--preheating the oven, preparing the main event, setting out the desserts and decorations, etc. If cooking greens, they should be in the pot on top of the stove while the entree is in the oven. After the turkey or other entree comes out of the oven, the other baked items should be put in the oven. Also, cut potatoes should be put in boiling water during this time, so that they can be ready to be mashed in 20 to 30 minutes, as fresh mashed potatoes are best made soon before eating. Begin to make the gravy around this time, as well. (This is where your cell phone's alarm clock feature comes in extra handy--to allow you to nap during the time the entree is resting and the sides are baking!)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Homemade cranberry sauce is akin to a chutney, and is just as versatile, post-Thanksgiving, because it's easy to handle--just spoon away! It's also easy to make (takes only about an hour to prepare, then let it cool off), doesn't require precision, and is even better after sitting overnight in the fridge. This makes it great if you are doing the holiday cooking, because you can make it a couple days ahead, sparing yourself much aggravation. If you're going to someone else's home, it makes a great gift for the host. Its jewel-like appearance, with chunks of fruit, makes it a grown-up holiday delight!
* * *
Um, thus is born this cranberry sauce "recipe," if you will...a new family favorite! The following makes enough to take some to your host, and some to keep for yourself as well.
- 2 12-ounce bags cranberries (it's OK if you froze them beforehand; no need to defrost frozen ones before cooking, but give a quick rinse first, to remove any stems)
- 1/2 cup or more juice
- an orange, lime, grapefruit, or lemon (zest the fruit first; add the rest of the fruit to the sauce, if you prefer)
- 2 1/2 cups sugar (may need to add more after tasting)
- ground coriander (or ground ginger, ground cardamom, or ground nutmeg--cinnamon, allspice, or cloves are too overpowering to fruit flavors, in my opinion)
- one pear or apple
Add the citrus zest, then chop up the rest of the fruit, and add it to the sauce, if using the entire citrus fruit, then add the spice(s), and stir some more. Finally, chop the pear or apple and add it to the sauce, and stir again.
Stir the pot occasionally to keep it from sticking. The sugar should soon begin to melt within the sauce; after you see this, the berries should soon start simmering, and popping open. (You can assist the process of popping those berries with a wooden spoon, if you're impatient!) Turn down the heat a bit, to keep the sauce from spilling out of the pot.
The sauce is done when it's noticeably thicker than when you began; dip a spoon in it--some of the sauce should remain on the spoon. Taste it at this point; if you think it needs more sugar, add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup, and stir again until this sugar is fully melted into the sauce.
After turning off the heat, let the sauce cool in the pot another hour before spooning it into glass jars and refrigerating; theoretically, it keeps a few weeks, although it's usually eaten up within a couple of weeks!
Friday, November 21, 2008
This broccoli raab looks quite good, as did some of the kale and collards also left, in addition to the mixed lettuces. I can't wait to cook down all those greens!
* * *
Although many herbs are quite weather hardy, I was unaware that so many could, and do, survive chilly weather. This is quite fortunate for the coming holiday season, as it means that many fresh herbs will be available for holiday cooking and decor, such as sage, that favorite for dressing and other fall dishes:
Note the parsley field behind the sage; both the flat-leaf and curly parsley were out in force! It's great that highly nutritious parsley lasts so long during the growing season, as it comes in handy for making soups. (The dried version of this herb is so tasteless as to defy explanation as to why anyone thinks it's worth the effort to dessicate.)
The big surprise in the herb field, because this herb had previously died out, and has apparently come back to life (but not before I harvested some tasty seeds!), is--
This is most surprising, because I assumed the cilantro would be as dead as the basil (which suddenly passed after the first frost) at this time of year, but it recently rebounded (as did the dill). I suddenly hear fresh salsa calling me...
* * *
In addition to the other volunteers and staff at the farm, I will also miss Clagett's canine mascot Cassie, always ready for a belly rub (after running alongside us in the truck or van).
Of course, there is minor miscommunication as well, not just between people. For instance, how did this guy manage to have his dog only respond to him when he's doing a bad Ringo Starr impersonation? Funny though it is, it can't bode well for order at his home...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
* * *
Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is stepping up to the plate, as well. He recently challenged business leaders to support the new administration's efforts toward universal health care, at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council last Tuesday night. Video below of some of Rahm's remarks:
What more is there to say other than: Go Team O!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
To that end, Sen. Ted Kennedy said that he will advance a bill in early 2009 calling for universal health care, according to today's Washington Post. For some reason, however, the article's writer seems to believe that health care legislation is unrelated to our economic woes. Wrong!
The lack of universal health coverage in the U.S. is a prime reason for the cashflow problems that the auto industry is experiencing--and its executives have known this for years! Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state, a physician and longtime proponent of universal healthcare, has put in the public record, as well as on his website, a 2002 letter sent separately by Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and the auto workers union to the Canadian government, imploring that government to keep its public healthcare system strong! Makes you wonder why the lavishly paid upper echelon of Detroit hasn't been lobbying the U.S. government for universal health care along with bailout cash, when it knows that healthcare costs are one of the reasons for its current mess. (In addition to their outrageous salaries, and unwillingness to build a wide enough selection of high quality fuel efficient cars, that is.)
Friday, November 14, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Hence, their failure to be constructive is similar to the odd doggie behavior below--and this guy isn't even the current Presidential pooch:
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
In the meantime, enjoy a classic from the ever-cool (like the new President) Delfonics! That is, if Obama didn't blow your mind already!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I almost feel as jubilant as the little guy below!
Monday, November 03, 2008
In ongoing paranoia to make sure that my vote will count, I went to the Maryland board of elections site to find a sample ballot, as the state was too cheap to mail more than one this year. (And none were to be found at the library, either.) At least the website makes a sample easy to obtain, as its Frequently Asked Questions section has a question, Where can I see a sample of my ballot? After clicking it, it has prompts for first name, last name, zip code of registered address, and date of birth, after which you click on the "Find voter registration information" button; a PDF of an appropriate sample ballot will appear, ready to be printed and taken along to the polls for handy reference. (And in my case, to be signed and dated tomorrow, along with the votes filled out. Just in case, the camera phone is coming along, as well.)
The other two local jurisdiction board of election sites, Virginia and DC, don't make it easy to find a sample ballot. (Perhaps considering the problems that DC is having with its early voting, maybe it's just as well.)
* * *
Remember to get your post-voting tall coffee from Starbucks on the 4th--good for staying wired through the upcoming tense night! (Thanks to wisebread.com for this and other good freebie tips!)
Time to get some shut-eye, for the potentially dragging, er, long day and night ahead.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
One thing this and others have noted is that you should take a camera with you, if possible, to record possible problems; even Oprah thought she had a problem having her vote recorded, and her bff Gayle intends to take a snapshot of her vote just in case. Because many camera phones have video function, this tip could really come in handy; if you notice any problems, you can then upload the video to videothevote.org or youtube.
An extra piece of security to consider is to get a sample ballot (I'm getting an extra from the library), mark in ink how you intend to vote, and date and sign it--preferably in the presence of a witness. But I'm just paranoid that way...
Wear comfortable shoes, take a good book and music with you to the polls (if you haven't voted already), and have a great 4th no matter what!