08 September 2010

8 September - Our Lady; Star Trek; Cranberries and Dagwoods

Today we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the Cape Cod cranberry bog harvest starts today.
This is a very interesting process to watch, as the farmers flood the 'fields', then start pulling in the floating cranberries.  If you are in Southern New England and want to experience a cranberry harvest, the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association has a "Cranberry Harvest Trail Guide", with farms, directions, and phone numbers - and use those phone numbers!  Harvest may be slated to begin today, but not all and not everywhere.

The Association also sponsors a Cranberry Harvest Celebration, which this year will be held on the 9th and 10th of October in Wareham. The festival includes tours of a working cranberry bog - and you can see photos of the previous festivals here.

For the record, I have to wonder who discovered that cranberries are sour and must be mixed with something to combat that ultra-mouth puckering, eye squeezing, tear forming taste.  Once I added fresh cranberries to the stuffing for the turkey.  Oy!  Not a good idea.  And I see that there are recipes which still ask for fresh, unadulterated cranberries to be added in all their naked glory to the stuffing mix.  Nope.  Not again.  (Although now it looks like everyone is using dried cranberries instead of fresh for their stuffing.  Good idea.)

I love cranberries in any form - juice, sauce, in breads or as dessert, and yes, even in stuffing, in spite of that one major error on my part.  Here are two sauces that I love to make - they go very well with turkey (and actually, the spicy one does nicely on ice cream).

(serves 6)

1 cup Merlot or other red wine
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped onion
1 bag fresh cranberries

Combine wine, orange rind, sugar, and onion in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst.  Cool.  Can serve at room temperature or chilled.

You can make a sweeter, spicier version by upping the wine to 2 cups and the sugar to 1 cup; add 1 cup of light brown sugar.   Tie up whole cloves and whole allspice (5-6 each) and a couple of cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth bag and add that to the wine-sugar mixture (you can add them as is, without the bag, but you will need to strain the mixture before adding the cranberries). Bring to a boil, and stir until the sugars dissolve, then simmer about 10 minutes.  Strain the mixture, if needed, and return to the saucepan.  Add fresh cranberries (1 bag); cook until berries burst.  Cool and refrigerate.
In 1930, the comic strip "Blondie" made its first appearance today.  The comic was created and drawn by Chic Young until his death in 1975 (since then, his son, Dean, has been doing the honors).  Blondie Boopadoop (or as my Mom remembered her "Blondie the Gold-digger"), a happy-go-lucky flapper, finally married the wealthy heir, Dagwood Bumstead - but Dagwood was promptly disowned and the Bumsteads became a middle-class family with two children, a dog, a tyrannical boss, and a host of friends.

One of the running gags is Dagwood's enormous sandwich creations, which has led to any towering sandwich being referred to as a Dagwood in the popular lexicon.  The star sandwich of the "Dagwood's Sandwich Shoppe" had these ingredients: three slices of bread, hard salami, pepperoni, cappicola, mortadella, deli ham, cotto salami, cheddar, provolone, red onion, lettuce, tomato, red bell peppers, mayonnaise, mustard, and their own Italian olive oil dressing.   And as you can see here, Dagwood added a whole fish, a lobster, and a fried egg to his work of art.

So, to honor Dagwood and Blondie, grab everything but the kitchen sink and place it between slices of bread.  Don't forget the olive skewer on top!
In 1966, Star Trek (The Original Series, the progenitor of it all) premiered on NBC TV.

"Where no man has gone before" (and didn't that become the catch-phrase of a generation of would-be Casanovas!)

Oh, my.  What can I say?  An iconic show if ever there was one.  There were the phrases: "Live long and prosper"; "He's dead, Jim"; "I'm a doctor, not a _______".

Did anyone ever say "Beam me up, Scotty"?  No matter, it is part of our cultural history.  As is the concept of the "Red Shirt": The team beams down to a planet - Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, and a guy (who you will never see again) wearing a red shirt.  He is the one who gets killed.

Yeah, I loved that show.

I wonder if the food slot could produce Dagwoods?