November 27, 2008

The Long Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. This year our family is eating at Porter and Katie's new house. This seriously curbs my ability to browbeat everyone into doing what I want for the menu. My efforts to coordinate the menu via phone calls, e-mails, and Google Docs were completely ignored.

I talked to Mom last night on the phone about the pumpkin pie I'd already announced I would be bringing. Mom said that she had already made three pies - apple, pecan, and coconut meringue. Add a pumpkin pie to the mix and that's chaos, people.

I think people like me are the reason the holidays get ugly sometimes. Some idiot gets a plan in her head and gets very rabid if anyone varies from it. Control freaks like that tend to pout, cry, and act like martyrs at the table. "Well, I wanted to do the mashed potatoes LIKE I ALWAYS DO EVERY YEAR." Sniff sniff.

I'm in charge of the turkey, chimichurri sauce, roasted pears and salad, and the Sweet Potato Not Pie that I subbed for the pumpkin pie. This is the menu as far as I know it, but then again, who knows what I'll find when I show up for dinner?

Roasted turkey with chimichurri sauce
Cornbread dressing
Mashed potatoes
Corn Rice Casserole
Roasted pears with blue cheese on salad greens
Cranberry salad
Sweet potato not pie
White rolls
Pecan pie
Apple pie
Coconut meringue pie

Thanksgiving 2008

6:30pm update: We had a superb Thanksgiving dinner. Porter and Katie have a beautiful home and that newlywed glow that makes everything even better. The food was wonderful.

I was pleased with the turkey. I combined 3 minced garlic cloves, a couple teaspoons of lemon zest, the juice of a lime, 3 chopped jalapeños, and a handful of chopped cilantro. I spread this mixture under the skin of the turkey breast along with butter and a mix of cumin, ground coriander, kosher salt, and black pepper. Rubbed more butter, cumin, salt, and pepper on the skin. I think this method should be standard for Thanksgiving now. I do think, however, that I'll return to brown gravy. The chimichurri sauce was good, but last year I made the best gravy of my life, and I just can't move on. It'd be one thing if the whole menu were Southwestern or Latin, but you need gravy on top of cornbread dressing, and that's all there is to it.

That roasted pear salad was easy to make, and that was a nice presentation. I got the Sweet Potato Not Pie recipe from Casserole Crazy, a blog I could see myself falling for. I made the recipe as described in the video below (it's long, but hang in there), using habaneros and honey goat cheese. As you can see in the picture above, the melted goat cheese makes it look like the old standard sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.

November 4, 2008

I think Bob Barr will win it all

(More Cake Wrecks)
Happy Election Day! I hope you have better luck than I did finding a candidate you like. I'm pretty sure the election is already decided. From Time:
"Though the Washington Redskins may not have the most stellar record in the NFL, when it comes to predicting presidential elections, they are practically undefeated. Since 1936, the superstition has held that if the Redskins won their last home game before the election, the incumbent party would stay in power. And that rule held until 2004, when both the Redskins and John Kerry lost.

In 2000, as Al Gore went up against George W. Bush, his Tennessee Titans were the last to play the Redskins at FedEx Field. Gore tempted fate by rooting for his home team, the Titans — who lost. Gore soon followed suit.

Winner of Nov. 3 matchup between the Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Pittsburgh Steelers 23
Washington Redskins 6

Prediction according to the Redskins Rule: Obama"
Now hold on a minute! Hat tip to Auntie for cluing me in that the Family Circle Presidential Election Cookie Contest between the potential first spouses has correctly predicted the presidential winner in every election since 1992.

This year, Cindy McCain's oatmeal-butterscotch recipe received 54 percent of the readers' vote, to 44 percent for Michelle Obama’s shortbread cookies.

Sounds like a split decision. Whether you voted or not, do something that will actually make a difference: make some cookies.

Cindy McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies
Yields: 5 1/2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips
In a large bowl beat the butter or margarine, granulated sugar and brown sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir until blended. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls about two inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375ºF for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies
Yield: 6 dozen 2-inch by 3-inch cookies
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Amaretto (almond liqueur)
1 teaspoon each orange and lemon zest
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg white
Chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)
Heat oven to 325ºF. Line a 17- by 12- by 1-inch baking pan with nonstick foil.

In large bowl, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar. Slowly add egg yolks, and beat well until smooth. Beat in Amaretto and zest. Stir in flour and salt until combined.

Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, flattening as smoothly as possible. Brush top of dough with egg white; sprinkle with nuts or fruit (if using) and with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes or until brown, turn off oven and allow cookies to sit in oven (with door ajar) for 15 minutes. Cut while slightly warm.

November 3, 2008

Kimberly is 26 and Freeeeee!

One of my favorite blogs is Cake Wrecks. Maybe because I've made more than my fair share of cake wrecks. Spotted this one a few weeks ago:


Wendy and Katie recreated it for my own recent 26th birthday:

Kimberly Birthday 2008

And Marmee made my favorite birthday cake, the Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (recipe from Country Living).

Kimberly Birthday 2008

It was a good birthday, perhaps as a result of low expectations. And Texas Tech beat Texas, so I got my birthday wish.