Sunday, November 28, 2021

You Gave Me More Joy Than I Ever Dreamed Of

Turkey Noodle Soup
I think I look forward to the leftover turkey dishes even more than the big day itself now.  That blessed turkey bird gives more than it could ever know.  I honor him by using every last bit.  Turkey noodle soup made with homemade turkey stock and egg noodles is about the best thing out there.  You live a little, learn a little, so now I buy extra carrots, celery, herbs so that I have those foundation elements to build these delicious day after dishes.  I also added frozen leaf spinach, mushrooms and plenty of shredded turkey. 

The site of this full pot brings seasonal joy!
The holidays can also bring heaviness to your heart so it's important to keep it in the present and be grateful for the small things like soup stock and silky noodles. 
Not the best photos but for breakfast I attempted a Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict using my cornbread base, and gravy as the sauce.  Merry, but certainly not light. Good though! Anything you can break an egg yolk over and let it flow down onto is good eats!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

It's Not Always Going to Be this Grey

Thanksgiving 2021 
Dry Brine Turkey in a roasting bag, Sourdough Stuffing, Shaved Brussels Sprout salad, Raw Cranberry relish, Giblet Gravy, Traditional Green Bean Casserole, Crockpot Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Pudding and Pear and Apple Pie for dessert.  

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Appetizer

Spicy Bloody Mary for P

Best Pear Pie Recipe
When I do cook lately, it feels more personal and the Thanksgiving meal has always carried a lot of meaning.  The plate is purposefully telling of that year.  I wanted to celebrate the bounty and balance it with heavy and light, fresh offerings.  They represent all the unexpected laughs in between the hard, scary moments of sickness and mourning.   The year began with a bang, more like a shotgun to the head but we are so resilient and its great to truly see all things do pass as my friend Lisa assured me they would.  But not only that, they heal us up in a way only the heart can understand afterward.  What doesn't kill you, is so true and I'm learning not to fight the hardships, to trust they are not the enemy.  Many friends are suffering in different ways, depression, looking for jobs, missing friends or family, not knowing what to do next, needing love and I want to reassure them whatever their current torment, that it must have purpose and to invite it in, don't fight it.  Its come to help you.  Take it from me, former Queen of all Sad Sacks.

Too corny, well, see, that's where the Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Pudding comes in!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

So Get Ready, Get Ready 'Cause Here I Come

Homemade Pear and Apple Pie with Buttercrust Pastry Dough
The holidays come whether you're ready or not.  I had to work until super late the night before Thanksgiving, so I did a prep day on Tuesday, making an apple and pear pie from scratch.  I tried a new dough method from Chef John and it worked but not sure I'd do it again.  The butter is frozen, so it stays hard as you pulse it ever so quickly in the food processor. I'm not a baker, nor a candlestick maker, so these little accomplishments are major victories.  The crust was flaky and light, the fruit was compact and didn't run out of the pie.  I didn't cook the fruit beforehand but was tempted as I've never liked the al dente bite in a pie, but this cooked through completely yet didn't turn to mush, just that perfectly soft, deliciously not too sweet and texture that I adore. 

That night I also made a corn casserole with bacon, green chiles, whole corn, buttermilk and cheddar.  This was like fantasy cornbread and I would highly recommend it.  I went on to freeze half of it to enjoy later. 
Bacon Jalapeno Corn Pudding from Simply Mama Cooks

