Yes; I have been missing. Eerily absent from my normal activities, like posting things, or perusing blogs, hanging out with you on Facebook and Twitter, pinning things I want to make/do/buy all over your Pinterest, and so on. Daily life has fallen by the wayside, and why? Because we are all so ill right now. Not “ill” in a Beastie Boys way, either; ill in the gross mid-Autumn cold and sinus way. I’ve had a sinus infection kicking for about three weeks now, which I’ve been able to ignore in some ways and not in others; mostly it turns my kitchen and writing skills into that of a floating baby hedgehog. That’s me right now, people. To add to the fun, the Wee One had a middle-of-the-night trip to the ER because she woke up just as I was headed to bed with the croup. Since she’s a child who is never, ever sick, I have zero experience with this. It is hard. So we’re all on the mend, but I’m grossly behind on just about everything.
I know what you’re thinking: this is fun talk for food blog, Shannon; thank you ever so much. But this is good information, because I think this is how the zombies get us. It’s not glamorous enough for film and TV, but the reason we can’t outrun them? First, the infect us with colds. Then, we become so lethargic and grosstastic that we have zero speed or energy. Then, the world is theirs. Keep that in mind. On to the food talk.
The only thing which could get me to post something right now? Feast Magazine. More specifically, Feast’s Thanksgiving 2013 issue. Because it is a glorious celebration of the beginning of this holiday season (go, prepositional phrases, GO! They are my writing “tell;” how you know I’ve lost the will to write properly). I can’t send you all a copy, but I would if I could: this one’s a keeper, for sure. My favorite part is the Contemporary Classics article on holiday recipes – they all sound wonderful – and I think you’ll love them: they’re standards with a boost, and those always end up being some of my personal favorites when you’re trying to please both the “classics, please” and “let’s try something adventurous!” camps during Thanksgiving. For your viewing pleasure, I’m going to link you right to the recipes. You could make:
- Fool-Proof Thanksgiving Turkey (um, yes, thank you)
- Truffled Giblet Gravy
- Quince-Cranberry Jam
- Melted Brussels Sprouts (I’m for sure making these, by the way)
- Savory Bread Pudding
- Twice-Baked Delicata Squash with Spiced Nuts (scribblescribble, adding to the menu)
- Smoky Sweet Potato Gratin with Maple Marshmallow Crème (I’m actually afraid to make this one for fear of how good it is)
- Kabocha Pie with Dulce de Leche
- Turkey Stock (always good to have a recipe for something so essential)
Just looking at that slideshow gets you amped for Thanksgiving, right? I know the feeling.
To brighten your holiday spirit a little, there’s some beautiful cocktails from some of the St. Louis area’s finest mixologists (although sometimes I dislike the word “mixologist,” because it reminds me dudes similar to sleazy Tom Cruise in “Cocktail,” so maybe we could use the word “beverage engineers” instead.). They bring to you imbibings of great joy, such as:
- Pompier Highball
- Tom Waits for No Man (I know you’re all clicking on that one just to find out what it is)
- Better than Gravy (curious? Me too)
- It’s a Small World Aperol (in St. Louis, we excel at judging you by which high school you attended, but also we are exceptional drink-namers)
By the way, did you see what I did there with “imbibings of great joy?” Yeah. I’m sooo sleep-deprived right now. Please be patient with me.
For the locals (and those of you who love a good farm), there’s a fabulous article on Buttonwood Farms, located right here in Missouri. For those of you who are just in it for the adorable animals, there are photos of probably the most attractive turkeys and chickens I’ve ever seen. It’s like something for everyone.
Oh: you want to see those adorable turkeys move? Head right over to Feast TV’s November 2013 edition, where you can see them in all their feathered glory. Also, you’ll get some tips on Thanksgiving do’s and don’ts along the way. We all need that information. You don’t even have to read words.
And then there’s me: hopefully I add to this issue, although the bar is set even higher than normal this month. Thankfully, this is the recipe I feel like I really started to find my groove with in terms of writing and development, so I think my contribution holds up amongst the rest of the gorgeous food and drink offerings.
It’s a winter chili which features juniper berries, my secret ingredient for November. Remember them? I used them a little while back in those pumpkin + caraway pan scones, because I was trying to get a feel for their flavor and how they worked in recipes. Turns out, they’re brilliant, and I don’t know that anyone uses them enough. They’re a great spice to have in your pantry, especially in the colder months; they have a lovely pine-like flavor that really pairs well with…you know what? I’ll let you read the article, found right here. It’s way more succinct and well-written as compared to what’s coming out of these fingers right now.
This chili? A fast favorite of mine. Lamb in chili is superb: it’s got a rich quality that you can twist into a dish that still has the comfort-feel of a standard chili, but with an entirely different flavor profile. I think it’s a refreshing take on it, because we make lots of chili in the winter, and having a break from the norm is wonderful. This one is hearty and packed with vegetables: both the sweet potato and kale are featured prominently. In fact, leave out the lamb, switch the stock to vegetable, and add an extra can of kidney beans, and you’ve got yourself a very woodsy vegetarian version; you won’t even miss the meat. Want more of a middle ground? Sub in some ground turkey for the lamb. It’s very pretty, as far as chili goes: see all those colors in there? Like fall in a bowl; the deep burgundy of the beans, sunset orange of the sweet potato, and forest green of the kale make for a nice little cold-weather rainbow.
It’s a great make-and-freeze, also: I know this for a fact, because I made a batch to save for when I wrote this up, and it’s just as heart-warming as the day I made it. I know some of you purchased juniper berries the last time we talked about them, so this hopefully will give you another use for them this winter.
Finally, if you want to just curl up in front of the tube all day, I say do it: watch a little November 2013 Feast TV, because it’ll warm your heart just like my chili will.
PS: this is what we did for Halloween:
So, lame streamers, some glitter pumpkins, and these giant sugar cookies; that’s the sum total of our activities. I don’t even have a proper photo of my Wee in her halloween costume this year (she was a pumpkin), so here’s one from 2 years ago. I think it’s still my favorite costume to date.
Roar. Nothing takes the wind out of my party sails like widespread illness; I just couldn’t do it this year. In my defense (and if you’re keeping track), our overnight ER visit happened on Wednesday night/Thursday morning; Halloween Day. There was no sleep. So, any sort of anything was mostly out of the question.
I’ll see you soon. That’s wishful/hopeful/positive thinking. It’s going to happen. It is going to happen. *face hits keyboard*