Monday, November 24, 2014

Hippo Holidays Food Edition

Thanksgiving is the week in the U.S., which immediately catapults us into the "You Will Be Festive, Dammit" season of cheer, beginning with the traditional trampling of the competitors at  various insane black friday sales.

Obviously, there is a high potential for both regular and holiday-related whines this week, and we are here for you!  But please also feel free to share your favorite recipes, stories of amazing feasts, and the like!

And any gratitudes you'd like to share, of course!  Antiwhines are always welcome.

We're going to son's girlfriend's parents' Thanksgiving, which features an abundance of family, friends, food, and dogs.  It's hilarious, too, because GF's dad always invites his best friends and their families, so they pull out all these stories from high school and college, break spontaneously into song, etc.

Anyway, we're taking a savory sweet potato gratin (oh, heck -- forgot the cream) and an apple-blueberry pie.  I'll make some cranberry sauce, too -- for us, they don't need more at the feast.

What's cooking with you?


kathy a. said...

I can't currently locate my recipe for the sweet potato gratin, but it goes something like this:

2.5 lbs. peeled sweet potatoes, sliced thin (1/8 inch)

cook 1/2 lb. sausage (we're using turkey sausage) with some thin-sliced leeks, 1/2 stick butter, thyme, maybe some sage, pepper (I don't add salt, but you can)

layer the taters and sausage mixture in a buttered baking dish

mix 2 cups cream and 1-2 cups chicken broth; pour over the layers

top with bread crumbs and grated parmesean

bake 30 min covered at 400F, then uncover and go another 15 minutes.

kathy a. said...

For the pie, I'm totally cheating on the crust and using a quality prepared crust. Will bake in my own dish, though.

3+ cups peeled apples, sliced 1/4 inch. (My pie plate is large, so I'm going for more apples.)

1 container blueberries

Mix fruit with: 3/4 cup sugar (may do part brown sugar); 3 tbsp. flour; 1 tbsp. lemon juice; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (maybe also some powdered ginger, dash of nutmeg) -- let sit for a while, stir a few times.

Pour fruit into bottom crust; dot with 3 tbsp. butter cut small. put top crust on, cut vent holes.

Bake at 425 for 40 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake another 40. Let cool for several hours.

Liz said...

Driving up to my mom's tomorrow (was supposed to be Wednesday, but apparently the SNOWPOCALYPSE is happening that day, so we're playing it safe).

I'm in charge of one of the turkeys and the gravy for said turkey. It is from the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving book.

Two things I am disappointed by:
a) my mom's family doesn't like my MIL's stuffing (dressing?) which is one of my favorite things in the world (stale bread, crackers, broth, eggs, and breakfast sausage. Really, what's not to like?)

And b) we don't do corn pudding, which I was introduced to in Virginia. Corn pudding consists of cornbread mix, cans of creamed corn and, I think, butter. Drooooool.

kathy a. said...

Liz, you're driving with a turkey?

Boo on them not wanting your stuffing. Humph. You'll just have to make some for the fam upon return. Assuming you are not snowed in. ;)

Liz said...

No, mom already bought the turkey, I'm just responsible for cookin' it to absolute perfection.

It's the herb-rubbed turkey and mushroom gravy and it is DELICIOUS. But the gravy really calls out for my MIL's stuffing. I mean. Yum.

Also, my mom likes this spicy cranberry chutney thing, and quite frankly, I'm more fond of cranberry jelly, since it spreads better on sandwiches the next day.

Liz said...

Neither MM nor MS are fond of stuffing, so if I make it, I'll be the only one eating it. Which, come to think of it, is a good idea.

kathy a. said...

The canned jelly? To each her own! My dad called fresh cran sauce "sticks and stones," and refused to eat it, so like so many families, we generally offer both options. And so does GF's parents' party.

Liz said...

Not necessarily the canned stuff, just not the spicy stuff with orange peel and red pepper flakes.

I like smooth, tart, cranberry sauce without huge chunks in it.

kathy a. said...

red pepper flakes? ok, then....

Liz said...

Yeah, it's pretty nasty. But a majority of the (nearly 30) annual attendees voted for it. Bleah

kathy a. said...

They take VOTES? Well, nobody wants to go crossways with Mom, I get that, but the emails alone must have eaten considerable bandwidth. I like your standard "bring a dish that you like" affair.

W of the future holiday we will host: the stupid new cat has torn out the black undercarriage of the sofa, the big chair, and the ottoman, so that it looks like demons rule. It was perfect for Halloween.

esperanza said...

