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Saturday, November 26, 2005

T-day wrapup

The gallon of cream I bought at Costco has been mostly used. I am going to make a couple of more batches of truffles, but most of it got used at various dinners, for Kahlua Eggnogs, and for my cousins' other grandmother's (may she rest in peace) cranberry-marshmallow-whipped cream salad.

I got lots of pix of truffle-making, which shortly I will write up with recipe (the better for holiday consumption).

I always hate admitting that I usually do Jack Shit for T-day dinner (except set the table) because Mom does it all. Well, Mom is a lot better, but she still can't bend. Dad dealt with the turkey and I dealt with the stove (potatoes, asparagus, gravy reheating, and rolls). My potato-peeling practice at the Feeding the Multitudes exercises came in handy.

People who are far better than I can sniff at our Stove Top stuffing, bought rolls, and bought pumpkin pie, but we *LIKE* Stove Top (esp. as a vehicle for homemade giblet gravy), and it got dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss. And Fatapple's pie is as good as my grandmother's (and better than anything my mom or I can produce at the moment).

We had a good time together ... and that is what counts.

I acquired my brother's hacking cold, so have been drinking hot vinegar water and chowing down hot-and-sour soup since. But I'm still pretty thankful.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

At the Food Bank

On Friday I took the day off so I could go shopping with the folks who obtain the food for our Feeding-the-Homeless gig at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. It was a eye-opener.

We serve 120+ dinners and 100+ sack lunches once a month (third Saturday). We need to work within the parameters of what's available the Friday before, as we have no storage to speak of. This requires creativity on the part of whoever is determining what the meal will be.

The Community Food Bank does a lot of business with organizations such as ours that are feeding hungry people. We sign up (and pay) for membership, appoint "shoppers", and they make an appointment and bring a big vehicle.

The food bank had quite a mix of stuff. We did very, very well because we found the meat (Butterball turkeys, frozen in packs of six, about 55 lb per crate, for some ridiculous price like $5.99 - works out to be about a buck a turkey), the dessert (Sara Lee apple pies), cranberry juice, and a lot of stuff for the sack lunches - bread, drink packs, snacky items. I am not sure I would get bread again because some of it started going moldy but that's another story. I have to wonder if this is because this is the time of year that folks think about the Food Bank. We did note some lovely person dropping off four turkeys.

(I noted that "Lo-Carb" mixes and items seemed to be prominent on the shelves.)

Most of the rest of the items get purchased at Costco. We were there before the doors opened to the "executive" customers at 10 am and the place was still jam-packed and kinda crazeeeeeeeeee. It reminded me of why I let my Costco membership lapse, well, that and the quantities of most of the food items are well beyond what I can reasonably expect to use in my household. (I did snag an eight-pack of Genova tuna, which is my preferred low-cost Italian oil-pack brand.)

But it's God's gift to folks who are doing quantity cooking, to be sure. We picked up salad greens, the lunch meats, milk and butter, tangerines for their "take away" item, necessary paper goods, and something to make "a la king" sauce with.

The Expedition that was used for the vehicle was stuffed.

We were $200 under budget because the meat and many of the lunchbox items were so cheap. That will probably get used for the Christmas blow-out but it's nice to have the flexibility.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Food Blogging

I did actually do some cooking over the weekend. Yay me! It's been a while. The schedule and the energy level haven't been conducive.

I made some Creole Stuff a la Janine (no green beans or zukes this time). I also did some Power Baking for the church's Evensong/Organ Recital reception. I also made a double batch of hummus.

I made some of Barb's Famous Orgasmic Brownies. I had a *preen* moment that turned to annoyance when someone walked into the kitchen to ask who had made the brownies because they were so good. The other people explained that if the brownies didn't have nuts in them, I had made them, if they had nuts someone else had. Then the guy turned around and said "I'm going to tease my friend and say they got them at Costco." HarrUMPH. Mind you the "brownie bites" at costco are pretty good, but still.

The other baking was an experiment. I made an old fashioned community cookbook special, Scripture Cake, off a recipe that was posted (with the actual items spelled out) on the Ship. It was a bit blah, even though I decided to up the Scripture quota of the recipe by plumping up the raisins in some sherry (counting it as wine). My oven difficulties certainly did not help any - the cupcakes I made with the extra batter were ok, but the cake itself was blah. I'm thinking some experimentation (more fruit and applesauce) might make a winner. We had an excellent spice cake donated by a church member that would probably be a good basic recipe. (Must look up cheese in the concordance to see if I can get away with the cream cheese frosting.)

My leisure reading is a recently-purchased copy of Being Dead is No Excuse, which is giving me all sorts of wonderful ideas (even if all the mayo in the book would, as a blogpal of mine says, infarct an elk). I laughed heartily at the description of the Episcopal ladies in the author's home town being "no mixes" snobs 'cause it sure sounds like some place I know pretty well, even if we don't haul the silver tea set out (why, yes, we do have one) and appoint old ladies to "pour" at funeral receptions. (Even the No Mix snobs have gone wild for the Vodka Cake which starts with some Duncan Hines butter cake mix. Duncan Hines butter cake mix is finest kind for a mix and I plan to be trying this soon.)

I was very pleased to see a recipe for Goat Cheese Torta that bore considerable resemblence to my late pal Susan's; it seems to have travelled with the availability of goat cheese and it's all good. Susan would approve. She was all about feeding people, and her wake was a most excellent party.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

WCB - For Clare (and Kiri)

The charming Clare's planned hiatus from hosting Weekend Cat Blogging took a nasty turn when she and Kiri were attacked by a dog, landing her in hospital. To make things worse, poor Kiri is getting blamed ('cause he ended up biting Clare, a lot).

I don't have anything "hearty" to send Clare, Casey, and Kiri, but I do have a funny photo of Maggie doing-what-kittens-do to hopefully at least bring a smile. I will note that if you look carefully you will see a pink belly ... this was about a week after she got spayed. I was supposed to be keeping her inactive but she had other ideas.

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We are sending our love to the Eat Stuff gang and hope their recovery, both mental and physical, is rapid. Clare, you rock, for protecting Kiri despite the pain.