nlbarber: (Default)
Today was the big prep day, hopefully keeping tomorrow less hectic. We eat the big Thanksgiving meal in the middle of the day, so advance work the day before helps avoid getting up at 4 AM to start cooking on the day.

Today's output: the Turkey Orloff is all assembled, and will just need 30 minutes in an oven to heat and brown the cheese. The dough for the lemon butter crust rolls is in the fridge, ready to be shaped, and the lemon butter to brush on them is in there too. Pumpkin cheesecakes, baked in my new mini-cheesecake pan, are done, as is the bourbon caramel sauce and the lightly candied pecans that will top them. Younger niece came over and tackled the chocolate pecan pie, which we then consumed with dinner this evening. I did grilled chuck roast for tonight's dinner, but younger niece did latkes, and sister-in-law did the veggies, salad, and grilled chicken for those who are reducing their beef consumption.

Older brother, t'other sister-in-law, and one of the two nephews in that family arrived in early afternoon--brother and sister-in-law drove down from Durham, NC, and nephew flew in from Rochester, NY. The other nephew in that family is in Madrid, taking advantage of having a friend doing a study tour there.

Older brother is in charge of Pie, even though I usually make at least one dessert and niece stepped in this year with the chocolate pecan. (Which was really good, incidentally--traditional pecan pie is really too sweet for most everyone in the family. The bittersweet chocolate really offsets the sweetness.) The plan: coconut cake (a Shirley Corriher recipe for an almost-soggy, moist cake. Black-bottom pie. Pumpkin pie. You can infer that Pie has become a family-defined term for "desserts served at Thanksgiving.

After dinner, he took over my kitchen and made the coconut cake and the black-bottom pie, while I prepped brussels sprouts for tomorrow's brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts, then helped by blind-baking the crust for the black-bottom pie. Tomorrow morning one of us will do the pumpkin, trying to get it done before the casseroles and the rolls fight for oven space.
nlbarber: (Default)
Menus are still evolving, but the basics are set. Turkey Orloff, orange-cranberry relish, spinach salad with citrus, older sister-in-law's sweet potato casserole, broccoli with almond topping, lemon butter crust rolls, and dessert. Dessert will be primarily Pie, generally largely under the direction of older brother, but I will do pumpkin cheesecake as part of the Heavenly Cakes bake-along and maybe another dessert.

Some cooking has begun--I've done the rice and onion soubise for the Orloff, and younger niece call me this evening to see if I'd done the cranberry relish, then came over and made it when I said I hadn't. Tomorrow I'll do the caramel sauce for the cheesecake, I think, and will look at what else can be prepped. The big push for the Orloff will be Wednesday, leaving nothing for Thanksgiving morning (we eat the big meal in the middle of hte day) but to put the dish into the oven to heat and brown.

I also made a crockpot full of smoked turkey stock, so we can have turkey chowder even though there will be no leftover turkey carcass.

Now, must go consider meal plans for other parts of the holiday period--(younger) sister-in-law will handle meals on Wednesday while I'm orchestrating Orloff and assisting with Pie, but there's the rest of the week, too. Older brother and family will stay until Sunday, so he at least can go to the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game Saturday night.
nlbarber: (Default)
1. Got back from Disney Sunday evening (more write-ups to come, whenever I finish all the drafts I've got stored), and took Monday off for the home catchup on laundry, errands, etc. Went back to the office Tuesday.

2. I'm not caught up at the office (that's perpetual, only aggravated by the vacation), on my iGoogle feeds, on email (piffle and Bujold being the worst), on SFF.Net, you name it. This will not improve until after Thanksgiving, probably. Facebook has not yet become a regular haunt, so I never think of 'staying current' over there.

3. Fred and Fish feel that the staff (that's me) should not spend 9 nights away from the job, and are still demanding recompense. Fred has been training the substitute (sister-in-law) but live-in staff attendance is really required.

4. Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!!!! We're gathering in Atlanta, having decided not to have one last occasion in Moultrie. Older brother and spouse, and his older son are coming, and will stay with me. Sometime. (Probably Tuesday.) Cooking and cleaning are underway.

5. Sears and the freezer. There is progress, and the account probably deserves its own post. Short version: freezer is working, though the tech suggests not putting anything I care about in it for 2 weeks lest it fail again.
nlbarber: (Agatha)
I made it back to Atlanta without great difficulty Saturday, though traffic made the normally 3-1/2 hour trip into 4+. Trip entertainment was largely the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game, which Tech won! First time in 7 years or's been a long drought.

Sunday was a no-effort day, as I let the head cold take over. Spent a lot of the day napping or reading in bed. Cold is no better today, though, ungrateful thing. I left work early due to non-productivity, and took another nap.

Had to bestir myself to get Agatha to a 6 PM vet appointment, for another followup on the CRF. I underestimated the drive time in rush-hour traffic, but we had to wait anyway--lots of people picking up boarders after the holiday weekend, plus ailments, so there wasn't a treatment room for us for a few minutes.

Once we got in, Dr. Dunn mostly focused on Agatha's eyes, checking the pressure again and looking at the retinas and blood vessels. Things look stable, but not great--the retinas still look OK (not like that very first visit, when they apparently flapped like a flag in the wind), but it still looks like the blood pressure is up. Dr. Dunn suggested going to twice a day on one of the medications, but to wait until I'm back from my Disney World trip so I can observe the effects and stop it if she gets lethargic or otherwise acts oddly. Dr. Dunn also had me put Agatha down on the floor so she could try to see how much vision Agatha has. Same conclusion as we had reached earlier: probably seeing light and shadow, but not much else. We'll go back for another check in 3 months unless something comes up, and I can send updates via email. Oh, and I have a topical cortisone spray to try on the part of Aggie's back where she's pulling out the hair, in either a stress or allergic reaction. We've treated this before with a cortisone shot, but those are not good with the progression of the CRF. And so we go on.
nlbarber: (Default)
Thanksgiving came off very well. The menu for the big meal, which we have in the middle of the day, was just as planned, and followed in the evening by turkey and rice soup that was supposed to be turkey chowder, but I completely forgot to add the milk at the end. Oh, well, it was fine as a non-chowder. I supplemented mine with an angel biscuit and smoked turkey, others did variations on sandwiches with bits of leftovers from earlier meals, and then we all had Pie.

More on Pie, and the downtown festival, etc.... )

Friday's activities )

Tomorrow we'll do a little more of the chores-and-shopping before the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game starts at noon. I'm assuming we'll have lunch in front of the TV, then I plan to hit the road after eating (and will listen to the game as I drive). Brother and s-i-l will watch the game in Moultrie before starting home.
nlbarber: (Default)
Didn't make it down here yesterday, so today has been full. Cooking details, or why can't I blind-bake a pie shell? )

Most prep is done, so most of us may take a bike ride in the morning on the short rails-to-trails trail here. Haven't made the almond topping for the broccoli yet, but that takes about 10 minutes. Everything else is just heating/microwaving. I'll put off the coconut pie baking until the afternoon.
nlbarber: (Default)
Am making lists, checking them twice....for Thanksgiving, that is. I'm not thinking about Hanukkah or Christmas. Maybe I can do some Christmas shopping while at Disneyworld. Maybe I'd better do some Christmas shopping while at Disneyworld, 'cause there won't be much time left when I get back. (The Disneyworld trip is Dec. 6-14--I'm meeting a friend there.)

I squeezed in a blood donation today, though it had to get pushed later because of a conference call. That makes 6 donations this calendar year--best I've done in a long time. Tomorrow has another conference call, start time pushed to 12:30, then I'll see where I am in terms of trip prep. It would be far better to drive tomorrow, then shop and cook on Wednesday...but I'm not feeling like I'll have my act together to leave town tomorrow afternoon. We'll see how this evening's organizing and packing goes.
nlbarber: (Default)
With assistance of nephew, the rice and onion soubise is done, and the duxelles are done and stirred in. The mixture is bagged and in the freezer, ready for transport.

Solo I steamed the yellow squash, mashed it, and it's bagged and frozen. Cranberry relish made previously is also bagged and frozen.

Nephew returned mid-afternoon and we made the whole-wheat angel biscuits. Board games, more cooking, first batch of Christmas caramels, and what's left for T'giving )
nlbarber: (Default)
It's started, I can tell. Today had 4 stops at grocery stores.

First was my usual Publix, with a short list for the stuff I can do in advance for the Turkey Orloff, plus some other stuff. Also had the turkey itself on the list (turkey breast cutlets, plus a couple of thighs to roast for those (nephew) who won't eat Orloff). Publix only had whole turkeys, except for smoked bits. Bought some smoked bits to use for stock, which will become turkey chowder.

Stopped at the Kroger across the way before going home: bought the fresh turkey I needed.

Put up groceries, with turkey going in freezer. Made the regular Friday challah dough and set it out to rise in the coolish kitchen. Paused shopping/cooking to move some pinestraw around in the yard, then went to Weight Watchers and lunch. Then back to Publix for the shortening I discovered I needed for pie crust.

Home again, punch down bread dough. Make a 1-1/2 recipe of the Cooks Illustrated pie crust with vodka, but 100% shortening and no sugar--this will be for chicken pie on Friday, if I have the energy to tackle it. I decide to do cheddar chipolte biscuits to go with a soup meal, and to use up more of the chipotles in adobo that have been hanging around the fridge.