Mini and I spent most of the day at Mr E's church, helping with Christmas decorations. AW: Mini was truly helpful, worked hard, did not complain, and was fun to be around. W: until we got home. W: I am exhausted. She is not.

kathy a. said...

Go, Mini!! Go to bed, little one....

(Isn't it a little early to do Christmas decor?)

Liz, my husband wants your mom's red pepper cran chutney, so maybe I'll send him over to your mom's house before he appropriates my cranberries.

Liz said...

Two, maybe three years ago on the Friday after the feast, we all marked a secret ballot wiith our 3 favorite sides. Chutney won over jelly by a landslide. Not-as-good stuffing won over MIL's stuffing by a wide margin.

esperanza said...

Imma thinkin you're gonna need to ask fer some ID next time you have one of them there secrit ballets. :)

Or educate your voters' palates :)

Sue said...

On the cranberry sauce issue, I lean firmly on the side of canned *sauce*, not the tube of jelly. I like it because there are just enough real cranberrys in it, but not too many, and not too crunchy.

esperanza said...

I'm going to weigh in on the side of cranberry "relish," uncooked, ground up c'berries, oranges, nuts, and plenty of sugar. I vote twice against anything that jiggles.

Sue said...

Ah, but the jiggle factor makes it easier to stack a bit of turkey, a bit of dressing, AND cran sauce on your fork - all at once!

Still, the addition of oranges and nuts does sound lovely.

kathy a. said...

If there are that many people, though, doesn't it make sense to have some variety on the menu? I think 2 versions of some dishes are just fine.

esperanza said...

Nope. I am staunchly opposed to jiggly food.

kathy a. said...

OK then. Those infamous jell0 salads of yore are off the menu. All in favor? (Potlucks in teh '70's were dangerous that way.)

Bleah. Trying to pull myself out of the blues. Short on cheerfulness and get-up-and-go. Family angst too high for various reasons. Bleah.

Sue said...

(((kathy a)))

W: Kitchen-related whine. Again. *I KNOW*

ugh. I made tea for hubby after supper and my hand caught the edge of the cup after I put the kettle down. My right hand is burned pretty badly. I don't want to go to the ER so I'm icing it and taking otc for the ouchie.

GAH! Do not need this!

Damn kitchen anyway!

kathy a. said...

Aloe gel, also -- helps take out the burn, helps it heal better. Poor Sue. xoxo

We're going to see SIL at her new place on Friday -- they asked she have a few weeks to settle in before visits, and sounds like she is doing OK. I got a holiday sweater and some yoga-style pants; they said she needs hair dye and a belt, so got those, too. She believes every day that her first ex is coming to get her at 10 p.m. They're going with the flow, and so far, so good.

Sue said...

Fingers crossed for a good visit in the new place kathy.

Liz said...

What Sue said. Sorry about the scalding, Sue!

Re: voting, the idea was to simplify.

W on behalf of my cousins, they got rear-ended a couple of hours ago on their way to my mom's and are now in the ER. My step-dad's gonna drive down to pick them up. Their car is totalled, my cousin and his wife are hurt, the kids are freaking out. Plus, my cousin is an ER nurse and this is supposed to be his time AWAY from work

Liz said...

Selfish AW relating to the W above: I was quietly lobbying to move this whole annual shindig to the Fourth Of July due to weather issues (we were no shows last year due to ice, several family members are not coming this year due to snow) and dangerous traffic. This accident on top of tomorrow's snowpocalypse may tip the scales.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Oh, I hope the new place keeps working out for SIL, and that your first visit goes well, kathy.

Sue: ouch! I hope that burn is healing up well.

W: so, it turns out that E is sick (it's clearly the cold that I had last week), and that's why she has had a few rough nights lately. (You guys, I went to a friend's house on Saturday evening, after I put her to bed, and then she woke up and freaked out for a couple of hours, because I was gone. Poor Mr. Q.

AW: now that I know that her nose is clogging up when she lays down, I gave her a pillow. (I'll probably let her keep it for good, since her second birthday is ten days away, and 2 is when you can start giving them a pillow.) She slept in this morning! Past 7am! I have so much energy that I was a cleaning whirlwind today, because I haven't had this much sleep in months.

Selfish Canadian passive-aggressive W: You guys go ahead and have your nice holidays, and your fancy meals. I'll just be over here with my dumb old regular week, and my normal old meals. I'll be okay.

kathy a. said...

OMG, Liz! I'm so sorry about your cousins. Oy oy oy. Sounds like nobody's hurt too badly, except the car, but jeepers. xoxo

I don't get a vote, but your idea about a summer get-together sounds really smart.

Weren't you traveling today, too?

