Will it blend?

This is quite amusing...
...a little "back to work" giggle for kitchen gadget lovers
courtesy of LB:



Something to be Thankful for...

I have always loved the holidays. The period of time surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas are so steeped in tradition for my family that it things never feel quite right unless I am home with my family. As I have grown older, and things have changed, I have learned to make my own traditions, to let go of the comforts of what I'm used to, and now, even to let go of some of the people I have loved and the traditions they carried with them.

The Thanksgivings of my youth consisted of the women spending the day cooking in the kitchen and then men spending the morning out hunting in the surrounding fields for pheasants. It sounds very cliche, or at the very least Norman Rockwell-ish, but we loved it. My immediate family would be there, as well as the ever-consistent grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that any holiday is incomplete without. As more of the cousins and children got married or had their own children, the number of people increased and usually ran close to a tally of about 35. My mom and my aunt Nancy would coordinate things and I don't remember a single Thanksgiving where there were any disasters or chaos - or if there were, they certainly hid it quite well (something I hope they'll pass on to me). Everything always seemed to run smoothly and beautifully.

We always started the afternoon watching football and grazing on artichoke dip and crackers, waiting to be called to the dining room and the den to eat the enormous potluck feast that had been arranged on the tables. I remember when I was moved up from the kid's table to the grown-up table to sit next to aunts and uncles and grandma and grandpa. And now, sadly, I've grown up so much that I am no longer able to go home for both Christmas and Thanksgiving. I've had to begin my own traditions, make my own turkeys and my own stuffing, spending time with close friends who are also not able to make it home or with other families here, and just making a phone call home to let my own family know that I am thinking of them and missing the traditions I knew so well. These are the harder things about growing older - letting go; even as independence, new adventures, and new friendships come into being.

This will be the first Thanksgiving that my grandmother's chair will sit empty for as many Thanksgivings as I can remember. This will be the first Thanksgiving that my baby sister is a married woman. This will be the first Thanksgiving that my family sits down and celebrates that my step-father's pathology report came back saying that his cancer was contained and that he might just be free of it now (YAY!!). And this will be the first Thanksgiving that I only make a pumpkin pie; my very first. Even though the sadness of losing my grandmother this year still permeates through everything I do (as the first year of doing everything without her), and I miss her terribly, there is still so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful, mostly, for my family. I am thankful for my step-dad's health and my sister's happiness. For the time I have with my grandparents that are still here and the weekly conversations I have with them where I am continually learning lovely tidbits about their past, the wisdom they have gained, the stories of the people they have known and the people they are. For the closeness that tragedies and celebrations have brought between my siblings and myself. I am thankful for LB and our "family" of dogs and close friends and families here that have taken us in as their own. And I am thankful I have a whole world of other food bloggers out there that can offer me advice on a hundred different pumpkin pies and other Thanksgiving desserts and dishes that I can, and will, form my own traditions with...

This year, I'm simply making a plain pumpkin pie, with maple whipped cream. Someday I'll make variations on this and be adventurous in the flavors that it contains, but this year, since it's my first, I'm going traditional. I can't tell you whether or not it's like mom used to make, because I can't dig into it until tomorrow. I also can't tell you if the paper towel trick (below) works, but I'll update this post after the holiday.

No matter what you're doing for the holiday - making a big meal, spending time with family or just relaxing and enjoying a quite weekend to yourself, I hope that it's wonderful (and for those not celebrating this holiday - I hope the rest of your week and weekend are similarily wonderful)...I'm already looking forward to seeing what ideas you have in store for Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie, adapted slightly from Everyday Food

For The Pie:
1 disk Basic Pie Dough, rolled out and fitted into a 9-inch pie plate
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp. pumpkin-pie spice
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin (1 3/4 cups)
1 cup half-and-half

For Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around rim of plate. Crimp with fingertips. Refrigerate pie shell until chilled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line dough with aluminum foil, folding foil over rim of pie plate. Fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake until crust is firm, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and beans. Cool crust completely before filling.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, pumpkin-pie spice, and pumpkin. Whisk in half-and-half. Pour mixture into cooled pie crust. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Cool on rack at room temperature, 1 hour, then refrigerate to cool completely. If making in advance, cover cooled pie in plastic, and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Make whipped cream: In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream, maple syrup, and granulated sugar until soft peaks form.

