25 November, 2009

Kitchen Confidential, Part 3

If you're looking for knitting content, there isn't any. My Salina is in time out due to having to rip half of the front out and having no inclination to do so. Maybe tomorrow under the influence of turkey and cranberry sauce...

Today I spent the bulk of my day in the kitchen prepping for Thanksgiving tomorrow. It's our first year in THB's new house, and he wanted to break it in holiday-style, so we politely refused any and all invitations to Thanksgiving Elsewhere and chose to have Thanksgiving at Home.

People, by the way, are unsurprisingly invitational when they find out that we - two well-loved children with a huge family - are planning to have dinner with just the 3 of us (THB, Roomie and I). I say unsurprisingly because I have a theory that Thanksgiving turns even the whitest of white people into ethnic grandmothers who are alarmed at how little you've eaten despite the fact that you've cleared your plate three times and polished off three-quarters of a pumpkin pie all by yourself. Small wonder that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - no gifts to worry about, no trees to decorate, no dressing up to do (you'll just get gravy on it anyway!) - just hours in the kitchen making delicious food and an entire day devoted to eating it and watching anythingbutfootball.

Also, have I mentioned that my family is directly descended from Mayflower people on my Mother's side? As a matter of fact, there's a story there, but I'll leave it for another time. It's probably novel-worthy, and this is a post about cook(e)ing!

So. Five-ish hours in the kitchen today and three recipes I'd never tried before knocked out of the park. Here's what I made:

I substituted rosemary for mint and used half andouille, half homemade moose (but all spicy!) sausage. The bread is still drying, but the rest of the recipe is made and ready to go according to the directions. NTS: this would also make excellent omelette fixings.

THB bought the pie crusts, which were sold in sets of 2, so of course I made 2 pies. Actually, 2 and a half pies - there was enough filling left over to make a third pie, so I buttered a 9" pan really well and tossed it in the oven to make pumpkin custard (and so we could try the pie before the Big Day!). Excellent stuff, this pie. Oh! Also, I added 1/8 t nutmeg per pie, so 1/4 total, and I subbed in half hazelnuts, half walnuts just for kicks.

In addition to extra filling, I had extra pie topping as well. I decided that since I know the theory behind making brittle candy, I'd give it a shot. So I dumped in a bit more brown sugar, some extra chopped walnuts and a few cashews, a bunch of butter and popped it all into the oven. This was... less of a success, although for not following any sort of recipe it turned out pretty edible. Just nothing at all like brittle. We mixed it into the 3rd crustless pie and it was delicious.

Lastly, I tried to make Shortcut Turkey Stock from the giblets in our turkey, only to discover that the turkey was still really, really frozen on the inside. So off to the store I went for a package of turkey giblets and necks. Organ meats smell really, really weird, by the way. I suppose that makes sense, but as a person who generally avoids any sort of organ meat, I was surprised. Anywho. I managed to forget to put celery on my list for like the five millionth time ever, so I subbed in garlic and called it good. My family is more Spanish and Italian than French anyway, and I seem to remember Alton Brown saying something about an Italian (or Spanish) mirepoix consisting of carrots, onions and garlic instead of celery. Also I hate the texture of cooked celery and the taste it gives food, so there's that.

Oh! And the other day I made cranberry sauce from scratch. My friend Dinah made this killer orange-ginger-cranberry sauce one year and I've been craving it annually ever since, so this year I begged her for the recipe. It was totally simple and I've been stealing spoonfuls of it here and there.

So that's 4 recipes down! And a couple to go tomorrow, including cooking the turkey itself, gravy, and special whipped cream. Yay!

101 in 1001 Countdown:
#18 Try 100 fruits/vegetables (8/100) cranberry, orange, pumpkin, artichoke, celery (ew)
#21 Try 100 new recipes (9/100) Stuffing, Pie, Stock, Sauce
#24 Try 100 new foods (2/100) turkey stock (not so good on its own)