Oy

I am so far behind on everything! The kid was here for the first week of January, and then I got a new job and got sick and and and…

Anyway. Will catch up soon.

*deep breath*

New Year’s Announcement: Vegan Cook-along!

I haven’t posted much lately, but I’m finally in a place where school and work and raising a teenager aren’t eating up all my time.

But there’s news!

  1. I live at my mom’s now. She has given us the apartment on her property, but it’s being renovated, so we’re literally living in her guest room for now. James and I moved here to help her out. We are decluttering, fixing, and doing all the cooking, etc.
  2. Mom and I both recently tested with borderline high cholesterol, and she asked me to help her eat better.
  3. So here’s my really big blog news:

I’m going vegan again, and in order to find some healthy vegan foods my mom might like, I’ll be cooking my way through the Forks Over Knives​ cookbook this year. If you want to join me, or just follow along, please do! I’ll be posting my efforts to this blog on Meatless Mondays, but if you want to join: Here’s the link to the Vegan Cook-along! 

Not to worry, though. I’ll still be posting Mom Foods: the meaty, cheesy stuff I grew up on. And I still welcome your stories, photos, and posts about your own childhood foods that meant love to you.

Welcome to the new year and my new project.

Much love,

Serene

New project!

New project coming up; I’m excited about it, and will post the details on January 1st. How’s that for a pain-in-the-ass teaser?

Have a great new year! See you on Thursday.

Thanksgiving geeking

Mom has just invited three people to join us at Thanksgiving. That makes us seven total rather than four.

That’s more like it. :-)

Current menu:

Turkey/stuffing/giblet gravy
Ham/pineapple gravy
Potatoes Dauphinoise  (I use Dorie’s recipe)
Roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds
Sweet-potato casserole with pecans and maple syrup
Canned cranberry sauce
Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish
Relish tray
Pumpkin Pie
Lemon meringue pie
Marie-Helene’s apple cake

I think two roasts and three desserts are enough for seven people (yeah, I know). However, I’d like to add a side dish or two. Can’t decide between simple homemade dinner rolls and my friend Mirella-Pandora’s Angel’s Bread/cake.

And then I think Dorie Greenspan’s stuff-baked-in-pumpkin thing, which has been a hit in the past. I would serve soup in the pumpkin shell, as I’ve done in the past, but then I have to add bowls to the service, and I don’t think we have seven bowls handy. Hmm, tiny pumpkins as bowls? Buy cute bowls? Hmm.

My ears and mind are open. What would you add?

Pork loin dinner (sorry, no pics!)

I’m finally settled in at Mom’s. Well, for now. We moved here in October, and we’re here for good, because it was becoming hard to be of any help from five hundred miles away. We are staying in her guest room, which we renovated first, while our apartment is being renovated. It is SO nice to be near her, both to offer some help, and just to be closer and hang out with her.

I’ve been doing most of the cooking for the four of us: me, Mom, James, and my Uncle Ed, who moved in a couple years ago when my aunt died. I’m trying to make dinners that are homey, interesting, and diverse, so that everyone enjoys them and I have lots of veggies to eat. Tonight’s was a big hit with everyone: Very juicy roasted pork loin, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, steamed carrots/squash, and a salad. Even better than the food was the feeling I was nurturing my family and having a good time doing it.

The roast was super-easy. Just rubbed it with olive oil and spices, then put it into a pan in a preheated 450F oven until my probe thermometer said 135F. Pulled it and let it rest a few minutes until it reached a safe 140F before slicing. Very good.

The gravy was also very easy:

1) Slice onions and mushrooms (however many you want) and take out a saute pan that will hold them all — but it doesn’t have to be a saute pan; you can use a big stockpot, even, if you have to
2) Put some butter (anywhere from a tablespoon to several) into the saute pan and heat the pan on medium until the butter melts
3) Add the onions and mushrooms to the butter, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top. If you have it, now’s the time to add a teaspoon of garlic granules or a chopped garlic clove.
4) Let them cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid cooks away, then add just enough chicken stock or water or heavy cream to barely cover, and let it come back to the simmer. If you used chicken stock or water, you’ll have to do step 5. If heavy cream, just continue to heat until it thickens a bit and you’re done.
5) In a little bowl, mix a tablespoon or two of cornstarch with a tablespoon or two of cold water. Add to the simmering gravy and stir constantly until it returns to the boil. As thick as it is now is as thick as it will be, so if you need to do it again (to make it thicker) or add water/stock (to make it thinner), do that now.

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