Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkins and princesses

Our first Halloween in Clintondale

I got some prime pumpkins at the farmers market down the street.

Halloween was a bit rainy and drab and inspired us to cook soup. James has been raving about this Moosewood Hungarian mushroom soup he ate in Montana once 10 years ago and later cooked with Rosemary. Now there is the internet and we found the recipe. It came out great and is completely vegetarian if you use vegetable stock. Testa Kajsa, använd trattisar kanske.

12 ounces (0.3 kg) of mushrooms. I used half champingons and half baby bellas but I'd rather be creative and use what I just picked in the woods.
2 cups (5dl) of grated onions. I like them fine and not chunky in my soup, they become part of the stock almost.
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 cup (2.5dl)milk
2 teaspoons dill
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 table spoon tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (5dl) stock
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper (don't be shy)
1/2 cup (1dl) sour cream

Sauté onions in 2 table spoons of stock. A few minutes later add mushrooms, 1 tsp dill, 1/2 cup stock, soy sauce and paprika.

In another pot melt butter and add flour, (redning, there it is again). Add the milk and cook for about 10 minutes until it's thick. Stir in the mushroom mix and the remaining stock. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Just before serving add the lemon juice and the sour cream and some more fresh dill.

I made corn bread to go with it. Turned out to be a good combination.

Our weekends are short now that we are both working and the work around the house consists of little easy projects. Hanging light fixtures and rearranging what little furniture we have. And of course making food, eating the food and watching Mad Men. And this weekend - carving pumpkins.

It is best done with a funny hat and a PBR in hand. James got one of them right.

The Da Vinci of pumpkin carving over here.

There was going to be a scary competition but we both ended up with jolly, drunk and pretty dumb looking pumpkins.

James redneck muppet pumpkin. DUH-HUH-HUH.

Mine slightly more evil but equally intoxicated.

We bought tons of candy in preparation for the little trick or treaters. Pumpkins were lit and we were ready. We waited. And waited. And waited. The rest of Maple Ave was unusually dark. Around 7 there was a weak knock at the door. I ran over and tore it open to find 2 little scared princesses outside. I greeted them a little too enthusiastically "OUR FIRST TRICK OR TREATERS HELLOOOOO WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE!!!!! HERE HAVE SOME CANDY!!!!" Shoving over the untouched bowl. "HAVE AS MUCH AS YOU WANT!!!!" They reached their little hands cautiously into the bowl, couldn't wait to get off this crazy woman's porch. "NO DON'T GO, HOW DO YOU LIKE OUR PUMPKINS" Big bear steps from inside the house. "JAMES WE HAVE TRICK OR TREATERS!!!" James equally impressed, princesses backing slowly off the porch. Starting on a light jog back to mom's car parked in the street as soon as they were off the stairs.

And Halloween was over.

A sea of leaves in the front yard? A cancelled insurance policy due to a damaged furnace, peeling paint and missing shingles? An empty cottage that's costing money? Dead tree branches that will fall on wires and knock out the electricity to the barn? The garbage bag that is covering the window in the living room? The knot weed field and the garbage dump that the previous owner turned it into? And why is everybody asking about the crazy mad professor water softener system in the basement? Oh, we don't need it?

Denial denial...

Who wants another Swedish schnaps? Helan går everyone. And here's more pictures of treeeeees.

No - get your act together homo (wner) this is your responsability now. After making our terrific boiler expert write a letter stating that the furnace is in perfect working condition, the insurance company reinstated our policy. James and Linda: 1 - the Man: 0.

Odd perks of working in the film business. James worked at a meat packing plant on Friday and got a bonus in the shape of two FAT porterhouse steaks. I guess they're fine enough to cook up with salt and pepper but I am working on perfecting my chimichurri and I take every opportunity to make it.

Right in the blender: parsley, garlic cloves, red vinegar, olive oil and a little bit of worcester sauce.

I let the steaks marinade for the day. We tried to find the perfect cook time on the web but ended up winging it and seared them for about 5 mins on each side and then let them rest on the low heat for about 8 mins.

I made potato wedges with fresh thyme and olive oil in the oven and whipped up a quick Bearnaise... from a bag. The day they have fresh tarragon at Stop & Shop is the day I make Bearnaise at home. Not a day later.

