This is such an easy way to run through that half-gallon of turkey stock you have gelling in your fridge, and it's a nice change of pace from the casseroles and sammiches. I'm sick of eating turkey, bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, and I'm sure you are too.
On Thanksgiving, we had a 16-pound turkey (for only 5 people), and I made 2 gallons of turkey stock from the carcass. This was way too much to store in my fridge or freezer, so I simmered the stock down to a scant 6 cups, and it really ended up with that velvety mouthfeel you normally associate with the unctuous oxtail broth typically used for phở. The large turkey also left us with a bag full of the confit legmeat and an entire roast breast with which to contend, and since turkey noodle soup is the third spoke of the Holy Trifecta of Thanksgiving Leftovers, I whipped up a version of phở gà, subbing turkey for chicken.
It takes a bit of time to prepare the broth, but it's worth it just for the way your house smells while it's simmering. Into a large pot, toss a few star anise pods, a 4" cinnamon stick, some charred/roasted shallots and ginger, some peppercorns and a couple of cloves, and two or three bay leaves. Toast these quickly in the pot until fragrant, then dump in the turkey (or chicken) stock. Simmer over low heat for an hour or so, replacing the water that evaporates. I also squirt in a tablespoon or so of nước mắm, and add a good pinch of salt and sugar.
Fill a bowl with fresh rice noodles (dried ones should be reconstituted in hot water for a minute first) and a fat wad of turkey meat. Ladle in the boiling-hot broth - this will heat the turkey and noodles and result in the perfect soup-eating temperature. Serve with mung bean sprouts, Thai basil and cilantro, lime wedges and sliced jalapeño, and I like a little sriracha hot sauce or sambal oelek and hoisin sauce on mine. Bon appétit!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
This is such an easy way to run through that half-gallon of turkey stock you have gelling in your fridge, and it's a nice change of pace from the casseroles and sammiches. I'm sick of eating turkey, bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, and I'm sure you are too.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Some of you have been asking about this Hot Brown that I declared I would make with leftover turkey, and I'm gonna tell you all about it. The Hot Brown is a sandwich created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, created in the 1920s by the one of the hotel's first chefs, Fred Schmidt. It's now an institution, and is commonly served during the Kentucky Derby. It's an open-faced turkey sandwich covered in a Parmesan Mornay sauce and bacon. An ideal way to use Thanksgiving leftovers, really. I bet you're wishing you still had some, aren't you.
I, however, used a combination of Parm Redge, extra sharp cheddar and Gruyère (I had a lot after the mac & chee cook-off, I don't usually keep pounds of it around). I also added a nice fat pinch of paprika to the Mornay, and served it on a thick slice of toasted French batard. I've decided that I altered the recipe for a hot brown just enough to give it a newer, sexier name. I dub this sandwich the Foxy Brown.
Don't mess aroun' with Foxy Brown. It's the meanest sammich in town.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Okay, since yesterday was such an ordeal (and I missed the daylight cutoff for decent photos), I'm parsing out the leftovers to eke out as much blogging as possible for my trouble. This morning we enjoyed the leftover sweet potato latkes (more like a large hashbrown) with some of the shredded turkey confit and the ubiquitous fried egg. I spooned over some of the king oyster mushroom Béchamel from the haricots verts au gratin (some of you may have figured out that this is just green bean casserole).
This is just the beginning, and dare I say I'm likely to have more fun with the leftovers than with the original meal. I just want to declare now, in case anyone beats me to the post, that I'm totally making hot browns for dinner tomorrow. I called it. Then will come turkey phở, then I'll be in the field for a week fretting over my leftovers.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I've got so much work ahead of me, but I'm making some progress. It's not too late! I spatched my turkey and the legs and wings are confiting in the oven, the breasts are tied and chillin' in a brine of coriander and fennel seed (from the garden), satsuma oranges and kefir lime leaves (with a splash of old Pinot), and the kabocha and kuri squashes for my tart are roasting along with the quinces and cranberries for the chutney. I have prepped my carrots and am gearing up to make the custard for my ice cream - if I could only decide which ice cream to make! It's a toss-up between black peppercorn (with a sprinkle of Bolivian pink salt) or young ginger and honey.
