Thursday Morning Open Thread: Brown Bag Democracy

More immediately, the Resistance targets the expense-account demographic…

Doggedly painstaking NYTimes explainer:

The campaign, spread on social media and messaging apps, has called for a “day without immigrants.” It asks foreign-born people nationwide, regardless of legal status, not to go to work or go shopping in a demonstration of the importance of their labor and consumer spending to the United States’ economy.

Activists and groups in cities across the country have picked up the call, reposting fliers found online, and in some cases organizing demonstrations to coincide with the event. Several activists said that they did not know how the campaign began or how many people would heed it, and that as far as they knew, there was no national organization behind it.

But the dining scene in Washington, where the new Trump administration is taking a hard line on immigration and deportation, took notice. At least a few dozen restaurants in and around the Beltway have committed to staying closed on Thursday. Others have said they would offer limited service in the expectation that many of their employees would be out for the day. Some restaurants in other cities, including several of the Blue Ribbon restaurants in New York, have joined in…

Hey, when it was just lobbyists schmoozing backbenchers down in The Swamp, cute little joke. But if it inconveniences the important Media People and financiers in the Big Apple, well…

Actually, I expect a spate of mean-girl posts tattling on colleagues who Just Can’t (make their own lunches). Betting on Maureen Dowd to be first into pixels, since she doesn’t seem like she consumes many calories in solid form.
***********

What’s on the agenda as we slog through this interminable week?



Sufganiyot: Jelly Donuts For the Jewish Festival of Lights

(Sufganiyot for sale in Israel)

A desperate plea has gone out for a recipe thread. Or a pet thread. I’ve decided not to combine them – not to look down on anyone’s traditional/cultural culinary delights. And since I didn’t bother to do any photo documentation of the meatballs and red sauce I made earlier today, I thought I’d share this NY Times recipe for sufganiyot (h/t: The Vicious Babushka at LGF – and today is, apparently, her birthday so all you folks that don’t comment there, click across and wish her a happy birthday just because!). Sufganiyot are served in Israel as part of Hanukah celebrations as opposed to potato latkes (potato pancakes), which are the Hanukah treat of choice here in the US.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup lukewarm milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Freshly grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 ⅔ cups flour, more as needed
  • ½ cup thick raspberry or strawberry jam (Adam baking comment: you can also use chocolate mousse, boston cream, pastry cream, or anything else you want inside your sufganiyot)
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings) 162 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 4 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 29 milligrams cholesterol; 57 milligrams sodium
    • Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Powered by Edamam

Preparation

  1. Place milk or water in small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over milk. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat remaining sugar with egg and egg yolk. Add sour cream, salt, vanilla extract, orange zest and yeast mixture, and mix well. With mixer running, gradually add flour. Mix until dough is soft, smooth and elastic, adding flour if dough seems very sticky, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not add more than an additional 3 tablespoons flour; dough will be somewhat sticky, but will firm up in refrigerator. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a biscuit or a cookie cutter to cut out 2-inch rounds, placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reroll scraps and cut again. Let rise in a warm place 30 minutes.
  4. In a heavy pot, heat 3 inches of oil to 365 degrees; when hot enough, a small piece of dough will brown on bottom in 30 seconds. If too hot, doughnuts will brown outside before cooking through. Working in batches, fry doughnuts until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels and dust with sugar while still warm. Let oil come back to 365 degrees between batches.
  5. If you have a pastry bag, fit with a small round tip and spoon jam into bag. When doughnuts are cool enough to handle, use tip of bag (or pointed tip of a serrated knife) to make a hole in bottom of doughnut. Squeeze or use a small spoon to nudge 1/2 teaspoon jam into hole. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and serve immediately. Dust again with powdered sugar.







Cookie Swap (Open Thread)

christmas-cookies-004

It’s time for our annual Drunken Aunties Cookie Bake Off, this year with extra family drama into which I refuse to be drawn. Expect drunk tweets! On the menu:

Butter cookie cutouts with royal icing
Mocha chip espresso cookies
Buckeyes
Peanut butter cup cookies
Raspberry jam thumbprints
Coconut macaroons
Snickerdoodles

Christ, do I dread making buckeyes with little kids! Do you know what buckeyes are? Basically, a mixture of peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. Sounds perfect for a kid project, right?

Nope. Last year, I turned my back for just a few minutes to monitor the baking, and the little shits made buckeyes ranging in size from marbles (as I’d instructed) to billiard balls.

