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Didn't make it down here yesterday, so today has been full. I got to Moultrie at about 12:30, unloaded the car, and my father and I went to the Cheese and Feed for a sandwich lunch. Stopped at the office (the space my grandfather, father, and uncle ran businesses from, now used by 2 cousins and my father) and spoke to cousin Cecil, then we ran by the Post Office and then back to the house. I finalized the fairly short grocery list and did that run while Daddy put his feet up for a while. Side note: I'm astonished that I can now find both shelled and unshelled edamame in Moultrie, while the Green Giant brand frozen baby lima beans in a box, a staple in my veggie rotation, are not to be found. Do all the grocery managers here hate limas?

Started the cooking. Rolled out some pie dough I'd made in Atlanta and brought with me, stuck it in a dish, and followed the Cooks Illustrated instructions for blind baking it. Fail! The bottom , or a good part of it, got to almost-burned before the sides were done, plus despite using pie weights one side of the crust slumped. Put that to the side to ponder what to do, and put together the squash-cheese casserole for tonight's dinner--mashed, steamed yellow squash, beaten eggs, and a thick cheese sauce, and cracker crumbs on top. (Had to send Daddy to the store for the crackers and a bottle of wine, both left off the earlier list.)

About then was when brother, sister-in-law, and the nieces and nephew got here, so we moved pretty quickly into the Orloff. Nephew pounded most of the turkey cutlets, and younger niece sauteed them after I did the coating in flour. I made the velouté sauce, and nephew helped do the cottage cheese and egg yolks in the food processor to enrich it. Nephew cut up the turkey cutlets into reasonable pieces for the casserole, and niece layered them in with the rice/onion/mushroom mixture brought from Atlanta. Oh, and nephew put the cheese on top after I coated it all with velouté. That just heats tomorrow, and it's done. Despite having kept the nephew involved in the whole process, s-i-l and I predict that he will refuse to try eating the results....

I decided to discard the pie shell and try again, with a Trader Joe's crust. Put that in the same pie dish as before but used the TJ instructions to blind bake without weights after pricking the shell. It still slumped in 2 places, but at least it appears to be cooked and not burned. Clearly there are tricks to this blind baking that I have not yet learned.

Time out for dinner, all prepped by sister-in-law except the squash casserole--honey-baked ham and turkey breast, the squash, garlic mashed potatoes (only the kids partook of those), green beans, and rolls. The combination of cold ham and hot, cheesy squash casserole....my idea of heaven.

After dinner and cleanup (mostly done by s-i-l), I tackled the black-bottom pie, using the recipe my older brother likes--I think it's the Joy of Cooking version. I'm not at all sure this will come out...not sure the mixture reached a true simmer, and did I get the egg whites beaten to the right consistency, and then when the two were folded together, it stayed very liquid. However, I have nonetheless poured the rum-flavored custard layer over the chocolate layer in the partially slumped pie shell, and I suspect we'll find it edible tomorrow night even if it needs a spoon.

And we still weren't done! Nephew got a coconut at his school's festival, and was very anxious to make coconut pie with it. So we started that process--my brother drained the coconut water and cracked it, then nephew and I baked the pieces for a few minutes to get the shell to pull away from the flesh. Cooled it down and extracted the meat, then nephew was sent to bed. I peeled the rind off with a vegetable peeler, and now I'm done. We'll grate it and make a lemon buttermilk coconut pie tomorrow. (Main Thanksgiving meal is midday, but Pie is in the evening.)

Most prep is done, so most of us may take a bike ride in the morning on the short rails-to-trails trail here. Haven't made the almond topping for the broccoli yet, but that takes about 10 minutes. Everything else is just heating/microwaving. I'll put off the coconut pie baking until the afternoon.


Nancy Barber

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February 2018


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