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eG Foodblog: slkinsey's Thanksgiving Week Diary


slkinsey
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Sam,

Where did you get orange bitters? I see that I can order online, but then obvioulsy I won't have them for tomorrow. I happened to be in Fairway uptown yesterday but they didn't have any.....

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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Sam,

Where did you get orange bitters? I see that I can order online, but then obvioulsy I won't have them for tomorrow. I happened to be in Fairway uptown yesterday but they didn't have any.....

Liz, I'm afraid I won't be of much help to you. I get my orange bitters at Spec's Warehouse in Houston. The cranberry champagne cocktail would probably be just as good with Angostura bitters, though.

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I thought they might work. I'll add a little orange zest to the cranberries to make up for it. Thanks!

PS Loving the blog. More photos please!

Edited by Liz Johnson (log)

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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Continuing on with things for today, I made the lemon-thyme sorbet. This is easy and really good. Simmer a bunch of fresh thyme in a little water until tender. Drain and press thyme through a fine mesh sieve. Mix with two pints Fairway's (excellent) lemon sorbet. Here is the pureed thyme and sorbet prior to mixing:

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Here it is after spending 60 seconds on high speed in my KitchenAid, and then packed back into the containers:

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From yesterday, here is the cucumber granita, and here is one filled cucumber cup. I'll want to be careful about handling them tomorrow so they don't have fingerprints in the frost like this one does:

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Bought lots of herbs today at the Greenmarket. Here is parsley, oregano, tarragon, sage, chive, thyme, basil and mint.

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Right now I am starting to simmer the cauliflower in milk for the soup:

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Continuing with the cauliflower soup, once the cauliflower is tender it goes into a foodmill. This step can be skipped, but it does hold back a lot of the fiberous junk that will make the end product not quite as silky.

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After that, it's into the blender. I use approximately 2:1 cauliflower puree and the milk I cooked it in.

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Here is the finished product. I'll reheat this tomorrow and hit it with a bit of cream right before service.

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It's incredible how sweet cauliflower can be -- something that is often obscured when it is overcooked. Now for a little rest before tackling the next task.

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Are you cooking the thigh meat today, or waiting until tomorrow? I'm in the midst of braising and enjoying the delicious smell wafting through the house.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Are you cooking the thigh meat today, or waiting until tomorrow? I'm in the midst of braising and enjoying the delicious smell wafting through the house.

I'm doing the braising first thing tomorrow. So glad, not to mention flattered, to hear that you enjoy the recipe so much. We love it.

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I'm so glad you shared the recipe last year. It really does make cooking the turkey simpler, and it treats the white and dark meat in the best ways for each, resulting in something far better than a traditional whole roast. It's also great to have the oven free much of the day for other dishes.

I can't wait to see a picture of the turkey once it's plated. This feels a little bit like cooking along with a TV show, whisk in one hand, remote in the other. :wink:

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts. I have a moment to rest before the 'rents show up, so I thought I'd answer a few stray posts.

Today I got my knives sharpened in preparation for the cooking to come.  I went to Henry Westpfal.

How much do they charge for their service and do you have to leave them or acn you just wait?

There's a thread on knife sharpening in Manhattan here, complete with prices, etc. In general Westpfal is considered one of the very few really top-rate places in the City. I had to leave my knives there for around 2 days.

1) shrimp ceviche with pomegranate and fennel. Total make ahead and the pomegranate seeds looks like rubies among the ceviche. We served this in martini glasses. Looked and tasted really nice.

2) I have wedding china and of course that comes with the tea cups that no one ever uses. I served my soup in the tea cups, perfect size for tasting menu. I had gruyere croutons in the soup and cut the bread down to fit.

These are both really good ideas. I may try the ceviche sometime soon, and may end up deploying a tea cup or two tomorrow.

Mooooooooooooom... you're embarrassing me in front of my friends. :laugh:

Oh this is nothing. Wait 'til she starts posting the diaper down around the ankles baby pictures! :laugh:

My avatar is me circa 1970-something.