QWP -- the pillow, long may she bring peace to the household! Hope all your sniffles go away.

Also, I vote that we Americans do the kind thing, and send virtual holiday food straight to Canada on Thursday. Virtual, so you don't crash the car, get burned on the oven, or have to taste the giant pepper flakes in the chunky crans, or experience the joy of giant turkey mishaps, and etc.

Liz said...

QWP, send me yer address (Liz at millerhousehold d0t c0m. I will send you holiday cheer

Liz said...

I did travel today. The operant word being day. Traffic was light. Tonight was a different story, at least on the Palisades.

Sue said...

Oh Liz, so sorry about your cousin and her family!! I agree re: summer event.

QWP - take Liz up on her offer of holiday cheer!

AW: My scalded hand is not so ouchie this morning.

kathy a. said...

Sue, glad your hand is less ouchie!

W: We are a little nervous about visiting SIL -- though, we're encouraged by the reports she is settling best she can. "Best" is definitely a relative term. There is a card and probably photos from her son -- when she received a note and photos from him in August, she screamed to take them away. That was during a psychotic phase, and she is calmer now. But, her brain is so damaged by this progressive illness, it is hard to know what to expect.

I couldn't bring myself to buy the colors-totally-not-found-in-nature that she would probably choose for her hair; settled on 2 kinds of auburn. She's getting the belt of her dreams, though, because it was the only one at M@rsh@lls of the appropriate width and length -- a silvery pewter color, with rhinestones on the buckle. Bonus leopard patterned sox!

kathy a. said...

Waa! I broke one of my favorite Japanese teacups today, endeavoring to load the dishwasher since nobody else will. It wasn't expensive; and I have a lot of teacups; but I really liked this one.

Sue said...

Aw, I hate when that happens kathy a. Is it fixable?

Today is the first day that feels like Winter. The thermometer is sitting at -33C or 27F. For those of us who leave gym clothes in the car all day, that means putting on chilly shorts!

AW: Resourceful Northerners that we are, the commom practice in the ladies locker room is to put your gym clothes in the sauna for a few minutes before changing into them.


Liz said...

Is there anymore appropriate activity than writing Thank You notes on Thanksgiving?

kathy a. said...

Go, Liz!

I'm cooking a couple things to take to dinner. For some reason, this inspired my husband to clean the litter boxes and vacuum the entire house! (Holiday miracle!)

kathy a. said...

Sweet potato gratin is cooked; pie is in the oven. I have picked up my traditional holiday oven burn, almost on top of the one from last year! (top of right forearm; I hit the top of the oven lifting things out.)

I forgot to dot the pie filling with butter before pasting on the top crust. Will this wreck the pie?

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Liz, that is the best Thanksgiving activity. (And I'll email you right away, so long as E doesn't wake up from her nap before I finish writing this comment.)

Kathy a: I believe your pie should still be fine, and I'm sorry about your favorite cup.

Sue: leaving cold clothes in the sauna!!! How did such an idea never occur to me?

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American pixies. I hope your day is going well, and I'm very thankful for all of you.

(Argh. I just heard a small voice shout, "Mommy!" Email will come later.)

kathy a. said...

There was too much filling, and some leftover crust, so lo, a small tart was made, and my sweetie ate every bit. And then he ate all the boiled over fruit stuff on the cookies sheet below the pie pan. My pie -- nobody can argue that it's store-bought, due to the ugly crust and obvious boil-overs. But it has passed the taste test.

Love to all. xoxo

Liz said...

My niece discovered that the best part of the turkey I make is the herb stuff that gets caught in the cavity covered in buttery goodness.

I told her she could learn to make the turkey for the years I'm not there, and then it will be HER turkey everybody loves.

Her eyes lit up. She is 21.

Liz said...

BTW: Herb Turkey

1/4 chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbs each chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh sage, chopped fresh thyme
3 tsps salt
3 tsps freshly ground pepper
some vegetable oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Fresh parsley and thyme sprigs.

Preheat oven to 350. Remove the giblets and what not from the cavity of the turkey, and place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan.

Mix the herbs, salt, and pepper together. Rub the turkey with oil, then rub it with the herbs, then pour the melted butter over the whole thing.

Place it in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, baste (very few juices). Roast another 45 minutes, baste (more juices). Then baste every 30 - 45 minutes until at least 180 degrees throughout.

Let rest and make the gravy.

Liz said...

The gravy:

3 POUNDS of mushrooms, washed and sliced
6 large shallots, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3.25 cups turkey stock
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tb chopped fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste.

When the turkey comes out of the pan, pour the pan juices into a pitcher and remove the fat (I used a shallow ladle to do that this time, we had almost a quart.)

