It ain’t over until the turkey stock is in the freezer

…and oh, boy is it ever.

IMG_6243If you followed my past few posts, you know that one part of my Thanksgiving this year was stuffing both a turkey and a kabocha squash (for the vegans) to go into the oven IMG_6240of a friend. She bakes like you wouldn’t believe but is not big on the dinner side of things. My help allowed her to play tennis on Thanksgiving morning, come home where I started the turkey at noon so she could bake a pie and host a stress free dinner with her guests bringing all the other side dishes. I returned on Friday to pick up my roasting pan and the turkey frame (from the fridge). This was on top of baking half a dozen pies on Tuesday neatly packed into boxes and of course IMG_0139Nana’s Homemade Hummus for football snacking (clients’, certainly not mine…). If you are in the LA area and any of this sounds appealing to you please reach out and we can discuss how I can help make your holiday parties delicious and easy. We could talk everything paella to chili to simple things to have at home ready to cook after a long day like a quiche or a batch of that famous hummus for the kids (you can have some too).

IMG_6249The stock will become mushroom barley soup for Tuesday’s promised first BIG rain of the year and more through the winter. This is two gallons of stock (I reduce my stock to a double concentration to save freezer space) so a quart jar will be for a party – once I add all the veggies+++ to it it will make a gallon itself.

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T Minus One and Counting

I was so intent on reporting on pie day that I left out the part about doing battle with a massive horseradish root to make creamed horseradish sauce for my neighbors Ryan’s rib roast. In his early 40s, he finally decided to tell his mother that he doesn’t like turkey…there’s too little time in life to be unhappy, so speak up! Personally, I LOVE turkey, even the bits picked off the necks after I made stock today for my stuffing. I was at the store picking up batteries for my kitchen scale (which kept beeping at me yesterday while I was doing all that baking – moderately terrifying) when my iPhone informed me that it would take me about 9 minutes to drive home where I was scheduled to make stock in 3 minutes. Bossy device!

As long as I was in the kitchen yesterday I made some Swiss chard and bread soup for a comforting dinner. I’ll have the rest tonight while writing up the instructions that I will leave behind with my turkey client tomorrow. I’m going to her home at 11 to start the bird in her oven (I made the dressing today), so her guests will arrive to that heavenly smell and be none the wiser unless she chooses to boast that she has a private chef. I am also making a wild rice and mushroom stuffed kabocha squash for her vegan guests.

IMG_6230For today I will leave you with these thoughts – always bake a tester. We had pecan pie and ice cream last night and I made it all the way to 9:38 this morning before dipping back into it. Then I countered it with this lovely winter salad for lunch – red lettuce, pear, ruby red grapefruit imperials, figs, walnuts and paper thin slices of radish with a walnut oil and fig balsamic dressing. It’s always important to maintain a balanced diet, not to mention a balanced life.

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Too dry for pie!

The crazy southern California Santa Ana weather made this a challenging day for baking. I know; I know…sorry, Buffalo. It was 82° today and BONE DRY. Pastry just would not behave. I pushed through and the pies are lovely! We will test out the pecan tonight – I baked a 6” preview tart. Here’s how my day went – – –

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Color Part Next

After last week’s drab dinner comes this – All week long I seemed to be eating lots of IMG_6205orange things. By Saturday there there bits of this and that left in the refrigerator: roasted carrots and a butternut squash, sweet potatoes and delicata. So, into a pot with sautéed shallot and ginger and a few pieces of roasted parsnip for good measure; zapped with the stick blender, and I had a beautiful warming soup for Saturday night.

Sunday morning off to my favorite farmers’ market of the year – Pre-Thanksgiving in Hollywood. Packed, happy, seeking out the first great Brussels sprouts of the year. Sadly I learned that there is a nasty pest up from Mexico that is hitting farmers hard (this would be classed as unwanted immigration in by book). Weiser Farms did not have my favorite purple teenie tiny ones yet; hopefully soon, but I did find some beautiful green Brussel sprouts at Jimenez.

IMG_6208I did come home with this gorgeous Swiss chard from The Garden of….. I’ve trimmed the stems and sautéed them to go into the last of the orange soup for lunch and I will make chard and bread soup for dinner tonight.

…and pretend that it’s cold enough to want soup… ***sigh*** Life in SoCal. But it beats the pants off of Buffalo.

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Sunday morning ruminations on color

No photo of last night’s dinner because it just was not a pretty plate of food. I made some simple boiled potatoes – I’m eating more of the all-blues from Alex Weiser and his siblings, but they’re not pretty. When you cut them open they look a great deal like a russet that’s been stored in a damp place. They make sort of muddy looking mashed potatoes, but they’re DELICIOUS. They do work great for home fries or roasted potatoes. Alongside them I made some braised radicchio with just a little bit of panchetta. It was fabulous, but it was decidedly NOT pretty. I guess this would classify as peasant food somewhere in time and space; it was a pretty yummy near-vegan meal. (For myself, I’m loose about “vegan”; panchetta is a seasoning, not a meat) So, sorry, kids no photo.

IMG_6144As a consolation, here is a photo of beautiful lush Venezuelan hot cocoa from a shop here in Pasadena that I found last week. I actually wish it had been an espresso cup-ful. this was a full coffee cup and I was on serious overload when I walked out of there.

Now, I’m into the kitchen to make a batch of Aztec Brownies with some chocolate that I brought home from Oaxaca. Want some?

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