I don't celebrate Halloween. Boo! Hiss! It's kinda' scary. There is enough scary in my life - like anything which comes with a manual printed in 45 languages. But I do like to take pictures and often a photo jumps out at me. Like this one did when I was driving along one day, all alone, just minding my own business. After some tweaking on the computer, the photo began to take on a peculiar aura all of it's own - quite different from its actual dusty grey blues. This also happens to be a day I stopped earlier for a picnic lunch in an ancestral graveyard.
Last evening at Kid's Bible Group we took time out from regular classes, relaxed making jewelery, reviewed memory verses, sang childrens' bible songs and chatted. I scanned the busy little faces wondering what they will one day become. Where will they carry these memories being made right now? Driving home, more childhood Sunday school song favourites and the actions came to mind. So true - I cannot remember where I've parked the car but the things learned in childhood are still there.
Leftover turkey breast from Thanksgiving produced this soup. Chicken could substitute and it would easily extend with the addition of noodles - wide to match the chunky cut. If you had a bit of leftover cooked rice, that could go in too, or leftover corn or broccoli. All of it could get "used up" by tossing them into this soup. If you want a more yellow broth, add a smidgen of turmeric.
It would be okay to use up leftover gravy by adding it to the broth, but I didn't in this case. Adding gravy would change the character of the broth from clear to cloudy and make it slightly thickish. Unless I'm making a cream soup, I prefer using leftover gravy for making meat pies or hot sandwiches or in beef based soups. There is something comforting about chunks of chicken or turkey in a lovely clear golden broth. Because I used water and not broth I added two Oxo bouillon packets to boost flavour. Had I used gravy, broth or the bones, I would have left out the Oxo. The turkey for this also happened to be brined, which just means it was soaked in a salt spice solution before roasted and was more flavourful on that account.
The base for this soup - onions and fat are only sauteed as far as a golden hue. This is how I do all my white based and cream soups. The amounts given here can all be adjusted downward to make a smaller pot of soup. The method remains the same - will plan to talk more about soup making later. Chunky Turkey Vegetable Soup
one cooked breast of turkey (leftover roasted brined turkey, skin removed)
4 stalks celery
1 bunch of celery leaves (pull out the leaves from the center part of the celery bunch and cut off just below where the leaves begin)
1 Tbsp. salt
1/8 tsp. or to taste white pepper
1/2 - 1 Tbsp. dry parsley
2 - 3 Tbsp. turkey or chicken fat or butter (I used fat skimmed off the top of leftover turkey gravy)
2 packets of Oxo chicken flavour (may omit if turkey or chicken broth is used)
water or broth to cover vegetables as soup progresses (approx. 10 cups.)
Chop two medium onions. The chop is smallish. Saute this in some turkey fat skimmed off the gravy. Only saute until limp and golden. Don't brown it. If I was making a beef, tomatoey or lentil type soup, I would brown the onions deep and caramelized. Clean and chop stalks of celery and a good section of the inner celery leaves. Add this to the onions and cover with chicken broth or water. I used water for this soup. Let simmer. Add four diced carrots. Add 5 - 6 diced unpeeled potatoes. Add more water or broth to cover the vegetables. Stir in salt, pepper, Oxo and parsley flakes. Let simmer. When the potatoes are not quite soft, add roughly chopped breast of turkey and let simmer until the potatoes are soft adding more liquid to cover if necessary. I used one whole breast from a fifteen pound bird but less meat would be just fine or even a white flat bean could have been substituted for the meat. Of course, you'd have to rename the soup.
This morning I tore up fifteen little pieces of paper, wrote a number on each piece, shook them up real well in my hands, dumped them into this little mixing bowl and with eyes closed picked one out. Voila, #2 - who turns out to be Leila. Leila is the lucky winner of the yet unsewn apron celebrating Daily Decadent's first birthday. When I get it finished, I'll take a picture, show everyone and pop it in the mail. Congratulations Leila!
Geek Guy and Decadent Housewife have been sitting together under the apple tree for twenty-five years now. We celebrated this past week by getting away - just the two of us - enjoying a long meandering country drive. We stopped to walk along a very pretty riverbank and shoreline and took some photos and then went out to dinner for a lovely meal. That's when Buff called. "Where are you?...I need a ride...I'm hungry...what are you doing?...I forgot my lunch today...I have no money...we have badminton tonight...aren't you going?...I want to come home...I can't find Fun...how long are you going to be?...I love you." Sigh.
