It's the perfect time

It's one of those days in Seattle. 

One day it was this:

and now it's this: 

This city was made for coffee, naps, knee socks, Counting Crows, and flannel pajamas. It's hard to get up early when you can hear the willow tree in the back tossing around and the puddle under the pear tree growing as the gutter gives up. It's too cold and wet even for my favorite crow, who usually sits in the top of this tree.

No crows to count

Last year, when I spent more time cooking and washing dishes, I would see him up there and think, "That crow is always in that tree!" I hope he thinks about me just as often, "That girl is always at that kitchen sink!"

With no sunny skies or dry sidewalks to tempt me, it's the perfect time for me to get a jump on Thanksgiving dinner. When I host gatherings, I tend to get really high-strung and freak out easily, so I try to do as much work as I can in advance. It's best for everyone involved--I am less likely to throw spatulas or cry when I once again confuse the "EJECT BEATERS" button with the "POWER BOOST!!!!" button. 

Hi there! I'm going to ruin your dress AND your holiday! Ha ha!

This year we are hosting transplant friends who are staying in town. I'm very excited--they're such great people, and we all love a good root vegetable. Plus, we have a new couch on which to nurture our subsequent food babies. 

I made this cranberry sauce last year. It was delicious, but too heavy on the cloves. I tweaked it some this year, and I think it's just right. Cranberry sauce is a good make-ahead dish; you can make this anytime between now and an hour before you eat. My favorite thing about making this--besides eating it--is watching the sauce as the cranberries begin to burst open. They pop and spew a little juice, and it's just fun, like more colorful popcorn.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet
Makes about two cups

12-ounce bag of cranberries, washed and picked over
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
2 to 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar, or to taste
two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1/4 ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
3/4 cup water

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, the honey, the brown sugar, the cinnamon sticks, the cloves, the nutmeg, and the water and simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thickened. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it cool. The sauce may be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the sauce at room temperature.

Oh yeah. I also made this cake. It does indeed freeze beautifully. ("This was in the 'freezes beautifully' section of my cookbook, and I wanted to take something that freezes beautifully!") One of our guests is gluten-free, so I just omitted the tablespoon of flour in the original recipe. It's hidden away in the freezer--this cake actually improves with freezing--and now I can make buttermilk creme brulee on Thursday. That's right. Buttermilk Creme Brulee. I should get a torch!! Well, maybe probably has dangerous buttons I'd get confused too.


  1. This makes me miss Seattle (and you!) so much. I would totally sit in the kitchen with you in knee socks, in flannel pajamas, with that unfrozen cake and some coffee.


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