game on!

Round one of kitchen prep for Thanksgiving and the last tailgate of 2010 just wrapped in my kitchen.  Have to pace myself.  I have a beautiful kitchen that I designed for myself nine years ago and I'm thankful for it all.  But even my kitchen feels crowded and small when a big meal prep is on.  So tonight after dinner I blind-baked my pumpkin pie crust and baked an 11 x 15 tray of apple pie squares.  Two different pie crust recipes:  one, my tried and true pie crust from David Letterman's mom and the other shared through e-mail by a generous fellow tailgater after a Purdue game in 2009.  Let's just say I have Crisco and I'm not afraid to use it.  There's just no way around it.

Tomorrow morning I'll make the pumpkin pie filling and bake the pumpkin pie.  I'll glaze the tray of apple pie squares, cut them and pack them up for the tailgate.  I need my stoneware jelly roll pan the great big slab of apple pie is cooling in to roast some vegetables for Thanksgiving.  I'm also making cranberries in the morning just as soon as I decide on the recipe for this year.  Cosmopolitan Cranberries with vodka and chambord?  Kelly and I are really the only ones that eat the cranberries and she's not driving anywhere.  Cranberries with Orange Zest?  Or maybe Cranberries with Apples and Oranges?  I have a 48-ounce bag of berries from Costco, so really I could make them all.  Luckily it's going to be very cold here the next few days.  I'm going to need a third refrigerator  and as long as the raccoons don't get too curious as to what I'm keeping on the back deck that will do.

Kelly came home Saturday night for a nice long week at home after all but one of her classes this week was cancelled.   She had the brilliant idea that we order pizza from Bazbeaux tonight.  Awesome.  Her only request being that I make her favorite salad.  Ask and you shall receive.  Apparently she has learned that despite my love of cooking, there is a limit and no one needs to find that limit two days before Thanksgiving.  Smart girl.

The pizza was amazing.  The salad was pretty delicious too.  The thing she loves about this salad is the dressing and the feta.  Feel free to make your salad with anything you like and or whatever happens to be in your kitchen or garden.

salad in the low light of my winter kitchen
Kelly's Favorite Salad

romaine lettuce, washed and torn
red onion, sliced in thin vertical slices
avocado, pitted and sliced (if you have a nice ripe one on hand)
tomato, chopped
cucumber, sliced
carrots, sliced or shredded
feta cheese, crumbled

2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped fresh thyme (both herbs are so easy to grow at home and they both winter over fine with a little water and minimal sunlight in our garage)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
salt, pepper
olive oil
white wine vinegar (I love sauvignon-blanc vinegar)

For the dressing chop the herbs and mince the garlic and mince and mash all together with about a half teaspoon of salt.  Put the herb/salt mix in your salad bowl and pour a few tablespoons of light olive oil followed by about half that amount of vinegar (red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar or lemon juice make a great salad too-experiment and pick your favorite one, but just one at a time please).   Grind in some black pepper.  Add the salad ingredients and toss.

Be good to yourself.  Eat yummy fresh food.

Happy Thanksgiving Prep day!


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