Behold! A poem that came to me this afternoon as I ate my lunch:
This is a ballad that is all about salad;
It rhymes about carrots, and not about ferrets,
Its lyrics beset us with lines about lettuce
It inanely prattles about grapes, nuts, and apples,
It lilts about beans and lush collard greens
Of turnips, and beets, and onions, and leeks,
It’s an inspired adage on spinach and cabbage,
(It practically shouts about Brussels sprouts!)
And insinuates coyly that there’s nothing so holy
As getting down on your knees to sing a hymn about peas.
While poetry about vegetables is really quite questionable,
And expressing on dressing may be quite depressing
(If one loathes potatoes or cherry tomatoes,
Or thinks it quite caddish to sing of a radish),
Nevertheless, this rhyme doth express
Preeminent joy regarding bok choy,
It simpers forlorn about uneaten corn
And savors the oddity of cheese and diced broccoli,
So therefor I boldly, and hotly, and coldly,
Entitle this ballad, “An Ode to a Salad.”
This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving at our house, and as such, it is also the first time I undertook the roasting of a turkey by myself. Of course, I’ve made chicken, pot roast, porch chops, and things like that before, but they don’t quite prepare one for pulling an 8 inch featherless neck out of the cold slimy nether regions of a deceased fowl. Nevertheless, I was triumphant.
“I’ve given birth,” I declared, “I can handle a turkey!”
Our 25 lb. monster-of-a-turkey (who I nick named Jerry) was so heavy that he made the shelf in my oven sag alarmingly. But after 6 hours of baking at 425 degrees, he emerged a nice golden brown with a steaming chest and plump crispy legs. Like the hero out of a Shakespearean tragedy, he rested inertly, with his wings folded over his breast, on a bed of potatoes, carrots, and celery sprigs. Of course, instead of sending him adrift on The Lake Of Shining Waters, we ate him. But still … I expect it was a romantic send off … for a turkey.
I also made home-made stuffing with bacon bits and dried cranberries (which I was quite proud of), and we had some family traditions like bean casserole, Waldorf salad, and sweet potatoes. I am not a big fan of sweet potatoes. But everyone else seems to like them. To me, they are always a horrific experience.
Of course, this is Elowyn and Shadowfax’s first holiday season! We are so excited, particularly about Christmas. In fact, our tree is already up! Shadowfax has really enjoyed climbing to the top of it, and Elowyn enjoys looking at all the sparkly lights and shiny ornaments. I’m excited about getting Elowyn her first Christmas presents, however, I always avoid shopping on Black Friday weekend because I have no desire to die trampled underfoot by a mob of crazed lunatics on a quest for discounted waffle makers or dancing Elmo dolls. Seriously, what a way to go! I think I’d rather go the way of a Thanksgiving turkey. At least feeding a family is a relatively noble cause.
Speaking of crazed shoppers, have you ever noticed that they swarm around sale items like hungry zombies swarming around a doomed actor in a B rated movie? I’d much rather shop online, or wait until later. Between Black Friday mobs and the scarcity of Twinkies, I’ve really been wanting to watch Zombieland again. Although Hostess is closing their doors, I have a sneaking suspicion that some conglomerate of genius marketeers will buy them out and get those spongy, yellow, artificial, goo-infused cakes back on the shelves pronto.
As Tallahassee said, “Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain’t over yet.”
Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends, and have a lovely rest of the weekend!
I know this has nothing to do with music, but I love cooking, so I thought I’d share some of the ways I like to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, vegetables, and food to make yummy post-Thanksgiving dishes that don’t taste like leftovers! So, here ya go (o:
THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING HASH-BROWNS
Leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
1 diced onion
3 Tblsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Coat your griddle or frying pan with oil. Scatter your diced onions and smooth mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes onto pan. Fry until golden brown, then flip with a spatula. Repeat until onions are translucent and potatoes are golden and crunchy. Salt and pepper to taste.
TURKEY POT PIE
Preheat oven to 425°
Approx. 1lb. leftover Thanksgiving turkey, cut into bite size chunks
Any leftover peas, carrots, corn, celery, diced onions or diced potatoes you’ve got in the fridge or freezer
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups leftover gravy (cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup works too)
2/3 cup sour cream
2 (9 inch) Pillsbury pie crusts
1. Blend flour, salt, pepper, gravy and sour cream in a large bowl.
2. Mix in your turkey and leftover / frozen veggies.
3. Place whole mixture in bottom pie crust.
4. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough.
5. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
7. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Preheat oven to 350°
2 1/2 to 2 cups leftover Thanksgiving turkey, diced
16 ounces frozen spinach (optional but awesome)
1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s season salt or regular salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup or leftover gravy
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2-3 packages crushed Ritz crackers
1. Thaw, drain, and squeeze dry your spinach
2. In a large plastic bag, smash your crackers into crumbs
3. Mix spinach, salt, garlic, soup/gravy, sour cream, Parmesan, and turkey in a large bowl.
4. Coat base of 13×9″ casserole dish with 1/2 of your cracker crumbs.
5. Carefully pour turkey mixture into dish, without relocating the bottom crumbs too much.
6. Sprinkle the remaining cracker crumbs on top of your casserole, thoroughly coating it.
7. Bake at 350° until crust is toasted on top (15-25 minutes).
Waking up next to this beautiful baby girl is always the highlight of my day. If she’s not peacefully sleeping like a little angel, she’s kicking and giggling and smiling at me with wide blue eyes and rosy cheeks.
It’s been a while since my last blog so I thought I’d fill you in on Once Upon A Time album production progress.
Firstly, my good friend and producer, Michael Thompson of Ivory Tower Productions, has sent me a number of amazing tracks to review for the Once Upon A Time (Part 1) album!!! Each of the songs on the album are inspired by classic literature and poetry (plus a few very select classic movies).
I sincerely can’t wait for you to hear how amazing it all sounds. We’ve got …
Agatha, which you’ve probably heard on YouTube (there’s a live performance of it from a couple years back which I’ll embed below).
Crocus Garden, which was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and author PG Wodehouse and has a Gothic, For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite, feel to it.
Damsel in Distress was inspired by Casablanca and has a powerful angst reminiscent of Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl days.
Icarus was inspired by Greek mythology and features oboe by my friend Elisa Halaand.
And don’t let the title fool you, because Silence Of The Lambs is actually inspired by The Book Of Revelation more so than the Thomas Harris horror novel (although it has some Hannibalesk ‘Easter eggs’ in it). It’s definitely one of the darkest songs on the album, and while it is technically about a serial killer (or killers), it’s probably not what you think (o;
Madman came out really beautifully and is absolutely a tearjerker. It’s more of an autobiographical song. In fact … well … I have some ideas for crowd sourced projects, but I’ll save that for later!
Out Of The Silent Planet is inspired by C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy and it has kind of a vintage sci-fi sound to it a-la David Bowie’s Major Tom.
Finally, Whittled came out absolutely amazing! It’s one of those songs I originally thought would just be piano and vocal, but then Mike worked his magic and turned it into a stirringly beautiful orchestral piece.
Overall, we’re taking the music in a really unusual new direction that I think you guys will love. We kind of got back to my roots (if I can say that after only 3 CDs) making this a more acoustically driven album. But this time we’re accentuating the drama with classical guitar, oboe, wine glasses (yes, wine glasses), and effects to create an eclectic Celtic/Industrial feel. It’s very unique and VERY theatrical.
Anyway, we’re adding some instrumentation and working on mixing the album now. Then we have to master it, and then … YOU WILL HEAR IT!!!