Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Tree

We decided to go back to our old tradition of buying a living tree and plant it after Christmas since we have a lot of property now. We were kind of excited to do this again and my husband bought a tree at a nursery in Brigham. Well he happened to bring home the small tree when my good friend and neighbor was leaving our house. She noticed the pathetic looking tree that stood upright on the back seat of our car and barely touched the roof. My neighbor felt sorry for us; a new house with a large window and my husband "so conservative he would only buy a little tree."

The next morning I noticed her husband set a tree next to our horse stable. I thought that was strange. Maybe he thought the horses liked to eat trees. So I asked my neighbor why her husband put a tree there. She started to look sheepish and laugh. She explained what she thought and that they had an extra tree. We put the tree up. It is gorgeous next to our large picture window. We set our live tree outside where we can see it through the window. It is indeed pathetic looking. We may have to rethink our tradition.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Paradise Art & Musical Event

This Saturday December 12th from 10 am to 5 pm in Paradise Town Hall we'll be holding our semi-annual art sale. This year's event will feature my pottery, Marilyn Krannich's pottery, and Jim Parrish's photography. Both Marilyn and I have been doing pottery for over 30 years. I'm happy to have her join us again in this sale. Our work is quite different from each other and you're bound to find something that you like. We'll have pie plates, vases, bowls, platters, chip & dip plates, and of course I'll have some frogs. We both specialize in functional one-of-a-kind work.
Jim often has work from around our own scenic area. He will also have a close-out on some of the photography he's had around for a while.

We're especially pleased to have some local musicians join our event. Dale Majors is a talented cowboy who plays guitar, sings, and writes some of his own music. His daughter Erin has a beautiful voice and plays the fiddle proficiently. They perform from 1 pm to 3 pm. They are a delightful duo. I hope folks will come out to support them.

From 3 pm to 5 pm we're very lucky to have Wade & Cara back. They play a multiple of string and wind instruments and are a must-see, must-hear team who have performed their world folk music in several different countries.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our Thanksgiving

Our son told us that the rules for a successful Thanksgiving Dinner were simple, don't try new recipes and never skip the turkey. So before our all-out traditional dinner with grandmas, cousins, brothers and the rest of the whole fam damily, we had an alternative dinner with just us. We broke all the rules. I mean what wouldn't a mother do for her daughter? Especially one who is as wonderful as ours and who we don't get to see all that often. Our daughter doesn't eat meat, gluten, or lactose (cow's milk). All of her life she has suffered from stomach aches. Lots of tests have been run but nothing was ever found to be wrong. In her childhood, every time she said her stomach hurt, I did what any Scandinavian mother would do--I gave her a glass of milk. And sometime when I felt really motherly, I made a piece of whole wheat toast to go with it. After lots of experimentation on her own, she discovered a way to avoid the constant stomach pain. Get rid of the milk, get rid of the wheat, and get rid of meat. So being a good Scandinavian mother even though it goes against all of my own instincts, I support her--at least for one day. So we had to get creative if we were going to eat anything at all. She brought a section from her newspaper with some delicious sounding recipes, but you know how almost nothing ever turns out the way it sounds? Well it took all of us to help with this dinner because we were hungry and wanted to eat before midnight. I must say I was skeptical when I tasted the dough to make the gluten-free pie crust. It was a bit on the yuckky side, but our dinner turned out absoltely delicious including the crust. Everyone of us thought it was one of the best dinners we'd ever had, at least that we had cooked. And afterwards we still felt good. None of the groaning and near passing out that we enjoyed the next day after our turkey, dressing, and everything that goes with it.

Our alternative menu was a cauliflower-leek tart, warm sweet potato and apple salad, green bean gremolata,and apple cranberry crisp. Tonight each of my two children have asked for recipes from the San Francisco Chronicle section that we got the recipes from. Daughter in S.F. asked for the tart, and son asked for the warm salad recipe. The only thing that wasn't a hit was the green been dish but I suspect that it's because I was making it and didn't follow the recipe very closely. In short I goofed a bit. It was okay. Here are the ones that we all highly recommend.

Cauliflower-blue cheese tart

I medium head cauliflower, cut into small forets
2 TBS olive oil
course salt and ground pepper
1 Tbs. butter
2 leeks, well washed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 crust
2 oz. mild blue cheese or use percorino or parmessan (we used a mild white cheese since aged cheese gives me migraines.)
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
We made our own pie crust following a regular recipe, but substituting gluten-free flour.

preheat oven to 375. Toss cauliflower with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until c. is well browned about 35-45 minutes.
Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often until wilted and beginning to carmelize about 10 min. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more stirring often . Let cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. season with salt and pepper . Roll out both of the pie crusts and fit one into a 9 inch pan. In using cheese, sprinkle over the bottom of teh pastry. top with c. and leeks. pour egg mixture over filling.
cover with remaining crust and pinch edges together. Bake 45 min. to 1 hour until the crust is evenly browned and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean

Warm Sweet potato and Apple Salad
2 lbs. sweet potatoes (i used three medium) peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (we didn't have any, so threw in a dash of rice vinegar)
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1 golden delicious apple (we used two)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. chives (we used green onion)
Instructions: Place sweet potato slices in a pot and cover with col, salted water. Bring water to a boil and let simmer until poatoes are tender but still hold their shape, about 10-15 minutes. Drain carefully.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add half of the onions, and saute until caramelized, about 10 min. Add the mustard, vinegar and syrup, and stir until incorporated. Let simmer for about 2 min.
Add the apples, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Mix gently with the cooked sweet potatoes and remaining onions, and season to taste. Sprinkle chives on top and toss.