Place the roasting pan on the stove, and pour in the turkey stock, bring to a boil scraping all the browned bits off the bottom, pour into another container.

Again in the roasting pan, (or in a VERY large skillet, but why dirty up another pan?) melt the butter, and add the shallots, stirring until well coated. Then add the mushrooms and thyme, and cook until the mushrooms soften up and begin to release their liquid. The cook book says three minutes, but that's hogwash, it takes at least 10.

Add the flour, stir until absorbed.

Add the broth, scrapings, and pan juices. Bring to a boil.

Add the cream. Bring to a boil and keep stirring until thickened. Cook book says 5 minutes, HA!! It's at least 15, more like 20.

Stir in the parsley and TASTE. It probably will need pepper, but it may not need salt, especially if you used salted butter.

This is the best gravy I've ever tasted, and I am not the only one in the family that thinks so.

Liz said...

Re: the turkey, I forgot to tell you to put the sprigs in the cavity.

esperanza said...

thankful for all of the whining pixies

KLee said...

We typically spend Thanksgiving at my Mother's, which we did today. My Step-father does not like turkey, having gotten food poisoning from an underdone turkey in his childhood, so my Mom makes a standing rib roast along with a smaller turkey. We had both of those, a crab/shrimp dish which I stayed FAR away from, mashed potatoes, collards, dressing, squash casserole, and I contributed my Mac-and-cheese and Kathy's Spicy Sesame Noodles for my vegetarian s-i-l. We ate so much that I felt a little sick.

My Dad is a Northerner by birth, so we always have what we call in our family "Yankee Dressing", which is pork sausage with sage, cubed bread, celery, onion, and chicken stock. I love it, and it's not really Thanksgiving for me without it, but I'm the only one in my household who eats it, so I rarely make it anymore. I ate a bunch of it today. :)

I will be cooking for the three of us tomorrow, and we always take a plate to my mother-in-law because she can't cook for spit, and she looks forward to it every year. I'm making an eight pound turkey, mashed potatoes, Mac-and-cheese, Stove Top (for my husband), and roasted carrots. That's way more than enough for the three (well, FOUR) of us.

Offspring is hanging with her best friend tomorrow until time to eat (they haven't seen each other since August, and are champing at the bit to blow off "family time" and just be together) and will head to her boyfriend's on Saturday for their celebration, which isn't Thanksgiving-y at all -- she says that they mostly make Italian -- and she heads back to school on Sunday noontime. She'll be back on December 12.

It's been a nice holiday. My brother and his wife came down this year, which was really nice. My mom invited some friends, and they managed to polish off SIX bottles of wine. There was lots of laughter, and noise-making.

I was really sleepy when I got home from Mom's, but now I'm wired. Dangit.

kathy a. said...

I'm thankful for you all, too.

KLee, impressive feasting!

We had a lovely time at son's gf's parents'! 2 turkeys, 3 potato dishes, some kind of delish greens, 2 kinds of cran sauce (fruity and spicy), sweet potato, and I'm forgetting some things. All this after the "snack" course of nuts, crackers, veggies, fresh mozz and pesto and tomato, 3 kinds of dip. And then there were pies.

This family has a cat that we fostered as a kitten, 7-8 years ago. You honestly would not believe the girth of this cat. She was a little freaked at all the doggy excitement and all the humans, but eventually came back in and let people adore her.

My husband went to visit his sister at the new facility. I bailed.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Kathy a: I suspect that it was a good idea for SIL to only see her brother on the first visit, since she's still transitioning into the new place. I hope you're having a restful day.

KLee: that sounds like you had a great day, and wonderful food!

AW: I had the morning to myself, because my in-laws had the day off (today's their anniversary, and they always book the day off), and decided they wanted to spend the morning with their granddaughter. That took her to the big agriculture fair that's in town this week, and so E got to see farm animals today. While they were gone, I got a ridiculous amount of housework done, and so in all, it was a good morning for everyone.

Nervous W/AW: and now I'm going out to a fundraiser, starting at supper, and my parents are coming to feed E and put her to bed. I'm so nervous, especially since she just spent the morning away from me, and has been really clingy lately. What if she's a mess tonight? Was it a bad idea to book two things for her in one day? (Yes, I'm ridiculous.)

Okay, mostly I'm feeling whiny about leaving the house and socialising while I have a cold, and am probably trying to find an excuse to stay home. I know I'll be happy once I'm there.

kathy a. said...

Hope the fundraiser goes well! Yay, grandparents. It is a little more stimulation than E normally gets, but -- they've all handled that before. ;)

Think it is better I didn't go. But sounds like my sweetie and his sister had a pretty good visit. She liked the clothes I sent along. Seems much calmer, likes the place. They seem to like her.

esperanza said...

