This year, Thanksgiving’s at our place. At last count, there will be about eighteen people banging around our house. In an effort to preserve my sanity and reduce my pre-hosting stress levels, I’ve delegated one hundred percent of the cleaning (plus bedding/sleeping arrangements and all mass-living organizational tasks) to my husband.
As for me, I’m doing the food. At this point, this means lists. Lots and lots of lists. There are shopping lists and will-you-please-bring-these-things lists and menu lists and what-to-do-on-which-day lists. Cooking for eighteen for three to four full days is not a big deal, really. It’s more a matter of organization … and space. (Right about now is when I start dreaming of duplicate large kitchen appliances. Anyone have an extra fridge they want to park on my porch?)
Today I took advantage of the snow-and-ice day and did the following:
*cooked three pounds of bacon (for just in case)
*made the first of two (or three) batches of granola because remember: I still have a family to feed
*mixed up a batch of Ranch dressing
*made three batches of pie pastry
*rolled out and froze four pie pastries
*baked three loaves of cinnamon raisin bread, and, from the leftovers, a pan of raisin bread sweet rolls for our immediate gratification
*I made the glaze for the rolls and icing for the bread
*made hot chocolate … twice.
*started on the cranberry sauce, but I haven’t finished it yet.
Oh, and I also made eggs and pancakes for breakfast, the pancakes with leftover ricotta because I’m trying to clean out the fridge (because I don’t think I’ll be getting a second fridge any time soon).
While I worked, I listened to Thanksgiving cooking podcasts to keep me in the groove (I’m feeling minorly inferior because I’ve never spatchcocked a turkey; have you?), and now I’m feeling just a wee bit fooded out. You know, the bleary-blah feeling one gets when the skies are grey and the entire day’s been spent inside with drifts of sugar and mountains of butter. Before I started typing, I just sat on the sofa staring at the computer, my eyes glazed over. All I really wanted to do was watch movies. (Too bad it’s Thursday.) Maybe I should just close the laptop and go read for awhile?
Perhaps, but first, a recipe.
Remember Olga from Puerto Rico, the woman who brought us yummy treats made by her daughter-in-law? The last week we were there, Olga finally slipped me the recipes, but it wasn’t until last week that I finally got around to making the Panetela, or what I uncreatively call Guayaba Bars.
My husband brought me the brick of guayaba paste when he went to Puerto Rico the first time — a last-minute grab from the airport gift shop. They eat it with cheese, he informed me.
Which is true, I’ve since learned, but the paste never really lit me up … that is, not until I had Olga’s bars, buttery and dense with a strip of tangy-sweet jelly in the middle and a dusting of sugar on top: perfection.
So, like I said, I made the bars last week. They are easy to make, and they look right sharp, too. Seems to me, they’d make an excellent addition to a Christmas cookie platter….
Adapted from Olga’s daughter-in-law’s recipe.
The recipe calls for a whole pound of guayaba (guava) paste but I used fourteen ounces and still found the jelly to be a bit overpowering in its thicker places. Next time, I’ll use just ten to twelve ounces.
To make your own self-rising flour: mix 6 cups all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Toss well and store in an airtight container.
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups self-rising flour
1 stick butter, cut in pieces and softened
10-12 ounces guayaba paste
Confectioner’s sugar, for decoration
Cream together the eggs and sugar until pale yellow. Add vanilla. Add the flour and the softened butter and mix well. The batter will be thick, like icing.
Spread half of the batter in a greased, square glass pan (lined with parchment, if you wish). Slice the guayaba paste and lay the pieces over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the paste and spread smooth.
Bake the bars at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into pieces (you can cut the bars sooner, but the still-warm paste will be a bit runny) and then dusting heavily with powdered sugar.
This same time, years previous: Shakespeare behind bars, Thai chicken curry, the quotidian (11.16.15), I will never be good at sales, gravity, lessons from a shopping trip, the wiggles, why I’m glad we don’t have guns in our house, chicken salad.