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.

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