Saturday, October 31, 2015

Not so early

This morning while I was doing my usual Saturday morning "thing", drink coffee, read the paper and watch Food/Cooking Channels, there were a couple of different adverts for the upcoming holidays.  I started to think that it would not be such a bad idea if I did a few things that would help our "well oiled machine" get through holiday prep a little bit better.

I think that the best I can start with is to make Turkey Broth/Stock for Thanksgiving.  I will go to the store for turkey legs, roast them, and then make stock from them.  If I have the broth made, I can at least save myself a step or two come the holiday.  Of course, I will have the gizzards/neck & all the other stuff that comes out of the bird to make broth with, but what is better than having lots of gravy.  No really, you can't get much better than good gravy.  I love a good gravy.  Then I can make all the turkey stuff that you are supposed to have as reruns, problem is that I really don't have that many left-overs.

I have already decided on two turkeys, about 14 pounds each.  I always make two, maybe I should do three.  We brine both birds but cook each differently.  Last year one was roasted in the oven and the other I had deboned.  The butcher at the market did not really understand that I wanted the whole bird deboned, so Andrew had to complete the task.  We brined them for about 36 hours, dried, rubbed the the entire bird, inside and out, with some of Andrew's "Secret Rub".  The deboned bird was stuffed, then rolled, and finally tied.  I know this year I want to do another boneless bird, I am going to see if Andrew will smoke the second bird.  That is a long drawn out affair, but entirely worth it.  It just tastes fantabulous.  The roasted bird is delicious too.

Oh, how I loved that brioche stuffing.  It was like someone killed me and sent me to heaven......

I think this week the preparations should begin. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

slow and tender

While I am putting on face cream on I seem to have these small epiphanies, now I don't know if it is because I am looking at myself or if I don't have anything else on mind.  I am more low and slow than hot and fast.  It may even be true that I am the slowest woman in the world.  I do love a rare Strip Steak, I am not the one that prepares it.  That is in Andrew's wheelhouse.  He is the "Grillmaster Extraordinaire" in our family.  I do the long, low, and slow.  I think it is why I love to do Pulled Pork and Whiskey Chicken. 

We went to Sam's late Friday afternoon, we needed paper goods, I was freaking out we opened the last case of toilet paper.  I have to have 2 giant cases at all times.  We also needed the "secret blend of cheese" that Andrew grinds for macaroni.  While I was perusing the meat case, I wanted to get a Leg of Lamb, the butcher just put out some cryopacks of Boston Butt.   Boston makes the best pulled pork.  So I put back the lamb and took the pork.  I have been to 3 different markets last week for the Boston, they never have it.  Most times I have to settle for the Picnic Shoulder.  While it too makes amazing pulled pork, the butt is that much better.  Decision made Pulled Pork for Sunday Dinner.  Only this weekend Sunday Dinner would be Saturday Dinner.  Sunday was for reruns.

We came home and right away we started on the pork.  Andrew was defatting the pork, you still have to trim it up, I was putting the rest of the stuff away.  That done, it was time to rub the butts with spices and wrap them in cling wrap, then one in freezer paper, the other in a container for the fridge.  The rub will permeate the meat and it will be amazing. The rub is also another one of Andrew's secret blends.  The man knows his way around the spice cabinet for sure.  You can see the label on the jar, so secret that I don't even know the mix, I get to make the label and of course, eat whatever it is on.  So I guess I'm ok with not knowing. 

That done time to relax.

Saturday morning was a fine day here in the central part of the state.  I got up early, driven out of bed by a small cat that just wants to go outside and hunt.   While the rest of the house slept, I decided on making Sweet Corn Bread to have with the Pork.  I can't say that I crept down the stairs because that would be hard to believe, so I will say that I went downstairs, started the coffee, opened the big front door, then took out the flour and the rest of the ingredients to make the bread.  That is how my day started.  I watched a little Food Network and Cooking Channel.  Then onto things that needed to be done. 

Growing up in Bay Ridge, we had a goodly mix of different nationalities, so we were exposed to different ethnic foods.  There were many specialty stores that catered to these different groups, such was the case of the German Deli on 3rd Ave and 94th Street.  Even though there were a few German Delis around that one had the best cold salads.  I was in heaven when my Mom would send me to buy a pound of each macaroni salad, potato salad, German potato salad, and coleslaw.  They were an all time favorite, unfortunately I judged every cold salad that I ever ate to them, and I am very sorry to say that I have ever, ever had any as good.  There have only been three coleslaw that have come close, one I can never get again, Mr. Ron's Coleslaw from Acme, and believe it or not, KFC.  That is it.  No macaroni salad to have or either of the potato salads.  That is what happens when you start with the best.

I  popped the rubbed pork in the Staub with a can of green chilies and a bit of broth into the oven at 275.  I made the cucumber salad and it needed to sit for a bit.  We ran to the market to get Mr. Ron's and shrimp.  We were quick about it, got what we needed and left, really quick. 

Andrew made the boil for the shrimp.  He is very good with the spices.  I know that he used a some Old Bay, I also know that he was into the spices elbow deep.   They were mixed with water and smelled absolutely fantastic.  I was waiting for the shrimp to be done with bated breath.

The whole house was smelling with deliciousness, bread done, shrimp done, pork done.  All we needed was to set the table and all would be right in my little world.

Anthony said that there should not be any talking while we ate pulled pork, Kiki told him to be quiet.  I don't think that either one of us could be quiet for an entire meal, no not going to happen.

The meal was finished with mini canolli.  Yes, everything in my world is gonna be just ducky....

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunday with us

The work/school week is just about to begin and we are given this most wonderful respite in the form of Sunday Dinner.  It makes the day longer, we are elbow to elbow doing what needs to be done to make a most delicious family meal.  Sometimes it is just the two of us, sometimes three, and then sometimes it is all of us from our little family.

While the last touches are being installed into the kitchen for the season, a new window frame.  I was putting together a quick red sauce with sausage. 

We decided that it was time to try the whole wheat flour that we bought.  There was an Italian bread in the book that used half whole wheat and half bread flour.  We made this Italian bread a few times with just bread flour and it was delicious, so I confident that this would taste good also. 

The bread looked absolutely perfect.  The taste on the other hand, I think that it needed more salt and spices.  Next time for that.

I also made a Maple bread for PB&J.  While it photographed delicious.  It stuck to the paddles.
We had to go back to old school cheese grinding, the suctioning grinder really wasn't stainless.  The cheese drum started to wear and it changed the cheese color, so no more with that.

It was a most beautiful day.....