Friday, November 25, 2011

a Donner Thanksgiving

Hyde Park, CHICAGO.
A Bernardsville Bird sighted in Hyde Park!

DONNER KIDS: Christa, Alex, Jennie, Lucy, Andy, Sarah

George and Ann
Christa +Andy  and Stella
Sarah) Peterson+Shawn Peterson and Daniel, Katelyn, Colin
Fred and Carel
Lucy  (cameo appearances)

Alex  and Hanna t (cameo appearances)
Mary  and Joe
Jennie and Andy
The 3 Siblings and now family matri-patriarchs: Fred Mary and George

BOYS: Christa's Andy (L), Sarah's Shawn (top) and Mary and Joe's son, Andy.
(R) GIRLS: Mary and Joe's daugher,  Jennie; Ann and George's daughters, Christa and Sarah

The cousins + the next generation:  Sarah and Shawn's Daniel and Katelyn + baby Colin.  Christa and Andy's Stella.
Stella reflecting: Should I be a vegetarian or not?
Even being Vegan is out of the question right now.

Ann and George get time with Colin.
note the little note among the greeting cards? Part of Daniel and Katelyn's treasure hunt.
Alex and Hanna in a photo stolen from Halloween  
Carel and George

and, also chez nous:

Malika (cameo appearance)



This deserves a better photo.. stay tuned

If something can be both light and sumptuous, this is it.  I used the recipe from this wonderful blog; but I tweaked it (of course; does anyone ever follow a recipe exactly? Don’t we always make it better (or worse)?


•1 medium jicama or a half of a large jicama.  Cut the jicama in half, then peel with your paring knife, and then cut into thin slices, about the size of candied orange slices.

•2 lg grapefruits, Peeled and pithed..= “supremed.”   Well, I used pink grapefruit from a jar (perfect), so I don’t really know how many whole ones I used.  I would say about ¾ as much grapefruit as jicama.  But the amounts are forgiving. At least, I forgive you.
•1 lg avocado (or 2), thinly sliced  [I did this several hours in advance and kept them in a plate with some of the grapefruit juice from the jar.
•1/4 cup of pepitas.
• OPTIONAL  a few raspberries.. I used them because we had some. (but apparently they belonged to Fred... oops, sorry).  But they looked nice.  So would blueberries.

•juice of 2 limes
•zest of 1 lime
•1/3 cup olive oil
•1/3 cup packed and chopped cilantro leaves (I use scissors)
ยช1/2 teaspoon salt
• juice from the “supremed” grapefruits OR a few TB of juice from the grapefruit jar

Shake the dressing ingredients and toss with the grapefruit and jicama. Lay these on a plate.  Lay sliced avocado on top and sprinkle with pepitas (and a few raspberries or even blueberries, if you want.)

UPDATE: The salad leftovers were actually just fine the next day.  The pink grapefruit juice must have kept the avocado green.

(for our dinner I doubled the recipe and there was plenty for 12 adults)

Roasted Green Beans ala Andy Recipe HERE!

Fred's Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
                                                    via Ann (or so says Fred).

Grind together
2 whole oranges and 1 pkg (1 lb?) fresh cranberries.  
Add between 2Tb and 3 lbs sugar, or to taste. 

WONDERFUL, web-PERFECT VEGAN Gravy with Brewers yeast
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup or more chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced. Yes, I used 5 lg ones and it was not garlicky at all
1/2 cup WONDRA flour, or all purpose if you are not as wondraful as moi.
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth from a carton, not cubes or jars
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the broth. Season with sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.


Here is my Thanksgiving "sqush" recipe.  It is really simple, the only hard work is the peeling.

Take a butternut squash, and with a large knife or cleaver, remove the stem and cut squash crossways into 1 inch slices.  Remove the outside skin and cut the vegetable into 1 inch pieces.  Remove seeds and stringy parts.  

Be careful not to cut your fingers.

Put the squash pieces on a steamer rack inside a pot with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, and bring the water to a boil with the pot covered.  
When the squash gets soft and easily pierced with a fork, it is done.  

