Leftovers for one

As Thanksgiving day wrapped up and the kids were whipped up into a frenzy of hysterics (by me), dishes were being done, and leftovers were being packed up to get sent home with Cousin It and Uncle Fester and, really, all I was really concerned about was getting everything packed up and out the door, including all the little plastic items, like Legos or jacks, that I would normally be stepping on for the next 3 days that I failed to realized I’d not set much of the leftover bounty aside for myself (sorry about that gonzo run-on sentence).

The next morning as I was preparing to make myself a turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and hot yellow banana pepper sandwich for breakfast as one does, I realized I had no leftovers. This was momentarily sad for me but I’m fine with Cap’n Crunch for breakfast and the challenge of creating another Thanksgiving meal, albeit only for the “leftovers” was upon me. Gauntlet thrown, challenge cheerfully accepted. (And to be clear, in no way was I upset that I did not have leftovers, I’d run a bag of leftovers out to a departing car bare feet in the snow if I had to—generally I do not like to have leftovers).

The real bonus in this situation was that there was no need to debone anything. I got half of a breast and 2 thighs. I had a bag of frozen raw herbed rolls. Made a little dish of dressing, probably too much mashed potatoes, if one can reasonably say that there can be too much of anything potato-related and a boat of gravy.

It’s a little sad eating Thanksgiving alone but I was too distracted by the m-m-m-m and lip smacking noises I was making to notice.

Deboning a turkey demystified

Just kidding, it’s still a mystery. I did it but it was simply awful. I have spared you the hideousness of the flayed bird, the mess of tendons, skin flaps, meat pieces and ooze. (To be honest I could not stop and take pictures it’s just filthy.)

One concession was putting on a glove. Real chefs are supposed to love getting their hands into the food, I am not a real chef. I hate it when professional chefs use them (I’m looking at you Akis) and I hate to use a glove and contribute to waste land fill but I really could not bear the grossness of this particular duty. And I figure one glove is not going to destroy the planet—I could be wrong, we’ll see.

The glove makes my wrist look fat but then so do my pants. At least my hand was clean.

The (stuffed) boneless turkey was excellent. I think. I was so busy fussing around at dinner time the memory of it is mostly a blur.

These were good. While I think I did not even taste them, I’ve made them before and I guarantee they are 100% rock-solid delicious. Herbed buttered rolls. A-Mazing.

German meal, 3

Apple pie

To be clear here, I am not a pie guy. I’ll eat it but it’s not tops on my list. Several of my sisters point out when I make a cake that their family prefers pies. Fine, then make them pies. They don’t have to eat cake. But here’s the thing I just cannot make a decent pie. Key lime pies, yes. But fruit pies are just never great for me. Or anyone else, when I make them, anyway.

For my German meal I made an apple, raisin, walnut pie. I bought a mix of really nice apples and sliced them very thin since my problem is always that the fruit is still crunchy. I soaked the raisins in bourbon. Mixed it all up with the various spices and sugars and plopped it into a pie crust, please note lovely lattice work.

I watched Alison Roman make an apple pie (here) and she baked it for 90 minutes. I was like wha? Alrighty then, problem solved. Except that an hour and a half later the apples were still crunchy. Tasted good enough but no . . . no crunchy fruit in pies. The bourbon flavor was fantastic and I served it with whiskey ice cream. Again, my guest did not seem to mind the crunchy apples. But I did.

German meal, 2

Sauerbraten

What a holy hella rigmarole. Onions, leeks (conveniently provided by Food-Dump-Carol) garlic, carrots, rosemary, thyme, bay, juniper, cloves and god knows what else all. Red wine (my grandfather used rosé), vinegar, honey, ginger snaps and much procedural hoo-ha.

More than a week later it was ready to eat. The only problem was that after 4 hours of slow roasting it was not the falling apart lusciousness I was expecting. It was good but not fabulous. The dumplings were amazing, the sauerbraten just OK.

