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eG Foodblog: Zucchini Mama - A Merry Zucchini Christmas


Zucchini Mama
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A train crosses through the valley where the town of Cochrane resides.

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Behind these birch trees you can catch of the glimpse of the housing development where my sister lives.

Good Morning! It's the day after All You Can Eat Stollen Day, otherwise known as Christmas Eve. The scones are in the oven and ma and pa are frying up some bacon. Mom is making one of those gelatious horrors because Craig says he has to have one at this time of the year. Thanks to those who are checking in and offering comments. I know it's a crazy time of the year, and I'm thinking of you all busy preparing for your own celebrations. Just take a tip from me and go easy on the port! :sad:

I just need a cup of restorative rooibus tea.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I thought I'd tell you a bit about the port. We had a Rozes late Bottled Vintage 1995 Port. Peter says "It 's a port with an identity crisis, between and ruby and a tawny. It's very raisiny and although you could cellar it, it is ready to drink now. 1994 was a better year." Yeah, what he said. I don't know anything about port except it's a hell of a lot cheaper in Ablerta because they don't tax it to death the way they do in B.C. It's also 20% alcohol, which is why it put me right to sleep after dinner.

Off to breakfast and a trip to town to see whether or not we catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt. (He owns a ranch around here.)

Also, we are cooking the turkey today. Mom brought some wild highbush cranberries from Northern Saskatchewan to put in the stuffing and I've got to go buy some wild rice and chat with Brad over the Brussel Sprouts.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I'm eating a lovely apple, but I want some of that pie you showed us a glimpse of! Please, tell, how was the stew? What ingredients did you use? I've always wondered about the spices for buffalo, and how different it tastes from beef. My sister lives in a 'development', and I, um, DON'T. Although we are as different as summer and snow(well, even MORE different than THAT) we still have a lot of fun together. and she LOVES to call me, multiple times a day. "What are you doing?" {Nothing, I'm reading a book and surfing the 'net.} "Why? Let's go to the mall!" {Um, no, why don't you come over and we'll DO something together!} "Oh, Rebecca you are so weird, I love you." seconds have passed, my phone rings again-"I'm on my way to the mall, what are you doing NOW?" :wub: But, of course, I'M the weird one. and, BTW, this is JUST the exchange that just happened, she's a book waiting to happen, I tell you.

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^ :biggrin: rebecca263, the pie was great. Some people think Saskatoon berries are too seedy, but I like crunchy little seeds, especially when the berries are sweet and intense. Mom put veg stock, onions, and mushrooms in the slow cooker and it cooked for at least four hours. She also added a bit of canned mushroom soup (while I wasn't looking). Just before serving we added a bit of sour cream. The meat was delicious, tender and lean. Most buffalo have interbred with cattle, so the meat is actually not that different from aged lean beef.

I love that your sister phones you up to go to the mall!

Whenever I think of Saskatoon berries, it reminds me of this sweet old bachelor Peter and I met in Little Manitou Saskatchewan. He said he could collect Saskatoons from around the lake, then hop in the mineral pool which would miraculously cure any scratches on his skin from the bushes. He also said opening his eyes under the water improved his eyesight and allowed him to drive his car without his eyeglasses. Little Manitou is a very special place, a saltwater lake that reportedly cured the natives of smallpox. A History of Manitou Beach

The bacon we had this morning is from near there in Drake Saskatchewan. It's a thick, truly smokey product. Ullie ate about eight pieces with watermelon. That'd be his ideal breakfast.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I love that your sister phones you up to go to the mall!

Whenever I think of Saskatoon berries, it reminds me of this sweet old bachelor Peter and I met in Little Manitou Saskatchewan... Little Manitou is a very special place, a saltwater lake that reportedly cured the natives of smallpox.

The bacon we had this morning is from near there in Drake Saskatchewan. It's a  thick, truly smokey product. Ullie ate about eight pieces with watermelon. That'd be his ideal breakfast.