The nice people over at Pillsbury are having an Online Baking Challenge with entries accepted from October 1 - November 15. If you like to shortcut with baking, are up to a challenge and covet some shiny new kitchen appliances - Yes, Please - head over to Pillsbury and show them what you can do with their help in the kitchen. If you come up a winner, they will even help clean up with twelve months free Molly Maid service and other goodies including a year's worth of free groceries. Saucey Chef has told me chefs frequently use ready made pastry, doughs and other products as starters for their creations. I haven't decided if I'll enter, but if you do, mention the Decadent Housewife sent you. As much as I'm primarily a scratch baker, even I can see the merits of ready-made basics. I thank God for make-up too.
Today while at the lawyers, a clerk waiting on GG and me, lacking the Health Canada recommended sleeve or tissue H1N1 defensive, sneezed and coughed instead into her open hand. She also was missing about four inches to the front of her blouse but it didn't matter much because we were busy straining to see her computer screen while she sniffled through reading some documents. Anyway, she reached to her empty Purell bottle, banged it upside down on her desk, unscrewed the container, removed the pumper smearing a remaining bit onto her hands and then squeezed each hand individually - the way a hungry infant does when he watches you fix his pablum. She replaced the top, tossed the bottle back onto her desk, rubbed her nose and twirled around handing me forms and a pen, the tip of which a few moments before had been in her mouth. I have upped my vitamins.
Roll Kuchen and Violinist's wedding ceremony opened with MoB and MoG carrying in lit tapers with which we were to light two candelabras each bearing a hundred tapers a piece. Well, not really, but it seemed that way - particularly when none of them would light and I noticed the pianist seemingly turning River Flows in You, into, Frere Jacques. He was very smooth. Of course the candelabras lit just fine the night before. I finally got mine lit and went to help MoB. She leaned over, "Forget this, let's go do the unity tapers." We did. My brother later mentioned, lacking a jack knife to de-wax the candles, he thought to run down the street to a nearby metal shop and borrow a blow torch. He's helpful like that. Like the time back in 1970 something, he joined all the eyes in my just freshly sewn eyelet dress, using a pair of scissors. And then the time he fired an orange at me. I ducked and it broke a pottery water jug. While accompanied by a traveling companion carrying a gunstock camera mount, I had cradled that jug through a country under military junta, five airports, two continents, across an ocean - circumstances apparently less daunting than a little brother. And to make this post useful, I'll tell you what GG and I did the other day - wash Venetians. I was surprised, when I read somewhere that some people just throw them out when they need washing and buy new ones. If you have any sort of flat outdoor area like a back porch or deck they can be laid out there, scrubbed gently with a bit of dish soap, rinse and then reverse the slats and scrub again. Rinse. Hang up to dry and re-install.
Here we pause to give thanks for blessings of the year, all things He has given us; beauty, joy, love, His peace upon our hearts.
(Speedy took this photo on his road trip this past summer from somewhere in the American north-west. I increased the saturation a bit as I like a Group of Seven look - now for some Tom Thomson brushstrokes.)
"Next week there will be more," promised Roll Kuchen. Tonight it was three of us for eleven, six-year olds, not the expected twenty. The boys climbed under the tables vigorously clicking on and off the flashlight I borrowed from GG to demonstrate the lesson, pulled stick-tack off my demonstration board, readily volunteered prayer requests for, "my banged up knee...sore foot...there's something growing to my elbow," and ate their mini-muffins in single gulps.
The girls for the most part ignored the boys, remained seated, dutifully filled in their workbooks, gracefully prayed for the dinged up boys and delicately peeled back their muffin papers, breaking the mini-muffins into even minier bites.I somehow missed printing out one verse needed for my demonstration board but we discovered that before class, and fixed it. (Roll Kuchen, I need another copy of the last three pages of the teaching schedule - we tore mine up and used it for the missing bible verse - thanks.) We think we know what we are doing now. They were all shorter than I recall six-year olds being.
This may seem ridiculous to talk about, but the fact is, there was a time when I did not have a clue how to cook a squash other than in the oven. Yes, I grew up on a farm. But it was a fruit farm. I knew to cut a plum around it's middle. I knew about clings and freestone. I knew that Redhaven peaches appearing in stores well into September were not Redhaven peaches. I knew how to bake an apple.