This takes only about 15 or 20 minutes.  

Put it in another pot and mash with a potato masher until it has a nice smooth consistency, like mashed potatoes but more wet.  Add a little butter or margarine.  It's ready to eat!

I didn't add any spices at Thanksgiving, but of course one can do that -- experiment with nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom etc, whatever you like.

The seeds may be salted lightly and toasted (in a small frying pan, with no oil) but that's a separate operation, and optional.  Ann and I like them as a warm crunchy side dish.  I don't usually save the cooking water but I suppose it could make a good soup stock.
•AND, Here's the "Ratatouille" recipe 
straight from 

Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, cut in pieces
Onion, 1 medium (or 2 small ones)
Tomatoes, canned, whole or diced
Summer squash, yellow or green
Herbs - Oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, etc etc
Sweet peppers, red and green, stem and seeds removed, cut into large pieces
Okra pieces [optional]

3 Tablespoons of dry red wine - Stirs the juices of creativity
Exact amounts of things are according to the tastes of the cook!  The recipe is quite flexible.  If you hate okra, leave it out.  If you want to add corn, or string beans, or peas, it will work fine. 
The most critical vegetable in this recipe is the eggplant.  Look for a nice fresh one with a smooth skin and firm flesh, not soft or mushy feeling.  The flesh inside should be light colored.  In some seasons it may be hard to find a good one.
You will need a large pot with cover, a large knife or cleaver, and a wooden spoon to stir things with. 

Heat a few tablespoons of good  extra virgin olive oil, put in pieces of garlic and a medium onion cut into 1 inch pieces. 
Ah!  Smells good already!  Cook them until soft. 
Cut the eggplant (stem removed) into 1 inch pieces, leaving the skin on, and put these in the pot.  Add a little more oil as needed - the eggplant is quite thirsty.  
Add the can of whole or diced tomatoes, juice and all.  
Cut up the squash into pieces and put those in.  Everything is cooking as you add ingredients, and by this time there should be plenty of liquid.  But if it seems dry, add a quarter cup of water.
Herbs - put in oregano, basil,.....maybe some rosemary too.  Whatever you have around the kitchen.  Black pepper too, preferably ground fresh.  Add a few tablespoons of dry red wine, and have a little glass to cheer yourself up before dinner.
Add the peppers and okra last, since they soften up quickly.  I like lots of peppers, for the beautiful color. 
Put on the lid and let it simmer, checking every 15-20 minutes to see how things are doing.  When the eggplant and zucchini are completely soft when poked with a fork, the ratatouille is done, so turn off the heat to avoid overcooking.  It will stay hot for quite a while in the pot.
Ratatouille is especially good with a nice hot rice pilaf to soak up the juices, and maybe a blop of fresh yogurt alongside.  It is a delicious dish and, as you see, rather fun and easy to make. 
To reheat leftovers, only heat up the part you intend to use immediately.
Bon appetit!

And, of course we had a Turkey, but this main dish was vegetarian: a repeat from Good Thyme Girl's past:

Go: HERE for this recipe from my 1 thyme out of 3 post.

and, as an aside..?

 with gin, juniper berries, lemon peel and vermouth  •recipe to follow•  but you get the picture.

 Pre-Soused George with post-soused Olive
Christa and Andy's 
Coconut & Coconut Milk Ginger Pumpkin Pie

go HERE for the recipe 

Ann made a Panda cake because Katelyn was turning 7. Jenny helped decorate.
Katelyn shows that the Panda Cake was a 100% success.

More: Behind the scenes:

So, how many guys does it take to carve a Turkey?

We were so glad to have the Chipps here.....
and with time to check out some Chicago, too:

In front of the model of Chicago (or is Mary the current Model of Chicago?)
Bean There, Done That...

GTG SAYS: Bye for now, folks!
and did you know that the Good Thyme Girl actually wears glasses.?
but only when she wants to see.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Cousins for Dinner Nov. 13th 2011

Mather Street, OAKLAND.
(yes, our cousins are that edible)

Rumeli, Steve, Alanya, Noni, Paola
              Rumeli, Cyrus, Sandriz, Danny-Jamal, Heather, Noni

The rest of the group (MorMor, Marco, Selim & Naveed) should be pictured below, eventually and inshallah..