I am researching those berries right now, I can taste the seeds in my mind! I, too, like those textural details.

Oh, Allison telephones me, all right. About 20 times a day. :wacko: She talked me into moving here and she is trying to keep me in NJ. I should love the mall and eschew the impromptu road trips and love affairs and such, you know. My kiddle loves to visit her, then come home and say "I'm so lucky, I can visit Aunt Allison, but I don't have to live with her!" Methinks that kiddle is going there for the poptarts and cookies from a bag, and just doesn't want the hassle of doing her hair and make up every day like Auntie wants her to. Oh, the humor is definitely there. My #1 boy says that she's a caricature, and it's true. I love her so much. You would, too.

I'm thinking of heading to Little Manitou, I need a cure! Wonder if the salt would hurt my wounds, though?

As far as your Ullie's love of bacon, my kiddle was a vegetarian for about 2 years, she bemoaned the lack of 'pig butt' in her diet the entire time. Kiddle finally succumbed on a back road in New England one night, to the aroma of fried chicken! She still fights the urge of 'pig butt', though, "Pigs are not food." she says. Huh. She sure eats a LOT of turkey bacon.

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I'm the kind of person that thrives on space and solitude, so too much togetherness makes me a grumpy zucchini. Knowing that, I just have to make time to go out for walks with Peter or by myself.

This is soooo me. We have hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the past 3 years. It takes me longer and longer to get out of bed simply because there are too many people roaming around my house. Lance actually brings my coffee to me and I get some kitty time before facing the activity. When visiting family, I too go for walks. Its just necessary. I just nicely explain that otherwise I'm not fit for human consumption. :biggrin:

I love that you and your sister still get along despite your differences. That is a real tribute (I think) and I'm sure that it gives your parents great pleasure.

Stollen with blue cheese! I never would have thought of that, how perfect! I like honey on my blue cheese or fig with it. Something sweet to cut the pungent-ness of the blue (depending on the blue, of course). MMMMM, I wonder if the blue I have in the fridge will go with the pannetone I have waiting on the counter?

Merry Christmas Eve!

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The turkey is in the oven! I made a wild rice apple stuffing with the wild cranberries mom brought with her.

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This is really a two person job!

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These are the sauted apples that go in the stuffing. I forgot to get fresh rosemary and sage, but dried will do in a pinch!

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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rebecca263, Your story about your daughter reminds me that when I first had rabbit at my MIL's we had to call it "chicken dog" in front of the kids or else they wouldn't eat it. :blink:

Genny, you had asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I asked for a radio so I could listen to CBC while I do the dishes and Peter bought me a little red emergency Grundig which I opened before we left. I bought him a cookbook with recipes from and photos from Venice, since he did some work there this summer. It's a tradition that I give him a cookbook and then he makes one recipe from it per year!

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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This is downtown Cochrane. There's an interesting weather phenomenon happening outside. It's a giant arc of grey clouds that reaches right across the sky called a "Chinook Arch". you can see part of it in this photo.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I asked for a radio so I could listen to CBC while I do the dishes and Peter bought me a little red emergency Grundig which I opened before we left.

This is so thoroughly Canadian. I almost always have CBC on in the kitchen at work. :biggrin:

Speaking of perogies, and speaking of saskatoon berries - do you ever make Saskatoon perogies? I haven't had any in years.. I need to find some saskatoon bushes next year and make some up.

Your family is lovely - the food is looking great - I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner.

Edited by Pam R (log)
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Zuke--given your droll sense of humor, I think you'll appreciate this: every time I see your blog's tagline, "A Merry Zucchini Christmas", my brain keeps hearing that line sung to the tune of a song from the Disney animated version of Alice in Wonderland, "A Very Merry Unbirthday."

So--a Very Merry Zucchini to you and your delightful family as you all continue to prepare for the holiday feast!

