Monday, November 28, 2005

Gingerbread house

Originally uploaded by mickeynick.
Nick has always wanted to make a gingerbread house. Finally, this year, I caved and bought one of those $10 kits at the grocery. It was pretty miserly; six pieces of stale cookie, a tube of white frosting "glue," and two tiny bags of candy for decoration. We did heavy construction on the day after Thanksgiving. I had to supplement the kit with another four colors of frosting (highly recommend the "easy cheese" pressurized can of decorating frosting) and two bags of candy. Here is the final product, including Santa getting ready to slide down the chimney.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Like It's 1975

Thanksgiving is a funny holiday for foodiemom. For the past several years, we have celebrated turkey day at my childhood home in the 'burbs, where my father still lives. Dad buys the biggest turkey he can find, even though there are only four of us. Usually, the meal also includes two cans of BirdsEye corn, heated in a saucepan on low for at least 45 minutes, some Pillsbury biscuits, and "mashed" potatoes whipped with a blender until they taste like potato glue. This year, I took the reins and insisted on preparing the side dishes.

Cooking in Dad's kitchen is like going back in a time warp to the 1970s. The stove is original to the house (1967); the analog clock on the top oven (which is now a storage cabinet) has read 1:10 for the past 20 years. There are two lights and two electrical plugs in the entire kitchen; you have to unplug the microwave to use any other electrical appliance. Dad believes in two kinds of knives: grapefruit knives, which he can get at the grocery for a buck, and the electric carving knife for the turkey. This always makes prep work a little interesting, if not dangerous. None of the dishes or silverware match; most of the "glassware" is plastic. I usually use an old shrimp cocktail glass for wine.

In keeping with the retro theme, I choose familiar sides this year: stuffing, green bean casserole, and corn pudding. Although I prepped the bird with some herb butter, we had no meat thermometer to it check for doneness, and it was a little dry. But, all in all, it turned out to be a pretty good meal. Here's a recipe for the best of the sides.

Corn Pudding

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can creamed corn
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs

Mix ingredients together. Place in a small casserole (I usually use a souffle dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until set and golden brown on top.