Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Making the Switch

I tend to hang on to Fall.

It is my season.

My colors.

But the neighborhood is already lit up for Christmas and carols are playing on the radio.

A sure sign that it is time to switch.

So I am going to ease into the holiday.

Remove the burlap tablecloth.

Pitch the festive table decorations.

And bridge the change with leftover cranberries from our Thanksgiving feast.


Embrace red.

And slowly flip the calendar page to December.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona

While other folks shopped, watched football and ate leftovers, we slathered on sunscreen and headed inland.

Not to be confused with Watermelon Days, which was held in July. 

This Dairy Farm is owned by a gregarious couple who also run the Turkey Stampede at the San Diego County Fair.

They taught us about camels.

They only have bottom teeth. That show. The uppers are in the way back.

The hump on their back is a lump of fat.

When a camel places its foot on the ground it splays and that
is why they don’t sink when walking across the desert sand.

They don’t sweat much but they shed their coat every year.

Then we watched a camel being milked.

The natural way.

The unnatural way.

End result.

Then it was feeding time. 

Plastic garbage bags were provided.

This little girl wore a plastic bag for protection
as camels spit and pomegranates stain.

Finally, we watched children take a camel for a ride.

After purchasing lavender lotion and pomegranate soap made from camel’s milk, it was time to say good-bye to all the animals on the property.

Camels, birds, sheep, turkeys and a pig that sleeps in a dog house.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Sitting in the sink coming to room temperature.

After a good rinse and a pat down with paper towels.

Stuffed in both ends.

Buttered up and feeling fine.

Brown and juicy after 5 hours in the oven at 325 degrees.

Getting ready for the dinner table.

The end.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Cranberry Sauce

A healthy side dish on Thanksgiving.

Berries pushed through a grinder.

Along with an orange.

If that is what you are looking for…. this is definitely not the recipe for you.

If, however, you think of cranberries as a potential candy-like substance that needs a bit of crunch and could be served with turkey or on the dessert table with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, then keep reading.

My Favorite Cranberry Recipe

2 cups of sugar
1-1/2 cups of water
1 package of fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
1 package of unflavored gelatin
½ cup or more of chopped walnuts
½ cup or more of finely chopped celery
1/3 cup orange marmalade

Boil water and sugar in a medium-sized pot until it turns clear.

Add cranberries.

Cook on medium-high heat (cover with a lid) for at least 5 minutes. The cranberries will start to pop. Give it a little stir once in awhile so it doesn’t boil over.

Turn off the heat.

Sprinkle gelatin…

on top of cranberries…and stir quickly.

 Let cool for an hour.

Then add walnuts, celery and marmalade.


Transfer to a pretty serving dish and refrigerate until it sets up.

Then evaluate whether it should be a side dish or a dessert given the ratio of sweet to tart ingredients!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Pre-Holiday Roasting Experiment

While channel surfing the other night, I came across a cooking segment that caught my attention. Mayonnaise was being slathered on a raw turkey before it went in the oven.


Wasn’t sure I should experiment on Thanksgiving so decided to test this theory on a chicken.

Made homemade mayonnaise in a food processor:

3 egg yolks (at room temperature)
3 teaspoons mustard


With motor running, drizzled (very very slowly):

1-1/2 cups of oil (I used a combination of walnut and canola oil).

Added salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Chopped some fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary) and combined.

Then spread this mixture on a chicken.

Sprinkled with salt.

Cooked at 425 degrees for 1-1/2 hours.

On a bed of baby carrots and diced butternut squash (also an experiment).

The result was a roasted chicken…. 

...that looked a bit diseased.

In need of immediate dermatological assistance.

On the bright side, the chicken meat was succulent and delicious. The cooked vegetables were out of this world and the drippings made a very tasty gravy.

But, you eat with your eyes first. And this dish should come with a blindfold.

So this Thursday I will stick to buttering the bird. 

Mayonnaise will be used for day-after turkey sandwiches.