Today was pretty calm, and I made progress on some of the important Thanksgiving steps–mostly those centered around the two ducks. After they defrosted, I took them apart. The carcasses and offal, along with charred onion and ginger, cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, garlic, and peppercorns, ended up becoming two gallons of lusciously deep-flavored duck phở. I kept it at a bare simmer the whole time, skimming often, and the result was nice and clear, but I’m still going to filter it tomorrow. It’s going to appear in a few places throughout the meal; those pie spices work wicked wonder with almost anything Thanksgivingy.
I spent some time going back and forth about how fancy to make Thanksgiving this year. Last year was really simple, but the two before that were 11-course extravaganzas (2008, 2007). We have a wedding to attend on Saturday, so family will be in town, but some of them have to drive over an hour after dinner. So I decided to split the difference and make something in the 6-course range. I went shopping today and got what I think I need; if I forgot something I will make substitutions. And, in typical fashion, ours will be a turkey-free Thanksgiving.
Bread season is in full effect. There’s nothing that warms up a kitchen (and by extension a house) like a loaf of bread baking in a hot oven. The smell quickly fills the house, and makes one grab butter from the fridge in anticipation.
With the wet, semi-cold weather comes the familiar scratchy-throated, fatigued feeling of impending sickness. We all have our various folk remedies. Mine centers around immediate and prolonged sleep, and has been known to include (in extreme cases) swabbing the throat with cut garlic cloves and cotton swabs dipped in tabasco sauce. Recently, though, when a couple of fingers of good whiskey neat don’t seem quite enough, I’ve been playing around with the storied combination of booze, honey, citrus, and hot water.
Honestly, what is it with you? I post a picture of seasonally-appropriate pumpkin pie, positively groaning under the heavenly decadence of a cumulus cloud of whipped cream, anointed with a lascivious dribble of maple syrup, and even go so far as to post said picture along with an ACTUAL RECIPE for the best crust in the world. And submit the picture to the most shamelessly dessert-whoring websites in tubedom. And what do I get?
Here’s that pork chop–the one that so generously provided the bone with which I made the stock that embellished the chicken roulade kabobs so handsomely. I had a busy weekend (ceramics sale and then return to Rhode Island to collect all the work from the gallery) so this will have to do until I empty the camera of pictures from intervening meals. Having said that, though, it was a good one.
Usually when I see the end product in my mind before I begin to cook it turns out pretty well. I don’t know why this is, but I’ve learned to trust it; when I want to make a particular thing–even if I’ve never made it before–I do my best to make it. It almost always works.