Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

This wine complimented our menu delightfully.

Roasted Free-Range Turkey
Cornbread Dressing
Mushroom-Pearl Onion Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans Almondine
Sweet Potato Souffle
Roasted Cauliflower

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mushrooms and Onions in Wine

By far one of the most delicious uses for pearl onions I've ever tasted.

This recipe is easy, elegant, and special.

I cant say that I've prepared it for any other meal than Thanksgiving.

Try it!

You'll like it!

Start by peeling lots of pearl onions.

I was listening to classical music and enjoying a glass of wine.

It took about 40 minutes to peel 60 onions.

Then I washed and quartered 3 lbs of mushrooms.

Here they are getting ready to be sauteed in butter.

Notice the sweet vermouth.

And the turkey (or chicken) stock.

Now for the acutal recipe.

After peeling 60 pearl onions, cook them in a glass dish in the microwave on high until done. It took about six minutes. After three, I stopped the oven and shook the dish. Set aside.

Wash and quarter 3 lbs of mushrooms. Saute in 1 1/2 cups butter in a large frying pan for five minutes. Add 6 tablespoons flour. Stir to coat, cooking some to brown the flour, but do not overcook.

Add 1 1/2 cups bouillon or stock. Cook and stir until a smooth gravy is created. Add 2 crushed bay leave and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg. Stir well.

Add the pearl onions. Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley. Stir until combined.

Add 3/4 cup dry sherry, Madeira, or sweet vermouth. Bring mixture to a boil, not allowing it to boil tho.

Remove from heat.

Transfer to a serving dish.

Remove from heat

Monday, November 24, 2008

Messiah on Mondays

Which came first the chicken or the egg is a common rhetorical question.

I propose that the same is true for the librettist versus the composer.

Nevertheless both components are equally important and necessary. And so, as I delve deeply into Handel's Messiah for the next six weeks, I dont want to overlook the vital contribution of Charles Jennens.

From the G. F. website:

The libretto for Messiah was designed and selected from the New and Old Testaments with utmost care by Charles Jennens (1700-73), a literary scholar and editor of Shakespeare's plays who was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. However, despite his merit and ability, Jennens never gained his Degree or much recognition from society because he was a non-juror, refusing to acknowledge the Hanoverian dynasty as legitimate heirs to the throne of England. Yet Jennens could not be a Jacobite (i.e. a supporter of the deposed Catholic Stuarts) either because he was staunchly Protestant. Such figures are often forgotten by the over-simplification of history, but Jennens' upper-middle class background enabled him to live in some comfort at a fine house in Gospall, Leicestershire, and devote his time to artistic pursuits in the absence of a prominent public life.

This fascinating background on Mr. Jennens substantiates the importance of support personnel. I can so relate :)

But today I want to focus on the power of words. Mr. Jennens took Scripture and rearranged the words without changing the meaning. Just reading the text of the score is powerful. Hearing them sung is spiritually moving.

From Chapter Three of Richard Luckett's Handel's Messiah: A Celebration:

The text of Messiah is profoundly religious. (Whether the same can be said of what Handel made of it is another matter.) It will command the assent
of many (but not all) Christians; it requires the suspension of disbelief in
non-Christians. pg 77

How can one sit through a performance of Messiah and not be encouraged to know God?

Also, from Luckett:

Early word-books of Messiah are today extremely rare; issued roughly stitched in sugar-paper wrappers, they were both fragile and, evidently, intently read.

The words were seriously pondered by Messiah's early audiences at least, a fact voluminously attested to by the Reverend John Newton, who in 1784 and 1785, preached no fewer than fifty sermons on the subject. pg 80

I'm reading through the text before the performance I'm attending on December 5th purely for the purpose of being able to understand the words being sung by the chorus. I do this also when I attend a play, especially Shakespeare. I dont know if it's my aging hearing or what, but it greatly enhances my ability to understand, if I know AHEAD OF TIME what is being spoken.

Do you have a favorite text from Messiah?

Portrait of Charles Jennens is by Mason Chamberlin the elder

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fashion Brooches

Sitting in my jewelry drawer is this gaudy looking pin I bought about five years ago in the gift shop of a tea room.

I wore it boldly then.... on the lapel of a purple flannel wool jacket. I should find y'all a picture. It looked good :)

But it's time to wear this brooch again.

Have you noticed how prevalent pins/brooches are now that Michelle Obama wore them so fashionably on the campaign trail?

