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Improving my cooking skills (2003)


MatthewB
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I cooked a 22 pound bird -- a stuffed one at that. This is the 6th year in a row I've brined it, and it makes roasting a turkey nearly idiot proof.

I'm so stuffed I truly wish I were somewhat bulemic. Sort of.

Anyhow, my brother-in-law told me he saw a 400 pound guy wearing a t-shirt that said, "I conquered my anorexia!" I want one!!!!!

Happy T-giving, everybody!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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We had waaaay too much food. I hope we can plow through the leftovers before they go bad.

Salad of mixed baby greens with thinly sliced red onion, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, and candied spiced pecans, with a dressing of EVOO, red wine vinegar, dijon, and fresh thyme. It was delicious and my favorite part of the whole meal. I will absolutely make this again.

Deep fried turkey. The skin was much better than the bird. It could have been brined longer but was definitely juicier than oven roasted. Deep frying had the added irritant of keeping Scott standing in the driveway for an hour or so, instead of available to help with side dishes.

Mashed potatoes - soupy. :angry:

Store bought gravy. It was from a local gourmet carry out

My sister-in-law's sweet potato casserole with walnuts.

Lemon glazed brussles sprouts - slightly overcooked but still tasty. Got the recipe from epicurious.com.

Apple/sausage/giblet stuffing and oyster/andouille stuffing, both very tasty. Toasted two whole loaves of bread to make the bread cubes.

Caramelized, cream glazed pearl onions.

Cranberry & dried cherry compote with cloves.

Pumpkin and pecans pies, and a Greek apple cake made by my SIL. Served with whipped cream.

We drank a '97 Rabbit Ridge Merlot with our dinner.

Not a bad meal. There are several things that could have been better, starting with the planning. I will be planning Christmas dinner a little more carefully.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Edit: With better planning I wouldn't have had to prep 2 lbs of pearl onions, 2 lbs of brussels sprouts, two loaves worth of bread cubes, and peel 3 lbs of potatoes... :wacko:

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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i'll post a full report later but our Thanksgiving rocked.

most everything was good, but the star of the show was definately the shrimp and grits (thanks varmint :wub: ).

maggie brought 3 awesome desserts over. everyone got a little drunk and had a great time.

oh yeah, i did the mashed potato in front of people :shock: .

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oh yeah, i did the mashed potato in front of people :shock: .

Oh. My.

I wish I had seen that.

First, I'd only want to see the G-man do the mashed potato if I were doing it with him!!

This is what I cooked today for 21 people. I prepped and cooked everything, except as indicated.

Pan fried oysters and steamed clams brought by my brother-in-law.

Tomato and rice soup (sister-in-law made this)

Artichoke and feta spread (SIL did this one, too)

Biscuits

Buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Stuffing (not dressing).

Roast turkey

Giblet gravy

Cranberry and orange relish

Assorted pickles (thanks, Guajolote!!!!)

Sweet potato casserole

Green beans with hazlenut oil

Steamed broccoli

Glazed carrots

Bourbon pecan pie

Pecan pie

Apple cake (mother-in-law)

We drank a fruity chianti and some white wine that I never tasted.

I'm still full as a tick on the belly of a hound dog in the middle of the summertime!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Okay, MatthewB, you twisted my arm. Here's what we had:

Appetizers:

gravlax, with a mustard dill sauce, and little pumpernickel bread.

cheese & crackers, olives

some dried fruits

mimosas, and pomegranate mimosas

Turkey:

One 15 pound turkey, brined, cooked without the stuffing. I also did it Alton Brown's way, and I was going to use the Waters brine formula, but then I thought: screw that! I am NOT going to go into some store and ask for juniper berries. Alice Waters can take her California cuisine as kiss my New York City ass. I just used salt water, then threw onion, carrot, celery, rosemary and thyme in the cavity.

I gotta say, Alton Brown's instructions worked well. The breast reached 160 just as the thigh reached 180. With no turning. Can't ask for better than that.

Two stuffings, prepared ahead, and cooked right after I took the turkey out:

Sausage-crouton

Cornbread

Sides:

Gravy

Delicata squash braised in cider

Maple butternut squash puree

Garlic, Spinach & rice casserole

Green Beans with Shallot Butter

Creamed Corn

A sweet potato dish my sister-in-law is brought-- very sweet with pecans on top

Roasted asparagus

Cranberry sauce

Pickled red onions with cranberry & chipotle

Dessert:

Bourbon pecan pie

Cranberry swirl cheesecake with cranberry-raspberry compote

And my mother brought a pumpkin pie and a blueberry pie. Both were purchased on Tuesday at some deli in south Jersey that my mother says is famous. The pumpkin pie was fine; the blueberry was an atrocity.

I made too much food. But everything came out well. Everybody loved the gravlax and the turkey. And that cheesecake that Heather turned me on to. I was rather stressed cooking in the evening after work for the last three days, but then today went without a hitch, pretty much, and I was actually able to socialize for a while in the afternoon. Hope you all had as good a holiday!

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I'm not "really" part of this course but thought I'd post the menu and results

anyway.

Mom buys a turkey already cooked because I am not usually home in time to make it myself. I did however carve it myself this year, my first time cutting up a turkey and the first bird I've cut up since finishing my classwork at L'academie. My dad was especially impressed, not to mention pleased since he usually gets stuck with the job. I made Mom a nice turkey stock with the bones which tastes wonderful and will make a great turkey and wild rice soup...it's already in the freezer. I'm a little jealous of it actually.

I made braised red cabbage, Loufood's asparagus with lemon confit, a big batch of mashed potatoes with lots of roasted garlic, cornbread, stuffing. I popped some popcorn and set out a relish tray beforehand. Relatives contributed a green bean casserole (I was a little irritated that this was preferred to my haricots verts with sauteed wild mushrooms and fried shallots from last year), a cranberry crumble, fried apples (MMMMM), and sweet potato casserole with some pineapple in it and marshmallows on top.