When my mother finally had some down time just before Thanksgiving and baked a pumpkin pie, the filling always came forth from a can. When she cooked a squash, she cut it in half, scooped out the seeds and filled the hollow with some butter and brown sugar and put them into the oven to bake. It was nearly effortless and suited her ways perfectly. At Christmas, things got fancier and she would scoop out the baked filling and serve it mashed. It was GG's Mom who put me onto using butternut squash for making pies. I am embarrassed to say that I actually peeled the squash and then put them in the oven, covered to bake. I would like to blame sleep deprivation for that. At some point after steaming vegetables to puree for baby Speedy, it dawned on me how easy and fast and nutritious it would also be to steam squash too, without peeling. From then on, I cut the squash right above the bulbous lower end and then cut the remaining upper part into equal sized pieces. When my mother watched me prepare squash this way, she admitted it never occurred to her to steam a squash either - or anything else for that matter. She said it was faster her way. She liked to put everything in the oven and then go knit. "Besides, it warms up the house." I think it's faster this way but I don't knit - much. Scoop out the seeds saving them if you wish to grow a few plants next season. Cut the scooped out part in half. I use a big tall stock pot or soup pot to steam. Whatever you use, the lid must fit well. Place the little steamer in the pot bottom, put some water in making sure it comes only to the bottom of the steamer. Evenly space the squash around the pot, cover with a lid and turn the heat on to medium high. Adjust the temperature downward a bit once the water is boiling. About 15 minutes later check the squash with a toothpick or fork for doneness. I use a metal shish kabob skewer. Once the skin easily pierces, remove the pieces from the pot to cool and when cool enough to handle, scrape the squash from the cooked skin. There is enough in one good sized butternut squash to make two pies. And that's how I cook squash.
Mostly things appear here pretty much by the seat of my pants. Occasionally Murphy's Law kicks in. Today is no exception in either. The simple photo editing program I use to crop and nick out things like socks on the floor or unfinished wiring, seems to be acting a little balky this morning -actually, it's not working at all. I managed to crop this photo from GG's family using his new toy - PhotoShop - but not without a lot of undoing and redoing. I liked my old program because it is super simple for a techie ditz like me and served my purposes just fine. I think the same way about today's radios. Do we even still use the term radio? What ever happened to a straight on and off button? We will see what happens when Geek Guy gets home tonight.
Daily Decadent crossed the one year mark - back in September. I don't know how I missed it. But then I missed Labour Day and the season change. Labour Day I skip because I like to forget anything remotely connected to the word "labour." I mean, really. Can't they come up with something better than that? So as the world turns, Decadent Housewife is still in her kitchen. Thank you everyone who stop by here. On average there are about two of you who show up regularly. I can't think what the rest of you have for an excuse. But I know how it is. And thank you to all who leave comments and those who are followers. I stalked every one of you and discovered very interesting people and blogs doing this.Daily was started as a way of finding out if my adult male children can hear. Unable to determine this much "live," I now get unprompted, stuff like, "So that's why Sunday's lunch tasted weird... "I had no idea I was actually related to her... "You stick, spinach, in the brownies?... "So that's what happened to my shirts... "I never knew you stuck, spinach, in the brownies." It soon proved to be an easy way to share a recipe, "Go look on the blog." Saucey Chef has been directed to find it here. Even I have run to hunt up a recipe posted here, after discovering the directions mysteriously gone from my card file. Look, I'm far older than Jessica Seinfeld - I thought of sticking spinach in brownies sometime after Woodstock. To be honest, I've thought of shutting it down - it takes a lot of effort when I could be doing things like, reading your blogs or washing floors or sorting the five thousand books we have chucked downstairs taking up valuable space. Oh. I haven't told you about that? The books got moved from room A to room B after one of our annual basement floods a few years ago, on account of one of our annual sump pump failures and never got moved back because we had to pitch all the carpet. Then Buff scarfed the space for a workout room and we couldn't re-carpet with him sweating all over the place and of course the sump would just fail again if we did re-carpet on account of that Murphy's Law thing. Anyway, Roll Kuchen casually mentioned the other day she had downloaded a recipe from here and I thought, hmmm. OK. I'll finish the box. And there is still the fruit cake recipe. Relax. It's not all that bad. Really. And we are coming into rainy season, so that's always good for more poetry...In celebration of one year of Daily Decadent, Decadent Housewife is holding a draw. Leave a comment and if you like, it will go into my apron pocket and we will draw out a name and decide what to send you. It won't be complicated - likely an apron - which I will go and whip up after reclaiming some sewing space from Fun. And after I finish writing some poetry - it's raining.
I am Decadent Housewife.
I live in the country.
I hum opera in the kitchen.
Welcome to my life.
It involves men. Speedy, Violinist, Fun, Buff and Geek Guy aka GG - four twenty-somethings and one husband - ah yes, and, The Baby Violinists.