25 November 2007

Thanksgiving on the Farm

Zora and I had Thanksgiving on Peter and Bernadette's farm. Peter is Zora's uncle; Zora's Aunt Anne and her family were there as well. Springdale Farm is a CSA (community supported agriculture) and their season is just about done.

The food and the company were all wonderful. We had a very fresh turkey that had been raised on the farm. I carved, bolstered by a nice little video from the NYTimes featuring the head butcher at my beloved Fairway.

Zora and I contributed 2 pies: 1 apple, 1 pumpkin. The significance of that is that I seem to have finally shaken my pie curse. Zora and have cranked out 3 pies with nary an incident. The breakthrough seems to have been the purchase of Pie a massive tome with patient and clear instructions regarding crust.

Zora's comment as we left for our drive home was that it was nice to visit the farm because the people there seem content with their life. (I have a very cool daughter!)

Maybe next year we will host at our place - who knows...

12 November 2007

Pea Soup

My stomach is growling and I despair of finding any real food for sometime to come. The hunger is somewhat welcome compared to the lack of appetite that dogged me yesterday. A vague depression has been building over the last week and I am hoping that a reminder to "remember who I am", and the possibility that I might be seen for that person may have turned the tide for the time being.

Despite my lack of appetite, I had some pea soup last night around 7p. I had brought the split peas to a boil late morning with some bay leaves then returned them to very low heat mid-afternoon (if you cook the peas slowly and long enough you don't have to mess around with pureeing them). Sometime around 5p I browned some potatoes (sliced the way Z's Mom used to do it) and carrots with onion, garlic, thyme, a bit of basil and celery seed, paprika, and a bit of cayenne. Those go in the pot with the peas to finish cooking. Low heat yields potatoes more or less intact. The challenge is getting the carrots cooked.

The soup is left behind for Zora and Rachel to have for dinner tonight while I am in Pittsburgh. I wonder if Z will notice the potatoes...

Breakfast in the Airport

As witnessed in the Milwaukee Airport...
  • Cinnabun and a Diet Coke
  • Starbucks half-calf with the Bold
  • Sesame bagel(?) with cream cheese and coffee
  • Vitamin water and a granola bar
  • lots of cell phones and related devices

10 November 2007

My Mom's coffee cake

My mom's maiden name was Mueller. I don't know when the umlaut got dropped or when the pronunciation became "miller", but the German-ness of her family wasn't lost until my generation (and there are vestiges that live on...).

I grew up on meat and potatoes and it was my mom who taught me to cook; first by watching her in the kitchen and then with tips, guidance and encouragement from the couch in the living room. While I learned to cook dinner, I really never ventured into the baking realm and pies and other goodies that she seemed to produce with hardly a second thought have only of late even vaguely asserted their presence in my repertoire.

My sister Maris has been the keeper of many of Mom's recipes and among them was her coffee cake recipe. I copied it down a while ago and have tried several times to reproduce the coffee cake that Mom would make in the morning for breakfast. It has been unmitigated failure (OK perhaps there has been some mitigation to the failure, but I have sure as heck not reproduced the lovely thing in my memory, or even what I have seen in the case at Starbucks).

I am pretty sure that part of the problem lies in a transcription error somewhere along the line with respect to the recipe and I think that error has to do with the amount of flour (careful reading and comparison to Joy of Cooking and other sources leads me to this conclusion), but I don't know what the correct answer should be (maybe I should concede and just use Joy's version of the recipe (more on this when I get back to pie crust)).

BUT tomorrow morning another attempt will be made with the help of Francie. She says it is not hard and I believe her, I just don't know the magic...