We have some premade crab cakes in the freezer and neither one of us is a huge fan of straight up tartar sauce but crave some Cajun wonder sauce. I'm using the sauce in a Bennie situation. English muffins, crab cakes, poached eggs and the sauce! This is he recipe I settled on to start experimenting with (and I finally got to make mayo!):

2/3 cup olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves

Mix in blender.

3 egg yolks
1 table spoon hot mustard or dijon

whisk together

Combine the 2 slowly to make mayo!

In a blender chop up:
1 red pepper
1 onion
2 tablespoons of capers (kapris)
1 jalapeno

Add to the mayo along with 2 table spoons lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of Worcester, horseradish, salt, pepper to taste. We like the heat and we're not chicken about the heat but sometimes (mostly) I don't think the heat adds flavor so I went with one jalapeno and a decent amount of horseradish, and no pepper sauce. I added a little chipotle chili powder but being a culinary segregationist I didn't want to mix my ethnicities and sticking to cajun I would need Gator-Crater-hot-sauce or Bayou Bob's ring-of-fire-topping. Next time...

Here's a little more dining room, since there has been very little progress in the last few weeks. Well, we DID hang 2 (TWO!) light fixtures this weekend... Scott is starting the windows in the next week or so, and that's almost a little too much progress.


  1. Tack! Som vi har väntat på nästa inlägg i debatten från Clintondale. Svampsoppa? Lustigt. Jag kokade en omgång på trattisar ikväll. Lite för tidigt. En timma senare läser jag ditt recept. Ska definitivt prova. Och rapportera. Har ont i halsen. Tycker just att jag har återhämtat mig från den förra omgången. Fast på jobbet är det sjukt nu. Oj oj oj. Det vore otroligt om jag skulle klara mig. Svininfluensa? Ja kanske. Här tas inga prover. Det kostar inte sjukvården på oss. Om man inte skulle befinna sig i nån slags farozon förstås. Det är ändå samma sak som gäller; vatten, värme och vila. Och vspikmatta. Här ligger det snö men den kommer att försvinna. Det är iallafall tillräckligt mycket för att G skulle ha problem att komma upp för backen ikväll. Och imorgon kommer resten av huset! Jag är nästan glad att jag inte är hemma då det kommer att bli tungt och lite stressigt. En långtradare som ockuperar vägen i ett par timmar. Kanske. Pappa ska hjälpa till. Tycker synd om dem att det skulle vara snöglopp, kallt och lite småjävligt väder JUST NU. Kram!

  2. At long last, another update on the Maple Ave Gazette ... :-)

    Now, what's with the hipster PBR thingy, you certainly won't find that at our place (ok, I admit we have Coors Light in the fridge right now, but only because a distributor dropped it off), we are a yummy beer place ... ;-)

    Here are few Halloween tips:

    Trick or treating happens in New Paltz (there is a huge parade down Main St, with trick or treating in the residential side streets afterward), not in Clintondale! Save the candy, or at least buy the kind you wouldn't mind eating for the next month or so.

    Use a drywall saw for carving your pumpkins, it's a lot easier and safer than a knife.


    I'm glad you got your insurance back ... :-)

    E! asked me to mention something about roux, which is some kind of thickened sauce, but I might be wrong. This is in reference to one of your older posts, so I don't know what this is all about, so don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.


  3. Vilka fantastiska pumpor!!
    Vi hade också laddat med massor med godis och det desto mer till oss!
    Kul att du skriver recept - jag är ju lite galen i det, kan läsa kokböcker som kvällsläsning...sen blir det ändå potatismos och korv som barnen älskar. Men vilken dag som helst börjar jag laga gourmet mat!!
    Kramar Helena Sjöberg

  4. Greetings from another suburban girl-turned city girl-turned country bumpkin! D and E have been telling me and my sweetie about you both and I'm delighted that we're neighbors, even if we haven't yet met.

    What Dirk was trying to say up there is that the butter/flour thing you make is a roux.

    And just to make you feel better, you two have had 100% more trick-or-treaters than we have, and we've been here two years. And I loved your drunken pumpkins.

    Welcome to the neighborhood!