Note: When refrigerating pie, cover first with a paper towel, then plastic wrap. The towel absorbs moisture and keeps the surface free of droplets.

Update: The pie got rave reviews, although I was disappointed that it pulled away from the crust when the pieces were cut. I upped the amount of maple syrup in the whipped cream (you couldn't taste the maple flavor at first) and upped the amount of pumpkin pie spice in the pie and everyone kept saying how much they liked the spicy-ness of it. The paper towel trick worked - although I had dampened it a bit because I was worried it would stick to the top. I subsequently spent the next two days worrying the crust would get soggy because of the damp paper towel, but that didn't seem to be the case!


Fruitcake: Not Just for Door Stops Anymore.

You know the age-old cliches about fruitcake. It's that "standard" gift that everyone used to give to their neighbors. That no one really wanted to get. That used to end up being used as doorstops or paperweights rather than being eaten. Its sticky-sweet glace (how DO you put those darn accents in?) fruit peeking out in un-natural reds and pinks and all manner of colors not found in the rainbow, and solidly encased in densely-packed sickeningly-sweet bread. I, for one, had stayed away from the stuff for as long as I can remember.

That was, until I found Big Daddy's Fruitcake at the Eugene Holiday Farmer's Market. Big Daddy's Fruitcake, hailing from Florence, OR, shows up at the Holiday Market every year. People wait all year for it to show up. And this year, having had one exquisite taste last year but too poor to afford a loaf myself from already having purchased all of my holiday gifts, was one of the ones ready and waiting for it to arrive.

This fruitcake isn't made from any un-naturally colored or flavored fruit...in fact, there's no candied fruit at all. It's just a mixture of delicious dried fruits and nuts - like peaches, pears, dates, papayas, and apples with walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and peanuts thrown in. You can actually see and taste each one when you cut into your beautifully golden loaf. The pound-cake base is sweet, but not cloyingly so and the density of the loaf is enviable: a heavy-packed 2+ lbs...wow!

Gorgeous, isn't it? It's even cured in 3 kinds of alcohol (who could ask for more than that?!). If you're in the area and can make your way to the Holiday Market, stop by and get a loaf of this delicious treat. It's claims to be the best fruitcake on Earth, and I have to say, I agree. It's not cheap, but as a holiday indulgence, it's worth every penny. Even LB, who had stayed away from fruitcake for the same reasons I had, and being the L.B. that he is, fell in love with this fruitcake after a single bite and has been pilfering thin slices off of our rapidly disappearing loaf. I wish I had a recipe to share with you, but alas, I have no idea how to make fruitcake. I think I have my standard now, though, so if anyone has a recipe that's been in the family for years that might compare, please, please let me know. I'd love to bring back this standard in a form that even the neighbors would enjoy.


Drum-Roll Please...

The time has arrived!
You've been more than patient with me
It's time to announce the name
that will grace my dear LB.

I asked for your thoughts,
(Begged and pleaded without shame)
I made you read bad poetry,
and asked you to give LB a new name.

Call him: My Man, you suggested,
If he's good as can be
Or perhaps, Mere Male,
If he's been a bit naughty.

Some of you were poetic:
"A spade is a spade; a rose is a rose,
Simply call him Love,"
You suggested with sweet prose.

Designated Husband. Stone Cold Fox. Dingo Honey.
So many ideas were raised!
To describe two scientists Quantum Entangled
For the rest of their days.

Doctor Hottie boosted LB's ego,
McFuture Husband made him jest,
Captain Tricycle turned him nearly as colorful
as when he wore that red spandex.

In the end, I let LB chose
which of the names it would be,
So I won't make you read
any more of my bad poetry...

LB has a new name!

His new name is: LB

Although this endearing nickname used to stand for Loving Boyfriend (LB), because Loving Boyfriend and I are now engaged and he is soon to become my Loving Husband, it was time for a name change. I threw the option to name him out there to you, dear readers, and I got some wonderful entries. Close runners up were Mere Male (MM - which could also be My Man, or Mmmmmm, depending on his current standing based on recent actions) and McFuture Husband, in the tradition of Gray's Anatomy, one of our favorite shows. But in the end, when I asked Loving boyfriend to chose his new moniker, he didn't even hesitate.

"Lucky Bastard," he said in reply. "I think it's hilarious...plus, it says just how lucky I am to have you."

Awww, shucks. Could a woman hope to have a more sweet man all to herself? Or one with such a sense of humor? I have to agree with him as well - he IS lucky to have me :) and I'm lucky to have him...wait, does that make me LB too, only with a slight change in the B?

Besides, I do have to admit that I've become quite attached to just calling Loving Boyfriend LB for short (sort of rolls off the tongue, you know?). So there it is, Loving Boyfriend stays my LB, with just a little change in connotation. Thank you for all of your suggestions and entries and for playing along. And thank you, Huanger, for giving LB his new name!


Only ONE more day...

...to rename LB...

Anyone? Anyone?

...Bueller? Bueller?



It seems like cauliflower has been on many a food-blogger's mind lately, including two of my favorite foodbloggers - Cookiecrumb, from I'm Mad and I Eat, and Ilva, from Lucullian Delights. It's actually been on my mind lately as well! I've had a head of cauliflower waiting in the crisper drawer for several weeks now, calling out to me daily to be used:

Miiichhhhellllle...please use me...
I'll be delicious....

...I prrromissse...
...Just come a little closer...
...I'll whisper how delicious I can be in your ear...
...all the ways you can cook me to your heart's content...
...Just a little closer...

Perhaps if my mother, eager to discuss them with someone, hadn't encouraged me to read Stephen King novels with her when I was a teenager...or perhaps if I hadn't loved them so much that I devoured every word and let my spongy teenage imagination swell and grow with the creatures I imagined from the stories I read (psyching myself out to the point where after I read the novel IT, I was afraid of the shower drain and any sewer grates until I was nearly 22 and ran away from the very loud flushing sound of the toilet every time I was alone in the house and had to use the bathroom - come on, you know you've done it too...right?), I just might have reached in that drawer sooner and pulled that whispering cauliflower out.

I've since stopped reading Stephen King novels, as you can guess, although I do still love a good suspenseful scare on occasion. As it was, the poor cauliflower sat in that drawer, crooning out to me every time I opened the refrigerator door, reaching ITs white flowered "fingers" out of ITs greens in a beckoning curl, and just waiting until I reached my little pink fleshy fingers into the drawer to get IT...so that IT could grab me and pull me down into the drawer to be devoured at will.

But then along came the Kokanee salmon.

Knowing that salmon is a pink-fleshed fish, although these babies have the palest peachy flesh possible, I decided that roasted cauliflower would be lovely with it, and steeled myself to suck it up and brave the call of that scary white vegetable.

Wondering what the hell to do with a cauliflower that didn't involve steaming it (read: Boring!), I turned to the spice drawer and my memories of what other bloggers have done with it. I knew that Gluten-Free Girl had roasted hers, so why not do that? I opened the fridge door, took a deep breath, held it, and listened...at first, just crickets in the background...and then I heard ITs high little voice...

Miiichhhhellllle...please use me...
I'll be delicious....
...I prrromissse...
...Just come a little closer...
...I'll whisper how delicious I can be in your ear...
...all the ways you can cook me to your heart's content...
...Just a little closer...

Yikes! IT was definitely still there! I debated putting on a leather glove or something in case the thing had grown teeth over the last several weeks, but decided that, being 28 and outweighing the thing by nearly 100 lbs, I could probably take IT. Cradling my trusty Wusthof 8" Chef's Knife in my left hand, I reached down (making sure the path behind me was clear in case I needed to run away quickly for my escape), and slowly opened the drawer...I could hear ITs shallow breath and see just a bit of IT there in the dark of the back of the drawer...

Miiichhhhellllle...please use me...
I'll be delicious....
...I prrromissse...
...Just come a little closer...
...I'll whisper how delicious I can be in your ear...
...all the ways you can cook me to your heart's content...
...Just a little closer...

