Saturday, November 26, 2011

Love is All You Need

Thanksgiving. This year my modus operandi was using common flavor threads, keeping it small and concentrating on making each dish spectacular! My two main ribbons were orange citrus and bacon.

I stuffed the bird with herbs and lots of tangerine wedges, also put the zest in the seasoned butter rubbed in between the skin and put a cup of orange juice in the basting broth. And for the Pièce de résistance, an orange chipotle glaze over top! Get Down!

For dessert I made an upside down skillet apple pie with homemade crust, three kinds of apples and intense concentration. Technically this was still baking because you put it in the oven and baking scares me. There's less room for error.

...but it was pretty fabulous and so tart and fresh tasting. Warmed with a bit of vanilla icecream.....that flaky buttery pie crust and just the right amount of sweet....Yes Sir!!!

I had to make my whacky quacky because well because it needs to be eaten. My secret is to cut the hard chorizo into just the right size bits, fry them up until they get slightly crisp so when you get a good scoop on your chip you get a little meaty surprise that thrills and delights your taste buds upon arrival. And by the way, lots of fresh lime juice.

But the sleeper this year was Fried Pickles! When we visited family last year in St Louis and I found myself nervously sitting at a table of like 14 of P's family, stone cold sober sipping an iced tea while everyone was downing huge pints of cold calm inducing beer. Then as if from the gods a platter of fried pickles arrived with a ranch dipping sauce and all went right with my world at that moment. The perfect blend of fried, sour, Cajun heat and cool buttermilk ranch dressing. Since then I wanted to recreate them and they are so easy and worth it, so worth it! Make these soon and see for yourself. //

Mexican cornbread make with buttermilk, creamed corn and fresh green chiles is soft, slightly sweet and an excellent accoutrement to the roasted bird.

Orange scented smashed sweet potatoes with bacon allow the brilliant taste of the actual sweet potato to shine whilst dazzling it with bursts of zest and tangy juice, savory bacon, coriander, cumin and a bit of cinnamon.
Bacon brussel sprouts ala Emeril Lagasse. Cutting the sprouts in half and browning them created a deeper flavor as well as lots of garlic and onion.

The bird was juicy and very flavorful so I kept my fresh cranberry juice light and very citrusy using lots of fresh lemon and orange juice.

Overall - I'm going to say I was very proud of this dinner. It was a manageable amount of sides. Each one came out shining. The skin on the turkey was crisp and the white meat was juicy. I didn't even miss the gravy or the regular mashed potatoes. Stuffing wasn't missed either because the cornbread sort of took care of that and the biscuits in one shot. I think the actual menu was more balanced than in previous years. There was richness but not too overwhelming.

Lots to be thankful for this year so I wanted the meal to be an expression of that gratitude. Everything seemed symbolic. Citrus is life, amazingly vibrant and cheap too. It doesn't cost anything to laugh and have fun. Using the juice of oranges, lemons and limes is like splashing magic into your dish. Bacon was money. You don't need a lot to get the job done and sometimes less is more with the flavors just teasing you enough but not spoiling your appetite. All you really need is will and love. ....and butter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?