Any chance of a picture of this kitchen Sam?  If it is anywhere as amazing as your knives I may just break down and cry like a 5 year old who's brother got a better trike than his. :blink:

No worries there! I'll take some pictures, but rest assured that, although it is quite nice compared to Manhattan rental apartment kitchens, it is a thoroughly unexceptional kitchen by the standards of those who own their own homes. I'll post some pictures when I have a chance.

Have the ferrets been bathed yet? :unsure:

Not yes, unfortunately. Not that they really need a bath, but they are extra cute when they get all fluffed up after a bath.

WHAT'S COOKING NOW, SAM? GET ON IT! :wink:

Yard-long spahgetti (Setaro) with littleneck clams for dinner.

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What happened to cleaning out the freezer? Near as I know, all you've done is some egg yolks.

Do you sleep tonight?

Do you eat breakfast tomorrow morning?

Is the house clean?

I may have missed this, but where do you get all of the dishes to do this?

And, afterwards, please let us know how long clean up takes. (these are the mom questions)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My avatar is me circa 1970-something.

Yeah but it's so tame and adorable. I want to see the stuff that would make you squirm when she showed it to your dates. :laugh:

I want you to know that your tales of Cranberry Bellinis inspired me to make a whole special trip to the Whole Foods market on the way home tonight and now there's a big cauldron of Roasted Butternut Squash, Garnet Yam and Chestnut soup on the stove as well. I still have to go make the Cranberry puree for the Bellinis. Oh well - nothing to do tonight but cook, sip wine and read eGullet. :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Tonight before the old folks showed up, I finished the dressing. Here I sweated the vegetables in turkey fat. Below are the three stages: raw, sweating covered with parchment, cooked.

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That went into the oven with the cornbread, some cubed stale white "peasant" bread, sage, parsley, thyme, eggs and some stock. Tomorrow I'll use this dressing to fill the cabbage rolls.

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I also made the curry oil and put that into a squeeze bottle.

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Before dinner we had a "Blinker Cocktail" from Dr. Cocktail's book. It's rye whiskey, grapefruit juice and a touch of raspberry syrup. Very good. Dinner was a simple affair of littleneck clams with yard-long spaghetti, onion, chili and parsley.

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I don't have any pictures of the completed dish, but when the clams are this good you know I had to open a few and eat them raw.

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Off to bed now. More tomorrow.

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What happened to cleaning out the freezer?  Near as I know, all you've done is some egg yolks.

Do you sleep tonight?

Do you eat breakfast tomorrow morning?

Is the house clean?

I may have missed this, but where do you get all of the dishes to do this?

And, afterwards, please let us know how long clean up takes.  (these are the mom questions)

I hope Sam doesn't mind if I field some of this, since I'm the official clean-up person in our apartment. We slept last night for about 9 hours, thank goodness, didn't have to get up early at all (Sam was rattling around at 9:30, I lazed in bed until 10 to snuggle warm and sleepy ferrets).

We had a late dinner last night, so neither of us is particularly hungry right now, but the Rancilio is on and I anticipate cappuccino in the near future, when he gets a break from tinkering.

The house is VERY (rather defensively) clean - I did a major, two-day cleaning about two weeks ago and yesterday our roommate did the catch-up work - wiping down the bathroom, vacuuming the rugs, taking out the recyclables, etc., bless his heart. I had to go to the day job and afterward I stopped by Whole Foods to look for Amé, a nonalcoholic wine substitute thingy, and by Williams-Sonoma (ok, that place is totally useless, except for the free samples of food) and Gracious Home to look for candles - which I ended up buying at Duane Reade (!). Two items purchased, total time, three hours. I HATE shopping the day before Thanksgiving! :angry: So the only cleaning things to do today are throw the bathroom rug in the wash and wash a load of dish towels a little later, plus general picking up and following Sam around cleaning after him so that all he has to worry about is cooking. I suspect the ferret bath may have to wait...

