Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Fine Hobbits' Feast….but we forgot the Hobbits

As usual, this Christmas, we all gathered together, to spend a day together, but this year we had a theme in honor of JRR Tolkein's famous Hobbits.  I think initially the plan included a viewing of the new Hobbit movie together as a family - some of us did watch last year's Hobbit movie - I was a little tired and chose to sleep instead, being tired tends to make me moody, so hopefully I wasn't too much of a bear.  Now to let you in on our fine feast.

If you are familiar with Hobbits, you know that they enjoy their food, and they are known to have six meals a day - we did not have 6 meals.  In case you were unaware of the six meals, here is a little quote from Fellowship of the Rings : 
Aragom: Gentlemen, we do not stop 'til nightfall.    Pippin: What about breakfast?  Aragom: You've already had it.   Pippin:We've had one, yes.  What about second breakfast?  [Aragon turns and walks off in disgust]  Merry: I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.  Pippen:  What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon Tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them doesn't he?  Merry: I wouldn't count on it. 
 Umm…perhaps they had more than six.  We had breakfast, which could have past for elevenses, since we dilly-dallied around to it, and one late afternoon/early evening feast which could have spread out over several meals but instead supplied us with many leftovers to be enjoyed the rest of the holidays.

A lovely breakfast spread - cheese, bread, and some grapefruit and
oranges from Florida.

I actually began my feast preparations the evening prior.  Vanilla Bean had requested Bo Saam.  She had been planning for months to request this dish, and no matter what the menu this was on it.  (She didn't tell me until later, but she had told her friend Anna, who lost her battle with breast cancer in November, that this was what she was choosing, so there is no way that she was going to be talked out of it, not that we tried.)  It required a sugar and salt scrub, wrapped in saran wrap and placed in refrigerator over night.

The pork butt ready to be wrapped.

Ready for the refrigerator.
Bo Saam cooked, placed in a lettuce wrap with some rice, to be
topped with current sauce, sriracha, and/or ginger scallion sauce and
Gathering all the ingredients - or many of them- on Christmas morning.
Since Hobbits have English origins, Colonel Mustard decided we must have Fish and Chips.  Mom went to the task of making this.  What the Colonel didn't realize is that the recipe he gave included not only fish…and chips…it also included tarter sauce…..made with homemade mayonnaise….and a smashed pea dish.  Of course, mom, never one to be outdone, felt she needed to make all of it, so as the Colonel was unaware, she hopped about the kitchen all morning making these various dishes, only to have him say later, "Oh, I thought it was just fish and chips, you could have just done the fish and chips."  I for one am glad she made the smashed peas, I have never had smashed peas and they are quite good.  Now make sure you are not sour on the Colonel for all this work he put mom to, as all throughout the morning/afternoon, as dishes piled up, when he had some time, he was keeping the manageable.

Mom peeling potatoes. 
Mom and her homemade mayonnaise - it was a first
for her to make it.
Frying up the chips.
The fish ready to be served.
Smashed Peas.
Now Dad thought a Hobbit's Feast needs some rabbit.  So the Colonel was responsible for cooking rabbit.  It seems that Dad wanted the Colonel to shoot the rabbit too, but the one day that the Colonel had time to go out looking for a rabbit, it rained and the rabbits stayed home.  He didn't have much room for looking as it was, since he doesn't have a hunting licenses and he had to shoot on Mom and Dad's property.  We did see the rabbits out and about on Christmas Day, but it was a little late.  However, Vanilla Bean, had brought one home with her from the store, so we were in luck for our rabbit.  Perhaps another time we will hunt one down ourselves.

The Colonel Mustard and the Rabbit.
Skewered and drizzling with oil, later to be placed in the frying pan.
Into the frying pan.  Rabbit, bacon, figs, onion.
Cooked and ready for serving.
Now Mom thought, well all of us did, our feast needed some lembas bread.  Now she also felt we were missing some greens, so Dad along with the Lembas bread, made us a nice salad, including a homemade dressing.  The salad was a build your own salad since Vanilla Bean's allergies and the need for lettuce also with Bo Saam.  Vanilla Bean also made her own Lembas bread, that met her dietary restrictions.  I really liked our Lembas bread, however according to the quote below, I'm pretty sure Vanilla Bean's met the description better.
"Eat little at a time, and only at need.  Fro these things are given to serve you when all else fails.  The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them.  One will keep a traveler on his feet fro a day of a long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith."  - The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lorien
Dad starting the Lembas bread.
Dad working on the dressing, working the downstairs kitchen,
amongst his work gloves and other items.
The Salad with its dressing to the right just out of view and
toasted pear nut mixture in the background.

My request was for mushroom soup.  I once had a delicious mushroom bisque and thought this would be delightful.  Seeing as I always think of Hobbits as sort of outdoorsy sort of folk, I thought mushrooms would fit well.  So Vanilla Bean set about to make mushroom soup.  I was hard pressed in making my choice though and thought since we didn't have a dessert, I would also make my second choice of items along with my Bo Ssam - a Blackberry Blueberry Tart.  I ended up making two because Vanilla Bean needed a little different ingredients.  Till we got to the tart, we were all stuffed and none of us touched my tart, meanwhile Vanilla Bean devoured hers.

Vanilla Bean preparing the mushrooms.
Sautéing the mushrooms.
Into the soup pot.
Stirring the soup and checking the recipe.

The cornmeal I used was from a local source, I had picked it
up on a farm tour and had it in the freezer.
The Blackberry Blueberry Tarts.

We had quite the feast, but it seemed we are not hobbits, so we could not put the food away quite as well, but we did enjoy the leftovers.  It is a bummer that if you have some hobbit in you that we didn't invite you.

Starting to put the food on the table, there on the plates is the
lembas bread, wrapped in homemade cloth leaves - Vanilla Bean's diet
does not include banana leaves or anything like that.  The Colonel
anxiously awaiting.

Ah…now that is a spread.  I was supposed to bring some Ale81, but
I forgot to get it and the store I get it from was not open, so I found this
Chai Cola, which was quite tasty.
Another look, it seams we had forgotten the fish and chips before.
Now Christmas Eve was a rather chilly one, not as chilly as we had this week, but cold enough as it was.  Vanilla Bean was showing Dad what she had made him for Christmas, and he was informing her, it would have been nice to have it the day before, when his tractor wouldn't shift above second gear because it didn't like the cold and he had to slowly putt-putt-putt the 9 miles home from the fix it shop.

Father and Daughter enjoying Christmas Day.

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