Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

It's only Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, but we had our Thanksgiving dinner this evening. Since Tuesday is normally the day we have people over anyway and because most people had other plans for Thursday, today was more convenient for getting together. We weren't the earliest Thanksgiving dinner - the Presbyterian (to which we went) and the Baptist churches had their Thanksgiving potlucks on Sunday. We will be joining the Lutheran church-hosted dinner on Thursday.

The menu for this evening was as pictured: Grilled turkey; wild rice stuffing with pine nuts; green beans with sundried tomatoes, olives, garlic, and almonds; roasted carrots; cranberry-orange chutney with cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds; mashed sweet potatoes (yams) with cumin and oranges; apple crisp; roasted brussel sprouts (covered container); dinner rolls (in basket); mashed potatoes (not pictured); pumpkin pie (not pictured).

(Oh, it snowed today. Other than a few isolated flakes a few days back, this is the first real snow in Petersburg this fall.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Recipe: Mushroom and Potato Gratin

I came up with this dish this past Tuesday. It was well received so I am going ahead and putting it together again for the Thanksgiving potluck we'll be going to this evening at the Presbyterian church.

Mushroom Mixture
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, cut pole to pole, then sliced across thin
  • Pinch crushed red chili pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 or 3 portabella mushrooms (or equivalent amount of brown creminis), trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
In a large skillet heat oil on medium heat. Add onions, chili pepper, sprinkle salt and pepper and fry until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add thyme and mushrooms, saute until soft. Add wine and deglaze pan. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • 5-6 medium russet potatoes, peeled
  • Mushroom mixture (above)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup cream
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper
Preheat over to 450F.

In a food processor fitted with slicing disc, slice potatoes (should be 1/8-inch slices). Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning. Rinse and drain.

In a 13x9 baking dish, create a single overlapping layer of potatoes. Distribute 1/3 of mushroom mixture on top of potatoes. Sprinkle 1/3 of Parmesan over the mushroom mixture. Repeat two more times with potatoes, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Finish with one more layer of potatoes.

In a small bowl combine cream, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbling and potatoes are soft. Uncover, distribute topping (see below, or alternatively some shredded cheddar) over top, return to oven and bake until topping is browned.

  • Panko (Japanese breading mix)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
Combine panko and Parmesan in a small bowl until well mixed. Set aside.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

City-wide Youth Rally

The Ministerial Association had talked about holding a city-wide youth rally for some time now. The impetus that finally kicked it into reality was the realization of how bad alcohol and drugs were becoming among middle and high school kids. We wanted to contribute to efforts by Petersburg Mental Health to prevent and combat substance abuse.

Close to four weeks ago we began making concrete plans, setting dates, etc. to make this youth rally a reality. A couple of Mondays ago there was a Town Hall meeting during which the community was made aware of the problems right under our noses. The newspaper printed a front page article on the Town Hall meeting. A small lead-in guest editorial was placed on the front page, continuing on the second, with the editorial ending right next to an ad for our youth rally.

We weren't sure how all the pieces could fall place in such short notice, but God worked to bring businesses, organizations, and individuals together to be able to put together an event that was both fun and spiritual. Our guest musician and speaker was Nathan Lopez, now living in Wasilla, but born and raised right here in Petersburg.

We had plenty of games and prizes. Petersburg Indian Association lent us the use of couple of their games: padded sumo wrestling suits and a bungee run game. During the middle of the event we were able to hold a $250 half-court basketball shot challenge through a generous donation from the Elks. Many other businesses and organizations donated large and small. We gave away coffee gift certificates and coins, a small TV set, a portable DVD player, and the final big drawing was for a iPod Touch. Pizzas and drinks were provided for reduced cost, and cookies were provided by the various churches.

Nathan spoke on pursuing one's dream, no matter what others may say. He connected it to finding one's ultimate purpose in a life devoted to Christ. We handed out nearly one-hundred New Testaments to the youth present. The count of the door-prize ticket stubs after the event showed that there were probably around one-hundred twenty kids at this event.

Album: PSG Youth Rally Nov 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010


Now that we've been in Petersburg for four years, the sights and sounds really aren't that new anymore. Thus the lack of much updates on this blog.

There is a bit of difference this autumn, however. It's been warmer and the mountains around us don't have much in the way of snow. What little snow has fallen on the tops have mostly gone away. This doesn't bode well for future salmon runs.

Today was another mostly sunny day and I forced myself to go walk outside with a camera. Up this far north, even at 2 p.m. the angle of the sun is quite shallow and the shadows are long.