Strengthening my resolve with visions of deliciously roasted and perfectly caramelized cauliflower, I tightened my grip on the Wusthof, and ripped open the drawer! I grabbed the cauliflower, greens first, and threw it out on the floor far away from both the fridge and myself and into the light of day.

There IT stood, covered now in a bit of dog hair from being tossed carelessly onto the floor (whoops...should have considered that before throwing it so haphazardly), looking not quite as scary as I had imagined. Breathing a sigh of relief, I stood up, closed the fridge and approached IT. IT actually looked rather harmless out in the light. But I picked IT up carefully, cautiously, and rinsed IT clean before putting it on my cutting board. With a final sigh, I chopped IT up into pieces, drizzled and tossed IT with olive oil, salt and pepper and put IT in a 400F oven (Who's the boss now scary cauliflower?!! He he he).

IT came out beautifully; soft, caramelized, and delicious. When IT was finished, I tossed IT with a bit of sweet Hungarian paprika and chopped parsley, and enjoyed every last bite next to my the gorgeous flesh of that tender fish...mmm... (And dear Tanna was concerned about taking pictures of her beautiful bread at 4 am; at least her bread didn't have its own personality! Now...what was that song she was singing?...)


It's a bird! It's a plane! No...It's a Gigantic...

Kabocha squash? Blue bonnet?


Yes, that would be one gigantic cabbage.
I think if I had to eat that much squash or cabbage, I would be completely ill.
Good for an ice-breaker at a party of food nerds though...or probably science geeks too.
Ah, I love my friends.

This is my 8th "installment" for the TarFoBlo-NaBloPoMo.
Which "installment" are you on?
It's never too late to join!
We're all still Tardy!


Plus, only four more days to rename LB...
It's your chance to eternally wrap him in memories of the day he wore spandex,
was a total sweetheart, almost lost me to another "man,"
or ate squid ink for a snack...
Come on, I even wrote a poem for you...and I'm no poet!


Breakfast fit for a Queen...or maybe a King...

We were recently the recipients of some amazingly beautiful Kokanee salmon, a freshwater salmon that is smaller, more tender and lighter in color than the large, traditional, red-fleshed sea-faring salmon that you can get in fish markets and grocery stores. A friend of ours, the highly-talented J., decided to make the transition from omnivore to vegetarian and so, lucky for us, she offered us this gorgeous fish because she knew how much we liked to cook and would enjoy it. THANK YOU, J!!

Last night, we took these little beauties, dredged them lightly in flour, and pan-fried them over medium-high heat in a little olive oil and butter until the skin was crispy and golden brown and the flesh was just-tender. They were incredible. The fish was mild and delicious, more like trout than salmon, and without a hint of fishy-ness. With just a bit of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lime, and a few sliced tendrils of scallion, it was perfect. Next time, I'll lay the lengthwise strips of scallion inside the fish before I cook it to infuse the flesh, but those are the types of things that must be figured out as you go. We had roasted cauliflower with sweet paprika and japanese sweet potatoes on the side and I think that neither of us said a single word during dinner...only murmered mmmmmm.....ohhhh wow...

Even better, however, was breakfast. With the two fish we at last dinner came a third, smaller one that we cooked in the pan alongside them. It was much too small for a dinner serving, but perfect for breakfast the next morning. As I was describing yesterday, LB and I have our Saturday morning rituals. While he is whipping up breakfast, I spend my morning sipping my coffee and watching what can only be considered Food Porn...Tyler's Ultimate. While I'm not sure how I feel about the man himself (he's pretty cheesy sometimes), I'm infatuated with whoever does the filming for his show. I remember the first time I saw the show - LB and I were actually eating lunch at a new restaurant here in town shortly after it had opened, Sweet Basil, and the show was on a television above the bar. I couldn't even concentrate on what LB was talking about (sorry, LB!). The images were so beautiful...close-ups of onions being pefectly diced, Tyler's fingers gently rubbing butter into a flour mixture, gorgeous tomatoes and other perfectly ripe ingredients...I think my jaw stayed open the entire time. Plus, I dig on his kitchen in the show. Needless to say, I've been addicted ever since.

