Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our Groaning Board

Hoping you and yours had a great, grateful Thanksgiving!

We did . . . and we had SNOW!  Not any accumulation, but fluffy flurries and real snowfall for hours off and on.

And so much food, obscene really:
Texas trash chex mix
baked brie
cinnamon dough roll ups
cornbread dressing
oyster dressing
giblet dressing
canned cranberries
*cranberry relish
NPR Mama Strindberg's cranberries
Grandmother's pickled beets
*creamed spinach
brussel sprouts (actually leftovers from Mama's office dinner)
green bean casserole
*sweet potato casserole
*mashed potatoes
*mushroom stromboli
lime jello salad
chocolate pecan pie bars
*apple pie
*cherry pie
*blueberry pie
pumpkin pie

We didn't make it all ourselves, despite my starting cooking on Monday.  Because my sous chef, Goo, had to work at the hospital, we ordered out several of the dishes, in small amounts, to try (marked *.) We wanted to cut down on the work and have enough leftovers to send to the new doctor.  We did.

Some of those other dishes were made by the kids.  Sis helped with the chex mix and then made cinnamon dough roll ups with my leftover dough for the brie.  She put so much cinnamon sugar on the inside that they turned to delicious sugary goop.  Bud, in consultation with Mama, had decided to make oyster dressing and giblet gravy--he spent half the morning in the kitchen helping out--toasting 15 slices of bread, tearing them up, shredding the turkey neck and organs (he drew the line at hard-boiled eggs in the giblet gravy, though, despite it being something my grandmother used to add--I guess so we could know which gravy to avoid!!  Alas, I don't have her recipe, so Mama, who was in charge of Bud's cooking, used the one in the NYTimes.)  And he was so excited and proud.  And, when dinner came, he ate and ate and ate, loving his creation.  Best.  Thanksgiving.  Food.  Ever.  So I think we have two new additions to our regular menu.

Sis photobombs the mashed potatoes

Of course, we all had to say what we were thankful for before passing plates.  Family, friends, food, health, satisfying and supportive employment, current and incoming cats, and their gifted class.  And the really big knife Mama was wielding on the turkey.

The kids played Hex Bugs with Ma and Gong, spreading track all over the living room floor (Gong had bought them their first bugs a few years ago, at the Liberty Science Center.)   Bud played Christmas tunes on the piano.  Later, they played a frog origami game, trying to knock each other's paper frogs off the table by ramming them with their own, all by blowing on them (one breath each turn only, but it could be sustained.)

Otherwise, we spent a lot of time out in the flurries, watching the first snow of the season come down (yeah, all of New England got snow yesterday but us.)  The kids kept trying to catch the flakes on their tongues.  They even managed to hit me with a few mini-snowballs.  And I got a great picture of geese overhead; you can almost hear them honking!   In the evening, I enjoyed staring up and seeing the flakes materialize above me out of the night air, swirling like I was flying through a tunnel.  I still love snow.  (We even started a new "first snow" ritual:  watch Frozen!)

And I like Thanksgiving, too.

Today's Poem-A-Day from

When Giving Is All We Have

Alberto Ríos1952
                                              One river gives
                                              Its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference.
Cheater's Giblet Gravy
4-6 cups gravy (either from the traditional batch or canned/purchased)
turkey giblets
salt, pepper, turkey stock/bouillon, to taste

Remove giblets from turkey carcass.  Simmer in water until cooked.  Shred and add to gravy, with any additional drippings from the roasting pan.  Season to taste.

Mama Hungry


Lucy Buffet's Oyster Dressing

  • 12 tablespoons/1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 (8-inch-square) baked and cooledcornbread, preferably on the sweet side
  • 15 slices white or wheat bread, toasted and cooled
  • ½ large white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • ½ large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 dozen freshly shucked or jarredoysters, preferably Gulf oysters, drained and coarsely chopped (reserve the oyster liquor)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, preferably Crystal
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoons truffle salt or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Tear toasted white or wheat bread into very small pieces, add to cornbread, and toss to combine
  3. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and bell pepper; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove cover, add broth, and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to cook mixture for 1 more minute, then remove from heat, add to bread mixture, and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together oysters, lemon juice, hot sauce, parsley, sage, salt and white pepper. Add to bread mixture and stir well to combine. If dressing seems too dry, add a little oyster liquor and up to 1/2 cup more chicken broth; mixture should be very moist.
  5. Pour dressing into greased baking dish. Cut remaining 4 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter over top of dressing. Bake until top and sides are browned, 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. from NYTImes

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