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Taking Stock

Roasted turkey wings

Roasted turkey wings

Simmering turkey stock

Simmering turkey stock

In the next week or so we will be purchasing turkey parts and cooking them down into glaze to flavor various dishes on the Thanksgiving table. We’d like to use mostly necks, but they are not widely available. This pot used wings. Roasting the bones and mirepoix brings a nice dark color and flavor to the glaze. Good Stuff

2 pounds turkey parts
2 medium onions or leeks
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery and their greens
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Roast the turkey parts very well in a 400 degree oven, likely 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the parts to a stock pot and toss the chopped vegetables in the turkey fat and roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 20 minutes. Add vegetables to stock pot and cover with water. Add bay and pepper, bring to a boil and then simmer for two hours or so. Strain the stock and discard the solids. Return the stock to the stove in a slightly smaller pot and reduce to a thick glaze. Carefully skim the fat during the reduction. Cool and add sparingly to your dishes for a spike of turkey flavor. We add a large dollop to the roasting pan when finishing the gravy. Good Stuff!

 

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Cook up a sample to confirm the seasoning

Cook up a sample to confirm the seasoning

Seasoned diced pork and fat

Seasoned diced pork and fat

One of the first tasks of our Thanksgiving is the preparation of the country sausage for the stuffing. While this is readily available and usually cheap, we like to be able to season the sausage exactly how  we like. As long as you have a sturdy meat grinder and a little elbow grease there really is not much to this chore. Make plenty and frreeze, this stuff is, of course, unbelievable with breakfast. Good Stuff!

 

Country Sausage

3 pounds lean pork
2/3 pound pork fat
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 

Place meat grinder and all attachments into the fridge or cold working area for at least one hour before grinding the meat, we worked outside on a frigid day. Finely chop the pork and fat into fingernail size chunks. Toss with remaining ingredients, mixing well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before grinding. It is imperative that the meat, grinder, and all attachments be extremely cold during the grinding process. Grind all the meat. Cook a one or two tablespoon dollop to taste the seasoning, re-season if necessary. Wrap into 1 1/2 inch logs and freeze until needed. God Stuff!

Meat grinder set up on back porch on a frigid day

Meat grinder set up on back porch on a frigid day

Wrap very tightly and freeze until use

Wrap very tightly and freeze until use

 

 

 

 

Getting Dressed

Pork belly with honey mustard greens

Pork belly with honey mustard greens

Hot and sour vinaigrette reducing

Hot and sour vinaigrette reducing

Sometimes the very first flavor in a  meal is the dressing on the salad. They are the strength of this course. We’ve recently been having crisp pork belly salads around the house. Here are two simple and very different preparations.

Hot and sour vinaigrette– this is a hearty and versatile dressing. Use as a condiment with the pork belly as an entree or as a dressing on a salad course. Leftovers can be used with crisp calamari or shrimp.

1 cup braising liquid from the pork belly
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 Tablespoon sliced garlic
1 teaspoon diced fresh very hot pepper or crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar( we use black vinegar, try using a hearty one yourselves, balsamic is probably not appropriate)
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch scallions, chiffonade

Lightly sautee the garlic, ginger, and hot pepper in a few drops of oil. Add the pork stock and reduce by 1/2. Add remaining liquid ingredients save the sesame oil and reduce for some time until thickened. Finish with sesame oil, scallion and salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely before using. Good Stuff!

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette– This, also, is a very versatile dressing. The garlic and shallot make it hearty and capable of holding up to game flavors.

1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon fine mustard
1/2 teaspoon parsley chiffonade
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
 

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve cold and often. Good Stuff!

Hail Caesar!

A finished caesar in the mixer    One of my oldest and dearest recipes, assembled and adapted from a union of my Father’s and his Sous Chef, Bobby’s collection. This recipe has been tweaked and perfected, loused up and neglected, for decades. Here is the most recent incarnation.

