Thursday, December 15, 2005

Some Silly Seasonal Stuff

Today we have Mountains:

Which means that it’s sunny and also frosty. Note that there isn’t much snow on the mountain tops. (Don't note the dirt on my living room window!) There was more earlier in the season but an inversion layer melted it. We had cold clammy fog while the mountain tops were having sunshine and heat. Well 8 degrees C is warmer than freezing. So far this month we’re experiencing a record lack of precipitation. Global warming? I think so! There should be more snow in January (they hope) which is usually when the skiing gets good. I wonder if the local winter warming and drying trend is starting to worry the 2010 Winter Olympics committee? (It should. We could have the world here but no snow for them! Not that anybody has any control over the weather.) The mountain on the left is Grouse and the right is Seymour. If (when?) I ever go skiing — cross-country not downhill — I go up to Hollyburn, which you can’t see in this picture because it’s farther to the left behind the house across the street. It has a nice series of trails but they can get too crowded on weekends. And it can be icy, foggy, rainy, snowy or all of the above at the same time. Just the price we pay for being in Lotus Land instead of the arctic that’s the rest of Canada this time of year.

Now for some Christmas content. (And you thought I was Christmas-impaired!) This serious teddy bear is Black Jack. He’s a tough guy with a holey undershirt, arm tattoo, and an earring, about 18 cm/7 inches tall. (Please don't tell him I mentioned his height — he's rather sensitive about his diminutive size.) I knitted him a number of years ago from handspun natural black wool and his undershirt from handspun cotton. The original pattern was in Debbie Bliss’ “Toy Knits” book but that one was cute and not quite so biker-dude as Black Jack turned out. Anyway, the second photo is Black Jack all ready for Christmas. Somehow I think he comes off more like Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas (my second favourite holiday movie after the original Scrooge with Alastair Sims) but with more upholstery! This is not my fault. I’m just the wielder of spinning wheel and knitting needles. It’s difficult to resist when your dolls take over and demand to be treated a certain way, huh?

My faithful reader Melanie (Nanamouse) asks about my “haggis in a turkey” traditional stuffing that I mentioned yesterday. Don’t ask me where my adopted mom got this, but it was likely her mom who was definitely Scots. Grandma Sissy died before I was born so I never got to ask why my mom put oatmeal in everything from meatloaf to salmon loaf to turkey stuffing. But I guess it’s obvious. When I got married I wouldn’t leave home without gleaning the recipe from mom who never actually measured anything when she was making it. I don’t measure anymore either so consider this kind of approximate. You’ll have to adjust if you don’t have a honking tom turkey anyway!

Oatmeal Turkey Stuffing (for a minimum 15 lb./7 kilo turkey)

1 lb. scotch oatmeal (that’s the chopped-up kind, not the rolled kind)
1/2 lb. ground suet (sometimes a bit difficult to locate since nobody makes suet puddings anymore)
2 small chopped onions (or more!)
1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste (aka lots)
1/2 cup hot water (just to moisten a wee bit)

Mix ingredients in a large bowl. It won’t stick together all that well but don’t be tempted to add more water or it will be soggy. Stuff in turkey cavity (and any other place you can find). Sew shut securely. (I actually use a needle and strong thread.) Roast your turkey as you would normally treat a stuffed bird.

This also tastes great in a roast chicken but you need to reduce the recipe proportionately. Remember, most people that you invite to share your holiday table will think this is very weird stuffing. It will probably take some convincing to get them to eat it and they may not like it at first even though it’s delicious — much better than real haggis. Maybe you’d better not mention the h-word at all? And don’t invite Darling Daughter because she won’t leave much for the rest of the guests! (I trained up my family young.) If there are any leftovers, they taste great in a casserole with some chopped turkey, the leftover veggies, and gravy. Spread leftover mashed potatoes on top and dot with butter. I often grate cheddar cheese on there too. Bake at 350 F. until bubbly and enjoy.

Let me know if you try this stuffing — but not if you didn’t like it!

Sock knitting class was even smaller last night. We were down to 5 hardy souls who were all at different places in the heel area. They did pretty well anyway, even though I had to make one girl take out her incorrect heel flap. At least she was good-natured about it. This class improves as it shrinks in participants. Is it something I said? I don’t wear deodorant but I do shower… Probably just too close to The Big Day with everybody going nuts trying to get ready. I mean, in a time crunch the first thing you'd jettison would be my sock knitting class, right? Unfortunately I can't jettison it myself. And not because I've got a time crunch either.

No comments: