Monday, November 29, 2010

Great site bra find!

If you wear a bra and lament things like underwires shattering before the rest of the bra has worn out, or just want to try your hand at DIY undies, the Bra-makers Supply site rocks! I haven't yet ordered from them, so I don't yet know what there customer service is like, but that will very soon be remedied.

I spend close to $100 EACH on my bras so not tossing keeping them going is a big concern for me. Now that I've got a working sewing machine, I may try my hand at making my own dainties and save a little money, as well as having custom design.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shame I don't eat turkey

Spouse came home from his house-call yesterday with a big black trashbag which he set on the kitchen floor and said, "This is for you." Inside the bag was a 17 pound turkey. Raw. Thawed. Apparently the person he's gone to see had two and they hadn't been kept frozen. One was cooked for Thanksgiving but the other needed to be cooked soon.

Guess what I did today? If you said, "Roasted a Turkey," you would be correct!

A couple years ago I found a 1924 Boston Cooking-School cook book at a flea market in excellent shape and only $12. It's a great reference book if you can get over some of the rather vague instructions. Here is how to roast a turkey (emphasis mine):
Dress, clean, stuff and truss a ten-pound turkey. Place on its side on a rack in a dripping pan, rub entire surface with salt, spread breast, legs and wings with one-third cup butter, rubbed until creamy and mixed with one-fourth cup flour. Dredge bottom of pan with flour. Place in a hot oven, and when flour on turkey begins to brown, reduce heat, and baste every fifteen minutes until turkey is cooked, which will require about three hours.
Reduce the heat from hot to what, not quite so hot? My oven doesn't really have those settings. Plus I found it really hard to get the butter to adhere to the skin. My modification was to use a greater butter to flour ratio and add some fresh sage and rosemary to it (the stems going in the bottom of the pan) and put it under the skin. The skin itself was rubbed with coarse salt and pepper. From a modern cookbook (late 1960s Joy of Cooking) I got the 20 minutes per pound advice. The previous owner of the cookbook had done the calculations for their turkey, including what time time to place it in the oven if they wanted to eat at 3:00 (10:20 if you're interested.)

In the oven
In the oven

The bird was due to be done at 5:00, but when I got home at 4:00 it was literally falling off the bone. I let it rest and then disassembled it (sorry no pictures) and threw the bones and skin into a stockpot.

A right, proper stock pot

Dinner for tonight will be turkey for spouse, Quorn for me, roast onion. potato and carrot, stuffing and gravy. And a nice pumpkin cheesecake for afters.

Neck and giblets
Neck and giblets for meat gravy

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks for Giving

We were invited over to a friend's home for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. While bringing a dish wasn't required, I offered and brought a large salad, complete with home made dressing, plus a bottle of wine. Many hours of h'ordeuvres, wine, a HUGE meal and dessert later, we were driven home, sated and ready for bed (at least I was ready for bed!) For a wonderful day, I most heartily thank Tim and Susan for hosting, Katherine for bringing us there and Bari and Terry for taking us home.

Like in the US, turkey tends to be a once per year food in the UK, in their case at Christmas. And like here, one of the joys of cooking something so massive is leftovers. Spouse apologized for his presumption, but asked if he could take a little turkey home with him. Given that there was HALF a turkey left in a home with one meat eater, they happily obliged. He was looking forward to turkey sandwiches. "In England," he said, "we have them with sage and onion stuffing. Do we have any?" That last bit directed to me. Yes, they use packaged stuffing in England just like we do here, and no, I do not have any. What we do have at home is bread, sage (fresh and dried), onions, butter, celery, you get the idea.

Bread drying in a hot pan
Bread drying in a hot pan

So while everyone else in the country spent the fourth Thursday in November making stuffing, I made mine on the following Friday. One does hate to follow the crowd.

Cup of tea whilst I cook
Cup of tea whilst I cook

I made bread last Saturday and due to being rushed as we were going out to hear (be ushers for) the Brookline Chorus, the bread wasn't quite up to snuff. However, it made wonderful croutons for yesterday's salad, and the basis for today's stuffing.

Butter, celery and onions
Butter, celery and onions

A slow cooking dish, even one intended for sandwiches only, was just the activity I needed today. No frantic shopping, just a warm, cozy day at home.

Kitty finds a pile of clothes to groom in
Kitty enjoys warm and cozy too and finds a pile of clothes to groom in

Spouse has gone off to do come computer help, and I'm left in our little home, the scent of sage and onions (and loads of butter) wrapping around me. It smells like comfort and love.

sage, thyme, salt and pepper added

Last night, after coming home we cuddled and remarked how much we loved each other and how happy we were to be making a life together. As I look around our tiny, cluttered apartment, I see home. Spouse has made his mark here, in the midst of so much stuff of mine that was here before him, and it truly seem our space, even if only one we rent. This feeling of comfort and of belonging is what I am thankful for this year.

Happy Thanksgiving and beginning to the long, cold days ahead. May your hearts and homes be full of warmth, light and love.

Red sky at night, sailor's delight
Red sky at night, sailor's delight

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday Dinner

I didn't get pictures of all of it as by the time everything was cooked I just wanted to sit down and eat. The menu was:
Salad of cabbage, spinach and carrot
Roast Quorn with Roasted potatoes
Mushy peas
Yorkshire pudding
Bread with homemade butter
Steamed pudding with custard

Peas Soaking
Peas soaking

Potatoes await their fate
Potatoes await their fate

Another gorgeous loaf of bread
Another gorgeous loaf of bread

Steamed pudding
Fruit was leftover booze-soaked fruit (kept in the freezer) from the Christmas pudding

Pudding served
With Custard