200 year-old house on 25 rocky acres in high country upstate NY and SO many highbush blueberries!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Here's the Spread
Right after I took this picture, I remembered the mashed potatoes, still on the stove. So, add those to the spread. Everything, including the cranberry sauce, was home-made (except the pie crust). I made the cranberry sauce and dried the stuffing bread earlier this week. The blueberries in the pie are from my bushes, but the green beans, turkey and bread were store-bought. In future years, I'll move further towards using food from the homestead. Small steps!
The tablecloth is the only link to those past years when I used to cook a huge Thanksgiving spread for my husband, his brothers+ girlfriends and various friends and family. My husband's family is russian orthodox, (they celebrate Christmas and New Years eve on different dates than we do), and Thanksgiving was the beginning of a season full of feasts (two christmases, two new years' eves, one birthday), fueled by alcohol and family stressors. Over the years I grew to dread this season. I didn't help myself by planning elaborate, showy menus that required a huge amount of preparation and ingredients. Last night I looked at this tablecloth and appreciated even more this simple meal that took only a few hours to prepare. I was also thankful for the absence of alcohol-fueled crying, fighting, making up and other dramatic things that happened so often between the brothers during the holidays.
Kate asked about cooking in the toaster oven. I'll start off by saying that this house came full of appliances (a selling point!) that were all about 30 years old (not a selling point!). The tiny refrigerator smelled and leaked. There was a rolling dishwasher and ancient microwave that I made the seller throw away. The only appliance that's still here is the propane stove, and looking into the oven is a scary event! I think mice lived there. So I bought a toaster oven big enough to work for most things except bread, cookies and ... meat. Since Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without turkey I bought the smallest turkey breast the store sells, six pounds worth. It had bones and structure so that stuffing could fit in there, and altogether it fit into the toaster oven - barely. I had to tilt it on its side to make it shorter, and since the toaster oven only goes to 50 minutes, I had to restart it three times in the two hours of cooking. Thank goodness for oven bags and my meat thermometer! The turkey and stuffing were MOIST, and cooked just right! Yum.
So, why did I replace the refrigerator but not the stove? Last year I was thinking that I'd eventually get a wind turbine and convert the entire house to electric. Now I realize that even if I were to get a wind turbine (solar electric is more likely than wind at this point - fewer moving parts), it would still be smart to keep using the propane tank. So yesterday evening I shopped for a new gas stove on Sears.com. I picked the new guy out and may buy him in a few months. A new stove is about the same price as my drum carder was, which is interesting. For the money, I would have used the oven more than I've used the drum carder so far.
Here's the blueberry pie. It's a variant on Mama Pea's recipe, except the bottom layer is a cream cheese mixture with sugar, milk, vanilla and crushed pineapple. I'm obviously a whipped cream newbie - I whipped this either too much or too little. It still tasted good, but no peaks for me! (Yes, I did read the newspaper at dinner. I'm almost caught up on Wall Street Journals! Unfortunately, they keep sending more, so I have this backlog of four that I can't get rid of....)