Rosemary-Concorde pear focaccia with cheese curds
Chanterelle bisque with fresh turmeric and caramelized onions
Mixed green salad with honeycrisp apples, Brindisi and balsamic-honey vinaigrette
Haricots verts au gratin with king oyster mushrooms
Glazed carrots with young ginger
Turkey confit hash with sweet potato latkes
Roasted turkey breast with quince-cranberry chutney
Mashed potatoes with roasted shallot-thyme gravy
Garlic and herb savory bread pudding
Kabocha and kuri squash tart with ____ ice cream (I'm leaning toward the peppercorn)
I guess that looks like plenty after all. Okay, back to the kitchen with me - the wine's starting to kick in.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I am hell of tired after working a 12.5 hour day, 6 hours of which were spent with the client (and although this is a good client that I like, I tire of my own good behavior and mouth-watching after about 45 minutes). I came home after driving three hours with a raging headache and a bit of nausea, and needed a little horizontal couch time before I could do anything.
But some of you seemed genuinely interested in my ham and cheese orzo casserole (gluttons for punishment, you lot), so I'll write the recipe for you as best as I can. This was a hip-shooter, so forgive me if it yields a slightly different picture for you. This, by the by, is why I rarely post any recipes, ever. I don't cook from them, and I don't write them as I go.
Ham and Cheese Orzo Casserole
I dunno, like two cups of orzo? I shook some out of my huge jar.
4-ish cups of chicken stock?
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup half & half + 1.5 cups hot water (or 2 cups milk, which we never have)
2 big handfuls of grated cheese - I used sharp cheddar and Gruyère
8 oz-ish of diced ham (I cubed up 3 slices that were 4" in diameter and 1/2" thick)
2 cups(?) chopped broccoli florets (it was one crown's worth)
2 baby bok choys sliced into chiffonade (you nudge this into every meal these days because you bought a huge bag, which is the only way Fubonn sells it)
a handful of green beans that you really should use up before they go bad
French fried onions (Trader Joe's makes good ones), or panko, or seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350. Cook the orzo in the stock, simmering gently and adding more hot water as needed, until all the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is just a nit past al dente. Remove from heat.
While the orzo is cooking, prepare the Mornay sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour, whisking until blended and cooking until golden and nutty-smelling (this is roux, for the noobs). Remove from the heat and add the half & half/water (or milk), whisking until flawlessly creamy and lump-free (this is Béchamel, for the noobs). This step is expedited by the use of an immersion blender, FYI. Yes, I'm admitting it, and don't look at me like that. When the sauce is perfectly blended, return to the heat, reduce temp to low, and simmer and bubble for about 10 minutes, or until the floury taste is cooked out. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses (save some to sprinkle on top) and S&P.
Mix the Mornay sauce into the cooked orzo and stir in the ham and veg. Pour into your favorite hand-me-down casserole that your Grandma Laverne used to use (and was probably purchased with Green Stamps saved up from all those trips to IGA). Top with the remaining cheese and crispety topping. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is starting to bubble over and leave those nice browned bubbly streaks down the side of the crock, and the crispety topping is all golden and crispety.
Like I said, I can't guarantee your results. It takes a little finesse, this casserole business. If you try the recipe and it fails miserably (I doubt that will happen - it's ham and cheese and pasta, for fuck's sake), just let me know and I'll help troubleshoot.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been cooking and eating a lot of casseroles and gratins lately. My little white Corningware vessel hasn't seen this much action since the Ford administration. Out of all of my crockery, it's by far my favorite. Not just because of nostalgia for Grandma Laverne's celery-cheddar-water chestnut casserole (which I flawlessly reenacted one Thanksgiving for my wistful dad, just for him to admit that he'd always hated it), but because it is virtually stain-proof. Nay, it is literally stain-proof. Okay, I also love it because it used to belong to Grandma Laverne.
Obviously, this time of year begs for bubbly shit coming out of the warm-your-house-up oven, but there's something far more primal about making and eating casseroles in cooler weather. It connects us to our aproned, canned soup-having ancestors in a way that DNA just can't. I was a frumpy housefrau in a previous life, I just know it, and casserole was my weapon.