Digression: can't chipotles in adobo come in tiny cans? I opened this one for an earlier round of the biscuits (uses 1 T.), made something I can't recall with more, then lima bean soup with chipotle broth, then today's biscuits, and there's still 2 chiles left!

Start checking the recipe--I'd bought the cheese I knew I needed earlier. Grrr...didn't notice the green onions. There are some in the hydrator...but they are slimed. Off for grocery stop #4, green onions only.

Back to biscuits. Pause before blending wet and dry stuff to braid the challah...or was that when the braided challah went into the oven? Not sure. Challah was baked, then biscuits were baked, then it was time for me to make the run to pick up dinner from Longhorns--neither s-i-l or I wanted to cook.

Tomorrow: the soubise. The duxelles. And maybe the angel biscuits. And/or steam the summer squash.
nlbarber: (Default)
Sister-in-law and I got together for the initial stab at food planning for the Thanksgiving weekend. The general plan is that we go down to Moultrie (to my father's) on Wednesday morning. It's possible I'll manage to get away Tuesday afternoon, but I don't really think that's going to happen, and the kids have school through Tuesday. Wednesday afternoon then becomes very busy with grocery shopping (we'll bring a good bit with us, probably), cooking, and other meal prep.

I proposed that we go back to a long-time favorite for the big meal: Julia Child's Turkey Orloff. Orloff description, rest of the menu, and Pie. )
nlbarber: (Default)
Hope the others of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving today had a good one.

We had our turkey and fixings in the middle of the day. I got the turkey into the oven around 9:15, and headed out for a jog to get a little exercise this week (missed Jazzercise Monday night because the facility had to be set up for the Tuesday runoff election, and then left town on Tuesday morning). After lots of storms yesterday, it was clear and brisk--I was in shorts and a T-shirt without being too chilly, but the temps kept going down during the day so I won't try that again this trip. Then it was back to the house to turn the turkey over, then take a quick shower and start the serious cooking. Everything turned out well, with the minor problems of the bottle of wine having a cork that disintegrated with age (1992 Riesling, not stored well)--substituted something from mini-bottles that were already chilled. And I forgot about the almond topping for the broccoli, so that will have to be taken back to Atlanta and used later.

After post-meal somnolence was shaken off, I offered to take the nieces and nephew to the rail-trail to expend some energy--nieces on bikes, nephew walking or running with me. Then sister-in-law got the kids involved in rolling and cutting out a couple of batches of her Chinese gingersnaps, which involve lots of grated fresh ginger and tablespoons of white pepper. At 6 we headed downtown to the festival for the lighting of the Christmas lights. (More on this later.) Came back and had sandwiches or chefs salads (with turkey, natch), and pie. That's it, I've had my limit of the chocolate chess. Besides, there's only a tiny sliver left, and surely someone else will get to it before me...

The turkey carcass is in the crockpot to make stock, so we can have the traditional turkey chowder for lunch tomorrow. (Saute onions and celery, add stock and white rice, cook until rice is done. Add milk and some chopped turkey, and heat. Season with salt and pepper.) Chicken pie is defrosting in the fridge, and Beatrice, the long-time housekeeper, will deliver some cooked vegetables for us to have with it tomorrow. She worked today, clearing most of the kitchen mess while we were eating dinner, but she said she'd rather bring the vegetables fresh tomorrow so she can do fried okra, knowing how the kids love it. Maybe I'd better go jogging again Beatrice's fried okra, and of course, there's the chicken pie.
nlbarber: (Default)
We had Thanksgiving dessert tonight. No, we're not confused: Thanksgiving dinner will be midday tomorrow. The idea is to spread those calories around a little, and maybe enjoy the dessert more because we're not stuffed from turkey and fixings. Supper was soup, fresh bread from the bread machine, sandwiches for those that wanted one, and pie.
Pie details, and fridge-shopping )So, there's a new fridge, the floor got scrubbed under it and the trash compactor (which had to move to get the fridge in), various ancient foodstuffs from the back reaches of the fridge and freezer compartment were pitched, and we're still on schedule with the advance food prep for tomorrow. The turkey has been brined and is air-drying in the (spacious new) fridge, ready to go in the oven around 9:30. Then we'll make the squash casserole, get the green veggies ready to cook, stir the shrimp into the jambalaya stuffing, cook it all, and Eat!
nlbarber: (Default)
I'm headed to my father's tomorrow, laden with a lot of the Thanksgiving feast components. Some it's easier to buy in the big city, some things I can cook ahead and save the hassle, some things I'd rather cook in my kitchen with my equipment.

More on Thanksgiving meal planning )

We'll all head back to Atlanta on Saturday, because of various activities that must be accomplished before next Monday.


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