The next day I slapped the leftovers into my Instantpot and gave them a good work out. Then it became what it should have been. Recipe here although I cannot imagine anyone doing this unless someone was holding a gun to their head.

My guest did not complain but I’m guessing that one does not if one expects to be invited back.

Now on to thanksgiving preparations.

I served it with red cabbage I made myself. Not worth the trouble. It was OK but Aunt Nellie’s is better. I must say.

German meal, 1

A German (via her grandparents) friend came for dinner. She is a hearty eater and enjoys the pleasures, such as they are, of a deeply German meal. Having recently enjoyed them myself I was wanting to recreate some of the fantastic food I’d had in Germany. Of course some of my most favorite meals were not German but I’d had some stupendous sauerbraten, and bread dumplings, respectively. The sauerbraten I’d had was served with some leaden potato dumplings that were done but I’d avoid them if I could.

I decided to marry the sauerbraten and semmelknödlen. Seemed like a marriage made in heaven to me.

These dumplings, called semmelknödlen (recipe here), are made from bread rolls. I used some stale rolls I was given as a friend left for Florida and dumped all her unused food on me. I added some rye bread because while the recipe did not call for it, I was certain it would add to the flavor and it did. These were kinda messy to make but OH SWEET JESUS they were good.

Next up: Sauerbraten, the spouse.

It is with great sadness

that I announce the passing of my dear companion of many years, M St André de Figuière, tire-bouchon de luxe. M de Figuière was born in France sometime in the early 2000s and emigrated to the US around 2010. He has served as my trusted and well-loved cork screw, lo these many years. A devoted and well-loved member of my household, he had been on-call and active daily duty without complaint for well over ten years ceaselessly opening tens of thousands, if not millions, of wine bottles.

He leaves to mourn him, me, Michael Dillon (Ashish Gadicherla—M de Figuiére had two daddies), Loralyn Lassoued, many beloved family members and friends who have been faithfully served by him, and a bottle of Rodney Strong with the working business of M de Figuiere stuck painfully in his throat.

He will be missed. The world was a better place with him in it.

Just, no

In one of the many food emails and/or blogs that show up in my inbox this little nugget of information about a chef in New York appeared:

“At the age of 26, Will Guidara took over a beautiful New York City brasserie that was more flash than substance. Under the guidance of the young restaurateur, Eleven Madison Park transformed into one of the world’s finest dining establishments”.

I dunno. The pic on their website seemed a lot more flash than substance to me. This is not the kind of “dining” I prefer. In fact, I would prefer to eat rather than dine and herein lies the problem, I think.

I would not want to eat there. Well, sure, if someone else is paying for me, fine I’d “dine” there just to see what the hoopla is all about but this just looks like a waste of time, if not calories. I suppose there aren’t that many calories in it by the looks of it.

My experience with expensive restaurants, Michelin starred places and fancy little boîtes where they want you to have wine pairings and hover around you like gnats (or are completely absent, it’s always one or the other) has never been good. I’d have my mother’s meatloaf over whatever that is below any day of the week. It’s cute, I’ll give it that, but not toothsome.

Satsumas vs tangerines

I bought a tiny satsuma tree 2 years ago, tree might be an overstatement. It’s more like a stick with leaves and this summer it got about 15 satsuma fruits growing on it. I really didn’t know the difference between tangerines and satsumas. They look like tangerines and when one of them looked ripe enough I picked it and I ate it. It was very soft, and ridiculously juicy but it was sorta sour, not inedible, it was good but more sour than a clementine tangerine. I thought maybe it just wasn’t ripe enough but a little googlizing got me this info:

“Satsumas are softer in texture, easier to peel as they have a looser skin and have a lighter citrus flavour, whereas clementines are firmer, relatively easy to peel and have a sweeter flavour than satsumas.”

They’re good enough and I grew them myself, well, they really just grew themselves. I did nothing but water them. The squirrels didn’t get them anyway.