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.


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