We have a lot of dishes, between the plates from Fish's Eddy and a stunning set of hand-painted Italian dishes that are from Sam's family, and a number of serving pieces that we have collected over the years. Next year, I'll have my china out here - my awesome mom just completed my set via Ebay (it's out of print and not easy to find). I have a beautiful set of Rose Point silver that we use, and we're borrowing twelve silver cream soups from our friend SarahD.

If it's ok with Sam, I'll detail the cleanup afterward in this thread (probably tomorrow). If it's not, I'll start another one.

I'm off to the kitchen to see if there are any dishes to wash!

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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I rather think Kathleen is also a marvel! Kudos, Kathleen -- one job wouldn't be possible (or as enjoyable) without the other. Happy Thanksgiving.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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A few more prep pictures from yesterday, then I'll get to the main event...

Here I am browning off the turkey dark meat for braising.

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Vegetables for the braise into the same pan.

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Then in goes the marinading liquid and the reduced turkey stock for a braise of several hours. Think there's a little gelatin in this stock?

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Here is the spinach purée for the soup. Includes cream and nutmeg. Those crispy shallots went in there too.

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Sautéed Brussels sprouts. These went cut side down into a massively heated copper frypan. Then I tossed in a few tablespoons of butter, and got this browning within around 40 seconds. The Brussels sprouts were still crunchy, so when I reheated them for service in guanciale fat they still had some nice bite. On the right is rendered julienned guanciale. That was also reheated for service to crisp it up.

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This is the shredded Brussels sprouts for the "slaw." I did decide to blanch them for around 5 seconds and shock in ice water.

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Here is some of the tuna prior to being portioned and pounded out. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't get really super-primo tuna with a darker color, but strangely everyone seemed to be out of it.

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Nice job, sam. lookin' good so far. You're still posting on this blog. I take that as a sign that things went well.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Here's dinner. Later on, when I have a chance, I'll post about the logistics of dinnertime execution.

Here is a shot of the centerpiece ewindels did for the table. I absolutely could not have pulled this dinner off without the assistance of Ed and Kathleen. They poured the wine, cleared dishes and took plated courses out to the table as I finished them. Having reliable and expert assistance like this is really vital.

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The first course was:

Marinated Crudités

Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

Here is a shot of the cocktail. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the vegetables. The cocktail I would rate maybe a 50% success. It really didn't work quite right in this style of champagne glass, and the raspberry puree didn't mix quite as much as I would have liked. Maybe it should have been thinner?

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Next course was:

Kumamoto Oyster On The Half-Shell With Cucumber Granita

Mantanía Moschofilero, Tselepos, 2003

This worked very well. It's a nice, light ad festive way to start the meal at the table. Everyone thought the cucumber cups were cool, and it looked nice. This picture doesn't really capture, unfortunately, how neat it looked on the slate. On the other hand, I was able to open all the oysters without stabbing myself.

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Next was:

Cauliflower Soup With Puréed Spinach and Curry Oil

Montlouis Sur Loire "Dionys," Domaine Alex-Mathur, 2002

This was a huge hit. No one stirred up their soup, the curry oil worked its magic, and the spinach purée was a very cool transition. A few people were even surprised to find spinach a the bottom of the bowl. The wine match was brilliant, as several people remarked. Here's a few looks:

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Soup bowls filled with spinach purée waiting to be topped with cauliflower soup

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Finished portion at the table

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Getting to the bottom of the bowl

Next was:

Tuna Carpaccio With Mixed Herb Salad

Rheingau Riesling Trocken, Weingut Robert Weil, 2003

As I said upthread, I wish I could have used prettier tuna. Nevertheless, the tuna was delicious. The salad was dressed with integrated lemon/olive oil and a touch of vermouth vinegar. There were a few (desalinated) salt-preserved capers strewn about. The salad was tarragon, basil, oregano, mint and parsley. It worked very well, and the riesling was just the thing to go with it. Slightly moving in a fuller direction, but with killer acidity to refresh.