Then finally, I started the Sourdough stuffing by first cutting and drying the bread in the oven. So many people this year said to tear it, so you get the big extra crunchy bits but my thinking was smaller pieces would lead to less bread eaten, so I cut them in uniform size.  Lots of fresh herbs, mushrooms, sausage, shallots, eggs and homemade turkey broth went in.   This was ready to stuff and bake. 
Many of us have made several dozen holiday meals through the years and it's surprising that each time is still so special and unique.  I've made dry turkey, extra moist, fall off the bone meat, spiced, bland and otherwise. It's funny what you remember about Thanksgivings past.   I've dropped a fully baked turkey on the floor that hit my cat Willie here in Brooklyn while P's family visited.  My vegan sister in law was watching me make the gravy and my knife cut through the thin metal tin and all the drippings fell onto the stove grates.  I still saved enough and successfully made a gravy.   I made my first turkey with full meal, including pie for guests in San Francisco around 1993 in an apartment called the Castle.   My mom made turkey and roast pork or ham in her two antique ovens that were in the basement of our 2nd house.  I don't remember ever helping her make the huge meal for over a dozen people, just setting the table and sitting to eat it.  One year back in Fort Wayne I didn't want to embarrass my sister Terry in front of her cop husband but had to tell her I didn't think she cooked her potatoes enough that were in her green bean casserole. She informed me they were water chestnuts and then I became embarrassed.  One year back in the 80's I went to a friends in Fresno, drank so much eggnog and champagne, got so violently sick, that I passed out on her couch while the turkey baked in the oven and I still remember the smell and how her apartment was like a sauna that kept me in a deep coma until I finally woke up and mysteriously took a long shower that we laughed about afterwards. She had to come in and get me out of the bathroom as I was in some kind of trance with the hot water running over my head.  I've shared almost 30 Thanksgivings with P, only remember like 7 of them but have no idea why that would be so.  This year neither of us remembered that I have made several pies before attempting this one.   
Before the 80's night went south, here with my friend's fiance.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Good Day Sunshine!

Poached eggs over Soyrizo, onions and peppers, a little cheddar.  Scooped up with a low carb tortilla and you have yourself a merry little breakfast without the heaviness of the traditional Chorizo and fried eggs plate. 


Friday, November 19, 2021

Why Do I Give Valuable Time to People Who Don't Care if I Live Or Die?

It takes a good 45 minutes to roast these cabbage wedges to a steamy soft consistency but when you do, it's well worth the wait.  Garlic oil and balsamic vinegar over top for me and lots of chili flakes make this bird sing.
For 15 minutes, you can get your groceries delivered in Brooklyn, something I feared was coming after reading about the Manhattan Service.  Um, this is dangerous and just last night as I was riding home from work , 3 bike riders were racing to the same apartment complex to deliver God knows what someone desperately needed in 15 minutes at 10:30 at night.  They almost took me out trying to cross Atlantic Avenue and be the first to lock up their bike outside, which takes 1 or 2 of their allotted minutes.  These bikes with motors are using the bike lanes but also zipping in and out of regular traffic like ninjas.  They don't necessarily make themselves visible with proper lights, no doubt because they need to bypass most of the traffic laws in order to make their goal time.  But unlike me, while they do it, they're going at a considerably faster speed. If you've had one pass you, it takes your breath away when suddenly they are less than a foot from your face.  I want to curse them but I see they are my Mexican brothers.  I know they are just trying to make a living but Good Lordy, I about pissed myself!!!  

Where was the morality and ethics police when this service was rolled out?  This is possibly the kind of wrong doing I would get behind shutting down.   Putting vulnerable good people at risk just so you can have your Gouda cheese or Cashew Milk for your tea?  I don't mean to get down on the elite either because they're probably holding up this city right now but this service is a bad idea. People screaming about the borders better not be using it because these immigrants are the only ones I see out there willing to do these jobs. 

Fall in Brooklyn - the best idea!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

All I Know is You're My Favorite Mistake

Puffy Omelette

Have you ever made one of these Puffy Omelettes?  Full disclosure, this was a slight fail but made correctly, they make you feel you've done something chef-like, because you have!  You split the egg from the yolk and beat the whites like the dickens before folding the yolks back in.  Then you, well, I'll share the video.  But try it!  I didn't want to ruin it by trying to shove all of this asparagus and sausage inside, so I served on the side but its definitely light and fluffy, and again if done right becomes cloud-like.  It does right by the egg too in making it the delicacy it truly is.