Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pie 101 - Pumpkin

              Pumpkin Pie should quiver, shiver, and shimmer. 

If your pie is solid and unmoving--like old jello-it's overdone or old.  If  the filling is pulling away from the crust, it's too old.  If it's cracked, well, that just happens once in a while (it's overbaked)--but next time bake it for less time.  Stay away from store pies.  While, big, easy, available, and portable, they were baked....when?  And are in the stores how far ahead?  This pie, full of eggs and cream, should be absolutely fresh.  Nearly right out of your oven.  Almost warm.  And, if not, at least at room temperature.  It's custard.  Plain and simple.   And, if you don't want to make pie dough or want a Gluten-Free Pumpkin "Pie," you can bake the filling in a greased pie pan or casserole without any pastry.  Just call it pumpkin custard; that's what it is.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Music--Wednesday through Sunday

Philip Stopford directing my favorite Thanksgiving anthem.

        It is of course possible to dance a prayer. 
                                                                         ~Terri Guillemets
Over the River & Through the Woods

CDs or MP3:   VocalEssence, Garrison Keillor, and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet

                        Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  
                                                    ~W.J. Cameron

Welcome to a little playlist of Thanksgiving music.  Have additions?  Leave them in the comments!


Wednesday:  Baking, Cleaning, Setting the Table, Cooking Ahead, Traveling............

Over the River and Through the Woods

Garrison Keillor's Thanksgiving Song--Prairie Home Companion  "Where ya goin' for Thanksgiving??"

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Somewhere Out There (Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram --"American Tail")

Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)

Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live.
         ~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear.

Thursday Cooking and Prep:

The Muppets: Popcorn

Bolero (Ravel--Wiener Philharmonic)

Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)

Memphis Women and Chicken    (She's got biscuits in the oven---cornbread in the pan...)

Traveling Wilburys:  End of the Line

Red, Red Wine

In the Mood (Andrews Sisters)

A Case of You (Diana Krall cover of the  famous Joni Mitchell tune)

Turkey in the Straw

Thursday-- Before Dinner:

A grace could be very simply giving thanks for the hands that made the meal, for the workers in the stores, on the trucks, in the gardens. on the farms and ranches, and  the vineyards.  Even a toast to all who made it possible would work.  Mark the moment.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Mumford and Sons)

Now Thank We All Our God  (organ-Giovanni Danda)

All Good Gifts (Godspell     We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land....

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Iz)

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow  (instrumental)

Thanksgiving Song (Mary Chapin Carpenter)


America by Simon and Garfunkel              We've all come-------to look for America.

Four Seasons (Antonio Vivaldi)

Coming to America (Neil Diamond)

I Like to Be in America (West Side Story--Bernstein)

Autumn Leaves (Miles Davis)

Thanksgiving Theme (Vince Guaraldi Trio/Charlie Brown)

Thursday  Dessert/ After Dinner

Take it Easy (Eagles)

American Pie (Don McLean)

Lollypop (Chordettes)

I Love Coffee, I Love Tea -- Java Jive (Manhattan Transfer)

Pie! Me-oh My; I love Pie   (sung  by Andie McDowell in "Michael" after Michael says he invented pie--
"Just kidding! ... Sing, Dorothy.  Now.")   This tune is not on the soundtrack for some inexplicable reason.

Pie, pie, me oh my,
Nothing tastes better, wet, salty and dry,
all at once – oh, well it’s pie.
Apple and pumpkin and mince and black bottom,
I’ll come to your place every day if you’ve got ‘em.
Pie, me oh my, I love piiiiieeeeeee

Sleigh Ride (Ella Fitzgerald)    Ok-it bridges the seasons."...when they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie."

Thursday:  Clean-up

Lean on Me (Michael Bolton version)

Let's Stay Together (Al Green)

Barney: The Clean up Song

Washing Dishes (Jack  Johnson)

Stay--Just a  Little Bit Longer (Temptations)

Walkin' in Memphis (Marc Cohn)

Friday/Saturday/Sunday:  Leftovers, Tired of Turkey, Goin' Home

A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich, and You  (Ukelele Ukester Brown)

Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti Scene (Bella Notte)

Cheeseburger in Paradise (Jimmy Buffett)

The Last Time I Felt Like This   (Johnny Mathis and Jane Oliver)  from "Same Time Next Year"

One for my Baby and One More for the Road  (Sinatra)

Go Now (Moody Blues)

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone (Bill Withers)

Going Home (Paul Robeson's version)

Time to Say Goodbye (Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman)

River (Joni Mitchell)

Happy Thanksgiving,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Red Sauce Eggs with Vegetables on Arugula

Click here to donate to the World Food Programme for Philippine Relief

Hunger, it is said, "is the best sauce."  Pancakes outside cooked on a Coleman stove after a long hike.  A pot of stew in the slow cooker waiting at home while you're at work.  Anytime you "could have eaten a horse."

