Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Let the Feast Begin

The stinging snow is blowing in, and the campus is looking more and more like a ghost town as the students head home for the long Thanksgiving weekend.

I'll be enjoying a long weekend myself and away from the computer, so you'll have to wait a week to find out what I've been up to with all that free time. I haven't started a written list as to what I hope to do over the weekend, but here's a sampling of what may or may not get done:

--I just breezed through Confessions of a French Baker, and now I confess to having an urge to bake some good French bread, with crisp crust and chewy crumb and unbeatable flavor. Might have to heat up the baking stone after all!

--I plan on drinking fresh orange juice every morning, followed by the making of candied orange peel.

--I've pulled recipes for all sorts of harvest dishes, from butternut squash rounds with dates and pistachios, an apple-spinach salad, mashed potatoes with parsnips, and so on. Since I've already enjoyed the family meal and won't be going anywhere come Thursday, these dishes aren't intended for a big Thanksgiving meal... just for my own satisfaction.

--I may try a microbatch of a carrot-orange marmalade found in Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures.

--I'll be shelling lots of local walnuts and some fresh pecans sent by Sojourner, setting aside several cups of the chopped meats for the upcoming annual baking of baklava. If I get really ambitious and shell them all, I may can the rest! (Yes, you can can nuts. Did you know that? I didn't!)

--I hope to make biscotti for the holiday season and get them stashed away in tins. So far, ginger-pecan is definitely leading the pack, but I haven't fully decided if I should stick with the classic cranberry-orange or try something else. Stay tuned.

On top of all that, there's a possibility of a play date with my adorable "nephews" and a strong desire to push ahead on some stories and to start Christmas preparations (addressing cards, putting up decorations, wrapping presents).

In short, it's a good thing I'm staying home alone (by choice, I assure you, not for lack of generous offers; I need to move rest to the top of that list!) and we're expected to have snow for the rest of the week.

For those of you who are traveling to visit with family and friends, I wish you safe journeys, good company, and a bountiful feast. Though I'm staying here alone for the weekend, I will be thankful for all of you Dear Readers who have shared your enthusiasm for good food, local farmers' markets, and life in general.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may your Feast be blessed!

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