This morning, while I was glued to the tube, visions of fresh green herbs sizzling sauces in my head, LB whipped up a healthy, new take on his Saturday morning breakfast, and he's offered to let me share it with you.

First, melt a bit of butter in the pan until the bubbles begin to subside. Add just a touch of minced garlic (less than half a clove) and let it cook gently for a minute or so to take any bite out of it. For me, because I'm starting to have to watch my cholesterol, he whipped up 3 egg whites with a bit of low-fat milk, salt and pepper (you, of course, could use whole eggs and cream, if you'd like). These went in the pan to mix with the butter and garlic. After the eggs begin to set and you've mixed them gently a few times, add thinly sliced scallion and sprinkle on chopped parsely. Just before the eggs are finished (but not dry), add the fish to warm it through, and you've got breakfast. My eggs came with a slice of store-bought english muffin bread, but if you've got the time and energy, try a thick slice of this homemade English Muffin Better Bread. Ah, another perfect weekend morning...now, back to work!


Breakfast fit for a king...or a queen...

Weekend breakfasts feel special. LB wakes up early and takes the dogs out of the bedroom as soon as they start whining for breakfast (one of their most annoying habits), and I get to sleep an extra hour or until I'm ready to get up (I told you he was quite wonderful!). For whatever reason, I need 9 hours of sleep to feel like a normal person...there's none of that "8 hours of sleep" for me! I don't usually get those nine hours of sleep I need, but I do try to get as many as I can on the weekends. Once I'm up and around, we make coffee (so that it doesn't sit on the coffee pot warmer and get nasty!) and then usually LB will make breakfast.

LB loves whipping up a weekend breakfast. He certainly makes a mean meal of perfectly runny eggs, crispy potatoes and toast, and he's also learning how to make delicious fritattas and has his very own modified pancake recipe. Basically, I get to feel like a queen on Saturday mornings. So sometimes, I like to make LB feel like a king too...by making him something special and very out of the ordinary for breakfast.

If I could imagine the perfect breakfast food for LB, it would be apple turnovers. He loves apple turnovers. In fact, I think that if I made a trip down to the coast to collect my research samples and didn't come back with a Tomaselli's apple turnover, LB might rethink this marriage thing all together.

With no research trips planned this winter, LB is very lucky that I came across this recipe by Barefoot Contessa for fresh, easy apple turnovers. Even easier than I could have possibly imagined! Even better is that it's perfectly adaptable. I've used lemon juice and lemon zest instead of orange; dried cranberries or raisins instead of dried cherries; added nuts and imagined so many possibilities (some of which you may be seeing soon). All you need to do is to remember to take out the puff pastry the night before and you have an extremely easy breakfast that's impressive enough to serve guests. Supposedly, you can also even make the turnovers the night before and just toss them in the oven before breakfast. No matter what, they're delicious. We also added our own touch: cinnamon glaze to give it a little added sweetness to help balance out the tartness of the apples. Just mix 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar with just enough water (or OJ) to make it so that you can drizzle it across your turnovers. Add a pinch of cinnamon to that, and start your drizzling. Mmmm....delicious.

Even better, now LB knows how to make them! I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow...
Have a wonderful, food-filled, sleep-filled weekend! And don't forget to get your ideas in for LB's new name...only 1 week to go!


A little help from my friends? ...a plea...

Once upon a time in the land of PhD,
There lived a smart boy; his name was LB.
LB was a bachelor, and a grad student too,
Meaning: he was poor and ate mostly cheap food.

One day, things they changed for this eligible man,
The Heavens collided; the Fates lent a hand.
LB met a girl, and that girl loved to cook,
His stomach went first, but his heart soon was hooked.

She baked cookies and pies, salmon and curds,
Borscht, chicken soup, quiche and roast birds.
She kneaded bread, made rare steaks, wooed him with spice,
She got in under his skin; used her food to entice…

As she cooked and she cooked, she wrote it all on her blog.
Before long, she’d convinced him they even needed a dog.
This girl, she was perfect! And LB, he fell hard,
Without second thoughts, he turned in his bachelor card.