 
3 egg yolks
1 package anchovies or anchovy paste
3 garlic cloves
Paste of anchovy,garlic, mustard,egg1 teaspoon dijon or other flavorful mustard
2 cups vegetable oil, olive oil may be used, but your dressing will taste like it.Slowly add oil to anchovy mixture
3 lemons, juiced and strained

     Puree first four ingredients well in food processor. It is helpful to mince the garlic before this step. We use the microplane. Once thoroughly pureed, transfer to a mixing bowl. This is actually easier done with a hand whip, but we’ve practice and use the tabletop mixer. Have the oil in a pitcher so it can be easily poured very slowly into the dressing base while vigorously whipping. This is called mounting the dressing and can be notoriously difficult. Remember to add the oil very slowly and constantly whip. You will be able to see the oil “mount” into the emulsion. If you add the oil too fast, it will begin to gather on top. If this happens stop adding oil and continue to whip. You will end up with a lovely mayonnaise. If the mayo gets too thick before you add all the oil, add a few drops of lemon juice.

If the dressing fails to mount, it is considered “broken.” This is just as it looks, a disaster. To fix it, in a new bowl combine 1/2 teaspoon mustard and 1 teaspoon mayonnaise (the white condiment from your fridge.) Slowly add the broken dressing to the new bowl. In effect you are mounting the mayo/mustard mix with the broken dressing. Good luck and Good Stuff!

Build a Caesar

Whole Lotta Latke

Plated with hearty broth and kale

Plated with hearty broth and kale

Golden brown sauteed latke.

Golden brown sauteed latke.

 

Kreplach

 

3 eggs

1 1/2-2 cups flour

1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs.

5 carrots, peeled, and dice one third, coarse chop the remainder

5 celery stalks, and dice one third, coarse chop the remainder

Handful of fresh parsley

1/2 tbsp black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (thyme, dill, marjoram, whatever you fancy)

5 tbsp olive oil or schmaltz

2 onions, diced, reserve peels and ends for stock

1 Bunch of lacinato kale or other hearty greens, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

 

In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, combine flour and beaten eggs. When dough comes together, switch to dough kneading hook and work for 3-5 minutes.  Allow to rest for 1-2 hours before rolling out. Meanwhile, prepare onions, celery, and carrots. Dice 1/3 of celery and carrots, and one of the onions for the soup. Dice other onion for the filling. Coarse chop remaining celery and carrots for stock. Place chicken, onion scraps, coarse chopped celery and carrots, peppercorns, and bay leaf into a stock pot with 6 or so cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 90 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through and thigh joint moves freely. Skim off fat and reserve.

Carefully remove chicken and strain broth. Remove chicken meat from the bones and break down into small pieces, if not particularly health-conscious, break down some of the skin for this. Sautee one of the diced onions in the reserved chicken fat. Cook until soft and season heavily with salt and pepper and chopped herbs. Cool onions well and add to food processor with cooked chicken meat. Puree well. Sautee remaining onion with diced carrots and celery in a soup pot. Add broth and allow to simmer.

A teaspoon of stuffing and the four stages of the fold

A teaspoon of stuffing and the four stages of the fold

Seal the seams very well

Seal the seams very well

 

 

Make the kreplach. Roll out the dough thinnish, almost to see light through. The thickness of the dough is actually a matter of taste. Go with what works. Cut squares or circles, depending on the desired finished shape of the dumplings. Place around one teaspoon of filling in each kreplach. Seal well and cook in gently boiling soup for 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness of the pasta. Add the kale alongside the dumplings.

Serve hot and often! Good Stuff!

 

Latke

Assembled ingredients

Assembled ingredients

That's just grate!

That’s just grate!

 

 

 

 

4-5 medium potatoes

2 small onions

¼ cup self-rising flour

1 beaten egg

1 Tablespoon light colored, flavorful vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

 

We don’t peel potatoes, we scrub them well. Peel if you desire, and grate on the large holes of your cheese grater. In between potatoes grate a couple of sweeps of onion, in addition to flavoring, this will keep the potatoes from browning.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a colander and allow to drain. When making the cakes, press the mixture between your hands to remove some more moisture before placing in the hot oil to sautee. Be sure to have enough oil in the pan to work with. About ¼ inch. Replenish the oil between batches. Cook until golden brown and drain on kitchen towel. Serve hot with sour cream, applesauce, or any number of condiments. Good Stuff!

Plated with char and zuchinni ragout

Plated with char and zuchinni ragout

…Out Like a Lamb

Stewed lamb shoulders

Stewed lamb shoulders

farmfresh veggies

farmfresh veggies

 

Cold and dreary at times, these last weeks of winter beg for excuses to turn on the oven and hang in the kitchen. Pick one of those meals our Moms heated the whole house with. Shepherds’ pie is a dish that can be as difficult or as easy as you wish. Sometimes best composed entirely of leftovers, today we present one drawn up from scratch. Do not limit your pie to the ingredients here, add your favorites – corn, lima beans … Chopmeat, also, can be used in place of the stewmeat. It will be necessary to add some wine or stock to the chopmeat to make the gravy. While we photograph the dish with wine, this is great served with iced cold beer. Good Stuff!