P.S. I love the photo of your dad helping with the turkey-stuffing (it is a whole lot easier with someone holding the bird up to receive the goods, innit?)

Edited by mizducky (log)
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I asked for a radio so I could listen to CBC while I do the dishes and Peter bought me a little red emergency Grundig which I opened before we left.

This is so thoroughly Canadian. I almost always have CBC on in the kitchen at work. :biggrin:

Speaking of perogies, and speaking of saskatoon berries - do you ever make Saskatoon perogies? I haven't had any in years.. I need to find some saskatoon bushes next year and make some up.

Your family is lovely - the food is looking great - I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner.

Thanks Pam,

I haven't made Saskatoon perogies but I have eaten them in Winnipeg. I bought them on a store on Corydon--Sunflower something in the name? They are good.

You have a lovely evening, too.

Miz Ducky, I like that song and because of the whole sensitivity around saying Merry Christmas this year, I've been saying to everyone, "Have a nice Christmas, even if it isn't your birthday." That really confuses people. :smile:

You have a good night.

The turkey's at 150 degrees according to the oven's built in probe thermometer. I candied some pecans in maple syup and got some pomegranate seeds ready for the salad. Of course I got pomegranate juice everywhere! it's so hard to be clean in someone else's kitchen, especially when it's spotless to begin with. I brought some of my crabapple sauce and chutney for the turkey and made some fresh no-cook cranberry orange relish. We decided to skip dessert tonight because we've had so many sweets and went downtown to get some of Cochrane's world famous ice cream. Photos to follow. Oh, and if you've always wanted to live above an ice cream store, there's a space for lease above it.

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I haven't made Saskatoon perogies but I have eaten them in Winnipeg. I bought them on a store on Corydon--

I have a store on Corydon... :biggrin: Maybe next year I'll have the Saskatoon Perogies too.

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I haven't made Saskatoon perogies but I have eaten them in Winnipeg. I bought them on a store on Corydon--

I have a store on Corydon... :biggrin: Maybe next year I'll have the Saskatoon Perogies too.

Wonderful, I will make the trip for those and your Schmoo torte!

One child is puking, and one refuses to eat dinner. We've all come to the conclusion the turkey was perfect. Everyone had their favorite Christmas dish. We pulled our Christmas crackers and Ullie scored all the trinkets nobody wanted.

We had a very dry rose, which was perfect with the turkey.

"I guess this is Christmas...."

My sister keeps repeating "Christmas is hard on children."

Time to put away the food and enjoy a game.

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Our Christmas Eve Table--can you spot the jellied salad (golden glow salad)?

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Dad carved the turkey.

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Crabapple sauce and two kinds of cranberry sauce--the raw and the cooked.

Okay, I've got to make the wifesaver strata now and help Santa out a bit. :wink:

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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A very merry Christmas to you and your family and loved ones, Zucchini!

I am catching up on your blog while recovering from my Christmas party last night. I'm smiling at every post and it really helps me get over my hangover :smile:

Thanks for sharing this special week with us!

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Great blog Zucchinin Mama. Sorry I didn't participate, but I had the flu this past week. :sad:

I really enjoyed seeing your neck of the woods and getting a perogie lesson. Perogie's are very popular here in Israel. There are so many types to choose from. You can buy them fresh and frozen.

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Good Morning and Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Here's grandpa Zucchini with the Crabby Wifesaver which is a strata made with eggs, milk, bread, cheese, shrimp, and crab. We put it in the oven when we woke up and opened our stockings and our gifts. I used up the Little Qualicum Cheese which I misidentified earlier--it's called Sanspareil, which is their version of Non Pareil.

The gifts were lovely. Tears of joy were shed. Mom made me a lovely scrapbook of vintage family photos and some family history. Ullie and Peter are playing Star Wars Monopoly. Grandpa and grandma are on their way to church.

I'm so hungry I could eat a reindeer!

