WHIDBEY RECIPES | Now we wait, and we watch

Well, it’s finally over.

Just when we thought it would never end, wham bam and it was over.

We have a new president and family, and finally won’t have to listen to all those ghastly ads.

Unfortunately, we’ll now be subjected to every talking head on every station doing his/her commentary on what it all means and who will be doing what to whom.

My immediate reaction was “I hope Michelle gets some fashion advice quickly; that dress she had on Tuesday night was the worst.”

Yes, friends, I’m shallow, but wouldn’t you think she’d have had the good sense to get some advice about what to wear on such a momentous occasion? Something that didn’t look like a leftover Halloween costume? I sure hope that outfit didn’t set her back too much, because if it did, she ought to get a refund.

My next thoughts were about two little girls whose lives are about to be changed, drastically and dramatically, forever. They can’t know or understand it yet, but the next four years (and possibly more) will be among the most amazing of their lives. Learning to live with the constant companionship of Secret Service people is only the beginning; learning that they can’t even go outdoors to play without attracting attention and publicity will gradually dawn on them when they discover how very restricted their lives will be from now on. But, they’ll have a new puppy to distract them, of course, so perhaps that will help.

As for President-elect Obama, who is now getting all the inside info and briefings that will bring him up to the minute with all that is going on in the world and that we, the general public, never really know, he may be wishing about now that he’d lost. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it must feel at the end of his day to be inundated with all the data and complicated scenarios that are part of everyday life for a president and his cabinet, made all the worse right now by our incredible economic mess.

Obama stands at the threshold of one of the greatest opportunities any president-elect ever had. A Democratic president, with a mostly Democratic Congress, confronted by a number of major, serious problems the like of which we’ve not seen for decades. “Fixing” any one of these could make him look very good, and if he manages to “fix” more than one or two, he’ll be a hero.

Frankly, I don’t envy him the job, nor do I envy Michelle and the kids their new lives. I’m always just glad there are intelligent, courageous (foolhardy?) people who seem ready, willing and able to let themselves in for such a daunting four to eight years.

But, the big question now is, what kind of puppy? The kind of dog a person has says a lot about the kind of person the owner is. I can’t wait to learn about the puppy and, of course, to see what Michelle wears next.

RECIPES

Lest I get a lot of e-mails about my trivial attitude, some of the above was written with tongue firmly in cheek, as usual. Now, as long as we’re talking about change, here are a couple of recipes from long ago that have been given new life and are popular again, thanks to some changes.

One of the dishes always present on our Thanksgiving table was creamed onions, made by my mother or grandmother. I was never particularly fond of creamed onions, but later found this recipe for a green onion casserole and it’s been in my holiday recipe file ever since.

GREEN ONION CASSEROLE

8 bunches scallions, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 16 cups, to serve 8)

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. unsalted butter

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 T. olive oil

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

In a pot, cook the scallions and garlic in the butter over med. heat until the scallions are just softened, about 15 min. Stir in the cream and

¼ cup of the Parmesan and transfer the mixture to a buttered 1½ qt. shallow baking dish.

In a skillet, heat the oil on med.-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add bread crumbs and sauté, stirring, until crumbs are golden brown, about 3-4 min. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and allow to cool, then add remaining Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the casserole with the crumb mixture and bake, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until hot, 15-20 min. Serve while hot. Serves 8.

Note: Casserole can be made ahead and kept, covered and chilled, until ready to bake. Bring casserole to room temp., then bake as indicated above. And, if you ever have available very young, tender leeks, this recipe is excellent for them, as well.

When wild rice finally became more readily available in supermarkets in the 1970s, it seemed exotic, and wild rice side dishes were all the rage, but seldom unusual. Wild rice, with or without mushrooms, was served with every sort of meat and was a very big Thanksgiving side dish.

Then, one year, I came across this recipe (I think it was in Gourmet magazine, but I’m not sure as I just jotted it on a piece of paper that’s tucked in one of my holiday cookbooks). Because I love the addition of the lemon and pecans, it stayed on my list of preferred wild rice side dishes. This is excellent, by the way, with game such as venison or elk.

LEMON PECAN WILD RICE

2 cups chicken broth (low sodium canned is fine)

Rind of ½ lemon, cut into

julienne strips (use a vegetable peeler to remove rind; you’ll want to end up with about 1½ T. of strips)

1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 T. unsalted butter

1 cup wild rice, rinsed well and drained

½ cup pecans, toasted lightly, chopped

3 T. minced scallion

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a heavy saucepan, combine the broth, half of the lemon rind, lemon juice, and the butter. Bring mixture to a boil and stir in the rice. Cook, covered, over low heat for 50 min. to l hr., or until rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid. Stir in the pecans, scallion, parsley and remaining lemon rind. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 4.

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