Even if you resist wearing one (just because), I'll bet there's one in your jewelry box.

There's probably a story behind it.

Did it belong to a grandmother?

Pray, tell!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


November wears a Paisley shawl
To keep ker sagging shoulders warm.
Her bonnet's decked with rusty flowers,
An apple basket's on her arm,
And with a dusty, rustly sound
Her wide skirts sweep along the ground.

She trudges up the sunset hills,
In spite of winds a-blowing,
To seek a shelter on beyond -
She must know where she's going -
For, wrapped in Paisley red and brown,
She rustles, rustles through the town.

Hilda Morris

Aside from the fact that I like red and brown together, I was taken with this short poem found in Favorite Poems for the Children's Hour (1967).

The line that I am pondering today is *She must know where she's going*

I do.

Do you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Messiah on Mondays

'Tis the season. Everywhere I turn, my blogging buddies are talking about music and which CD's they want to buy... for themselves or for others. So, in typical sheep-like fashion, I'm joining the crowd (herd).

No, really and truly, listening to music is new for me. I dont own a huge collection of CD's. I dont hum while driving or sing while showering. In fact, I struggle to remember the words to a song. And recall the name of the artist/singer? Never.

When I was ten though, I won the music class award and received an LP of Camille Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals. I listened to it over and over again. I wanted to understand it. It took some practice, but I have a special place in my musical heart for this composer.

All that to say that I'm planning to study Handel's Messiah in this fashion over the next six weeks. I heard it before, sung portions of it myself, and love hearing my daughters sing in performances of it.

Next one will be December 5th, d.v.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fashion on Fridays

Last month I attempted the great *switcheroo*. That is, reworking my closet for the new season and storing the off-season clothing elsewhere.

While I did not complete the task, I did discover some fine additions to my Fall wardrobe that had not been worn in years!!

Highlighted is a paisley jacket from Orvis, a hand-me-down, from my clothes broker. I've worn it with a brown skirt to church and brown corduroy pants for those weekday errands.

Be entertained by this link to a poll about Michelle Obama's style. I cant say that I would buy any of her outfits, but I'm going to be watching her fashion and her parenting..... like a hawk.

Perhaps I will wear more brooches :)

What do you think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Idols that provoke Jealousy

that cause me to sigh and groan:

National calamity has fallen on the people of God in OT Judah. God has abandoned His temple because *they were doing detestable things* (from Ezekiel Chpt 8)

1) mixing the religion of Jehovah with that of Baal - the Canaanization of the worship of the Lord, if you will.

2) church leaders portraying all kinds of creepy things on the walls of the Temple - hmmmmm, like icons or extra decorations in the sanctuary.

3) women mourning for Tammuz; historically when the women in a society lose their way, it is a sure sign of the demise of a culture.

4) ordinary members worshipping the gods of their enemies.

These acts of rebellion against the God of Israel by his own people are repeating themselves in our society today. Examples are clear to me. Do you see them?

It is unrealistic of us to think that there have not been nor will be consequences.

Look to Ezekiel 9 for some hints.

God sends seven angels to destroy the city. One is sent out ahead to mark certain citizens. Six others follow and are commanded to kill without showing pity or compassion.

Lord, this deterioration in our churches (and therefore, our nation) grieves me greatly.

Give me strength and grace to bear witness to You.

For Your Name's Sake.


Listen to the entire sermon here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Billy Graham

Since today is his 90th birthday, let's tell stories of how or when this famous preacher influenced our lives.

Unfortunately, I have a critical nature, and so, I tended to pick at Mr. Graham's theology. Then I became intrigued with his family, particularly Anne Lotz, and later his wife and her poetry.

I never went to one of his crusades.

But one of my life goal's is to be influential for the Lord in my 90th year.

Maybe I should take a second look at Mr. Graham's approach.

What do you think?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day Sermons

Just wondering, ladies?

Did you hear a good sermon yesterday?

I did.

Here's the link to ours.

It made me think a lot about *undecided voters* who generally perplex me. HOW can one not be decided?

NPR did put a face on one in a radio segment I heard last Friday. She's a 35 year old white woman, single mother of two, working for the TN Department of Corrections and she voted in the primary..... for Huckabee.

I wonder how this undecided person would digest the information in this sermon.

Hearing this exposition of Ezekiel 11 gave me confidence to cast my vote with a clear conscience.