Monday, November 26, 2007

Quick Thanksgiving Rundown

Well, here I am--back at work after a glorious 4 day holiday weekend. Of course, I'm updating the blog instead of catching up on work-related emails, tasks, and reading other blogs...

I had 2 Thanksgivings (I'm mighty grateful for THAT in and of itself):

The first at my aunt's house in North Carolina included:
-Roast turkey marinated over night in apple cider and apple brandy, served with apple cider and thyme gravey
-potato gratin with parmesan, onions, and mushrooms
-something that involved butternut squash that I didn't eat but was apparently undercooked
-brussels sprouts (fast becoming one of my favortie vegetables) sauteed in butter with shallots and lemon
-three different types of bread, including pumpkin cranberry bread and pan rustico
-and for dessert: pumpkin custard pie, tres leches cake, cranberry bread, and homemade pecan pie. The pumpkin custard and the tres leches were to DIE for.

The second at my mother's house in Virginia:
-Good old-fashioned roast turkey. Yum.
-"In the bird" stuffing which featured onions and sausage--one of my FAVORITE Thanksgiving foods
-carrots cooked with butter and brown sugar
-homemade mashed potatoes
-homemade pumpkin pie
-Did I mention the Rum Cream Pie??

All in all, two lovely Thanksgivings. As I have gained about 10 pounds in the past week, I think I'll be eating salads for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned as I attempt to make holiday treats for my friends and family! I hope y'all had wonderful, filling, fattening, and safe Thanksgivings.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mercury in Retrograde

Well, here we are—almost the middle of November and my plate is still festooned with culinary failures. Well, one failure and one success. Mercury is still in retrograde (has been since the middle of October and responsible for all sorts of celestial mishaps) and will be until around the 17th. Even if Mercury’s path across the zodiac has nothing to do with my cooking skills, I’m going to blame him all the same.

Last week, I attempted a frittata. A simple one. Zucchini and pecorino. You’d think that a girl can’t wrong with some eggs and a few simple ingredients. I certainly thought that. Little did I know…

I ruined it. Absolute disaster. Burnt the outside while the middle remained, to the bitter end, absolutely uncooked, runny egg. My pan was too small. My heat was apparently too high. But these are mistakes I have made before and from which I have been able to recover. But not so this time. I think that was one of the worst cooking disasters of mine yet—especially when you considered the mess I had made. I had egg all over my kitchen and almost all over me.

So, dear readers, you will be happy to know that the next night I got back on the horse and tried something else new. And this was a success! I made quinoa. I’ve never really eaten this grain, but have wanted to get into it because of its healthy qualities. I’m a big pasta fan but try not to eat too much. Quinoa, a grain that has much more protein than most others, is a good substitute in some of the recipes I make and also gives me a wider range of dishes at which to try my hand. I think next time I’m going to try making quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth to give it a little extra flavor.

So. Thus far, my quest for a repertoire has only been a little successful. I have gained a staple but not too many ideas of what to do with it.

Stay tuned for next week: I have a celebratory birthday dinner that I’m making this weekend that I’m sure will be a success!