Coming up on Thanksgiving 2014

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving 2014. This year the Schwab Clan is gathering at our house. We expect 23 people. They range from Dad who is 86 to Hadley who is just shy of 18 months. Here is one out the recipes that is being readied for the big day.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelles

Grill brussels sprouts with Oregon’s best wild mushroom, that sounds like a late fall recipe. The grilled brussels sprouts can be done on the gas grill or, it is fall after all, in a grill pan on the stove. It is interesting that Cascade Chanterelles were first described in 2003. Cantharellus cascadensis are true finds in the moss-covered floor of the Northwest forests. They show up in late fall and go away with the first hard freeze. At the beginning of the season, you can find them at the farm stores for $39.99 a pound. By mid-season, they are $8.99 a pound at Costco.

Ingredients

1½ pounds fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise ¼” thick
12 ounces chanterelles mushrooms, sliced or quartered if large
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions
• Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss brussels sprouts and oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Transfer brussels sprouts to a grill basket and grill, tossing occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, 5–8 minutes. (Alternatively, cook brussels sprouts in a large grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat, 5–8 minutes.)
• Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
• Add mushrooms to drippings in skillet, toss to coat, and cook without stirring, 3 minutes. Add shallot and garlic; cook, tossing often, until shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add Sherry and red pepper flakes. Cook until liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute. Add brussels sprouts and bacon and toss to combine. Add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

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Brie en Croûte with Grand Mariner soaked Dried Cranberries and Cherries

Brie en CrouteWith all the chaos in the world, I submit that a gathering of good friends and family with some very palatable wine and an A+ appetizer can help solve the problems of the world. That might be a little over stated but I do think I have developed a very nice Brie en Croûte (Brie in Crust). I serve this at Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the description there is a reference that this dish “foreshadows the pine nuts in the green beans and the cranberries and the cherries in the compote.” Those recipes are for future posts. I really like how the tartness of the fruit, marinated in the Grand Mariner, off-sets the sweetness of the Brie. I think it is a show stopper.

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Suicide by Mass Murder

Why does it seem like some young people who decide they want to leave this existence do so by mass murder? This feels new. I am not inclined to blame modern media, video games, or loss of moral direction. I think we have done two things in the last 25 years. It is easier to get very destructive weapons legally and we have disassembled our mental health system.

I support rational controls on weapons. Large capacity clips, some very destructive ammunition, weapons that are designed to lay down a hail of bullets are all issues that need attention. I am tired of the people screaming gun rights take precedence of the lives of a classroom of 6 and 7 year olds. I know we can provide better protection for people and not interfere with hunting and sporting activities. When I was in high school I was on the Central Catholic Rifle Team. We had after school competitions and the team members would bring their very specialized target rifles to school and leave them in their lockers. Marshal High School in Portland, Oregon had a rifle target range in the basement of the school. I am sure we can find a reasonable way to limit access to the most dangerous weaponry. Nobody is going to advocate for our right to have personal tactical nukes.

The other thing that we have done is to disassemble our mental health system. We need to seriously look at how we are providing services to individuals who are seriously mentally ill. The responsibility has fallen to the families. Pharmaceutical companies are making a fortune on these folks. When we closed the mental hospitals in the 80s we were going to create a system of halfway houses. That was the promise but nobody wanted them in their back yard. We need to have a very serious discussion in this nation on what resources we are going to commit to the issue of mental health.

Lastly, I don’t want teachers armed to protect their students. I am a teacher and a very good shot but I am not a professional and I know I would not be able to take down an active shooter. I believe each school private or public with more than 50 students should have an armed professional security person. We cannot continue to have our children sacrificed on the altar of a misinterpreted passage in a 220 year old document. People are dying. Children are dying.

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Cooking Thread

In the Schwab household in which I grew up we were all encouraged to learn to cook. In a family of eight we all had responsibilities around the stove. The instructions from my mother general when like this: As she rushed out the door to go to work she would announce, I was cooking dinner, the recipe is on the counter, and the ingredients are in the refrigerator. Through that culinary baptism by fire we six kids ending up with some reasonable skills. My youngest brother ended up as owner-chef of Seasons and Regions in Portland. At holiday gathering when each of us bring our contribution to the holiday feast among a couple of the sibs there is sometimes a tad bit of foodie competition. It is a very good thing.

For my first food post I thought I would start with what I consider was one of our mainstays. Click on the recipe to enlarge.

Split Pea Soup

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Thinking about blogging

Let’s try some blogging. I have an interest in politics, liberal politics, history, cooking, family genealogy, post-secondary education, and life as I transition to retirement. A blog might give me more room and flexibility to express myself but I am pretty sure that where I wander people will not be interested in following. I am not sure that I want the obligation of keeping people entertained. But, I will try this for a bit to explore my own personal expression.

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