Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let's try this

The kids are making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year. I think we'd be here anyway, even if the family hadn't disintegrated as a unit; nearing 30 it's time. Wei and I had cooked Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter at least half a dozen times by the time we were 30.

So I am passing on to them two of our traditional (traditional for us, anyway) recipes.

Apple-raising stuffing
Makes 10 cups

This can be made the day before eating.

1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
1 quart peeled, chopped apples
1 cup chopped celery
2 quarts toasted croutons*
1/2 cup golden raisins (NOT the dark ones)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 egg
1/4 cup apple cider
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a Dutch oven (borrow one from your mom), saute onion in butter over medium heat until transparent (about 5 minutes). Stir in apples and celery, simmer uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, again about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients, beating egg lightly before adding.

Set aside 4 cups to stuff the bird. The day before, or if you have a second oven, for the remainder, leave in the Dutch oven. Lightly brown two turkey drumsticks over high heat on the stovetop (don't cook through, just leave til they sizzle). Place these on top of the stuffing, cover and roast at 350 for an hour or until the drumsticks are cooked through. To reheat: take out of the fridge about an hour before reheating; place in a warm (300F) oven for 20 minutes after you take the turkey out.

*Easiest: buy the bag of plain croutons, (don't get the herbed ones). To make your own, cube bread (most recipes say French bread or baguette, but these aren't dense enough. Use a good polish whole grain loaf or other heavy white or whole grain bread). Spread on a rimmed cookie sheet (so they don't slide off) and put them in a warm oven, about 250F, for an hour, or until they are completely dry and crunchy.

Harvest Cider
8 servings (we usually double this)

2 cups water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Zest from one orange
3 sticks cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole clove
1 teaspoon whole allspice (or 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 quarts apple cider
juice of 2-3 oranges
juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat first eight ingredients (through nutmeg) in a 2 quart saucepan. Once it boils, turn heat to a simmer; simmer covered for 20 minutes. Pour through strainer lined with cheesecloth. Transfer liquid to a large pot, add remaining liquids and heat until hot.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Two slaws

Basil coleslaw
1 small cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 carrot, grated
1/2 medium onion, grated


1/2 cup (homemade, see below) mayonnaise
1 T honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Toss the vegetables together. Whisk the dressing, and mix.

Traditional cole slaw
1 green cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, grated

3/4 cup (homemade) mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
1 T honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the vegetables together. Whisk the dressing, and mix.

Homemade Mayonnaise
Adapted from The Perfect Pantry via Little Blue Hen
Makes about 1 1/2- 2 cups

2 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 tablespoons warm water
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cup canola or olive oil, or a combination (using olive oil gives the mayo a pronounced olive oil flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/4 lemo

Put egg yolk, water, and mustard in the bowl of a 3-cup food processor. Run the blade to make sure it catches the mixture, dribble in a bit more water if needed or stir up the yolk to get it to catch. Run the food processor until the mixture is pale yellow (about 30 seconds or so).

The oil must be added very slowly to ensure that the mixture emulsifies. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil in a narrow (pencil tip width) steady stream. You can tell the emulsion is working because you'll start to hear slapping sounds as the food processor runs. Some recipes recommend stopping when about 1/3 of the oil has been added, and then continue to add by teaspoonfuls, but I've found it works fine to just keep the steady stream going. Stop the motor and check the mayonnaise to make sure it is emulsifying. If so, continue adding the oil slowly until it is all combined.

When all the oil has been added, add the salt and lemon juice. The lemon juice will help increase its shelf life. I've had this mayo last 3 months in the fridge.

It took me about 3 tries to get my rhythm on homemade mayo, but it is so superior to even the best store bought that once you get the hang of it, you'll never buy mayo again.

Originally posted 2/12/2011