I am going to have to up my game:
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I compiled some favorite recipes here. Unfortunately this year, it will be a socially distant and quiet affair. No way am I traveling to see family, much as I would love to.
That doesn’t mean we can’t have good food. I’m pulling some more of my favorites this week and will post here as I do. Some I’ll update with instant pot versions.
This is a good start:
Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.
I think I’m going to volunteer for mashed potato duty this year so I can make these again, a lost recipe found, Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, link here. I made them years ago and then completely forgot about the recipe.
And this recipe is the reason I think I get invited to many holiday gatherings, my Cranberry Upside Down Cake, click here.
Every year my brother deep fries a turkey. I’m going to miss that. I have a real fear of deep-frying anything, which is why all the deep-fried recipes on my blog are from JeffreyW. I will still cook a turkey though, because, leftovers.
Not sure how you want to cook your turkey this year? I’ve listed some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, here.
I made amazing short ribs today. Seared them, made a mirepoix, added tomato paste, soy, worcestshire, a bottle of red, garlic, and herbs, cooked them down, served on mashed potatoes.
Here is the question. If I strain the remaining juice and get all the herbs and beat up mirepoix out of it, let it cool, and then skim off all the fat, can I just freeze the remainder and use that the next time I want to do short ribs or make a stew?
Tamara has asked that I fill in for her this evening, and I did myself no favors by texting her all afternoon about all the food I was preparing today. I have no one to blame but myself. So I have broken out the emergency tiara and let’s get to work!
I did several different food/recipe preparations today. The first was making condensed milk so I can make a simple, two ingredient ice cream base tomorrow. Since I really can’t process a lot of refined sugar or refined/processed carbohydrates, I substituted monk fruit crystals* for the sugar. It is in the fridge now, but since I’m not sure this is going to set up and I am likely to have to put it back on heat tomorrow to actually reduce enough liquid so that I have condensed milk and not sweetened milk, we’ll leave that one for another day. I’m pretty sure there was a problem in the way the recipe I used was written up. I really don’t understand how you can start out on low and then, once the sugar dissolves into the milk, turn the heat down to a medium-low simmer. I watched the video and it wasn’t much help either. More on this project at a later date.
The second thing I did was bake a batch of the Palmer House brownies. I’ve posted about these here before, including the recipe, but since I’m making these for me and I’m not interested in having both the cake flour and the sugar make me sick, I made a few tweaks. The first is that I substituted 8 ounces of almond flour for the 8 ounces of cake flour. The second is that I substituted 1 lbs of monk fruit crystals for the sugar in the recipe. I also used Guittard dark chocolate chips, which don’t have a lot of sugar in them, so overall there isn’t a lot of refined sugar in these brownies. They’re not low calorie; they still get a pound of butter and 1 pound 2 ounces of dark chocolate, but without the cake flour and the refined sugar I can eat them without getting sick. I’ve made them this way three times now since I’ve gone into lockdown. So if you want to give this a try, with the substitutions I’ve used, just one important thing to note: until you add the eggs into the brownie batter, the melted chocolate-butter combination will not combine smoothly with the almond flour. Basically it starts okay, but after a minute or two it starts to look very grainy and the almond flour releases the butter. The batter quickly returns to normal once you add the eggs.
The recipe for tonight, however, is chicken-cheese enchiladas.
2 boneless chicken breasts and 4 boneless chicken thighs or any combination of chicken you like. This was enough for 18 enchiladas. You could substitute beef or pork or even shrimp for the chicken if you prefer.
1/2 cup of salsa verde for the marinade
Place the chicken in a large bowl, pour the salsa verde over it, mix the salsa verde around to make sure the chicken is covered, and marinate for at least five hours.
Set your burner to just below medium-high. In a large skillet or saute pan, heat up just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through and each side is turning golden brown. Remove the chicken from the heat, chop or shred, and set aside
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Quick queso blanco:
1/2 cup of heavy cream
4 to 6 ounces of shredded cheese – I used the four cheese Mexican blend because I had it on hand and it meant I didn’t have to sacrifice a knuckle to the box grater!
Heat the cream in a saute pan over medium heat. As the cream begins to get warm add the cheese, then thoroughly combine as it melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down to as low as possible.
