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While this isn't a food blog, anyone who knows me, or has followed my blog, knows that I'm a foodie and that I usually post holiday menus and recipes here, as well as some of my offbeat tastes. Those who really know me, know that in my career path from energy research to aerospace to information technology, I took one fork that wasn't linked to the others by data management and advanced analysis: food in the late '80's/early '90's, both through my desert sauce company, Montara Magic, and by cooking with Pasta Moon and some of the caterers around the Coast.
I don't normally post Thanksgiving recipes for two reasons.
But this year, as last, my iMac loving parents are having cold like reactions to their flu shots. And Robert Scoble, now a fellow coastsider, has asked for recipes. I'm also cooking everything but the turkey today, so I'll have time to blog as I cook.
Don't forget to preheat your oven(s) and simmering bricks.
Right now, I'm doing the cranberry sauce. First let me say, that I'm most impressed with the Paradise Meadows Premium Cape Cod Cranberries that I bought this year - only 10 rejects and 5 stems in three full bags. Here's a "per bag" recipe:
I'll update throughout the day as I finish, but I'll list the dishes now.
A vegetarian version in a pan that can also be mixed with mild sausage and stuffed into the bird, this is an incredible dish.
: I use a mix of dried and fresh mushrooms, so the first step is to soak the dried ones [this year porcini and morel] for an half-hour in a 50/50 mix of white wine and warm water [never use stale water from the hot water tap for cooking]. The only fresh mushrooms I'm using this year are cremini and portabello. And while they're soaking, maybe I'll have lunch.
: The dried mushrooms have soaked, so it's time to cook again.
Ok, ok, basically mashed potatoes with added rutabaga and turnip goodness, boiled with garlic and using a brown butter sage sauce as well as cream to get to the finished product.
: That really says it all, but let's just add some measurements: 1/2 potato per person, 1 rutabaga and 1 turnip for every 4 potatoes [potatoes of choice are yukon gold or red creamers], 1 clove of garlic per potato. Leave the potatoes whole, skin on or not as you like, cube the rutabagas and turnips, add the root vegetables, including the garlic, to salted boiling water and boil until a fork easily pierces a potato [15 minutes maybe], drain, [if you left the skins on the potatoes, cool and remove now if you want]. Put 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter per potato into the hot pan, leave the butter to melt and then wait until the edges of the melted butter turns brown, add chiffonade sage [1 leaf per potato or to taste], let it sizzle for a minute, add 2 tablespoons of cream per person and stir until the cream bubbles, add the root vegetables back and mash 'em with a potato masher, keep stirring until heated through. One alternative is to stir in a consistent direction until the mash is like taffy - about three hours.
Roasted and mashed, or sliced thin with a mandolin and layered with the custard, this is a must for Thanksgiving.
: You could be roasting the sweet potatoes whilst the bread pudding is baking. You need three cups of mashed roasted sweet potato, so start with two 8-inchers.
Maybe not that traditional, but the best way to prepare those little green balls that I've ever found.
: I really do like this dish, though I can't remember where I found it. It's not a family tradition.
Or leave out the giblets if you're going for Tofurkey instead.
: The gravy won't be done until tomorrow, but here's how I do mine. Take the pan drippings from cooking the turkey and separate off the fat. While that is settling, in a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil, sauté the minced shallots, diced up giblets, and sliced mushrooms [maybe reserved from the bread pudding, maybe not]. I reserved some of my minced wild mushrooms that I had soaked earlier - add those now. Remove from the pan. Add [per cup of finished gravy desired] a tablespoon of butter and allow to brown slightly, then add a tablespoon of flour, mixing into the butter until all the butter is absorbed. Keep scraping from rue from the bottom of the pan, until the flour is cooked - about 3 minutes. Add a glass of your white wine, slowly, mixing it into the flour, and then add a glass of the dried mushroom soaking liquor that you reserved, stirring it in. Cook down to the desired thickness - there should be a cup of gravy. Add a chiffonade of sage, and some thyme leaves.
I won't be cooking that until tomorrow. But here's the basics: remove the fresh turkey from the brine that its been soaking in overnight, take enough of the Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding recipe [don't mix this more than an hour in advance of stuffing the bird] with added, broken up and cooked mild sausage, to fill the body and neck cavities of the bird, put peeled garlic cloves under the skin of the bird [usually takes at least one head of garlic], brush bird with a rosemary twig dipped in olive oil and herbs de Provence before putting in the oven and as the basting method, cook it as you normally would. Add white wine and maybe stock [vegie stock, white stock - chicken and veal - or turkey stock made from the neck] to the bottom of the pan. This year, I'm sticking with the mushroom bread pudding, so I'll just have onions, carrots, celery and rosemary twigs in the cavity of the bird. Get the skin nice and brown, and cover with aluminum foil to keep if from burning if it's browned before the turkey is done. If you do that, uncover the bird for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
: I've been using the term chiffonade. Let me explain. One can only chiffonade larger leaves: think basil, sage, mint. Wash and dry about eight leaves, and make a "cigar" out of them. That is, layer them by overlapping them about half-way along the long axis, and roll them up so they look something like stogies. Sharpen your knife, the sharper the better. Slice along the "cigar" cross-section, so that your getting very thin slices of herb.
: I totally forgot about the Pumpkin Soup. I guess because the first step - roasting the pumpkins, was done over the weekend. And, of course, there will be a green salad, breads, cheese plate, olives, other marinated vegetables and dessert: pumpkin pie and cranberry walnut apple pie.
Rest coming up throughout the day. Have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy.
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