A year or two passed in this shared courtship glee,
Until LB bit the bullet, and asked her, “Marry me?”
Lucky for him, the girl actually said, “Yes!”
(Lucky for her too, I do have to confess.)

The girl shared her delight with her readers online,
They sent their support, told her: “This LB, he seems fine!”
But as she enjoyed this post-engagement bliss,
Everything seemed dandy, yet something felt amiss.

LB stands for “Loving Boyfriend,” but this name cannot stay!
For LB is no longer “Boyfriend;” he’s become “Fiancée.”
So to you, dear readers, this girl makes a plea:
Please help her come up with a new name for LB!

Be creative! Be daring! Be simple! Be nice!
Be funny! Be cute! Give the dear boy some spice!
Choose this name carefully – be it short, be it long,
For the name that is chosen will grace LB from now on.


LB and I are not a very "traditional" couple. We don't know when we first got together or when our "anniversary" is (sometime in February? Maybe?). We don't allow flowers if something bad goes down (flowers are only for happy occasions!) and the thought of using the term "financee" to describe each other to the people around us feels weird and sort of pretentious...which isn't to say that I don't pull it out in certain occasions where it can be quite useful (he he he). For us, it immediately brings to mind images of Elaine from a Seinfeld episode called The Stranded:

Fiancé Woman: I wonder what happened to my fiancé, I know he's here somewhere, Ellen have you seen my fiancé?.
Lady: He's upstairs.
Fiancé Woman: Are you going upstairs?, tell my fiancé I'm looking for him, I have lost my fiancé, the poor baby.
Elaine: Maybe the Dingo ate your baby.
Fiance Woman What?.
Elaine: The Dingo ate your baby.

Maybe the problem is that we just watch too much TV? However, I've also recieved reprimands that LB is no longer my "boyfriend" anytime I use it in conversation with our friends who know we're getting married. So, instead of going with the traditional "fiancee" or "fiance" (whatever), I'm handing the job over to you, my dear readers. Please help me come up with something to call my "non-boyfriend!" I'll reveal the "winner" next Friday, so you have one week to come up with the most creative, funny, cool, dumb and/or fitting name you can muster and this name will be LB's moniker on this blog from now on...or at least until he becomes "husband"...perhaps then we'll have to have another contest of sorts? Thanks for your help!!


I told you so...

It feels like "World's Rainiest City" right now, but ah, the summers sure do make you forget about what the winter's are like!

I woke up at 2 AM last night from a dead sleep and realized that I FORGOT to post yesterday! Yikes! Now blogging is affecting my nightime rituals! Good thing I'm a TarFoBlo and not playing the real NaBloPoMo or I would be a real loser...at least this way I can make up my own rules (like Ilva). I told you I have problems commiting to things.

All these acronyms are killing me. I've got a "good" (read: quality) post for tomorrow, so please come back, because I need your help on this one...


Sunshine... to wash away the darkness

I'm not sure about the rest of you (well, those of you who have to abide by daylight savings), but I hate when it gets dark at 5 PM. You go to work when it's light out (even that by itself should be a crime!), and when you come home from work, when you should start actually getting to enjoy your evening and relax and do all the things you didn't have time for during the day, it's already dark. And if you're in Oregon, it's probably already raining too. But the dog needs to be walked. After work errands need to be run. Dinner needs to be made.

So here's a bit of sunshine for dinner to keep the darkness (and cold!) of daylight savings away... This soup has a robust, full flavor even though the ingredients are simple. The roasting brings out tons of flavor from the squash, apples and onion. The rest is just a bit of extra love.
And if you like to cook seasonally, this soup is perfectly Autumn, with a color to match!

Sunshine Soup, serves 4-6
1 medium sunshine kabocha squash, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
2 granny smith apples, or another tart variety, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock or broth
chili powder, to taste
salt, to taste

Any squash could be substituted, but the sunshine kabocha is perfect with the chili powder and apples is an excellent combination. Mix the squash, apples, garlic and onion with the olive oil in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with a good dose of salt and chili powder. Roast at 400F for 45 minutes to an hour, or until everything is tender and caramelized. Allow to cool slightly. (I did this on a day I had lots of time, then mixed up the soup and warmed it through on one of my "busy" nights for a quick dinner!) Put the roasted vegetables (and fruit), along with about 2 cups of broth in a blender and blend until smooth. It may take two batches to puree the entire thing. Add more broth if necessary.

