Saturday, November 27, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Okay, this is not a deep, sweet, humane post like my fellow bloggers here, here and here.

This is for those of you who need an escape,  an inexpensive way to wind down this weekend.
Tried to DVR Masterpiece Theater's updated Sherlock Holmes, but  something happened?
First three episodes here, until December 27th. I know what I'll be doing later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yeah, tradition

You've got your turkey, dressing, gravy whatever tradition, come the fourth Thursday in November.What I'm curious about, is what do you do Thanksgiving eve?  Thanksgiving morn?

Years back in Brea, as a waitress at Alphy's, wearing my comely fall colors (orange skirt, thick brown waistband, white peasanty shirt, and nylons.  Nylons!) I worked Thanksgiving morning.  Who, I asked myself, would go out to breakfast on the morning of the feast day itself?! Our beloved neighbors, that's who,  all five of them filled up the counter I was working, the very same neighbors with whom
we were later feasting.  Yah, they tipped well.

Lately, up until this year we shared Thanksgiving Eve with our friends-- a simple pasta or deli dinner, rounded out by a number of bottles and laughs.  This year, instead, we'll be picking up our daughter at the airport. And now I'm wondering about you.  What do you do before the iconic meal?  I'd love to know.  Btw, have a warm and bounteous Thanksgiving~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Would you like brine with your meal?

AH, always the provocateur, asks what kind of brine gal am I?

So, I've brined chickens. They're juicy inside, crisp outside, flavorful too.  But you can't stuff 'em, they're waaaay too salty.  And, face it, for some of us turkey is just an excuse for the dressing.  This year spin-the-turkey has singled me out; and, sure I could stay with the tried and successful: steamed turkey, courtesy the bird in the bag from Reynolds (and it works great, just fine, cook it breast side down,  and your turkeys will always be moist and flavorful), but my heart craves adventure.

(Uh, married and monogamous, I'll take my adventure where I can find it).  So, to answer AH, dry brine!  I can't commend it, yet, because the feast is still a few days off.  It promised to be simple:  Use three tablespoons of kosher salt to sprinkle inside and out of a 15 lb turkey.  I hit a glitch on the next step: slip into 2 1/2 gallon bag, and squeeze the air out.  Two bags refused to seal.  By the third bag I sprinkled another teaspoon or two of salt (to make up for all that got left behind in the previous storage bags) and pushed the air out.  And kept pushing.  Apparently I have a less-than-airtight bag.

Thursday morning I will remove it from the bag--stuff it, roast it, and then decide.  Need the details? Courtesy Russ Parsons here.

Or, are you having a panic attack, cuz even though the house is tidy, the plates are washed, the crystal's gleaming,  you've got your priorities straight because there's plenty of booze on hand, but you have no idea what the heck you're feeding those 5-12 guests?  Patina's got you covered.  They'll even deliver. Just let them know, like, NOW!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Count Down

Growing up we ate my grandmother's cranberry relish: grated berries, chopped nuts, bits of orange and peel.
We loved it.   My mother attempts to recreate it, these past few years but, for me at least, it's never quite as I remember it.  As she works on hers for the feast on Thursday, I'll start mine today, giving it three days to mellow into sweet/tart perfection.

Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 3/4 cup water, 3 cloves, 3 allspice, 2-3" cinnamon sticks to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, the syrup clear (three minutes or so).  And the one bag rinsed cranberries and cook until they pop! (five minutes or so).  Remove from heat, add grated zest of one orange.

Too fussy? Use the recipe on the bag.  It's fool proof.
Like a little kick? Try this one at Epicurious.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Four Food Groups of a Random College Student

4. Sushi
3. Butter
2. Ketchup
1. Nutella

Clearly it was something I did.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Soup's on!

There are so many old standards: albondigas, matzoh ball, minestrone, cream of mushroom, split pea.
This past weekend I was browsing through my cookbooks (the actual, not the virtual) one of which I had received as a wedding gift and have been using since.  What I discovered is there are so many recipes I
haven't tried--always going straight to the tried and true.  But this week, I decided to stretch myself, try something new from Diana Kennedy, and pass it on to you.

Besides chicken broth you will absolutely need limes and 2 chiles chipotles.

Bring 6 cups of chicken broth to a simmer.  Add two peeled and diced carrots, 6 ounces trimmed and halved string beans,  (the first time I made this I used the zucchini I had on hand), one diced tomato, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Now, add the chiles, half a cup of garbanzo beans (already fully cooked, muchisimas gracias) and let simmer for another five minutes. Remove the chiles.

Ladle into a soup bowl.  Sprinkle in a few tablespoons shredded chicken, squeeze in a quarter of lime.Diana recommends garnishing with a few strips of the chiles and cubed avocado.

I anticipate wrinkled noses at the thought of a squeeze of lime.  Think Thai food. Think lemon grass.  Then squeeze.

Warning: this comes with a kick and may be addictive.  I've already made it three times...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recently Overheard

1) As I run errands the commercial on the radio says, "Did you know, if Proposition 19 passes, people can come to work high?"  The commercial uses the h word about twenty gazillion times.

My husband says, "I'm sure some people already come to work high."

2) Outside of a favorite wine shop, a group of waitresses huddle for their cigarette break.  The manager comes out and says, "By this time next week, you can be lighting up a joint."  One waittress, puffing away, says, "I just don't like drugs, myself.  Never have."  There is no trace of irony.

I load a case of my drug of choice into the trunk of my car and drive off.