The other day Dave emerged from his tiny, temporary office (my old study) after a #$5*@!) morning and said, "I'm hungry; what's for lunch?"  While he's perfectly happy to get his own meals (peanut butter and crackers eaten over the sink in 5 minutes is a favorite), he'll take more of a break if I fix anything at all.  If I'm cooking, I often cook early and he's lucky enough to get some of it.  That day, I wasn't cooking; I was cleaning and unpacking one more box or ten. Still, I was hungry, too.  A quick search of the fridge allowed that there were indeed eggs along with some leftover tomatoes, cooked red potatoes, and a  big box of crispy, peppery arugula.  I didn't know what I'd make exactly, but I began with a large skillet with olive oil and onions....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eggplant Timpano at the Neighborhood "Big Night" (A Great Vegetarian Thanksgiving)

Moving on this year, we added a vegetarian timpano from Stanley Tucci's new cookbook, THE TUCCI COOKBOOK. Layered inside a 10-inch springform pan lined with thinly sliced, broiled eggplant, this luscious creation is perfect for your vegetarian Thanksgiving.

Emergency Alert---Please click here to donate:  World Food Programme Philippine Relief
Our Colorado Springs neighborhood is nothing if not social.  While we don't live in and out of one another's pockets, we are close enough to send out an email one morning to come for a grill supper that night or to stop by for a piece of cake for an impromptu anniversary celebration. Potlucks are a regular occurrence, as are out-to-lunch get togethers, occasional golf games, book discussions, and plain old, "Come over for a glass of wine" evenings.  We know we weren't meant to live alone.

If you've followed the blog for long, you've seen older posts about activities, and maybe you've read up on THE BIG NIGHT, a neighborhood event patterned after Stanley Tucci's great movie about two Italian brothers who come to America to make their fortune in the restaurant business.  (Not an impromptu evening....)  If not, I hope you've at least seen the movie.  It's an indie cult classic and one of my very favorites that also stars Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, Tony Shaloub, and a very silent, skinny, and oh-so-young Marc Anthony.

Of course for our neighborhood--we're eaters-- the real star of the show is the timpano. Several of us gather one afternoon each year to bring together all the elements and gently scoot that big drum into the oven just so we can have a party and feed everyone.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lamb and Barley Stew with Root Vegetables

I'm not sure why lamb isn't eaten more the United States; I adore it.  But often people will just  blurt out, "I don't like lamb."  In some other parts of the world, lamb is precious, but more common than stateside--as is goat.  It doesn't answer the question about why so many Americans "don't like" lamb; I think they just haven't had much of it and what they have had as been poorly prepared.  I wish they could have some stew...

I rarely had lamb growing up--and, if I did, it was a tiny lamb chop with some potatoes and peas prepared simply to showcase the sweet bite of meat.  Of course there was mint jelly.  This may have had something to do with living with in 25 miles of the Chicago Stockyards, or simply in the mid west where beef was (and is) king. Maybe it was southern-born parents cooking up north.  Maybe it was cash.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ina Fridays -- Desserts -- Ina's Outrageous Brownies with Alyce's Twists and Icing

To say that I'm well-fed is a nice way of putting things and is somewhat of an embarrassment. Dave insists I'm simply...well...maybe we needn't go into it.  Suffice it to say he doesn't complain.  (I love that man.)

I am, however, not well-fed because I stuff my face with a plethora of sweets.  At one time in my life, I ate way more sugar than now and was much thinner. What's that noise?  I can pass by cookies, pie, cake, most candy (not Hershey's kisses), and even lots of ice creams.  I cannot, however, pass by truly decadent frosted scratch brownies.  If you have made brownies out of a box -- and many people know no other brownies than these -- you need have no fear; I won't even glance up.  No matter how you doctored them. Whatever fat and dried-up chocolate they're using in those boxed mixes is not anything I'm lusting after.