Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone! We had a southwest inspired dinner


We had Christmas dinner a little early in order to have yummy leftovers all week. It was a beautiful balmy day outside. Perfect for barbecuing the turkey - and quite a climate change from last year. Our menu was derived from the November 2008 issue of Sunset magazine. My favorite issue of all time. We have now successfully eaten every single recipe out of it.

We started off the food frenzy with fresh salad greens topped with roasted beets and fresh carrots - all from the yard. I made a dressing out of fresh squeezed orange juice, rice vinegar and olive oil. It was so pretty!

The bird was gorgeous. It was basted with a chile orange glaze that set the tone for my Tex-Mex inspired theme. I had juiced a bunch of lemons the day before and saved the lemon rinds. I put them into the cavity along with some rosemary and sage. The smell was heavenly.

I made Cornbread Chorizo stuffing to go with it (cooked separately.) I was reluctant to try this one because my previous attempts with cornbread dressing resulted in mush. However, this one seemed to have the right combination of dry and wet ingredients and turned out perfectly. The cornbread offset the spiciness of the chorizo and it was just gorgeous to look at.

Last night I prepared the Cranberry Meyer lemon relish, and I must say, it's the best I have ever had. It was so simple to make; it's just cranberries and Meyer lemons (courtesy of the Master Gardener trees.) It really complemented the citrus infused turkey.

The Chipotle Corn Mashed Potatoes were interesting too. I was afraid the chilies would send Ed over the edge, but the potatoes offset the heat nicely. This recipe calls for roasting fresh ears of corns and then cutting the kernels off. I didn't want to spend the money so I used canned corn. I "roasted" them atop the stove in a little olive oil. The combination was great and beat out the garlic potatoes I usually make.

Dessert was a deep-dish apple pie that we love this time of year. Cranberries are one of the ingredients and it makes for such a pretty pie. This recipe features a crumble topping so I threw in some pecans to make it more southern.


It was a great meal. My only regret is that none of you were here to share it with us. I have given you links to all the recipes. Try a few of them and think of me!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The tomatoes say that winter is here















Uh oh. Freezing temperatures arrived last week and I wasn't ready. I'll admit that my Oregon DNA sniffed when the weather folks forecasted freezing temperatures over night. After all, it was in the 50's during the day and I'm still remembering that hot summer we had. But freeze it did.

The thing about the weather here is that it may have dipped down to freezing, but it doesn't park there like it does in the north. A quick freeze and then it's back up to pleasant fall temperatures. Of course my thin-blooded husband was in long johns, but I was still in sandals and short sleeves.

It was enough to K-O the summer vegetables. The tomatoes (and they were just starting to blush nicely), the summer squash, the cucumbers, and the beans - all mush. I saved a few pieces of fruit, but most of them were already starting to rot by the time I got home. My citrus trees weren't happy either - but I didn't lose any. It was enough of a wake-up call that I covered my trees for the next few nights until the frigid weather relented. Next year I will be prepared and will cover my vegetable beds with a plastic tunnel at night. Hopefully that will prevent the kills and provide a little more warmth during the day so things will ripen faster. I am determined to have vine-ripened tomatoes on Christmas day. And why not? I'm the girl who was going to grow lettuce in Alaska!