Wednesday, October 19, 2011

FOOD (Because I'm at school and I'm Hungry)

A few things:

1. We finally moved!  After a frustrating, exhausting two months we've finally found an apartment in the East Bay.  This weekend we made the big move, loading up a uhaul full of all of our junk (and three cars) and taking all of it to our new abode in Alameda.  Thanks to our dear friends who labored all day Saturday to complete our move in a timely manner (we love you!).

2. Halloween is in like 14 days, and now that we've got a place to live, we are gearing up for our Third Annual Harvest Feast!  I'm super psyched about continuing our tradition, despite the many challenges we face this year: Halloween is on a Monday, our house is full of unpacked boxes, and did I mention Halloween is in 14 days?!  There's a lot to do in a short period of time, and now that we're in the East Bay I'm not sure if our Marin family will be able to make the trek over to our new house, especially on a Monday.  However, I don't want to move the date of the party to another day because I'm determined to celebrate this holiday ON Halloween, not before or after it.  There will be other Harvest Feasts, so if some people can't make it this year, I'll try not to cry (but I can't make any promises).

3. Our oven may or may not be out of commission at the moment, so we're limited when it comes to making a big meal for Halloween.  To compensate, our Feast is going to be more of a potluck than it has been for the last two years.  Don't get me wrong, every year people bring food, and every year we have more than enough to go around, but we usually make the main dish and about 4 or more side dishes ourselves.  This year we'll be having to scale down the amount of dishes we make.  I've had to really think about what we're going to make, and this is what I've come up with:

Buttery Soul Cakes

Yay for Powdered Sugar!

 We make these every year.  The first time we made them we used a recipe that involved Worcestershire sauce (um, gross), but last year I found this recipe and loved it.


Two sticks butter, softened
3 1/2 C flour, sifted
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg & saffron
1 tsp each cinnamon & allspice
2 eggs
2 tsp malt vinegar
Powdered sugar

Cut the butter into the flour with a large fork. Mix in the sugar, nutmeg, saffron, cinammon and allspice. Lightly beat eggs, and add to flour mixture. Add malt vinegar. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Knead for a while, then roll out until 1/4" thick. Use a floured glass to cut out 3" circles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cakes are still warm.

Bacon Brussel Sprouts

A lot of people don't like brussel sprouts, but that's only because they've never had brussel sprouts like this.  I couldn't find the original recipe online, but we make this dish so much throughout the year that we kinda have it memorized.  The one I'm putting on here is a slight variation-- it has most of the ingredients, except for one (chicken broth), so I consider it blog worthy:

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed and halved
  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; drain on paper towels and crumble.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir the onion in the oil until soft; stir in the bacon and cook until bacon is heated through. Add the Brussels sprouts; cook and stir until the sprouts are browned, 7 to 10 minutes.

Of course, instead of using frozen Brussels, we use fresh ones.  Also, after we cook the onion we add the Brussels, let them cook a little in the oil, and then add the chicken broth, letting the flavors simmer all together.  The bacon is added last.  It's SO GOOD.

 Roasted Chicken (The best you've ever had)

A meager representation of the AMAZING Roasted Chicken

This chicken is no joke-- and so fattening that you really can only eat it once a year!  Because I love margarine about as much as I love a kick in the face, we substituted it out for real butter.  The result was nothing short of heavenly (seriously, SO GOOD).

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup margarine, divided
  • 1 stalk celery, leaves removed 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Place chicken in a roasting pan, and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Sprinkle inside and out with onion powder. Place 3 tablespoons margarine in the chicken cavity. Arrange dollops of the remaining margarine around the chicken's exterior. Cut the celery into 3 or 4 pieces, and place in the chicken cavity.
  • Bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove from heat, and baste with melted margarine and drippings. Cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest about 30 minutes before serving. 

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