Wednesday November 26th, 7:52 PM
So I wanted to record my cooking experiences this year since it is my first Thanksgiving where I've taken a really active part in any kind of preparation (As I type cranberries are popping merrily on the stove. Wait, are they supposed to do that?) But I can't really keep up with today's modern technologies of whatever the hell live blogging is...partly because I'm not particularly tech savvy and partly because I've imbibed a good deal of the cooking wine and bourbon for the Kentucky Derby Pie. I should be so lucky to escape this ordeal without any third degree burns.
Isn't it interesting that on Thanksgiving everyone is eating more or less the same dishes all across America? I haven't decided if that's creepy or cool but as I compiled my grocery list for this undertaking I noticed that the traditional dishes are composed of ingredients ACTUALLY IN SEASON. Refreshing.
I just plan to write what I'm doing when it gets interesting (...to me) and post it all on Thanksgiving night with pictures. You're welcome!
Hmm, cranberry sauce smells a lot like mulled wine. Or is that me? Oh well, everything is better mulled...with wine. Moving on to stuffing. Jeez, that's a lot of bread. Stuffing is fascinating-like many soggy bread dishes it was obviously once a solution to the eternal question, "What the fuck to do with all this stale bread?"
MC Hammer just came on the iTunes. Thank god.
Okay, the cranberry sauce is a little too sweet but you can't unsweet what has been sweetened. Life lesson, people. Cut up my potatoes for the first bake of the twice-baked potato recipe and have them precariously balanced in the oven with the stuffing. What to do, what to do? So much of cooking is deliberate planning and timing. The pecans have been stewing in bourbon time to make a crust. And dip into the bourbon supply.
Let's Get It On was playing as I kneaded my pie crust. I'm anticipating some sexy pie...which considering who it's going to feed is fairly disturbing.
As I formed my pie crust into a pretty border my friend Raymond's song about pie came on iTunes, he wrote it for my little movie about a pie making villain. The recording is excellent and made me smile. I'm gonna find a way to post it here so you can all listen as you make your next pie and imagine you are Holly, the Pie Socialite.
I used caraway seed sour dough bread for the stuffing, it's tasty but doesn't quite have the right texture. It's supposed to be like glue right? More vegetable stock and back in the oven...is this the beginning of disaster? I KNEW it was going too smoothly!
I'm waiting for the potatoes to cool and drinking Jack Daniels on the floor. Ahh, the holidays.
Found a cranberry on the floor. Ate it.
Okay, cut up sweet potatoes and put them to boil. Now I'm digging the potato insides out of their skins, leaving the shell intact. In the battle of me vs. skins, skins is kicking ass. I probably should have baked them longer! Pie and stuffing have come out of the oven and look good though the stuffing has baked down a bit. No one likes stuffing anyway, right?
The last skin is empty!!!!!
Skins refilled! I am horribly sober and should probably have a glass of water.
Thursday November 27th, Thanksgiving, 12:03 AM
Oh God, what's the point?
Rallying, I made the first part of my sweet potato souffle to be baked tomorrow morning because I don't know how it'll survive being heated up. Next year I need to find recipes that don't rely so heavily on sugar or at least stock up on more honey earlier (One day I'll have my own hive!) so I can do some substitution. I did a bit in my S. P. mix and we'll see how it tastes.
Okay, twice baked potatoes have been baked twice and I seem to have consumed an entire meal through osmosis. Now some clean up so my roommate doesn't strangle me in my sleep.
While struggling to make room for all this prepared food in the fridge I came across containers full of materials that can not be identified. After hours of delicious cooking smells I'm being sent to bed with the gagtastic leftovers of meals past...I ran out to the garbage to get rid of the horrorshow as quickly as possible and almost ran into a guy walking a three legged pitbull. Sad...Time for sleep.
Black Friday November 28th, 12:07 AM
I wrote a bunch of stuff between last night and now and it was all deleted. Let us say sweet potatoes were sweetened, showers were taken and I eventually made it out the door. And what happened? Mostly eating. Also a fair amount of waiting since the turkey wasn't cooked as soon as we'd all hoped. And what of the turkey, indeed?
Well, I wasn't responsible for cooking it. I did ask that we buy a free range organic turkey this year and was graciously indulged. Mr. and Mrs. Ed accompanied me to the Co-op and bought that fancy turkey just for me and it was awesome once it was finally roasted through. So dinner was mostly all my side dishes until about six 'o clock.
There are a few stages of learning re: Thanksgiving. First you learn about the desperate Pilgrims aided by friendly Indians who helped them through a terrifying American winter and the delightful feast they had to celebrate their new friendship. Then you learn about the Trail of Tears. After that, the scope of America's gluttonous consumerism obscures all positive aspects of the holiday. But, finally, I've settled on the idea that whatever we dress it up as, Thanksgiving is really a celebration of the harvest, a good old-fashioned animal sacrifice(yay, Buffy!). Winter is ahead. For the Pilgrims and everyone that meant long nights, cold days and the very real possibility that they might not make it through. On my cozy couch, stuffed with pie, that possibility seems so remote it's almost offensive to consider it. But there are dark times always where we think spring will never come and on Thanksgiving we're setting aside one day to appreciate that it WILL come and with it the bounty and life before us will be renewed. It's a cycle humanity has trusted and relied on for a long time and part of the reason I think and write about food so much is because of how important and rare it is to really be connected to that cycle.
Sharing some food with some folks renews that connection in some small way, I think. I am thankful I did it today. And for the half a Derby pie in my fridge right now.
-a 12-ounce bag of cranberries.
-1/2 cup cabernet wine
-2 tablespoons of orange zest.
-1/2 cup orange juice
-1 cinnamon stick
-some salt, a pinch, and also a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 3/4 cup of sugar to a sauce pan. Pour in the juice and the wine; add the zest, the cinnamon stick and those spices. Bring that up to a simmer on medium heat. When it's simmering, add the cranberries. They are going to start to pop, it's going to take about 10 minutes. The sauce will also start to thicken. Throw in a 1/4 cup of cold water and turn off the heat. Take out the cinnamon stick.
-12 cups slightly dry bread
-1/3 cup snipped parsley
-1/3 cup finely chopped onion
-1 1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. ground sage
-1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
-1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
-2 cups of vegetable broth
-6 tablespoons of butter, melted
Combine bread, parsley, onion, salt, sage,thyme, and rosemary. Add broth and butter; toss lightly to mix. Use to stuff a 12-pound turkey or bake covered, in a 2-quart casserole at 325º until heated through, about one hour.
Sweet Potato Souffle
-3 c. mashed sweet potatoes
-1 c. sugar (or one cup honey so your teeth don't fall out)
-2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1/3 stick butter, melted
-1/2 c. milk
Mix all ingredients and pour into greased baking dish. Cover with topping.
-1 c. brown sugar
-1/3 c. flour -1 c. chopped nuts -1/3 stick butter, melted
Mix thoroughly and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Twice Baked Potatoes
I had a recipe but didn't follow it...cut your potatoes in half, bake them till they're soft enough to scoop out the insides then mash those insides up with everything fattening and delicious-milk, chedder, butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, green onions. Put the filling back in the skins and baked 'em till they're brown on top.
Again didn't follow a particular recipe...made a crust from butter and flour soaked my pecans in bourbon, mixed them in a butter/sugar/egg/flour/vanilla mix, laid the bottom with chocolate chips, pecans on top, baked till goldeny on the edge. I should write a freaking cook book.