Peeling, Chopping, Roasting, Eating

There's nothing to show you aside from food today. We had a nice family dinner last night, and it was great to get together. The last time we were all together was for the 4th of July. Everyone is so busy now, and it's hard to carve out a time when everyone is free.

The day started with our usual ritual...me stitching, and Sadie watching my floss bobbing up and down with great interest.

All lap cats have to learn that floss is off limits to teeth and claws. It doesn't stop them from watching and yearning.

After that I peeled apples for apple crisp, 

and pears for a salad. The pears are poached in port wine and sprinkled with a little sugar. After they're poached, you use some of the poaching liquid to make a dressing for the salad. The salad is spinach and Belgian endive, layered with the poached pears, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts. It's good for a big dinner because you can make all the components in advance, and then assemble it just before serving. Mae assembled the salads. It was fun having her in the kitchen with me.

Also, I roasted sweet potatoes and red onions. Those are finished with a sprinkling of fresh rosemary and parmesan cheese. Here's the recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions with Rosemary and Parmesan. This is a good dish for Thanksgiving because it can be made ahead and then reheated at the last minute.

And remember the Romanesco broccoli? It was roasted at 450° and then sprinkled with parmesan. (I don't think it's possible to have too much parmesan cheese, do you?) Here's the recipe I used. Very simple.

It seemed like we should have something potato-like, and so I made this Multigrain Pilaf. It has brown rice, barley, bulgur, golden raisins, leeks, and parsley. At the end, toasted sunflower seeds are added. Here, I scooped off a portion for Mike, who can't eat the seeds.

The original recipe uses dried currants, but my grocery store no longer sells them. Golden raisins were a good substitute, but really, you could substitute any dried fruit. Dried cranberries would be perfect.

The main course was these Roasted Cornish Hens with Cherry-Port Glaze. This is a really terrible picture of the ones I made last night.

The recipe I've linked to there is different from the one I used in that they've left the hens whole. I don't know if that was a change they made, or if I made it somewhere along the way. Mine were butterflied and then cut them in half just before serving them up. Butterflying these little birds is pretty simple, especially if you have a good pair of kitchen sheers. Just use the sheers to cut down each side of the spine from tail to neck. Then you can save the spine to make stock. Also, I cut off the wings at the last joint. Those little bits of wing tip just burn up when they're roasted, and there's almost no meat on them. Those will go into the stock too.

The only other thing I wanted to tell you about last night's dinner is these shishito peppers. We get them in our CSA share, and they are so good. I've also seen them at farmer's markets. They are about the size of a jalapeno pepper, but wrinkly, and they are mild and smoky flavored...not much heat to them at all. I love them.

Our farmers recommended "blistering" them in a hot skillet with a little olive oil. When they're softened, and spotty black, sprinkle them with a little salt and a squeeze of lime juice. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Eat the whole thing, except for the stem.

We've been getting these through the summer, and I'd collected a bagful. All gone now. It's good to have family up if for no other reason that to help you win the war against the vegetables.

So that was dinner. It was great to see everybody and catch up. Erik starts a new job today, and he was in high spirits. Fingers crossed for him to have a good first day.

Today is an NBS day (Nothing But Sewing). I figure I've earned it after spending the entire day on my feet yesterday. For sure I'll get the binding sewn on the Cats of a Different Color, and I'm hoping to get well along with the nine-patches for Gingerbread square. The end of October is approaching, and there is still much sewing to be done.

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