M. came home for her first home visit since the beginning of college! It's funny because so many of my friends from all over the country seemed to be reporting the mid-semester homecoming of their children as well.
Flurries of activity were enjoyed over the weekend, the kitchen was kept busy, but it was all in a steady pace as we didn't want the weekend to be too packed from start to finish.
So many small traditions form over many years of parenting. Most of you with small children probably don't even know you are paving the way and setting down future traditions. But you are!
Only when kids get older do you realize that established patterns and expectations have been firmly formed as a family and...
...what a joy these traditions are to discover over time.
I love fall. I love the colors, the feel, and the smell of this season. At this time of year, I often note how much my home decor reflects the entire palette of fall.
For example, one room is painted hues of "toasted nutmeg", another is covered in "brushed English saddle". Then I have the room that is "burnished orange" and the other that is "Forested Sage".
I am annually delighted to take out all of my fall and Halloween bits and pieces and usually don't want to put them away until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
This season was particularly delightful because M. was coming home for the weekend and all of the little fall touches around the house were noticed by her.
I think when young adults are working hard to establish themselves in their new worlds they find that it is filled with joys as well as stresses so anything that brings them comfort and familiarity is warmly welcomed.
And a big thank you to Houston weather for refreshing us with a weekend filled with big gusty winds, crisp temperatures, and opportunities to bundle up in toasty fall scarves that enhance the fun of seasonal change.
M. and I went to a delightful event over the weekend. I shall declare that I have for the very first time genuinely met with my very first ever real LIVE food blogger.
The lovely and beautiful Aida Mollenkamp is on a book tour across the U.S. and Houston was one of her stops.
She was promoting her new cookbook, "Keys to the Kitchen" at a local Williams Sonoma here in Houston, so M. and I thought we would pop on over and welcome her to Houston.
Despite my excitement, once we arrived at the store, I completely froze up and was so ridiculously nervous to walk over and introduce myself.
What a pansy I was! What a wall-flower...and any other floral varieties that are lilly-livered and faint hearted!
Aida is BEAUTIFUL! She is truly as stunning in person as she is on her website. With push come to shove, my daughter and I staggered over to her, shook hands, and before long Aida had us laughing and smiling and feeling like we had known one another for hours!
Not only was she extremely gracious in person, she swung those pots and pans around at the William Sonoma store and whisked together the most delicious pesto that she lovingly spooned on top of heaps of perfectly firm gemilli pasta. Delish!
I must admit, I was rather starry-eyed. I think I sputtered out something like, "Aida, you are...like seriously...the first real-live food blogger that I have...like...um...EVUR...met."
Oiy. Just replaying "me" right now in my own head makes my...well...own head... ache.
After admiring her cookbook, I will say that what impresses me most about it is the many sections that include "tips, tricks, and techniques".
Often when I decide to plunge into yet another completely untried recipe, I often have so many questions that pop up while cooking. What I like about Aida's cookbook is in addition to many recipes, it is filled with practical advice that many of us who cook often...really need but don't necessary have the time to track down.
So the weekend was filled with having our family unit back to a foursome for a short but sweet time, meeting a real live food blogger, and spending lots of time around our kitchen table hearing about the adventures of our college daughter.
She does enjoy galettes of the sweet as well as savory type. So I thought I would pull together a galette that uses the lovely ingredients of the fall season.
Galettes are wonderful meal options. When you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, but want versatility and something rustic but pretty to present, a Galette is a perfect meal selection.
We poured mugs of hot apple cider, enjoyed the scent of sauteed mushrooms sprinkled with handfuls of fresh herbs snipped from my pots. We watched English Stilton cheese melt all over the top of the galette as we relaxed, laughed, and learned about life in college for this generation of youth.
From newly discovered archery lessons, to how to master the art of on-campus dining, to potential upcoming adventures at Machu Pichu, we thoroughly enjoyed hearing all of the unfolding details.
This galette doesn't need much to accompany it. I used whole wheat to make the crust which lends a lovely toasted brown color to the overall rustic nature of the meal.
A big hearty red wine pairs well with the heady mushroom medley, mixed herbs, and savoriness of English stilton.
I must admit I am thoroughly tickled by an upcoming scheduled get-together here in Houston. A group of food bloggers, that I didn't even know existed, has organized a Houston Food Bloggers dinner.
I'm sure I will be tongue-tied, starry eyed, and filled with wonder at so many like-minded people together. Indeed, I am very excited about the impending gathering and more than likely, I will be chatting about every minute detail here at 'thyme'.
Until then, here is a wonderful hearty galette to try. Stay warm, snuggle up, and be sure to get out there and pick out just the right pumpkin for this very fun and festive season!
Whole Grain Wild Mushroom Galette with Fresh Herbs and English Stilton:
(from the Williams Sonoma website)
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and white)
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1/4 oz. dried wild mushrooms, such as
chanterelles, porcini or shiitakes
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 lb. assorted fresh wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini and shiitakes, brushed clean and large mushrooms thinly sliced 1/2 lb. fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
5 oz. Stilton or other good-quality blue cheese
To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until softened. Drain the mushrooms and mince finely.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Increase the heat to high, add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid they released has completely evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl, add the cooled mushrooms and stir well. Spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a
1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the mushrooms and cheese, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Autumn, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).