There's just no way to make this look good, is there? Maybe that's why so many kids hate tuna casserole. I always loved it, personally, which is a good thing since my mom made it on a semi-regular basis. Now, I make it pretty much exactly like she did, but I use a better brand of cream of mushroom soup and solid albacore. Everything else, though - frozen peas, wide egg noodles and crunchy topping - is just the same. Though I normally like to fuck with everything I grew up eating until its foundation is unrecognizable, tuna casserole garners my subscription to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of recipe adulteration.
The best part is the crunchy edge noodles. Or the sweet peas. Or the briny, flaky tuna.
Okay, I went ahead and snuck in some chiffonade of baby bok choy and sliced green beans just to be a bitch. He didn't seem to notice.
So, casseroles. I probably have one or two more in me, probably for Thanksgiving, and then I'll seek help for my addiction.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I don't know what's in the water, but I've been craving foods that are much maligned by children across the nation. Brussels sprouts and tuna casserole were both on the menu this week, but rather than risk losing valuable readership busting out both at once, I'm parsing this out.
The fruit stand by our house (not a farmer's market, mind you) has a giant box of Brussels sprouts, still on the stalk, sitting out on SE 28th. I was out for a stroll last week and decided to bring a stalk home. I do love Brussels sprouts, and Scott recently admitted that ones he'd tasted didn't disgust him (and he'd just learned about the novel stalk-growth), so I figured I'd strike while the iron's hot.
I trimmed a bowlful of them off the stem, and started shaving them on the mandoline to make that salad in the November Gourmet. WAY too much work. I got through about 5 of them and switched gears. I just quartered the rest of them, quickly steam-blanched them and tossed them with walnut oil and salt. I incorporated the shaved bits and some finely ground almonds, and stuck the whole lot into the oven until the shaved bits and almonds were crispy-toasty brown and the sprouts had gone tender and nutty.
I never met a food I didn't like when I was a kid, but isn't it funny how some dislikes really stick with us as adults? Amy and Jonny's veal liver really brought out the picky kid in a lot of foodies, and I'm sure I'll get my share of people admitting they never liked Brussels sprouts. But isn't part of being a grown-up the power to try doing things your own way? Roast a Brussels sprout instead of boiling it all to fuck, and tell me it's not damn tasty.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The other night we were talking about how to use the too-much ham we had (why do they only sell it in huge hunks?), and Scott mentioned something like "what about ham sliders on biscuits?" It's not often that he actually a) suggests something for dinner, especially when it's b) something that isn't fried chicken or fish and chips. I always honor his suggestions as a way of encouraging him to come up with more dinner ideas, but it's still a completely random event, and my coddling is really patronizing.
This time, though, he really fucking nailed it. I elaborated upon his idea by baking fresh buttermilk biscuits (adorably called bikkies by our good friends down under), and topping the ham with caramelized onions, aged fontina, lettuce and some good, grainy mustard.
We didn't even have any leftover for breakfast the next day. Surprised?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
For those of you who didn't know, there's such a thing in this wonderful world as poutine. As far as I can surmise, it is only found in Canada (though some asshole in Jersey is trying to pass off some bullshit Disco Fries as a facsimile when it is a totally different thing). Poutine is - wait for it - French fries topped with cheese curds and smothered with rich beef gravy. Did your arteries just slam shut in blissful "whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis" ecstasy? I thought so.
Scott and I hunted some down in Vancouver, but it wasn't that great. It was kidney stone salty, and the gravy was runny and sogged the fries. I didn't give it much more thought until yesterday, when I got a big old bee in my bonnet about poutine. I wanted desperately to eat poutine after going to the gym (hell, I wanted to eat it at the gym). Oh, this was on.
Last night I made my own, from scratch. With real squeaky cheese curds that took a phone call to source. And salty, homemade sweet potato steak fries for umami-sweet. And homemade gravy from beef and veal demiglace for consummate boner induction. This was so good, I feel like throwing an extra "motherfucking" in. Motherfucking.
