Monday, December 1, 2008
After the breakdown craziness of a move, we rushed to unpack as much as possible and set up our big dining room table, so we could have a real Thanksgiving. All went as I had hoped, and on Thanksgiving morning as I started rolling out the pie crust, I felt that this new apartment became a home. The power of the kitchen never ceases to amaze me.
Needless to say, my Mamma Italia persona kicked in and I made enough food for about four families: a Cornish Hen for Philip (I've gone vegetarian for the duration of the yoga training - oh, how I longed for turkey!), chestnut stuffing/dressing, whipped sweet potatoes spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg with carmelized apples and toasted sunflower seeds on top, the ubiquitous green bean casserole (please note, however, that I use fresh green beans, make my own bechamel, employ the powers of button and baby bella mushrooms, etc.), mashed yukon golds, and a mushroom gravy. Then there was the pear-apple pie that we ate for a few days afterwards. Yes, this was all for two people.
(Our big trashy secret? We love jellied cranberry sauce!!! At least we bought some organic kind from Whole Foods.)
I've decided this year to make the variety of Christmas cookies that my now-deceased Uncle Steve made every year. He would descend into his basement baking workshop and make tray after tray of the various Italian cookies that everyone in his life adored. He had a slew of recipes that I got from his husband, and in the oven right now are the pignoli cookies that I love.
I had some hesitancy about making them without him being dead for a full year (he died in Feb. of 2008), but after an all-too-brief encounter with him at the Roadhouse of the Dead on Halloween, he encouraged me to go-ahead (and not to call him during the process, because he's so busy on the other side).
So, here I am listening to the great Oscar Petersen's Christmas album, baking cookies and continuing to set up house. A fab morning in my book.
I deeply believe that making magick in the home through baking, dusting, laughing, sex, and even sitting down to a good movie helps us all to appreciate the sparkle in everyday life. There is no division between "sacred" and "profane."
There are no hidden secrets or recipes.
(The first image is from the Bellevue Opera's production of Englebert Humperdink's "Hansel and Gretel." The second, from The Daily Green ,is of my beloved pignoli cookies.)