•Hoplamazian Eggplant Meza  (recipe below)

Roasted Carrots and Turnips with Sage and Rosemary (recipe to be below)
Green Salad with red onion, parsley & lemon infused olive oil
Presnac (Serbian Eggie Cheesie) (recipe below)
Alanya's roasted Kale Chips
Sweet potato and chocolate chip cake made by Alanya with
Banana Ice cream, Chocolate Ice cream.
A nip of Limoncello straight from the freezer, via Napoli.

the Hoplamazians' Eggplant Meza 
Chef's Happy Cap Award for sure!

1 Bayleaf  (I forgot)
1 Eggplant 1 peeled (I didn’t) and cubed.
1 clove garlic
½  cup olive oil 
1 Onion , chopped fine. 
1 Green pepper (or red) chopped 
1 TB Flat Parsley chopped 
Chopped tomatoes 1 Lb (I used a 26 oz can) 
2 tsp Sugar 
Salt pepper
                                           Serve at room temperature

Alanya's Roasted Chard  (in foto above)

 devein the chard.  Toss the leaves with olive oil and garlic salt (sesame seeds are good, too).  Roast at 400 till crisp.

Roasted Carrots and Turnips with Sage or Rosemary
I used Rosemary for this dinner
But Sage when I made this in Chicago)

Cut the carrots and Parsnips into fattish lengths, but leave on the skins. 

Toss with olive oil, a squeeze of honey, fresh Rosemary (or sage )and parsley if you have some. (I cut fresh herbs with scissors... too easy!)  

Line your baking sheet with foil or parchment.

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, but check.  They should look roasted...  a bit brown and caramelized.  Usually they carmelize on the underside, so turn them to give both sides a chance.

  Serve hot, cool or tomorrow.

[[below they are, served another time, topped with fresh more, whole sage leaves crisped in olive oil.  On the plate, too: herby green salad and tomatoes.]]

Presnac (Serbian Eggie-Cheesie)

Presnac is better than Prosac and is our family stand-by for elegant breakfasts, big picnics and comfort food.  

It can be made on the spot or prepared ahead and baked later.

We know of no-one who doesn't love this unconditionally

1 stick butter, cubed
3/4 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
6 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 tsp. baking powder
1 lb. cottage cheese… regular or low fat, but not non fat. I mean, really..
1/2 c. flour
Salt & pepper

Butter the pan.  Then layer with large chunks of butter and cubes of Jack cheese.

If you don't have a strong blender, add the cream cheese in chunks after the Mozzarella.  I did this, when I made this again in Chicago:

Otherwise In a processesor or vegimax thing, in however many batches as needed, mix
Eggs,( cream cheese if you haven't put it in the pan already), cottage cheese, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper.
As long as each batch is liquid-y, the proportions in the batches are not important.  They will mix together if you pour the second batch evenly over the first.
Pour the mixture over the butter+cheese layer.   (Let sit if you want… even over night)
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.

Alanya's Kale Chips


Kale, any kind
Olive oil
Salt or seasoned salt

Devein the Kale and tear leaves into large pieces
Wash and spin or towel dry
Lay on cookie sheet in a single layer
drizzle with olive oil
sprinkle with salt
Mix a bit with your hands to spread the oil around

Bake at 450 for about 5-10 minutes.  
Raw                       Roasted
 Watch. They should turn bright green, and then get darker, purpler on the edges.  Without the dark edges, they won't be crisp.


Once crisped, they can last all day.

 Cyrus at the "bar", dishing out ice cream.  Note the personally imported Limoncello...

What was going on while the adults were eating...

The living room was designated as a "NO GIRLS" zone
..not that we have any girls

 Naveed and Selim

 Naveed                                        Alanya and Selim

                                                          Steve and Dreese
Mikej + Dreese  (add your own caption!)