Tag Archives: food

chocolandscapes

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I’m sure anyone who regularly eats chococolate has had the disappointing exerience of having some that was exposed to heat before you had a chance to eat it. You eagerly open the package, and find that instead of a silky smooth and evenly dark brown surface, you have a blotchy discolored mass. Even more disappointingly, the texture of the chocolate is usually a bit changed, and not for the better.

I recently had several such moments, but instead of unadulterated disappointment, my disappointment was tempered by surprise and admiration. Somehow, my chocolate had transformed itself into little canvases, with fascinating abstract landscapes.

I ate them anyhow. After taking a few photos.

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What do you see in these? In the first one (shown once cropped, and once in a hand), several people saw a winter scene.

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What else do you see? I mean, aside from chocolate?

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Somehow, I have made it to day 29 of (almost) daily blogging.

potato eyes (and other features)

I was preparing dinner one evening earlier this month, and this potato caught my eye.

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In fact, the potato’s eye caught my eye. And its eyebrow.

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A few nights later, I was again cutting potatoes, and once more, a potato caught my eye. And looked back at me pleadingly.

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Tell me you don’t see the face.

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“She must be running out of ideas,” you may be thinking. “Surely she can find something to post about beyond potatoes.”

If you think I’m posting about potatoes because I’m tired and out of ideas, you are only partly right. In fact, this was a planned potato post. At least a partially planned potato post. You see, I have a past of presenting particularly peculiar produce. Witness the sad potato of 2015, the jaunty butternut squash of 2012, and the shifty-looking eggplant of 2011. Somehow, I managed to post each of these on November 21st in years past. This year, though, I guess I forgot. In spite of having prepared the potato pictures, the 21st past with nary a vegetable. (Out of curiosity, I checked the dates when I took the potato photos above. Oddly enough, it was on November 8th and November 13th. And while I did not post them on the 21st, I do notice that the sum of 8 and 13 is 21.) (And really, this part is just me rambling on because it’s late.)

 

Full of thanks (and full of food)

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving, which is a holiday bound in tradition for me. And much of that tradition involves food. Not just the eating of it, but the preparing of it, the serving of it, and the discussing of it. I love that we have this holiday which centers around spending time with family and friends, and about sharing a meal with them.

Thanksgiving always leaves me full of thanks and of food, but also of nostalgia. More than anything, I think of Thanksgivings past at my grandmother’s house. I remember setting the table with the special china, fancy glasses and candlesticks. I remember being shooed out of the kitchen so my grandmother could manage the entire feat of feast-making in her own way. (Also because her kitchen was tiny, and she didn’t want us in the way.) I remember enjoying so much of the feast when it came time to eat, pretty much loving all of it, except for the dreaded liver lumps in the gravy. (My grandmother would cook up and dice up the giblets, and toss them into the otherwise smooth and tasty gravy.) And I remember the extended time in the kitchen after the meal, typically with one or two other family members, hand-washing and hand-drying all of the dishes from the meal. (Because my grandmother’s house did not have a dishwasher. Also, my grandmother was happy to get out of the kitchen at the end of the day.) I usually got the job of drying. I can still remember the feel of the dishtowels in my hand, typically linen and worn rather thin from years of use, and getting more and more damp until finally you had to get out a fresh dry towel.

I spent much of yesterday and most of today preparing food and preparing the space to eat that food. (Our dining room had gotten rather buried over the past 8 months or so, but I was bound and determined to unearth it.)  We had a few guests (my mother-in-law, and a friend and her 2 kids), so there were eight of us. In spite of the moderate numbers, we had an immoderate number of food items on the menu.

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Some of the dishes I prepared: roasted root vegetables, roasted butternut squash with shallots and cranberries, roasted dijon cauliflower, and vegetarian stuffing.

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My plate. The plate itself is from our good set, a pattern that John and picked out when we had our wedding. I love using the good china for special holiday meals, because that is what we always did at my grandmother’s house. As for the food, the plate holds the 4 dishes listed above, plus green beans, mashed potatoes and vegetarian gravy, and cranberry sauce. 

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Pumpkin pie. The dairy-free version that has become a tradition for me. I had delusions that I would have time to also make something like an apple crisp. Ha.

Now that the day is done, and I’ve turned in for the night, I am still feeling full from the feast (which was blissfully free of liver lumps). I am also feeling full of thanks for the bounty of our feast, for our comfort and safety, and for the people in my life who make my life so full.

half-baked

The cookies in the photos are fully baked, but only about half of yesterday’s dough has been baked into cookies. Of those cookies that have been baked, some number were eaten before being decorated, and many more were eaten after being decorated. In all, the cookies were more than half-eaten. (Or at least more than half the cookies were fully eaten.)

This post is half-baked because I just spent far too longer organizing and deleting photos in order to do a new photo import to my laptop, because I’ve gone and filled up my hard drive yet again.

butter & sugar

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I haven’t managed to do much holiday baking hte last couple of years. This morning, though, I found myself at home without needing to rush out the door, and so I dug out my recipe notebook and made some cookie dough. Here is the butter and sugar from one batch, before they were creamed together, catching the light from the window. (I made the dough, following making some pancakes for breakfast. While I was mixing the dough, I mused about how the same few ingredients can result in such widely varying forms, depending on proportions and preparation method. I also mused that this seemed like a good metaphor for humanity. But it is late, so I will have to leave this metaphor half-baked. Or perhaps leave it to chill in the refrigerator overnight before baking, like the dough I prepared.)

achievement unlocked: bowl of lemons

 

 

img_3049At some point in the last few months, I came across a list post that amused me enough that I not only remembered it, but referred back to it a few times: 15 Tips That Will Trick Your House Guests Into Thinking You Have Your Shit Together . In particular, I liked this item: “8. Get the biggest bowl in your house and fill it with lemons.” It may not be the biggest bowl in my house, but I did indeed fill (sort of) a (somewhat) big bowl with (actual) lemons. Sadly, I neglected to properly highlight this achievement to my dinner guests.img_3336

Once again, I’m too tired from a long day of food shopping and food prep to come up with a new thing for which to be grateful. I’m grateful again for sleep (which I’m about to achieve), reading (which I may manage to do for a few minutes before sleep), and food (which I enjoyed eating following the preparation).

Tomorrow, I have more food preparation ahead of me, in anticipation of more guests on Thursday. I may not manage to get everything organized enough to convince my guests that I have my shit together, but at least I’ll have the bowl of lemons.

a little fried

I’m too tired tonight to write, and am turning in early. I had an extra 3 children last night and today, and am feeling a bit fried. Instead of anything of substance, here is a photo of some of the pancakes I made this morning.

I find myself feeling grateful for some of the things I have already enumerated (especially the sleep one), so I will attempt to serve up a double helping of gratitude tomorrow. (I didn’t want to skip posting, though, as I know it is too easy to let one skipped day turn into…months. And there is still too much to say.)