It was incredibly fast and easy, too. I hand-cut the sweet potato into thick steak fries and microwaved them with a splash of water for 4 minutes to parcook (this saves a LOT of cooking time). Then I tossed them in a little vegetable oil and kosher salt and baked them at 450 for about 15 minutes. Whilst the fries were getting brown and crisped of edge, I whipped up hella fast gravy by spooning a couple globs of demi into a small pan and adding a jam jar of water shaken up with a few spoonfuls of flour. Simmer for 10 minutes until glossy and thick as a gravy wanna be.
We enjoyed this healthful dinner (it's actually only like 250 calories for half of the whole bowl - not that I'm counting) with a nice green salad and ham-and-biscuit sliders. Oh don't worry your pretty lil' head, I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. Also, stay tuned for future installments of my new poutine obsession. I'm thinking a post-Thanksgiving Poutine Galvaude with turkey confit.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I love Cooking Mama. It's better on the DS than on the Wii, but still hell of fun. Enjoy this fun Flash version, compliments of our good friends at PETA! (I removed the game from this page because the screaming and music are annoying after the twentieth time.)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Janelle gave me some of her hens' eggs a week or two ago. They're so lovely - different sizes and shades of tawny and heather-gray. The yolks are saffron-orange and salute proudly on the hot pan. But the best thing about these little beauts is the flavor. You can really taste the difference between eggs from lively chickens that breathe forest air, freely pecking at bugs and grit and weeds, and those from the soylent chickens that eat their own shit and feathers ground up with cornmeal and sawdust. Instead of the peaked, watery interiors of conventional (this includes so-called "free-range") eggs, these are rich and pastoral, humming with nutriment and fecundity.
Typical Sunday morning breakfast: carb/protein/fat in equal parts for optimal metabolic performance (you didn't know I give a shit about that stuff, did you). Today it's a fresh-baked multi-grain bagel (take and bake from friendly neighborhood Marsee Baking) with thick slabs of uncured ham, egg fried over medium, and Gruyère. Wash down with ample amounts of good, strong coffee. Do chores.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This side dish is from ONE beet. One perfect, golden nugget so sweet I could eat the whole plate for dinner alone. I scrubbed and cubed it, steamed it, then simply dressed it in good butter, a splash of Norm's homemade Pinot vinegar, and some grated ginger and turmeric rhizome. A pinch of salt and red chili, e voilà.
This simple little plate begs for a curried lamb and fragrant jasmine rice, or maybe a nice paneer crumble and biryani. Tonight, though, I'll enjoy it in its own right.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Because I am completely détritus blanc, I prefer my mac & chee with ketchup. Oh, don't look at me like that. Some of you are toasting marshmallows onto pork loin chops or eating barbecue sauce on spaghetti. Like that's a thing. Ketchup on mac & chee is good, and I don't even get high any more. My point, however, is that creamy-rich and twangy-sweet make excellent bedfellows. They're best mates.
Okay, I can't completely take the credit for this. My SE Portland homies will call me out if I try to anyways, so I may as well come clean. I totally stole this idea from the Victory, a cozy little Old Berlin-esque gastropub that makes a stellar spaetzle and cheese with applesauce (and has an intelligent, restrained beer and wine selection). But I knew I could do it better. It is my modus operandi, after all. After tasting my souped-up version with a sweet, spicy chutney of roasted quinces and dried cranberries, Scott admitted he'd been wondering when I was going to pwn Victory's spaetzle.
This dish is eerily reminiscent of the strozzapreti I made awhile back, but with a Kraut edge. I toasted the caraway seeds in the browning cultured butter (as it transformed flour into roux), then whisked in half & half, a splash of my homemade aqvavit and a few glugs of Spaten Optimator. I whisked and simmered, then added a little mustard powder and S&P. Handfuls of grated Gruyère (and a whole wedge of last-legs Chaubier). Stirred into some cooked spaetzle (store-bought from Edelweiss) and into a buttered casserole it goes (a sprinkle of fried onions is prudent), and a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes.
