Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

New Year's Day is my favorite day of the year.
It's a clean slate, ready to be filled with goals, hopes, ambitions, and dreams.

Writing down our wishes...our intentions...can be magical, and fun, and fruitful.
Some families have wish jars, and some properties have wishing wells.
Times Square has a Wishing Wall.

I love the idea of The Wishing Wall in Times Square

"Initiated in 2007, The Wishing Wall was created with the idea that people all over the world would submit their wish for the New Year to be dropped along with the 2000 pounds of confetti at the stroke of midnight on December 31. It’s a way for the entire world to be a part of the historic Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration."
(source: Zoomerang)


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Roast Turkey Recipe

Merry Christmas!
I made Jamie Oliver's Christmas Turkey, and it was amazingly juicy and aromatic.
There are several more turkey recipes on his website, but this one is simple to make, with amazing results!

Jamie says, "If you’re worried about cooking the perfect Christmas turkey because you’re afraid you’ll get it wrong, don’t be. This recipe is nice and simple and will help you achieve brilliant results for your Christmas meal."

Jamie Oliver's Christmas Turkey
Serves 8-10
(my notes in parentheses)
• 5kg turkey, preferably free-range or organic
• olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 clementine, (or a tangerine)
• a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped (quartered)
• 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped(including leaves, cut in thirds)
• 2 carrots, roughly chopped (large pieces. If you think you'll eat them later, then peel them)

For the stuffing
• olive oil
• 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• a few sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
• 300g good-quality pork mince (that's more than 1/2 pound, but less than one. It's just over 10 ounces. By "mince", he means ground pork)
• a large handful of breadcrumbs (I used two slices white bread with crusts removed, pulsed in the food processor)

Take your turkey out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to cook it so it comes up to room temperature before roasting.
Give it a good rinse then pat it dry with some kitchen paper (paper towels), making sure you soak up any water in the cavity.
Drizzle the meat with a good lug of olive oil, add a few good sprinkles of salt and pepper and then rub this seasoning all over the bird, making sure you get in to all the nooks and crannies.

Preheat your oven to full whack (as high as it goes. The key to this recipe is that initial heat, then the decrease) then get started on your stuffing.
Pour a lug or two of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat and fry off your chopped onion for about 10 minutes or until softened.
Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper, the ground nutmeg and your chopped sage leaves, then continue to fry and stir for another minute or two.

Spoon the onion mixture into a large bowl and let it cool completely.
Once cooled, add your pork mince (raw) and breadcrumbs and use your hands to really scrunch everything together.
Once it’s mixed really well, bring the stuffing together into a ball, then cover and chill until you’re ready to stuff your turkey.

Pull the skin at the neck-end back so you can see a cavity and push about half of your stuffing inside your turkey (meaning not the neck hole, but right beneath it near the breast. Filling that cavity gives the turkey a nicely rounded appearance). Not too much: you don’t want to pack it so tightly it slows down the cooking.
Once done, pull and fold the skin over the opening and tuck it under the bird so it looks nice. (this goes downside in your pan, so it stays without pinning)

Turn the turkey around and drop a few small pieces of stuffing into the larger cavity (small pieces torn off. Fill maybe an inch deep) along with your clementine halves and a few sprigs of rosemary.
Place your roughly chopped veg in the bottom of a roasting pan and lay your turkey on top. (this keeps the turkey off the pan bottom)
Cover the turkey with tin foil then put it in the hot oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180°c/350°f/gas 4.
Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilo.
The 5kg bird in this recipe will take about 3 to 3½ hours.

Check on your turkey every 20 minutes or so and keep it from drying out by basting it with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan.
After 2½ hours, remove the foil so the skin gets golden and crispy.

When the time is up, take your turkey out of the oven and stick a small sharp knife into the fattest part of the thigh.
If the juices run clear and the meat pulls apart easily, it’s ready. (about 165 degrees is considered correct now. It used to be 180, but 165 is fine)
If not, pop the turkey back in the oven to cook for a bit longer then check again. Once ready, cover the turkey with tin foil and a few clean tea towels for 30 minutes and let it rest while you get your veg and gravy ready.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


We've had non-stop rain in Southern California, and that's really unusual for us.
I've been home sick from work, and it's a blessing not to be out on the road.
Southern Californians don't drive well in the rain.

My mom's driveway this morning

Beside the fence is a stream that is currently street level

Water was threatening to flood into the house this morning. Ugh.
My poor seedlings in my garden are probably washed away.

I'll bet the scene at the beach is really something right now.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Time Frame

I made this frame several years ago, but I just pulled it out of storage.

Collaged around the frame are little mementos and trinkets from childhood.
The memorabilia surround a photo of me as a child, playing with my Mickey Mouse puppet, toy telephone and kaleidoscope.

I think this is such a fun time capsule, and it's a great way to showcase little toys and items that might just be collecting dust in a drawer (or worse, thrown away).
I mean, this would be a fun way to celebrate every year of a child's life--from McDonald's Happy Meal toys, to ticket stubs, to photobooth strips, to party favors.
It's a great way to use broken toy parts, game pieces, doll parts, beads, buttons, rocks, coins, and little pieces of jewelry.
You could incorporate stickers, bottle caps, labels, stamps, or whatever else might be of significance throughout the year.
This might make gifts for Grandma, or Mother's/Father's Day.
Really, it just gets better with time.

It's best to use a frame with a flat surface, and to use a glue that dries clear (inexpensive frames from Ikea are perfect for this).
Grouting is not necessary--just pile up all the trinkets and overlap at places.
You can hang some items off the edge for effect (like these diary keys).

On my frame, there are game pieces from a vintage Monopoly game (the thimble, race car, and canon), a Goofy-shaped eraser, disco ring, miscellaneous jewelry (including parts of old charm bracelets), and plastic cat off a wine bottle
More jewelry (mostly pins), and Blue Chip Stamps!
Barbie rollerskate, Smokey button, Susan B. Anthony dollar, jack toy, Scottie and shoe Monopoly pieces, shell from clam that used to be in my acquarium

Pin from Nixon's campaign for President, wing pins that the airlines used to give to kids, and a Weiner Whistle!

This project is similar to the Memory Jugs I posted about previously (in fact I mentioned this frame in that post).

This is also a great project for adults--you could make themed gifts.
For example, a wedding gift with trinkets that symbolize the couple's years together.
Or a vintage design with cat eye glasses, kitschy figurines, etc.
Maybe a Christmas frame.
You can commemorate a vacation (shells, sea glass, sand, matchbook covers)

You could make a large scale collage around a mirror with larger items like a doll head, parts of mugs or teacups, and larger collectibles (or parts of).
There are tons of possibilities.

Other collage materials to consider: (similar to items you would use on an art collage, but try to aim for date specific items...think in terms of capturing a moment)
wine cork
keys (especially skeleton keys)
chess pieces
collectible spoons
concert tickets
dice, marbles
tarot or loteria cards
fair ribbons, parts of trophies
rhinestones, faux jewels
doll arms or head
broken pieces of plates, tiles, teacup handle
toy parts (steering wheel, tire, gears)
foreign coins
scrabble tiles
old typewriter or computer keys
swizzle sticks
"I Voted" sticker
part of Halloween costume (eyepatch, earring, etc)

Labels: ,