Pour the soup into a saucepan and add more broth until you have the texture you want (more if you want it more soupy, less if you like it hearty, thick and like babyfood!). Then add more chili powder and salt to taste, if needed. Heat until warmed through. The flavors will develop if the soup is made a day before, but it's delicious the day it's made also. Enjoy! And Happy Monday!


Souffle...by ovenlight

No recipe for this...just from the picture archives. But a rising souffle is something that can be appreciated just by itself, I think. Well, I was proud anyhow. Until I burned the crap out of my tongue trying to eat and serve it before it deflated completely - just so that LB would see how high it had risen and be proud of me. Gosh, the things we do for love.

Thus, should I file this under Day 2 of The TarFoBlo-NaBloPoMo (Day 3 for the real NaBloPoMo crowd)? Or, perhaps as some Kitchen Wisdom: Please, please, let your souffle deflate...your unsinged taste buds will thank you.

We already have one other latecomer joining in...go see Mochene at The Sweet Life; also the name of my favorite bakery in town, Sweet Life Patisserie. Pastry chefs rule! Anyone else care to join us? Are we the only two tardy "kids" out there? Helllooooo???


The Tardy Foodblogger's NaBloPoMo

Dang. I missed it.

I'm too late to join in for NaBloMo (National Blog Posting Month, if, like myself, you weren't in the know), but I like the idea so much that I think I have to join in nonetheless, even if I can't officially join in.

The idea is that it will get you blogging.
Every day.
For the entire month of November.

That sounds like something I need these days. Sort of how I need to take an aerobics class to force myself to exercise. With a friend. And sometimes a second friend that will hold myself and my first friend accountable for going, because my first friend is just a little too much like myself. In fact, we've even paid for aerobics classes with the intention of going, and then never gone. Not one single time. But that's another story.

Lately, every spare moment I've had has been filled with the responsibilities of being a Teaching Assistant, trying to get some major lab work in so that I can graduate in May, and making every attempt possible at living a so-called "normal" life with two dogs, my boyfriend, one roommate and an insane amount of other things that just seem to "come up" daily. Not to mention planning our up-and-coming wedding. Sheesh. Is it Whine Blogging Wednesday yet? Oh, wait, I guess I missed that too. Ah well, life is all about new beginnings, right?

The fact is, I miss ya. I miss all of ya. I miss your sites, your smiling faces, your photography, your recipes, your comments, all of it. I miss cooking elaborate meals and making fun things to share. I miss taking pictures of my food (weird to the outside world, I know, but I know you understand). This blogging community really is just that: a community. I miss my community. Not only a community, but a group of friends, separated only by miles but brought close through their adventures in the kitchen and their passion for food. I miss my friends.

However, I do have to remember to go and get some batteries for my camera...so it may be at least until Monday before I can post a picture that isn't lurking in the cyberspace of my computer. So, please, bear with me. I probably won't be able to post on the weekends either, but I promise to try and post as often as I can on them. And to post something every single day. Be it a picture. A poem. A tidbit of wisdom. Starting today, with this post. And second to this, I promise to try and come by your sites as often as I can, even if I can't make it by every day. I hope that you're all doing well...

Feel free to join me in The Tardy Foodblogger's NaBloPoMo, if you'd like. We can all just begin whenever we come across another Tardy Blogger posting every day - this way it doesn't matter that the official boat sailed on by us - we can still just hop on and smile! Maybe good-naturedly moon them as they pass just for being goody-two-shoes (how the heck do you spell that anyhow?) and then smile, smile, smile. And post. Post. Post.

If you'd like to read the real NaBloPoMo members, stop by Fussy's and check out who's in on it - those people who are far more on top of things than I am. Good for them! Good for me for trying, tardy as I am. Good for you for joining up even later than me! Ahh...it's nice to be back.