I don’t expect precision from kids, but damn. I had to assemble an ad hoc toothpick crane to lower the giant buckeyes in the chocolate pan and roll them around without them falling apart. Then I had to make wax paper baffles in the tins containing giant buckeyes so they wouldn’t roll around and crush gingerbread men and Santas like that boulder in the Temple of Doom. Pain in the ass.

Anyhoo, long night ahead. Open thread!








Open Thread with Tasty Bread!

Here are bakers creating loaves of Cuban bread at my favorite bakery in Tampa:

mauricio-faedo-bakery

See the little strips of green protruding from the ends of the loaves like serpents’ tongues? Those are palm leaves, which give Cuban bread its distinctive pattern. How I missed this bread when I lived up north for a few years!

This particular bakery prints the following list of ingredients on its long bread sacks: Water, flour, salt, lard and yeast. If you don’t consume it all within 24 hours, the loaf will petrify to the point that it can be used for household demolition chores.

Open thread!



College Football Open Thread

trumpkin-bar

It’s Rivalry Week (say that out loud three times), so some interesting games are on tap today. The ones I’ll be watching with the most interest — in chronological order and ascending importance (to me) — will be Ohio State and Michigan, Alabama and Auburn, and, of course, Florida vs. Florida State (Go Gators!). But there are many other consequential matchups today. Which teams are you pulling for, if any?

Got into a somewhat slurry bar argument with a Trumpkin last night. It all started when hubby decided he didn’t want Thanksgiving leftovers, so we went to the local Greek restaurant/lounge to have a cocktail and order a pizza to take home. Turns out many people in town had the same pizza idea, so it took much longer than expected.

While we waited at the bar, my husband and the guy seated next to him struck up a conversation. I was only half paying attention. But then the man said something about the economy getting better since there will be a businessman in the White House, causing me to aspirate bourbon while laughing bitterly.

The man inquired if I were unhappy with the outcome of the election. I answered in the affirmative. It escalated from there and got mildly snarly. To be honest, I don’t think either of us acquitted ourselves particularly well, though I was correct on the merits.

Anyway, poor, long-suffering hubby. On the bright side, I am a pretty good cook, and today I’m making my famous shrimp etouffee, so he’s got that going for him. Open thread!



Thanksgiving Dinner

So the frills on the frilly apron have drooped in all the heat from the oven and the tiara is tarnished with all the sweat, but Thanksgiving Dinner came out perfect!

First up the pictures.

One spatchcocked turkey preparing to rest for 30 minutes:

resting_turkey

40 minutes later – 30 for the resting and ten for the slicing – and we are ready!

sliced_turkey

The meat was tender, flavorful, and juicy and the skin was crisp!

And now for some sides. Cornbread stuffing and roasted root vegetables – red and purple heritage potatoes, celery, and carrots.

sides

And for desert: double chocolate pie:

double_chocolate_pie

double_chocolate_pie_slice

Here’s the recipes for those that want.

Turkey:

1 14 to 15 lbs turkey

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Rubbed sage to taste

Poultry seasoning to taste

Directions:

Remove the turkey from the wrapping, remove the neck and giblets and set them aside, and pat dry. Then spatchcock the turkey/remove the backbone and set the backbone aside. turn the turkey breast side up and place firm pressure on each turkey breast to break the breast bone. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Mix the salt, black pepper, rubbed sage, and poultry seasoning together to make a dry rub (dry brine). Place the turkey inside up on the baking sheet and coat the inside with 1/2 the dry rub. Turn the turkey over and coat the outside (breast side up) with the remaining dry rub. Place the dry rubbed turkey in the refrigerator for two to four days.

Roasting:

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator one hour prior to roasting. Preheat oven to 425. When oven reaches 425 place the turkey on an oiled/cooking sprayed wire rack set over a roasting pan (to catch the juices) and place in the oven. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350. Continue to roast until a probe thermometer inserted into the deepest portion of the breast reads 155 degrees. Then remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients:

Enough cornbread from scratch to fill a 9X11 baking pan

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Crushed sage to taste

One large, sweet onion – chopped fine

Four large stalks of celery – chopped fine

2 Teaspoons of olive oil.

The giblets from a turkey or a large chicken – sauteed and minced fine

Chicken or turkey stock to moisten the stuffing

Directions:

Bake the cornbread. In a sauté pan sweat off the onions in the olive oil. Add the giblets, sauté them, then remove from heat and mince the giblets. Crumble the cornbread in a big mixing bowl and add the sweated off onions, the finely chopped celery, and the finely minced giblets. Add the kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and sage to taste. Mix thoroughly. Add just enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing and hold it together. Once everything is combined and seasoned to your taste, stuff the turkey. Or, as in this case because the turkey is spatchcocked, place it in a roasting dish and cook it separately. 

