Store-Bought Pie Greetings

This Thanksgiving, I am taking it easy. No gourmet brined, free range turkey in the oven. No ham hock waiting to drench green beans in tasty fat. No smell of fresh baking bread in my house. No home made pie.

Nope, I'm taking it easy this year and being grateful to let someone else cook. Grateful for the break from work. Grateful for the three books I am reading and will have time to read over the next few days. Let's make a list of what I'm grateful for this November:

  • Chinese food for lunch
  • 2 and a half days off work
  • People who work those days
  • My massage therapist
  • My acupuncturist
  • Volunteers who are more like aunties to me
  • Staff that are like sisters
  • My sister in general and the family picture she is organizing for us
  • The warmth of my home and my shoes
  • Hot baths
  • Stores that are open the day before Thanksgiving and that sell me pie and rolls
  • My mom's health at last
  • Jovi's health
  • Boxing and boxing buddies
I am taking it easy and just being in awe of the end of a year that has been one marathon of an endurance test. Like the end of a race well-done, finish line in sight, cheers around you, glow of your effort, elation of exhaustion, a rest well-earned. 


It's Gravy

Dinner last night: homemade chanterelle gravy on baked potatoes.  The stock came from the liquid drained off of several pounds of wild harvested chanterelles. While the liquid was still hot, I added in homegrown rosemary and parsley, pepper, and a dash of salt. I let that cool and then strained it. Last night I added a brown butter roux to thicken it.

It was goodness.


Wild Weekend

So after a week of feeling like crap to the point that I spent all of Friday on the couch in front of the TV, I had a wild weekend. A Pacific Northwest wild weekend. Two of Jovi's dragon boat buddies took us up to the Coast Range to harvest wild chanterelles. After just over an hour, we had grocery bags full of mushrooms and one very wet and happy mountain dog. Not only did we find chanterelles, we also found lobster mushrooms. I'd never heard of these and have never eaten them, but was reassured they are edible. Although we did end up with a flat tire, we came back with at least $150 to $200 worth of mushrooms!

This morning I made a lobster mushroom frittata with homegrown garlic, chard and parsley. Then we washed all the chanterelles and fried almost all of them up for freezing. The water they put off I have drained and will use to make mushroom gravy! I will dry the rest of the mushrooms. The house smells delicious!

Lobster Mushroom

Frying up lobster mushroom
Adding garlic, red pepper & green onion
Bag o' chanterelles


Fall Upon Us

Feels like winter this week. I'm not opposed to this. The garden is sleeping - onion, shallot and garlic babies tucked in. The rain garden seems to be doing its job and long neglected indoor projects are beckoning.

So, I've taken up the rug hooking again that my mom bought me last year. I swear this project is going to take me forever. I do enjoy the meditative state that the repetitive poke and pull can get me into. Cup of hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows by my side, cozy in my warm house, maybe the smell of something hearty on the stove or sweet baking in the oven. OR, Chinese take-out in my belly. The soft feel of the wool that I'm weaving into a picture. An appropriate message "Rain, Rain, Go Away..."

Each new section I complete makes me feel closer to my mom. Rug hooking was one of the first creative endeavors, aside from cooking, that I watched her take up. She's good at it and yet she's very critical of her pieces. I've learned something about myself through watching her struggle with her own perfectionism.

It's also been something that I've desperately wanted her to teach me. Desperately, because I feel her mortality tugging at me this year. She has been diagnosed and undergoing treatment for colon cancer. It's colored everything I've experienced since the night she called to tell me they'd found a mass on her colon and would go in for surgery two days later. Missouri has never felt so far away to me. It's made making my own little home and my connection to this plot of land tenuous feeling. Hooking the rug, I weave my thoughts about our relationship, my relationship to this house, to my history, tangible. It anchors them to the linen. Invisible to the viewer, but embedded there for me.

I'm new to this.