Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Green Bean Dystopia

We won't be having green bean casserole on Thursday. As a matter of fact, we will NEVER have green bean casserole in this house, by this cook, EVER. Green beans are a nice enough vegetable, but they are not traditional to my family's Thanksgiving, or Mr. Hunting Creek's. His family always had a nice broccoli casserole made with cream and sherry and parmesan and slivered almonds (no cans of soup involved); mine always had whatever my dad felt like making, (he never ever made Green Bean Casserole).
We never encountered this dish (abomination is not too strong a word) when we grew up in California. Californians are fortunate to have abundant fresh vegetables all year round.
It was only after we moved to Virginia that it made itself known. Our first year here, we were invited to Thanksgiving at the home of Mr. Hunting Creek's new boss. He was worried that we didn't know anyone and had no family nearby. We had never had Thanksgiving at a non-family member's home. It was here that we discovered that some people think that Green Bean Casserole is a food. We were troupers; we ate it. After we got home, Mr. Hunting Creek and I agreed to never let that dish darken our table again.
It was with shock and horror that I read this morning that about 30% of American families serve it for Thanksgiving.(Others hate it too!) With news like that, it is surely the harbinger of the End Times. People! Cook some broccoli, for Pete's sake! Or some fresh brussels sprouts. Or some nice creamed spinach. We'll be having roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta and roasted chipotle sweet potatoes. The cream of mushroom soup will be where it belongs...in a Tuna Casserole, on some other table, some other night.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All Cakes Considered

I read cookbooks all the time. I read them the way some people read trashy detective novels or the latest Twilight saga. When I was reading All Cakes Considered, I realized that Melissa Gray is a kindred spirit (as Anne of Green Gables would say.) Melissa is a producer for NPR's All Things Considered, but this book is about cakes. She bakes a cake every week for her office. She doesn't use cake mixes. She likes to make people happy with her baking - which is the best reason to bake something from scratch that I know of. Melissa (I feel like I know her personally now) is a good baker. She uses real chocolate and vanilla, and cares enough about results to "re-cake" again and again until she gets it right. Amusingly enough, we might be neighbors. It says that she lives near Mount Vernon and so do I. We might even shop at the same Farmer's Market or grocery store. Now that we know each other, if I see her I'll say hi, and ask for her autograph. (I think on the Sweet Potato Pound Cake page- or maybe the Tunnel of Fudge page.)
That brought back memories...it was the Tunnel of Fudge cake - from a mix- that got me started on my baking career. I remember that Pillsbury sold the mixes with an aluminum Bundt cake pan attached. I begged my mom to buy one and the rest is baking history. (I still have that pan.)
If you like to bake and make people happy, you won't go wrong with this book.
I think you'll like Melissa too.
Happy Baking!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Little Hunting Creek in Fall Colors

Here is an osprey platform on the creek. There are several nesting pairs all along the Potomac and we frequently see them carrying fish to their nests.

Yesterday was a beautiful Fall day, warm and calm, as you can see by the reflections on the water.

There were no mosquitoes and hardly any bugs at all. Just warm sun and still water.

Nature makes some beautiful abstract compositions; better than many works of art only a few miles up the road in the Smithsonian.

Here's a different view of the Potomac; you are looking at the bridge over Little Hunting Creek. North is left and south is right. Through the bridge and you go out into the Potomac. Turn right and go south to Mount Vernon and further south down to the Chesapeake. Go north about ten miles and you are in Washington, DC.
The land in the distance across the river is Maryland.

Here's is one of our neighbors dressed in his fall colors. He was eating a catfish and then took a walk.

All photos above taken by Mr. Hunting Creek from his canoe while on Little Hunting Creek yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fame, Fleeting but thrilling

If you're a wordgeek, can there be any more thrilling feeling than inventing a WOTD?
Check out how Spendorphins is a real word, which Erin says had recently been submitted. (Someone else had also thought of it at almost the same time. Sort of like the invention of the bow and arrow.) Mr. Hunting Creek is now hard at work inventing additional words.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Art date

It was a rainy gloomy weekend here, and our houseguests have gone home.
Mr Hunting Creek wanted to have Thanksgiving this weekend, since the house is so clean and perfect. I told him I was having an attack of inspiration deficit disorder, so he took me to the bookstore to get the newest Threads and Quilting Arts Stitch magazines. I'm a person who likes to wander around the bookstore. It is always fun to see all the new books and magazines. I think we were the only ones there. We got a parking spot right in front - that never happens! Then we went to the Crate and Barrel outlet to look for some new placemats for Thanksgiving. Mr. Hunting Creek is the kind of perfect husband who enjoys picking out new placemats for holidays. (Just so you know that I appreciate him) I'd rather make a nice new t shirt or some fun new silk pajamas than sew 8 identical placemats.
We were successful in our search for new Thanksgiving stuff, and Mr. Hunting Creek coined a new word for the happy feeling you get when you have searched and shopped victoriously: spendorphins.
(I feel so patriotic by spending a little money and helping the economy recover.)
I noticed that the Crate and Barrel outlet had Marimekko fabric by the yard for $4.95 a yard. It is very cheerful stuff, so if you have an outlet nearby it's worth a trip. They also have beautiful tablecloths that could be turned into something else - curtains? Skirts? pillows? (Let your inner Scarlett O'Hara inspire you.)
The Crate and Barrel outlet that we go to is about a block from the Old Town Alexandria -King Street Metro Station. Check their website for locations near you.

After we got home I read my new magazines while the guys watched football. I enjoyed reading the cool ideas in the Stitch Magazine. The whole issue was about world fabrics . I have always loved Japanese Fabrics and I liked the patterns for the totes and the pillows and scarves. It got me thinking about different things that I could do with my vintage kimono fabric. Lots of ideas.
I'll read Threads in bed tonight - my treat!
I may still have inspiration deficit disorder, but following the good advice many of you have given, I'll make something easy and tried and true, and go on from there.
Since my sewing area is all clean, it is begging to be messed up again.