After all that sweet nobody really wanted dessert, but it was all pretty tasty nonetheless. Next year my goal is to convince the folks to let me handle the bird beginning-to-end. At least there was lots of wine to wash it down with, and Mom and I knocked back a few campari-and-grapefruits while prepping in the kitchen. :cool: Mom's my favorite sous-chef.

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oh yeah, i did the mashed potato in front of people :shock: .

I was privileged to witness this performance: He's damn good! New Year's Eve he'll do the Twist. Dunno about the boogaloo.

I've been to a whole lot of Thanksgivings. This was Best Food Ever.

Edited to Add: HH is fine with dancing as long as he never has to dance himself. :angry:

All you guys cooked like heroes---and it's kinda eG fellowship: Varmint sent grits to Chicago and Dean sent pickles to Raleigh. I love that.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Of course. My mom knows all of those dances (graduated high school in 63) and taught them to us, so I know lots of them. Cool stuff. All we had was disco, rollerdisco, and then the Pogo in the '80s. Bleah.

What's the next cooking project? I may be done cleaning my kitchen by next Friday and be ready to cook again. :wacko:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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well, the smoked duck was less than wonderful-my husband said the duck skin was thick & rubbery, he was wrestling with it to get a pitifully small bit of meat off the carcass. The duck meat tasted fine, dark meat, not greasy, just not very special. I will have to find a better way to cook a duck or give it a pass for awhile.

Highlights of the meal (for the first time in a while, it was only my husband & I, 2 kids, ages 8 & 4, & 1 guest,a visiting Polish officer) for me-

the turkey-fresh, 13 lbs, brined & smoked-Marian, our Polish friend, seemed amazed at the size of the bird(although it was one of the smallest ones I could get) & said they don't eat much turkey in Poland

sauteed cabbage, sauerkraut, shallots, mushrooms, bacon

yeast rolls (almost a major goof, found I didn't have yeast that morning, but my neighbor did)

eggroll cups w/ chive cream cheese & smoked salmon (based on a Michel Richard recipe, was supposed to be goat cheese, but whatdayaknow, the commissary didn't have goat cheese)-these make a great post-Thanksgiving breakfast

cheesecake -I was going to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but thanks to Heather for a post on a different thread, I realized I just don't like pumpkin & why mess up a perfectly good cheesecake, made my standard Frog Commissary recipe, threw in a handful of dried cranberries & some orange oil-it was wonderful, it's almost all gone...

Rest of the meal was standards-m.Potatoes/gravy,2 dressings-cornbread & wild rice, greenbean casserole (yuck!), corn, 2 cranberry relishes (canned & w/maple syrup & ginger), pickled onions, pumpkin pie, apple cake, pound cake, assorted appetizers (my dog ate the remains of the cheese tray when we moved in for dinner, probably ate a pound of cheese, also ate a small fresh apple cake when we went to the neighbors for dessert-we waited all night to see if he would get sick)

Hope everyone had a peaceful Thanksgiving, I'm looking forward to the next cooking project, I may jump in...

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... I'm looking forward to the next cooking project, I may jump in...

Please do. Anyone should feel free to jump in at any time. As you may have noticed, it's not like we are not going in any particular order or anything. :shock:

How about something sort of light, like Steak Diane, or something not, like Steak au Poivre? A quick but elegant, non-poultry meal would hit the spot this weekend.

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...Salad of mixed baby greens with thinly sliced red onion, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, and candied spiced pecans, with a dressing of EVOO, red wine vinegar, dijon, and fresh thyme.  It was delicious and my favorite part of the whole meal.  I will absolutely make this again....

I'm not playing along but I am following along and this salad is just fabulous. Thanks!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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You're welcome! I'm making it again tomorrow.

Tonight we're supposed to have dinner with friends, but I feel like I'm getting the flu :shock: so Scott is going without me. If we feel like cooking tomorrow steak would be a good idea. There's a boatload of leftover mashed potatoes to go with it.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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If anyone is interested, we're having Alex & his wife over for dinner tomorrow night & I'm going to do the Bruce Aidells' roasted beef loin. Super easy & super good. I could PM the recipe.

Not sure what else I'm going to do, so if anyone wants to cook with me . . .

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How much else you want to do has a lot to do with how turkey'd out you are.  Simple dinner with few courses, or simple dinner with more than three courses?

Soba

Simpler the better. I'm still a bit wiped-out.

I was thinking about a gratin (fennel, perhaps?) or roasted root vegetables with the roasted beef loin.

Alex is bringing a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

Thoughts?

Edit: I'll do some type of pan sauce from the loin.

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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I've been wanting to try Jules et Jim's eggplant, tomato & zucchini gratin. Not sure I'll cook anything tomorrow, though. We're up to our ears in leftovers at the moment.

But while we're on the subject of our next cooking project, I did look through our little book again today, and I was struck (as I am every time) by what a great book it is. It makes no pretense of teaching you the whole repertoire, and this is such an asset. They offer in-depth treatment of a well-chosen batch of recipes. I want to do everything. But mostly:

I'd like to try several of the soups, now that you guys have given me the soup bug. Leek and Potato, Onion, Lamb Barley, to name a few. I'd also be interested in more fish-- Jacques' fish-stuffed bread (the picture makes it look sensational) and the snapper recipes. Also the stuffed tomatoes. And the celery root salad; I've never worked with celery root, and I'd like to try to make the tomato rose petals that go with it. And I love steak au poivre, which again comes with a very seductive picture.

Anyone want to do any of these?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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