Sunday, November 30, 2008

TGTO, Russian Biscuit Agression, And How to Read Instructions

TGTO. Thank Goodness Thanksgiving is Over.
I had a great time visiting my brother and his family. They cooked a 22 pound turkey and enough stuffing and mashed potatoes for an army. They cooked the turkey in a bag. I'd never done that before. Nice golden brown on the outside, juicy and delicious. I have no idea how they seasoned the bird, but it turned out really well. The stuffing was his wife's secret family recipe, cooked in the turkey- the horror!!- naw. I've never seen so much white bread turned into something good before.

Visiting the Cleveland area made it possible for me to enjoy baked delicacies that I've not had in quite some time: Coconut Bars and Russian Tea Biscuits from the Davis Bakery. You have to understand that these had been a staple of every visit to Cleveland I'd ever had whilst growing up. When I think of Cleveland these are the things I dream about. Either one of the delights and a cold glass of milk is heaven on earth. My brother mentioned that someone had found a recipe for the Tea Biscuits and had good success making their own. This is one of the few baked goods I would like to become proficient at making. The walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, sugar, and hard crumbly biscuit dissolve slowly in the mouth. The dough is wrapped around the filling much like a roulade Gawd- wonderful. The embedded link is a start. I've not tried this yet and I'm not so sure about the raspberry filling. While performing a quick search earlier (russian tea cakes- a different animal) I did run into a recipe that called for vodka in the dough. Always a nice thing. I do somehow think that there might be some vodka or alcohol in the filling. I'll think about this some more

Before I left for Thanksgiving I did turn out a batch of Cincy Style Chili. This batch had the right flavor; however, it was too soupy. Too much liquid left in the mix. I just realized why (duh). I misread the quantity of water- I read 2 quarts instead of 1. That would explain it. So- if I follow the recipe as directed things should turn out well enough. -um yeah.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Late in my chili, Thanksgiving

1- I'm behind in my chili making. I know. I have plans to rectify that this weekend. My plans to serve chili this last week to a captive audience at work fell through because my roofer had an opening Tuesday. This leads to-

2- Nobody hates Satsumas. My father-in-law gave us a large box-full of the citrus last weekend. I ate a good few before Tuesday when I gave most of the rest to the roofing crew. A goodwill gesture. They disappeared within minutes. I'm looking forward to more when we visit next month. If you've never eaten one you're missing out. Satsumas, or Mikans, are incredibly easy to peel by hand and to me they taste like tangerine lifesavers- except better and like real citrus. I could eat a bushel without stopping. We also ended up with ten grapefruits. Those also usually turn out really well. I have yet to try one, so we'll see.

3. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I'm not going to cook much at all this year, so my comments on T-day will have to be limited to tastings. The last 2 years I've used a Weber Grill recipe for BBQ turkey. The bird is brined first and I believe that step makes all the difference. Using the BBQ and some smoke from apple wood makes for an incredible flavor. It takes some time but it is well worth the effort.

I did once suggest to my parents that we try a Turducken or Tur-duck-hen. My folks used to catch a lot of flack from the family traditionalists who had nothing better to do than to critique the way everything was prepared and served. The idea was to throw the lot of them off guard. They wouldn't have a clue what it was supposed to taste like, how to cook it, how to serve it, or even how to properly eat it. Screw 'em. It worked to a degree. The item came stuffed with an awful green onion stuffing and the turducken came out dry. To my credit- no one gripped in the usual ways. My folks were spared from the needling that some of our stuffier kin would have heaped upon them.

Fried Turkey is something I'd like to try to make. I've had it a few times since moving to Louisiana and it has always been great. I'm really turned off by the Cajun Injector- think really large gauge syringe and horrible flavored marinade the color of burnt umber. From what I've heard the trick is to stab the Turkey like you're trying to kill Freddie Kruger- a thousand times over. Eeeww. No thanks. Please just season the fowl well and fry. The skin is really great. The investment in a decent burner and stand also serve well for boiling seafood- shrimp, crabs, and crawfish. Just a few months longer until crawfish season starts again.

Hopefully I'll have another post on chili this weekend or early next week.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Riced out.

I'm tired of rice. I made the mistake on Monday of making jambalaya and then Friday night I put together some dirty rice. I've been in this Louisiana food mood lately- all this boudin sausage at work, red beans and rice for lunch twice last week and then this week. This diet seems to be why so many of the "grocery" stores in small town Louisiana only really carry meats, canned goods, bread, and the Trinity of vegetables; onion/garlic, celery, and bell peppers. It would also explain why when we made pizza for dinner the other night I skipped pepperoni and sauteed some zucchini and squash for toppings. I had a real craving for something green.

The jambalaya turned out fairly well. We had some Manda (that's a brand) beef sausage that I threw into a skillet with a chicken breast. The trinity mentioned above, and some wild rice. I can't claim that it the seasoning was all my doing. As with most packaged wild rice products seasonings are included. They just happen to work out well with jambalaya. I have my father to thank for this trick. Something he picked up thirty years ago when he first made it to Louisiana.

The dirty rice was a cop out. A Zatarain's box of rice and seasonings with ground beef. I added onion, some bell pepper and the left over squash/zucchini mix from the pizza the night before. Not so shabby until lunch today when I decided to spice it up and added way too much red pepper. You'll have that.

I might make a batch of chili this weekend for the guys at work. They've heard me talk about this odd stuff for long enough that it is time that I subject them to the stuff. Kewl thing is that if I do make this for work I could expense the whole thing... Hmmm.