Monday, November 29, 2010

Summer (?) Squash

For today, full of Thanksgiving wonders, I'd planned a way to use up my butternut squash. Unless, of course, Simon suggested our favorite open-year-round ice cream shop....but he did not. So! The crust ingredients were something like:

1/3 butternut squash (steamed)
1/2 c. flour'
sprinkle salt
sprinkle sugar
sprinkle curry powder
sprinkle yeast

As you can tell, none of this was very precise. I had seen a recipe for squash + flour + egg, and decided to adapt it. This had squash and water and flour and spices and a little oil, and nothing else. I let it sit for the yeast's sake, but none too patiently.

And bustling about me, in my lack-of-planning time-frame, was Simon with his soup:

and Morgan with his cereal:

and when I was done, I realized I'd neglected my glorious concoction in the oven! It was quite good:


A rambling farmhouse, meticulously kept up by two old, dear people. Their traditional mindset made (in the past) them disallow their children from sharing a room with their beaus, even when the pair was engaged and living together. Imagine the surprise then, when it was announced Simon and I were allowed to share the separated apartment all to ourselves?? This news was the perfect ending to a warm and welcoming day....because no matter how open and greeting a boyfriend's family is, there is nothing so wonderful as being able to snuggle in for the night with the Bean, though we had spent the whole day engulfed in our own selves.

What I regretted most about skipping my family Thanksgiving was helping Moth in the kitchen, in the morning while the relatives arrived. When I awoke, therefore (apparently last, as no one let me forget), I wanted to cook things. They put me on squash duty, and me and the other women (and Pap, the dear old Man) set to cutting up vegetables and sipping eggnog & cognac. I was content! The boys played video games and ran about annoying us until 1:30 PM, when dinner was on the table.

Their Thanksgiving dinner was a refreshing change from my dearest family's. No strange casseroles involving ingredients which should never be mixed; theirs consisted of turkey, potatoes, approximately five wonderfully boiled vegetables...and none of the tastes were obscured by others. All were left alone, or left to shine in the presence of a few choice spices, and the entire thing was so glorious I could have kept indulging for days and days.

And then, when our day of gluttony was done, I came to the realization that this family celebrated three days of gluttony. And I embarced it with open arms!

Here are some cupcakes that eight-year-old Sam made as servant of the fort of which I was Queen. I spent the day making up orders for her to follow. I HAD NO CHOICE!

This vacation was everything I could have hoped to have; three days of reading, doing crosswords, drawing, eating, running around outside, and being surrounded by wondrous people.

And when we got home, Bean and I made pizza-from-scratch and mulled cider! A beautiful ending to a beautiful week...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bee's Surprise

My dear, dear sister Bee. She turned 21 this weekend, and due to the planning of her lovely roommate Kandy, all four sisters (and many friends) were gathered together for one night of joyous dancing, drinking and revelry. The theme was green; my cake-making hands were eager. The results, though at first hopelessly ugly, turned into at least a somewhat enticing mess.

Bee is the type of girl you always want to surprise, and this is the second such party we've thrown for her over the years. In one bowl, I mixed:

1 c. sugar
Almost 1 c. flour
3/8 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. boiling water

And baked it for about 1/2 hour.

Bean contributed a frosting heart to the quickly accumulating counter mess.

In an attempt to rectify all of my past cake-making experiences, I greasedand floured the pan....but half of the thing remained in there when I tried for the release. The precarious confection, held together by frosting (confectioner's sugar + milk + an extremely strong dose of food coloring), looked as if someone that crawled out of a nuclear swamp. Luckily the ever-ready supply of house chocolate allowed for a topping of powdered sugar, dark chocolate bits, and a Stracciatella truffle.

And its slightly strange taste was made up for by a weekend of sisterly reunion, and faces forever emanating joy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Pretty Good Soup!

Whilst whiling away the hours at work, a plan formed in my mind to cut up our uncarved Halloween pumpkins and make some sort of soup. However, this plan went awry when I realized big pumpkins aren't pleased when cooked. But since I was all excited about this idea, I got some butternut squash and made do. I diced it up and let it boil for a while before adding the rest of the ingreeds.

One interesting aspect of cooking with sharing in mind is the assembly beforehand. If I didn't plan to take pictures of all the beauteous vegetables, I would simply chop them up as they occurred to me, and not worry about the recipe as a whole. As it is, here's what went in, plus:

Thai curry sauce (Trader Joe's; found in pantry)
Thai spice blend
Chicken bouillon