18 corn tortillas
Grated or shredded cheese – I used the Four Cheese Mexican blend because it meant I didn’t have to do any extra work
To assemble the enchiladas, take a corn tortillas sprinkle some shredded cheese into the center in a strip running from side to side, cover that with the chopped or shredded chicken, roll the tortilla around the chicken and cheese, and place in the bottom of a greased/kitchen sprayed baking dish. Repeat until you’ve got all the enchiladas rolled and sitting in the dish. Cover with the queso blanco and then more shredded cheese. Place in the oven at 350 degrees until the shredded cheese melts and is just on the edge of browning.
I went very easy here. I bought a can of black beans – NOT GOYA – and a package of Vigo low sodium yellow rice. I made the beans and rice while I was assembling and baking the enchiladas. If you’re really particular and want to use dry beans and make your yellow rice from scratch, that’s great. Feel free to tell me in the comments, because you’re going to do it anyway, why I’m a horrible human being who has destroyed your heritage by not making these from scratch.
On your plate, put a serving of the yellow rice and then top with as much or as little of the black beans as you like. This can then be topped with chopped onion if you like or not if you don’t. Then place as many enchiladas as you think you’re going to eat on the rest of the plate. I did these New Mexico Christmas style. Cover one third of each enchilada with salsa verde, leave a 1/3 gap in the middle, and then cover the remaining third with salsa rojo. In that center third place a spoonful of sour cream with a spoonful of guacamole. Then serve and eat.
If you prefer all salsa verde or salsa rojo or no sour cream or only sour cream or no guacamole or only guacamole, serve it however is appetizing to you.
* I use a monk fruit crystal that do not have sugar alcohols added to them. You could also use agave crystals, honey, maple syrup, or pretty much any other sweetener that will caramelize.
Sweet FSM on a pogo stick!
I am losing it today, as each new news drop triggers a fresh cycle of rage. Fuck every national Republican (and most of the rest)–sideways with a rusty farm implement.
I’m genuinely in fear for the Republic at this point, what with a criminally-led DoJ and an increasingly corrupted judiciary enabling whatever arbitrary power grab the Cheetolini stumbles upon.
Clearly, I need a break, and maybe some of y’all do too.
So…let’s talk poultry.
Some here may recall I am a roast chicken obsessive. Sunday afternoon, I picked up a really nice bird from our local refinance-your-mortgage specialty butcher (Savenors, for the Massholes among us).
Brought it home, and then thought about what to do with it. I’ve posted before on our defaults–splayed chicken with leeks and mushrooms, roast chicken with duck fat under the skin and so on.
Nothing seemed quite right so we started to vamp.
First, I spatchcocked the bird.
Then I made a wet rub to put under the skin, very, very loosely adapted from a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for chicken sofrito. It was somewhere around a 1/4 cup of olive oil, the juice of about 1/3 to 1/2 of a lemon, one huge (or two more regular) garlic cloves very finely chopped, some thyme, and about a teaspoon of pimenton–smoked paprika. A little bit of maple syrup to cut the acid (honey would work too). Salt and pepper. I stirred it up, tasted it, adjusted it (more salt, and a little more pimenton– I wanted to make sure the smokiness of the paprika comes through–not too much, but there. I loosened the skin on the breasts and thights, and spooned most of the sauce under the skin, saving just a little to rub on the outside.
I had been preheating the oven to 400 degrees with a large cast iron frying pan heating up inside it. (A big boi: the Lodge 15 inch beast. Work on your upper body strength before using.) When the oven got to temperature I slopped some more olive oil in the pan and then added the chicken, breast side up.
While that got started, I prepped a red onion, four or five shallots, cut into quarters, and an orange pepper. Mixed them all up in a bowl, added a little salt and pepper, a quarter cup or so of sweet sherry, another third of a lemon’s juice, and some capers.
At about the twelve minute mark, maybe fifteen, I added the vegetables to the pan, scattering them all around the bird, and then shut ’em all up together. After another twenty minutes or so–maybe 25, who knows?–this was the result:
The texture of the bird was as good as I remember achieving, well, just about ever. The self basting with the spice rub (and the acid involved, I suspect) did something wonderful. The vegetables, braising in booze and chicken fat, turned into a kind of jam. And the garlic-pimenton-lemon flavor was just forward enough to make it all interesting, without overwhelming the quality of the chicken meat itself.
Trump and disease and death simply faded out of mind for a good hour.
I needed that.
So: food porn as a distraction.
Your turn: what have you made or dreamt of that has, at least for a moment, lifted you out of grim reality?
