Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration meals - a "patchwork heritage"

At our house we love to celebrate and of course it means food. It is a house of the people so we celebrate simply. I am trying to reflect the spirit of the times and my hopes for the future. The ingredients come from many lands like Americans.

I have to digress for a minute. Obama's speech really made me reflect on our diverse heritage. Tomorrow Mimi and Bobo will have a special guest in their home. They've been homebound a lot because of winter and illness. Rebecca and I wanted to give Dad a Christmas gift that would be intellectually stimulating and further one of his passions. I found a wonderful geneaologist who is a specialist in German, Prussian and Polish geneaology. She'll be coming tomorrow to meet with Bobo, Mimi and Rebecca about our family's progenitors. It should be very fun and a jumpstart for the somewhat stalled geneaology project to research Bobo's Grossmutter and her heritage. Long live the American Heritage!

Tonight Lee and I will have a simple eclectic meal. It is inexpensive yet reflects my love of color, taste and texture. I will cut an acorn squash in half. I'll bake it in the oven at 350 degrees until it is tender. In the meantime I am making a box of plain couscous substituting chicken broth for water. To that I'll add fresh ground turkey (America's bird) about a half pound. I'll saute the turkey with about 1/4 C chopped onion, 1/2 tsp. garlic. To that I'll add 1/4C. pine nuts and 1/2 C. dried cranberries and a tsp. of curry powder. I'll scoop the turkey mixture back into squash and return them to the oven for 15 minutes to heat through. So you can see the middle east, the mediterranean, native American influence. For southwest and asian I'll serve the beloved orange, onion and avocado salad. We'll have a little white wine and fruit to cap the dinner and inauguration day.

Yesterday I made baked onion soup - rather European don't you think? It was so simple. I was remembering the meals of the people in the "old country" striving for a better future and freedom. I sliced 4 jumbo onions and sauteed them until brown in 2 T. olive oil and 2 T. unsalted butter. When they were brown I added a can of beer and 32 ounces of low sodium beef broth and 1/2 tsp. of thyme. I also added 1 tsp. of finely minced garlic. I let it simmer about 10 minutes. I ladled the soup into oven proof bowls and floated a thick slice of home made baguette on the top. I covered that with grated jarlsberg cheese and broiled the soup until the cheese was toasted. Served with a simple salad and gratitude for those who have gone on before who made many sacrifices for each of us and our future.

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