The chutney is from the quince tree in my back yard. This year it produced less than half the fruit it did last year, which is fine, since quinces are hard to use when you have 20 pounds of them. People just don't take them, and don't care about homemade quince paste with Manchego. Last year we had so many that I was draping them all over the house just for their intoxicating rose blossom-pineapple fragrance. If they could only bottle that. But I digress.
Roast the halved, cored quinces (easier with a melon baller) peel on for an hour or so, until soft (I added an apple to the mix for sweetness). Place the roasted halves in a potato ricer skin side up so when the flesh is pressed through the holes the skin stays behind for easy retrieval. This is way easier than peeling quinces, and the flesh will stay much more moist, besides. Stir in a small handful of dried cranberries (chopped), a few spoons of brown sugar, a fat pinch of Seven Spice™ and a drib of pear liqueur. A few drops of balsamic will give a little spank of acid.
We decided to go full bore and served it up with some grilled Weisswurst; bitter treviso and baby bok choy braised with bacon, chanterelles and lemons; and Bavarian-style soft pretzels with lots of crunchy salt and good brown mustard. Oh, and beer. Beer.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The other day I was wandering around New Seasons, as is my wont, and they had an unbelievable deal on pork spareribs. Like $2.38 a pound or sommat. Sure, you're mostly paying for bone, but that's still so cheap that you can get a half a rack for a few bucks and feed two people easily.
Their root veg was particularly enormous, too, and I wound up buying a turnip and a golden beet, each easily the size of my head. The crispy autumn sunshine and oak duff worked their magic on me, and I fell into the trance of a slow braise. Orange zest and juice, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and shallots warmed in a wide casserole and I slipped the ribs under the cozy liquid, tucked it snug in its bed with tinfoil, and kissed it goodnight in a three-hour warm oven.
When the meat was dripping off the bones, I reduced the liquid until sticky-sweet and earthy soy. I boiled and mashed a whole megatuber, Super Mario-esque turnip with a lot of buttermilk and cultured butter, added a pinch of salt and chopped parsley, and then ran the immersion blender through it for good measure.
Pencil-thin asparagus (not in season, but Scott tends to pick it up for his requisite steak-and-mashed-potato-while-Heather-is away Man Dinner, and we had some left from last week when he made just such a purchase) took a hot pan with olive oil, salt and lemon zest.
Most of the meat fell off when I tried to cut the ribs apart, but I was able to salvage a few for the photo. I can't stop thinking about everything else I want to braise.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I swear, I've almost worked through all of my chanterelles. I'm actually getting tired of eating them, being too much of a good thing. I've been craving pot pies and brown gravy and all that, and thought I'd give making pasties a go. It's pretty much just an empanada, so I used the dough recipe from last year's buffalo and chanterelle empanadas with mole.
I diced up some chuck steak, coated it in a little flour and browned it with some onion. This made a sticky (but savory-smelling) mess in the pan, so I removed the brown steak and added the chanterelles. Chanterelles, like all mushrooms, are almost all water and release copious liquid when cooking. This liquid deglazed the pan nicely and stirred up into thick gravy with the toasty brown fond-roux. I added some finely chopped thyme and rosemary, a squirt of Worcestershire and some salt and pepper, and stirred in one diced, boiled Yukon gold potato.
I spooned the filling into rounds of dough, sealed the edges with a little eggwash and then pinched the edges up into cute little pocket pies. I sloppily brushed the remaining eggwash on top of the pasties to brown and sent them to a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, I peeled and sliced some Sweet Nantes carrots and browned them in a little butter and sugar, then added a splash of chicken stock and simmered over a low flame until the carrots were tender and shiny. I added a pinch of kosher salt and fresh-crushed celery seed. The gravy was just beef stock (fortified with a bit of veal demi) shook up in a jar with some flour and simmered until the flour cooked and thickened.
The crust was nice and flaky, unlike the leaden pasties served up at the Horse Brass (who have the best fish and chips in Portland, but terrible pasties), and the silky gravy not at all like library paste. The filling was tender, moist umame. I'll definitely make this again.
Friday, November 07, 2008
...and their respective Meatloaf Sammiches. Warning: iPhone photos ahead! Apologies for the powdered milk patina.