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Next was:

"Brussels Sprouts Four Ways"

crème brûlée - gratin - sautéed with guanciale - shredded "slaw"

Vin de Table Gamay "Le P'tit Tannique Coule Bien," Domaine Thierry Puzelat, 2003

The lighter red wine worked wonders against the richness of the crème brûlée, the savoriness of the gruyere in the gratin and the porky fattiness of the guanciale. Around the plate is a marjoram vinaigrette. This is the course that really had me smiling. It was a bit of a risk to design a whole course around Brussels sprouts, and I wasn't sure how it would work. Well, it worked extremely well. Each "way" showed a completely different side of the Brussels sprout. The crème brûlée in particular was a revelation. Most everyone was a little bit suspicious at the prospect of a Brussels sprout crème brûlée, but everyone smiled, laughed and loved it once they tried it. The lightly vinegared "slaw" was a nice crunchy contrast to the other preparations, while the gratin played on the whole "cheese sauce" thing on top of the slightly funky flavor of fully cooked Brussels sprouts. The sautéed Brussels sprouts with guanciale brought out the nutty quality of browned brussels sprouts, and of course guanciale is a killer match with just about anything.

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Here is a shot of the last few bites of crème brûlée:

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After that it was time to rest the palate with a refresher course:

Lemon-Thyme Sorbet

Moscato d'Asti "Bricco Quaglia," Azienda Agricola La Spinetta di Giorgio Rivetti, Piemonte, 2003

This is fairly straight forward. Passing the thyme through a fine sieve this year really solved the problems I have had in the past with the thyme being slightly gritty in this dish. I drizzled a tiny bit of Farigoule thyme liqueur over every portion as well. The Rivetti moscato is a very good one, slightly frizzante. A tiny glass went well with the sorbet. The gold gelato spoons my mother's family bought in Italy some 50 years ago when they were living there.

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Finally came the turkey:

"Turkey Two Ways"

Cornbread Dressing, Foie Gras, Black Truffle Carpaccio

Vino De La Tierra El Terrerazo "Mestizaje," Bodega Mustiguillo, 2003

Syrah, H. Coturri & Sons, Crane Vinyards, Sonoma Valley, 2001

This was by far the best this dish has ever been for me. The sauce was so intensely flavored, it was like a turkey demi-glace. The wines are fairly big wines, and matched well with the big flavors here. I loved the Coturri Syrah, although perhaps not quite as much as their Albarello. Here's a few pictures putting together a plate.

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First goes a base of sautéed portobello mushrooms

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Then in goes some of the shredded dark meat.

On top of that goes a few slices of white meat, the foie gras and black truffle. Then the ring mold is taken away, the stuffing role placed up at the top and sauce poured around.

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A little parsley dusting and here is the finished dish

Next it was time for dessert!

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Cranberry Cheese Cake

Pecan Tart

Sugarless Apple Pie

Coffee

Here are some pictures:

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The bourbon bread pudding. Really did well with the bourbon caramel this time. Nice and dark

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ewindels' cheesecake. Always a big hit

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The pecan tart. Steen's cane syrup made all the difference

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bergerka's sugarless apple pie. Don't miss the sugar one bit. Very nice.

Of course, if one is doing imitation haute cuisine, there has to be a second course of dessert. No lollipops, but instead we had ewindels' chocolate truffles and palmiers.

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I opened up the liquor cabinet as well. My father brought a very nice bottle of Poire William, and Eric_Malson brought a bottle of Glenmorangie "Port Wood Finish" and a few bottles of Orujo (Spanish grappa, but with a funky, musty quality).

All in all a wonderful evening and a big success. I'm exhausted, but couldn't be more pleased. Cocktails started at 6:00, we sat down to the oyster course at 8:00, and we started dessert at midnight. Guests left around 1:30, I collapsed at 2:30 and bergerka was doing kitchen cleanup triage until 4:00.

More later...

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