Open food themed thread, jackals!
Image: Annibale Carracci, The Bean Eater, between 1584-1585.
During this extended stay-at-home, many folks are exploring cooking, baking, brewing, fermenting, and other such hobbies. I know I have; unfortunately, my exercise has not increased apace, something I plan to change today.
One thing I cook with is sourdough starter. Recently, I’ve not done much with it except make a little side money. For years, I would bake bread, use it as the sponge for an incredible three-day pizza dough, and make sourdough pancakes. Those are my favorite; when things go well, they have a sharp flavor that is addictive. Since I put an extra egg into the mix, they are a good source of protein to offset some of the carbs and oil.
I’ve worked my starter a lot by heating it frequently, often to the point of death for the yeast culture, then tended it as it recovered. Repeated cycles have brought out a nice, strong sourdough flavor. Also, it’s a very active culture, often bubbling ominously on its own within the first couple of days of being activated. I’m a big fan of wild yeasts, so I keep the top of the jar open, covered with just a thin white handkerchief. This allows built-up carbon dioxide to escape, and allows wild yeasts floating in the air to join my colony of yum.
I’m sure you’re wondering what I meant by “side money” and “activated”.
I sell my sourdough starter on Ebay for fun, and business is hopping these days as more and more folks are looking for something to do that enhances home life. By hopping, I’ve sold 7 in the past week, and that’s after a two-month lull. It’s not making me rich by any means, but a little extra $ here and there is always welcome, and I enjoy spreading my love of sourdough, just don’t ask me how to bake a good loaf. My recent efforts have been sad, deflated, and uninspiring.
Once you get sourdough starter, it’s either a thick liquid (from a friend, often given in a glass jar) or it’s dry. I sell dry starter – I used my dehydrator to dry out a large batch of the liquid, and I ship these small packets of the pulverized remains. Occasionally, I pull a packet out of the fridge and activate it according to my instructions to ensure that it is still viable.
Narrator: It is always viable, it’s amazing stuff that will likely outlive us all.
Activating dried starter is as simple as adding it to warm water and flour (and a bit of sugar for day 1) and letting the colony grow. Each day you add more flour and water and in two weeks, you’ve got a full-flavored starter ready for action. Of course you can use it sooner, but the fuller flavors begin to shine after 14 or so days of growth. It is a live culture and needs flour and water to keep going, so folks tend it every day or two, keeping these starters alive for years-to-decades. You pour off part of the existing starter (or use it!) to make room for the additional flour and water otherwise you end up with a house full of starter!
Funny story – I was coming up with a name and chose “Hott Stuff” because I’m goofy and I used heat to stress the culture and encourage more of the super-yummy heat-tolerant yeasts to develop and take over. When I setup my initial Ebay store, I made some errors and so had to call support to get things sorted. The lady was gracious, but asked me the login name and I had to say “Hott Stuff” and almost giggled myself to death. She laughed too and had fun teasing me with “Mr. Stuff”, and “Oh, Hott…”. Turns out, since this is a hobby business linked to a gmail account and my personal PayPal account and not a full, incorporated one with documents, EIN, and bank account, the approach I’d chosen was wrong. She helped me change my account, laughing all the way. I still feel the residual cheek-blush as I type this.
So, on the off chance that you or someone you know is looking for a good, easy sourdough starter, please take a look!
Open thread. I won’t be around, in my bouts of free time today, I must put some seeds and seedlings into their containers and the furnace repair folk are coming soon. And quiche won’t make itself, now will it?
I made a half batch, plenty for two
I just found out about a taste treat called Japanese Souffle Pancakes. I put the recipe on my list to try soon. They are a little complicated and I knew I wouldn’t have time for a while. Then my cousin chimed in and told me about Rice Cooker Pancakes, a simple pancake recipe you make in your rice cooker. They looked amazing.
One problem. I don’t have a rice cooker.
But I do have a Multi-Pot (a type of Instant Pot) and I figured there must be an equivalent recipe. There were several. So I had to give it a try. The results were yummy.
First, the pancakes:
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1-1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups buttermilk* (I use buttermilk powder and water)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 eggs
- Opt: blueberries, cinnamon, pecans, bacon
*you can substitute milk. Or you can add 2 tsp lemon juice to milk and let sit for 3 minutes to create a buttermilk equivalent.
Whisk together dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and mix until everything is combined. The batter should still be lumpy, you don’t want to overmix.