So, I've been out of town a lot for work. It's a controversial project that I can't discuss, but I do a lot of driving and hiking. In the rain. Through brush so thick it bruises me. I love the sugar pine and manzanita on the east side, and the salal and evergreen huckleberry on the west side, but lord if that shit ain't make a tough stroll.
I live on a chintzy per diem on this project and usually eat a lot of trail mix and peanut butter to keep the change, but whenever I'm in Klamath Falls I eat at Mollie's at least once. It's a truck stop across the parking lot from the Super 8, and when I was out here for weeks on end a couple years ago, I used to spend my lonely evenings at the adjoining bar for cocktails, karaoke and dancing with strangers.
Mollie's is a place where you get The Special. You get the "Supper", as in "Broasted Chicken Supper", or "Salisbury Steak Supper". The supper includes a potato "your way" (baked, mashed or French-fried), soup or salad (you always get the salad, with thousand island, because you just do), and a vegetable (usually corn or the peas/carrots centimeter-cubed, but sometimes an over-steamed zuke or broccoli). Or, like me, you buck tradition and get the meatloaf sandwich served open-face and topped with rich brown gravy that may not come from a can.
Then there's Kozy Kitchen, which is apparently a chain along the southern Oregon coast. There was one next to my hotel in Coos Bay, but we ate at the one in Myrtle Point (sardonically called "Turtle Point" by coworker Chris). They, too, had a meatloaf sammich-type offering, this time the "BBQ Meatloaf Cheddar Melt". I was skeptical, yet intrigued.
This meatloaf sammich wasn't quite what I was craving. It was great, don't get me wrong, but it was trying too hard to be a patty melt or a sloppy joe. The sauce cloyed, the loaf was too crumbly and the fries easily stole the show. I did, however, enjoy the toasted bread that had about a stick of butter on each slice.
I coveted Chris' order of the Country-Fried (or was it Chicken-Fried?) Steak Scramble. I think the difference between chicken-fried and country-fried is in the type of gravy, but this is an unscientific assumption.
Mollie's handily won the meatloaf sammich contest, but Kozy Kitchen gets props for thinking outside the box, and for having a sassy old broad cookie instead of a grumbly felon on the line. Kozy Kitchen also had the Obama burger as the special, which featured bacon, horseradish, fried onions and blue cheese crumbles. I couldn't tell if this was supposed to be some kind of joke, so I avoided asking.
Mollie's Truck Stop
3817 US 97 N
Klamath Falls , OR
531 8th Street
Myrtle Point, OR
Monday, November 03, 2008
An ass-busting week in the field, an all-night Halloween bender followed by an all-day wicked hangover, then I started my woman times yesterday. I have not given less of a shit about blogging since I chopped off the tip my pinky last spring. I haven't blogged in more than a week, and no one has even noticed! Cue tiniest violin in the world playing my fucking song.
Needless to say, I need a little hug. Sure, the husband is good for a pitying hug when I give him that look (he has a special way that makes you feel comforted, but not patronized, even when you know you're being an unfuckable hag), but nothing can hug my insides like a bowl of bibimbop.
Bibimbop is the ultimate Korean comfort food - I surmise it's what Korean moms make their rainy-day kids instead of grilled chee and Campbell's tomato soup by the fire. A hot bowl of steamed rice top with bits and ends: leftover steak, thinly-sliced and dressed with black vinegar and sesame oil (throw some leftover eggplant in there too to soak up some beefy juice); some sautéed shiitakes (from my shiitake logs) marinated in mirin, sugar, thick soy sauce and black pepper; thinly-sliced cucumber quickled in rice vinegar, sugar, salt and black sesame seeds; some wilted bean sprouts hit with a splash of mirin and sake; yam boiled in soy sauce and sugar; and red bell pepper and onion browned with sesame oil, chile and garlic. I have some leftover gai lan with oyster sauce, throw that on there too. Oh, and you can't forget a spanky wad of kimchi. Top with an egg fried over easy (stir the raw yolk into the hot rice) and a blob of gochujang. Commence toe-curl.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Gossip Girl and Heroes to watch.