We kept it very simple this year, with no travel and no guests. It’s a pretty nice way to do it, actually, especially given the weather-related mayhem all over the place. Yesterday Milo and I walked into town to see Santa arrive, and then came home in time for me to finish dinner. Sous-vide is genius for this, because I was able to leave the meat in the bath while we were out with no possibility of overcooking it. We had a flat iron steak (around 90 minutes at 52˚ C, then seared quickly in a little duck fat) with rutabaga-celery root purée on baked acorn squash rounds and a dandelion pesto. Very basic, and very good.
Today was a little more involved, yet still totally traditional- mostly for my wife, who lets me do absurdly complicated things on Thanksgiving yet really digs the old favorites. So today it was all the best versions of those touchstones that I could manage.
So I roasted a duck. I made stuffing with good whole wheat bread, the duck liver and some fat, shiitake, copious celery, onion, carrot, and the chicken giblet broth from the other day. I put the rest of the acorn squash in the oven too, next to the duck. I made cranberry sauce with half a tangerine, ginger, decent wine, maple syrup, and black pepper. I glazed the duck towards the end with some strained cranberry sauce and braised collards with leeks, and used some of the duck fat and drippings to make gravy, into which I stirred a fat spoon of the dandelion pesto. While the roast chicken from the other night was perfect for what it was, the added richness of the duck and the extra care in the accompanying dishes made this equally good but on a more intense and decadent level. And it hit the living shit out of every holiday food spot there is, at least in the poultry neighborhood. I floated the idea of a roast, but with just the three of us, a bird made more sense. And we don’t love the ham (unless it’s prosciutto.)
And though we’ve been inundated with cookies, both received and of our own making, I was moved to make a dessert because I had the urge to mess with the mousse from Thanksgiving some more. Not the actual mousse, mind you, which I repeated almost verbatim, but the context. I seared bananas in a pan, then deglazed and flamed with rum, followed by a little maple syrup. There was more of the peanut butter powder that we’ve been playing with, so I mixed it with kinako and a little unswetened cacao, and I steeped some super-strong green tea and blended it with a little spirulina, some agave, and enough Ultratex 8 to give it a little body. Chocolate and banana, chocolate and peanut butter, chocolate and green tea- they all worked wonderfully together. The triple powder was particulary great with the barely-sweet mousse.
And that was it. I hope yours was also tasty, safe, and with happy ending.