Saturday, December 4, 2010

GTTC - turkey and rosemary dumplings & Samantha's savory cookies

Of course this post-Thanksgiving Garden to Table Challenge post would involve turkey leftovers. One of the greatest benefits of hosting a dinner which involves basically 2 full days of cooking is the plethora of leftovers to enjoy. I'm talking a week's worth of a happy tryptophan fog. Does anyone really dislike leftover turkey?! In the garden, there's not much going on except for some gorgeous Swiss chard and lots of herbs. This week, I basically added a selection of leftovers (vegetables, turkey, turkey gravy) to the slow cooker and 1/2 hour before dinner, mixed up some dumplings (biscuit-type) with fresh rosemary to top the stew. I was very stingy with the rosemary because though I love it, I think a little goes a long way with the family palate. Anyway, comfort food to the max. I LOVE this stuff.

Below, you see the reason for the ONLY time my friend Samantha has ever been late in meeting me out for dinner. What looks like oatmeal raisin cookies are actually savory thyme, cornmeal, and black currant cookies. This recipe (actually Martha Stewart's), is really different. Since Samantha was a baking-induced tardy, she was kind enough to bring me a cookie warm from the oven. I thought they were delicious and different enough to be really special, but yet not too different to weird out any straight-laced people at the work function where she would bring these cookies.

This week, the letter 'G' goes to Meemsnyc for her use of spinach in last week's link to the Garden to Table Challenge. She and Ricki (who received a letter the week before for her use of butternut squash) are both one step closer to winning the prize of 1/2 my seed order. See here for complete rules and join me next time if you can!

I would like to ask a totally unrelated - but somewhat timely question, prompted by one of Julie's posts. What are your thoughts on the holiday letter? Do you write one? Do you receive them? Do you like them? Hate them? Have you ever read any good ones? To be fair, I'll share my feelings. I do write one - I started a few years ago. I really try to keep them light, funny, silly, entertaining (hopefully). I try to avoid sounding too obnoxious. However, sometimes I think they're just inherently obnoxious. I am lucky to have a happy family life and sometimes I feel guilty sending them to family members or friends who may not be as fortunate. I have only ever received letters from 3 people. 2 have been from shallow braggart people and I have disliked everything - from their holiday letter to their family photo (I know, ouch.). 1 has been from a family I like, and I hang on every word and love the photos attached. What do you all think??? Please speak freely - you won't hurt my feelings.


  1. The cookie sounds good. I love either blackcurrant or raisin in cookies ;-)

  2. Oh, man....Christmas letters: they are the butt of more jokes even than fruitcake. I'll bet yours are entertaining, tho. Some relatives (whom I really like, by the way) send emails throughout the year that are much like the most maligned of the holiday missives, with detailed reports about minute details of everyday life. I did send one once. It was more of an essay on Christmases past, and it even got published a couple of times. Our yearly comings and goings?...not so interesting.

  3. Christmas letters make me nuts but we send one -- it's all tongue in cheek and we have loads of fun bragging up impossible achievements. Now you've got me in the mood for dumplings!

  4. Yum! This all sounds so good! Although we ended up with a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers, I don't know if we actually got any turkey-I don't think there WAS any leftover!

    I generally hate Christmas letters, but I think that might be more of a carryover from my youth than anything else. I remember my mom always havign such disdain for them that that became my default response. Of course I like to hear about how my friends and family are doing, but I think you do run a risk of being obnoxious when the entire letter is, "Listen to how great everything is!" It sounds like you are aware of that and make a good effort to curb that, so your letters are probably the kind I would like to read! You could always do a mix-form letters to some and personalized letters to others (like the people you know have had a rough year). I've never sent them out myself, but I'm always tempted after I've written the same thing to 20 different people in a card.

  5. I'm crazy about swiss chard & fresh herbs ... not so crazy about Christmas epistles, especially generic and sent without as much as a personal one liner. A short note and a family photo suits my fancy :)

  6. We send a Christmas letter in our cards each year, and it seems to be one that is anticipated and enjoyed by the recipients. The trick, we have found, is to keep the tone of your letter light and informative, and to avoid braggish-sounding adjectives. We can always find the inevitable humorous family story to share, along with a photo or two that shows us (or whatever) from the year. Our Christmas letter is a snapshot of us as a family. It's a chance for us to reflect on the waning year, and to share our year with family and friends. We didn't do a letter a few years ago, thinking that it was probably time to stop, because the kids were older and people may be tired of hearing what we felt may be the same old 'blah blah blah'. We received complaints about the lack of Christmas letter that year, and you can bet that we will not make THAT mistake again.

  7. My Christmas letter absolutely sucked. I hate writing them (and this was my first!) We really did very little that was interesting, anything we did do felt a lot like bragging (kind of like what you wrote in your comment on my post) and I hate the idea of assuming that anyone actually cares, anyway. I have to be careful - there are certain family members that don't really 'get' humor, so it was pretty boring all around. I'd love it if you posted your letter here - I want to get some ideas for next year! LOL

  8. We eat a lot of turkey in our house. Triptophan rules!
    Now as for Christmas letters, I must confess I feel a slight irritation when I receive one.It's almost as if I am not worthy of a personal greeting like a Christmas card. Speaking of which, what's happening to Christmas cards anyway? Does anyone send them anymore? I used to send them to friends back in Canada and elsewhere, but I stopped doing it when I did not get any back.
    So (back on topic), I guess I could do without the letter - too impersonal, even if the author writes a quick "personal" greeting at the end.

  9. Hi Wendy~~ Your dinner looks deeelish! I don't mind receiving the Christmas letter but I don't send them out. I've given up on cards too.

  10. Those cookies sound really unusual. I wonder what one would serve them with. Your comfort food leftovers look more appealing to me, though, Wendy. :) (And I agree, rosemary goes a long way!)

    I have received a couple of those obnoxious Christmas letters before, but generally if it's someone you know and love I think you're happy to get the news that may have fallen through the cracks over the past 12 months in our busy lives. My mom and I were just talking about this yesterday, how hard it is to keep in touch with the people who matter as you get older, and how essential it is to take steps to maintain those ties whenever you can. So I say your Christmas letters are part of that process for you, and therefore, no matter how cliche or goofy it feels to write the letter, it's more important than you know. :)

    On that note, though, I just have to add that the best ever Christmas letter is David Sedaris' short story "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!" It is pee-in-your-pants funny. You can listen to a reading of it at the This American Life archives here:


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