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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The other day Ullie woke up in the middle of the night, enumerating the things he's packed in the suitcase in his head. As this is the last day of my blog, I thought I'd share bits and pieces I've packed in my suitcases, both real and imaginary. First of all, in my real suitcase I brought along one of my favorite books of the year. This may be old news to some as Gina Mallet's Last Chance To Eat The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World was published last year. This book talks about the food she remembers from her childhood in England compared to the food she eats today in Canada and in her travels. I really love this book. She's a great writer, mixing memoir with history and science. Her book reminds me of a fellow acting student in Saskatoon, who, like me came from a rural home to study theatre in the city. When he cracked open his first store bought eggs, he was shocked at how pale the yolks were. When he sat down to his scrambled eggs and found how tasteless they were, he broke into tears. Fifteen years later my mother made spaeztle with free range eggs and one farmer asked her why the noodles were so yellow. He had been buying his eggs from a chain store for several years and had forgotten the golden yolks of the past.

We need to remember. We need to keep the past alive to preserve the taste and culture of food. Canadians are tolerant and diplomatic people, but we need to stand up and fight to protect our food, to keep it nourishing and filled with the flavor of its terroir. I really reccomend Mallet's book, if you are passionate about food. It has inspired me to become more active in the grass roots food security movement, which is something I'm just beginning to learn about. Next year I really want to join the Vancouver Slow Food chapter. I receive their newsletter and it seems like they have good fun.

This afternoon we'll be grazing on leftovers and tonight we finally get to eat the perogies! I'm going to take a break, then share some of my parent's memories of Christmas past.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Ullie and Peter put together a gingerbread house from a kit. Yes a kit. One year mom tried to make an authentic German Gingerbread House from the Time Life Series of international cookbooks and we ended up nailing it together, so we've learned that unless one of us upgrades our gingerbread skills, we'd better take the easy way out. Ullie loved it. He's watching a video right now I bought him called "This is Daniel Cook Making Gingerbread". He's a six year old red-haired Canadian boy who is the star of a video series. Included in this edition he makes a gingerbread house, chocolate truffles, and an apple pie. Check out www.thisisdanielcook.com, if you're interested.

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Here are my cookies from Bernie's Bavarian Bakery. The star is filled with chocolate champagne cream and the chocolate is also filled with a champagne cream. I've been snacking on them with a bit of Errazuriz 2004 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, which is all brown sugar and pink grapefruit. Could use a touch more acidity for my taste, but it's good.

Christmas Memories:

Mom remembers the stockings they hung out for Santa were long knit stockings they used to wear held up with garters. At the community Christmas concert, everyone used to pool some money, make a list of the children according to age and sex, then send in an order to the Eaton's catalogue. All the toys came back wrapped and tagged and one year she received an Eaton's "Beauty Doll." She no longer has the doll, but collects and makes porcelaine dolls to this day.

Dad was five the year Hitler invaded Poland. he remembers his dad promising him a "pop" for Christmas. He was taken aback, when instead of a soda pop, he received a pup named "Churchill." He also received a German made car, perhaps by post, but it was taken away two days later because the family was worried about being percieved as sympathetic to the enemy. His father and mother had to sign the enemy alien register at the post office every day. As he was German, grandpa was supposed to surrender all his rifles to the police, but the local mountie told him to bury them in the back yard until the war was over.

Dad and mom both remember Christmas as a time to visit the extended family and neighbours as a form of entertainment and holiday cheer.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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happy happy hoho, zuke!

i've really enjoyed your blog and the constant smile that comes with it. thank you.

the food description and pics always make me hungry and your family is lovely.

enjoy the rest of your time with your family and have a safe journey home!

cheers to you and your loved ones.

Quentina

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Our Christmas Eve Table--can you spot the jellied salad (golden glow salad)?

Okay, now you're not fightin' fair Zuke! Golden Glow? I have tears welling up in my eyes right now ... thanks for that.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

A.

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