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Archive for November, 2010

My oven went on strike the day before Thanksgiving. It was in the middle of baking my favorite chocolate pecan pie, when suddenly the temperature rose from 350 degrees to broil temperature. A perfectly good-looking pie burnt to a crisp. “How can it do that to me?”, I thought. After all, I always give it really good things to bake… pizzas, cookies, quesadillas, just to name a few things. Perhaps it was tired. It did bake a pumpkin pie prior to baking the chocolate pecan pie.

I was faced with a dilemma. I still had to roast sweet potatoes, bake the sweet potato casserole, and most importantly, I had to roast the turkey. After a few hours of negotiating, it was decided that I would give it a rest in between baking/roasting.

The oven behaved nicely the rest of the day. My dishes came out perfect. I even baked another chocolate pecan pie. Apparently, just like with anything in life, you have to show your oven some love from time to time. What have you done for your oven lately? :)

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Quince Jam

Growing up, my mom used to make lots of homemade goodies… cakes, cookies, jams. Food was scarce in Romania during my childhood. All the grocery stores were completely empty, with the exception of some canned stuff. If the store all of a sudden received a shipment of any type of food item, everyone in the neighborhood formed a line the day before and camped all night to make sure that they got that item. I never understood how everyone found out about it. It was a mystery to me. I remember a bunch of times when my sister and I stayed in line all day for things like bananas, oranges, eggs, and other things. A couple of those times, the item was sold out as soon as we reached the counter. We came home crying to my parents informing them of the bad luck. Several bakeries did exist around my neighborhood, but going to them was a treat. Everything was very expensive.

One of the most frequent things that my mom made, as far as jams go, was quince jam. I have never found quince jam in Rochester or anywhere else for that matter. I do keep an eye out for it whenever I travel. I think that quince is not very well known in America. Somehow it was abundant in Romania. Also, it is definitely an acquired taste as far as eating it raw. I personally do not like it raw. Its flesh is very hard and tart. It does however make a good fruit for jams. The jam does remind me of my childhood. I can picture my mom in the kitchen shredding the quince, making the jam, and then canning it. It was definitely a chore, but the outcome was always well worth it.

During one of my phone calls with my mom a few weeks ago, she told me that my dad found quince at a local market and bought a bunch of it. She further told me that she got inspired and made several jars of jam. I was so excited since I have not had it in a very long time.

The jam was exactly as I remembered it. It was sweet and somewhat thick in consistency, similar to a marmalade. The first spoon of it took me right back to my childhood. Yes… I did say a spoon of it. There are certain jams that I can just eat by the spoonfuls. Growing up, jams were desserts (at least at my house), so eating a spoonful of it was normal. Joel always shakes his head every time he sees me doing that. I guess he will never understand. :)

I also like to spread it on a piece of freshly baked bread. It’s definitely heaven!!

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Over the past few years I have been making a Halloween inspired dinner on Halloween evening. A spooky dinner, that is! :) I am not really into Halloween as far as dressing up, but I do like handing out candy to kids. They are so happy. I also like seeing their costumes. Some are pretty creative. Since we have to stay home to hand out the candy, might as well enjoy some delicious food.

Spooky Tortilla Chips

This year, the menu included spooky tortilla chips with Guacamoldy dip.


Guacamodly Dip with Spooky Tortilla Chips

The dinner also included my traditional bloody soup with eyeballs, which I served with pressed pesto, spinach, and cheese sand-witches. For drinks, we had some carrot juice. Its color was very appropriate for the holiday.

Bloody Soup with Eyeballs

Pressed Sand-Witches

My friend Yokko joined us for dinner. She insisted on making spice cookies.

Spice Cookies

She also brought cider, which we warmed up and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Warm Apple Cider Sprinkled with Cinnamon

YUM! It was the perfect ending to a spooky dinner!

Yokko

We unfortunately did not get very many trick-or-treaters. I think that the rain and hale played a big part in it. Hopefully it will be better next year.

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