Thursday, November 16, 2006


As in... things are really cookin'! Work is heating up on the hearing front, getting lots accomplished (which only seems to make it clear how much more there is to do!) Found a stellar pediatric psychiatrist last night who I really enjoyed talking with, and I think will be an excellent witness for us. We had such a good rapport, I feel his communcation skills are great, and he seems to have a lot of integrity and experience (the 3 essentials of being a good expert witness.) I was at work until 8pm and the time seemed to fly all day.

Then I went home and fixed what might be my best lasagna yet to freeze for next week. I used fresh basil from my neglected basil plants and I'm excited to see how it turns out. I made the cranberry-pear-ginger sauce but was not impressed and might make it again. Two main problems-- very watery, and the pears get mushy and turn pink. I think if I make it again I'll use half the water, cook the berries longer, and add the pears towards the end of the cooling process so they stay firm. Or maybe cook them separately, lightly poached just to take the crunchy edge off, and stir them in just before serving. I had one really, really ripe pear that smelled awesome, but the other was a little on the crunchy side. I used Red Bartlett pears and the sauce tastes good, just looks too much like whole berries in a thin watery syrup. The flavor of the fresh ginger and the hint of cinnamon goes really well with the berries and pears though, so it's just a matter of tweaking now.

I also bailed on making the spiced pecans-- forgot to pick them up at the grocery and just too much other stuff to do. I'll buy spiced nuts and maple pecans at the Central Market next Monday and call it good.

The weather is delightfully chilly (50 now at 9:45am) and looks to be at least hinting at chilly for the Thanksgiving week, except Wed and Thurs which have highs in the mid-70s. At least it won't be 80! and the nighttime lows are in the 40s which is great-- dinner is at 5pm so hopefully it will be cooling off already.

It will be a CROWD for dinner so I'm having to totally rearrange the furniture to have room for the tables. Instead of two tables end to end in the dining, which only seats 12, looks like we'll have the dining table in the living room and two 6' folding tables in the open space between the living room and kitchen (the main hall down the center of the house.) Thus it will be like a T-shape. That will seat fourteen plus room for the two high chairs for the babies. To do this, I first will have to move the coffeetable into the library, and the brown chair and empire sideboard into the guest room (the sideboard can stay there because the Christmas tree will take it's spot in two weeks).

When I say the "main hall" down the middle of the house, this is what I mean (not the entry area, but this broad space in the foreground of the picture.) To the left is the dining and kitchen; to the right is the living room. I think the long "top" of the T (12' long, about 3' wide) will fit here.

Here's the living room and a little peek of the main hall area. The short "stem" of the T will be in this room. The window-opening, in the second picture, looks into the kitchen. (Originally on the exterior wall of the house.)

If we had a smaller crowd, we'd just eat in the dining room like we did last year.

And this is command central for Operation Turkey Storm.

We're leaving tonight for Houston. Our friends Reyna and Sergio are getting married tomorrow night at 5, and Mitch has a salsa promoters' meeting Saturday at 4. We'll run back to Bastrop and do the big grocery shopping trip that night, and probably move furniture around and re-set all the tables Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon I'll make the walnut tart crust and the apple strudel and freeze them. Ayyy-- lots of cooking to do!

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