To finish the stuffing: place the roasting dish full of stuffing on the upper rack of the oven above the turkey when you turn the heat down to 350 from 425 degrees.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients:

1 small bag of red heirloom potatoes

1 small bag of purple heirloom potatoes

1 lbs of carrots

4-6 celery stalks (depending on size)

Wash all the vegetables. Cut the potatoes in half and cut the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces. Toss them in olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place them in a roasting dish and place the roasting dish on the upper rack of the oven above the turkey and next to the stuffing when you turn the heat down to 350 from 425 degrees.

Turkey Gravy

1 Turkey backbone bisected half way up

1 Turkey neck

3/4 lbs of carrots

4-6 celery stalks (depending on size)

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Place the turkey backbone and neck in a stock pot and add the salt and black pepper. Chop the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces and add to the stock pot. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and let it continue to boil for 2 to 3 hours. Skim off the scum, cool, and transfer to the refrigerator.

An hour before serving remove the stock from the refrigerator, place in a sauce pot over medium heat. Once hot transfer the stock, including veggies, to the blender. High pulse the stock and veggies until everything is incorporated. Transfer back to the pot over medium heat, taste, and re-season as necessary. Once the turkey finishes resting, any pan drippings can be added to the gravy. Because of the carrots and celery you will not need to add any thickening agents (roux, corn starch, potato starch) to the gravy.

Double Chocolate Pie

First off, I’m pretty sure this is actually an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I’ve been making it for a while, and have tweaked a few things, but I’m almost certain I first saw the recipe on an episode of Essence of Emeril in the mid 90s. Now that disclosure is full, away we go.

Double Chocolate Pie is a dark chocolate mousse pie with crushed Double Stuff Oreos folded into the mousse on a crushed Double Stuff Oreo base.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 a family size package of Double Stuff Oreos

1/2 a cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or baking spray the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan. Crush the Oreos and then mix them with the butter. Place the crushed, buttered Oreos into the bottom of the pie pan or springform pan and make sure you’ve covered the entire bottom. Bake for 10 minutes then remove to the refrigerator to chill and set the crust the rest of the way.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Step 1: Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

8 Ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Add 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract to 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream. Whip until you’ve got stiff peaks. Refrigerate while making the ganache.

Step 2: Dark Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

8 Ounces of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips (or your preferred dark chocolate)

8 Ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Place the 8 ounces of dark chocolate into a mixing bowl and set aside. Place the 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the scalded cream over the dark chocolate. Let sit for five minutes. After five minutes whisk the cream and melted chocolate to combine.

Step 3: Making the Mousse

Ingredients:

Freshly Whipped Cream

Fresh Dark Chocolate Ganache

1 family size package of Double Stuff Oreos Crushed

Directions:

Crush the Oreos and set aside. Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and fold it into the dark chocolate ganache a little at a time. Once all of the whipped cream is folded into the ganache, fold in 2/3 of the crushed Oreos. Remove pie crust from the refrigerator. Scoop 1/2 the mousse into the springform pan. Smooth the top and then cover with the remaining 1/3 of the crushed Oreos. Then scoop the remaining mousse into the springform pan, smooth the top, and return the pie to the refrigerator to set up for at least three to four hours.

Optional finish (as seen in the pictures above)

After three to four hours make a second batch of ganache. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and remove the springform ring from the pie and base pan. Pour the dark chocolate ganache over the top of the pie, turning the ganache from the center to the edge and then around the sides to form a smooth, dark chocolate ganache glaze/shell for the pie. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve (at least one hour).

You all are on your own for antacids and stomach pumping!

 

 



Thanksgiving Morning Open Thread

I’m sure some of you are horrified now, but frankly, I’d eat this over the usual giant hacked-up bird.

The gathering where I’ll be spending the day will have a high-end, well-prepared turkey — along with a goose and a duck, also painstakingly prepared. I will be eating some of the Dakin ham that is my contribution to the feast. I’ll be sorry not to share the general accolades, but not sorry enough to force myself to chew poultry with a smile on my face.

What are y’all looking forward to, or looking forward to avoiding, at the table today?