Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy 183rd Birthday Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul 
and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet . Born in Amherst, Massachusetts to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life returning to her family's house in Amherst after a few short years at an academy. Emily was thought of as an eccentric by the locals. She became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.

While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
A Book
by Emily Dickinson
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

A marquee sign over the entrance of The Open Book (Loft) in Minneapolis advertised an upcoming birthday party for Emily Dickinson. Today December 10th would be her 183 birthday. She probably would not have enjoyed a lot of attention, but with so many admirers of her poetry the day needs to be acknowledged. I think Emily would enjoy a low keyed party with comfort foods as she enjoyed being at home with family members and comfortable surroundings. 
Here is what I would serve at this party: Cranberry-Cherry Jello, Chicken Stuffing Bake and Pecan Pie
 Cranberry Cherry Jello Salad

  • 6 oz. cherry jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drain and save juice to be used for part of the 2 cups of boiling water mixture
  • Dissolve jello in boiling water, cool and stir in rest of ingredients
  • Chill in a 9 x 13 pan
Turkey/Chicken Stuffing Bake 
Cook’s notes: Advance preparation makes this recipe easier. The day before assembling the hot dish prepare the turkey or chicken, cook both wild and white rice and sauté vegetables. Refrigerate 
This recipe serves 8. 
  • 1 large red or green pepper chopped 
  • 3/4 cup onion chopped 
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked wild rice 
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked white rice 
  • 1- 8-oz. package herb-seasoned stuffing mix, Stove Top turkey stuffing mix or cornbread stuffing mix
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth (use one that is fat free and low sodium) 
  • 4 cups diced turkey or chicken
  • 3 eggs slightly beaten 
  • 1/2 can of condensed cream of chicken soup 
  • 1 cup almonds 
  • 1 small box of white mushrooms 
  • 1 can water chestnuts drained
  • In fry pan sauté mushrooms, onion and pepper in 2 TB. butter-set aside 
  • Cook wild rice and in last 20 minutes of cooking add in white rice-drain and set aside 
  • Dice cooked turkey or chicken 
  • Beat eggs slightly, adding in ½ can soup mix and sautéed vegetables 
  • Cook stuffing mix according to package except substitute chicken broth for the water 
  • In a large bowl mix: both wild and white rice, diced turkey, sautéed vegetables with soup mixture, almonds, water chestnuts, and cooked stuffing mix 
  • Pour into a greased 4 qt. size pan cover with foil and bake 40 minutes @ 350 

Decadent Chocolate Pecan  Pie 

Cook's notes: recipe from a magazine ad
  • refrigerated pie crust or make your own crust
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 TB. milk
  • 4 eggs
  •  3 TB. melted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon  
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/3 cups whole pecans
  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Line a pie pan with pie crust and blind bake (cover crust with 2 pieces of foil-push foil into edges of inside crust) bake 7 minutes
  • Remove foil and reduce temperature to 325
  • Microwave chips and milk on high 1-1/2 minutes, blend till smooth 
  • Pour chocolate evenly over crust
  • Beat eggs in a bowl and add rest of ingredients except nuts-mix well and slowly pour over chocolate layer
  • Arrange nuts on top
  • Add strips of foil around pie crust edge to prevent browning 
  • Bake 55 minutes or until a knife comes clean from center and filling is puffed
  • Cool completely before slicing  


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