W: We ended up leaving the grandparents a day early because Sweet has a fever. Not wanting to infect pregnant SiL (she of the multiple mid-term stillbirths). And if we came home today we could make the special Saturday hours tomorrow at the pediatrician's.

AW: 24 extra hours at home is hitting the spot. Special Saturday hours at the pediatrician on the very Saturday that we need them!

W: traffic, traffic, traffic, traffic. Ugh.

AW: Mr. E drove the whole 5 hours.

kathy a. said...

Oh, hope Sweet is feeling better! That is one LONG drive.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Oh, poor Sweet! Being sick on the holidays, and through five hours of traffic is no fun. I'm glad that the pediatrician had special Saturday hours, and that you get an extra day at home.

AW: the fundraiser was great, and E was better for my parents than she ever is for us! We spent the late afternoon practising her bedtime routine, and talking about how it was going to be okay that Grammy was putting her to bed. She led them through the routine, and then went straight to sleep with no fuss. After all that worrying.

And I got a big wooden growth chart in the silent auction! It'll be nice having something that can move with us, instead of measuring her right on the wall.

esperanza said...

She's much better this morning, of course. We're going to the doctor anyway.

esperanza said...

Strep throat. 100 % of patients examined this morning so far at pediatrician have strep throat. She is very unhappy with me for opting for the injection rather than 10 days of medication.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

There's an injection that you can get instead of ten days of meds? Why would she be unhappy about that?

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Wait: or is Sweet the "she"?

kathy a. said...

Poor Sweet! My kids really hated shots, too, but the 10 days of dosing is a real pain.

QWP, yay about the night out and the cooperative E.

Don't think there will be awards this week, but feel free to keep whining!

esperanza said...

Sweet is the she. She really hates shots. Sorry for the grammatical unclarity.

esperanza said...

Now I see. It was clear to me, because the pediatrician is a "he." :)

kathy a. said...

When I was a kid, I had tonsilitis a LOT. And my kids never did, but they had strep a few times. I think maybe my ped just called it tonsilitis, back in the dark ages? Anyway, I always got the shot. My kids always got 10 days of struggling over me pushing medicine down their throats. At least the shot is over right away.

AW: my daughter has always refused sweet potatoes; but she ate them and loved them and took leftovers for her lunch today! And the hostess of t-day asked for the recipe.

esperanza said...

Precisely my line of thinking on the shot. I have never had tonsilitis or strep throat, so I can't speak to your theory. Both Baboos have had strep before, but I still haven't caught it. Perhaps a natural immunity? Let's hope the trend holds.

esperanza said...

Now I'm hopping mad about a mail order pharmacy/insurance company thing. Taking 3 weeks to get a prescription is unacceptable. Which I told the poor guy on the phone. Which he duly noted. None of which gets Sweet her medicine.

kathy a. said...

OY! Pox on this insurance!

esperanza said...

I think it's actually the mail order pharmacy that I'm mad at. And I think they know they messed up (even before my complaint), because they "at no charge" arranged for a Fed3x delivery instead of a US postal service delivery.

But thank you for the pox. Either party deserves it, I'm sure...the insurance company is the one requiring us to use the mail order rather than my very nice, friendly, helpful, locally owned pharmacy.

kathy a. said...

Because hey, pharmaceuticals aren't something you actually need to use at the right time, right? Pffftthhhh.

esperanza said...

exactly. We are out of 2 of the 4 Rx's. We would be out of a third, were it not for the stockpile we had amassed due to previous prescriptions. The fourth Rx would be gone, if I hadn't called about 10 days ago to get a "override" to refill it at the previously mentioned local pharmacy. Ridiculous.

Liz said...

Absolutely ridiculous.

I am home. Happy to be here. I swear that unless my mom moves T'giving to the Fourth of July, I ain't going again.

esperanza said...

On my list for 2015: invent that transporter. That might fix your problem, Liz.

kathy a. said...

You OK, Liz? It sounds like the festivities maybe coulda been less fraught. (Considering that they started with a family in the ER, and continued through a snowstorm, etc.) xoxo

I forgot that I have both mam and pap on Monday, bright and early. On the up side, both in one trip! (I am such a convert to k@1s3r -- everything in one place.)

Liz said...

I'm fine. I love my family, I just love them more when we can go outside and get away from each other.

Liz said...

Pap and mammogram in the same day?? Good girl!

kathy a. said...

8 and 8:45. How awesome is that? I mean, except for having to be alert and there so early.