Stewed Lamb Shepherds’ Pie

1 pound lamb shoulder steaks or other stewmeatPlated hot with big red wine

1 large onion, coarse chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 stalks celery, coarse chopped

2 carrots, coarse chopped

1 cup red wine or hearty beer

3 cups stock (chicken, beef, lamb, no matter)

2 bay leaves

2 cups shelled green peas (frozen will work)

3 pounds red new potatoes

1 stick butter, softened

Brown the lamb well in a small amount of oil in a high sided pan or pot with a cover. Remove and add vegetables to the hot oil. Cook well, add wine, bring to a boil and reduce shortly. Add stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Return stewmeat to the pot, add bay leaves, cover and place in a 300 degree oven for 2-3 hours, until the meat is quite tender. Remove from oven, remove meat from the stew and separate away the bones. Strain the liquid and return to the pot. Skim off the fat and return meat to the pot. Thicken with a slurry of water and flour until quite thick. Add the peas and reserve.

While the stew cooks make the mashed potato crust. Boil 3 pounds red new potatoes until tender. Strain and mash. Season well with salt, pepper, and 1 stick of butter. Allow to cool somewhat before working half of the potatoes into the bottom of a large nonstick pan. Be sure to work well up the sides and to try to keep a uniform thickness. Add the stew, also easier to work with if slightly cooled. Spread the remainder of the potatoes over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes until golden brown and quite hot in the middle. Serve soon and often. Good Stuff!

 

Doh! Nuts!

Rolled and cut with biscuit cutters

Rolled and cut with biscuit cutters

Carefully slide off floured spatula

Carefully slide off floured spatula

Montauk_Fat Tuesday

In my working class Polish Catholic family, the day before Ash Wednesday has always been doughnut day. Pancake day, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras,… pretty much all the same. Last night we had some lovely lemon doughnuts with boiled lemon icing and some holes with powdered sugar. Do not make too many of these things, they will kill you. Be sure to use fresh oil or oil that has only been used for sweets. We took care to replace the fish cake oil and wash the fry pot very well. Last night we had them with brandy, but they go great with iced cold milk and hot coffee. Good Stuff!

 

Allow the doughnuts to drain and cool completely before icing or dusting.

Allow the doughnuts to drain and cool completely before icing or dusting.

Iced with boiled lemon icing and holes tossed with 10x sugar.

Iced with boiled lemon icing and holes tossed with 10x sugar.

Lemon cake doughnuts

2 cups cake flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 egg

7 Tablespoons sugar

6 Tablespoons milk, warm

2 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter

Combine flour and baking powder and sift, add lemon zest, reserve. Beat egg until light and frothy, slowly add sugar. Scrape bowl with spatula before slowly drizzling milk and butter into the eggs. Now add the wet to dry in one shot and mix as little as possible. The dough should be sticky and messy. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. To cook, remove dough from fridge and allow to rest for one hour. Roll out with large amounts of flour to 3/8 inch. Cut into desired shapes and transfer with a well floured spatula to a well floured piece of was paper. Allow cut doughnuts to rest for up to one hour before cooking, this will allow them to resist soaking up oil while cooking. Carefully slide the doughnuts into 375 degree oil with the well floured spatula. Take some care to not get too much flour into the deep fryer. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping carefully with chopsticks or tongs. Remove to several layers of paper towel, drain one side for 15-25 seconds and then flip and allow to drain the other. Doughnuts must be completely cool to ice, but if you will be tossing them in sugar or 10x they will be tossed while still slightly warm.

Boiled lemon icing

1 egg white

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon corn syrup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

pinch cream of tartar

Combine all ingredients and mix well. In a double boiler or a heat proof bowl over boiling water beat the icing well with hand mixer or whip for seven minutes, until icing firms up, comes away from sides of bowl, and begins to lose some of its volume. Remove from heat and continue to beat until icing is room temperature and stiff and airy. Spread on cooled cakes or doughnuts with a small spatula or use a pastry bag to apply. Good Stuff!