12.03.2016

Satire of Cheerfulness


This morning, I learned a thing or four about Thanksgiving gastronomy. A week and a day late and a dollar short, I know. Firstly, and not surprisingly, Duke's mayonnaise should be your condiment of choice for day after sandwiches. Something about the apple cider vinegar included therein really brings out the best in the turkey. We keep a couple of labels in our house but my Matthew only reaches for the Duke's. He grew up eating mayonnaise sandwiches. I leave that definition to your imagination. I learned that the best meat for said sandwiches is the breast and only the breast. Preferably chopped or shredded. In short, go to town on the dark meat the day of the grand dance because let's face it, your protein will be accompanied by a variety of goodies and smothered in gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce anyways. The breast does best cold. 

Now is the time to actually buy that lifeless iceberg you have been cajoled to use for almost nothing owing to its minimal nutrient capacity. Most sandwiches (burgers, fried chicken, any protein really) marry well with this crispy green. As such, now is the exception – go to town! Use generous dollops of mayonnaise and dust your sandwich with lots and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. Presumably your bird was brined or spiced accordingly and as such, you should not require any added salt but if you want it, 'tis the season. Thank you and you're welcome. I also learned that one should never actually cook stuffing in the bird. According to some sources, and do not quote me here or hold this to me, but this individual asserted that a hypothetically easy way to get sick (and I must admit, I challenge this as we always cook a stuffed bird and in my 35 years of eating people food, I have never gotten sick nor has anyone else in my family) is by cooking the stuffing in the bird. To simplify logistics, it was recommended to roast the turkey on its own, bake the stuffing separately, when done, place it beneath the broiler and let it get nice and crispy. Then you gingerly transfer the stuffing back into the bird, take to the table and no one is the wiser. It's magic. Maybe next year.

Did you know that you should let the turkey sit for an hour after cooking to ensure the juiciest most, brace yourself, moist bird possible? I also learned a trick for brining a frozen turkey. Yes, frozen turkey. You need a 5 gallon bucket, an empty bathtub, your brine of choice and a frozen bird. Apparently Alton Brown's recipe is the best of the best, just saying. We Breyer's never brine but this year, I offered to have more of a role next year and perhaps come 2017, we will be making a trip to our local home store to procure said bucket. I will underscore here that my mother's turkey is the best I have ever had. Fact. But maybe we do something different next year? Or not. Lofty ambitions aside, come 2017, I plan to actually help my mother (she insisted I not this year). This suited us well as we spent Thanksgiving in NYC this year. The original plan was Boca but owing to the Zika virus, we changed course. Matthew and I embarked upon our second annual tradition of rising early, clocking at least 11 miles by foot, brunch at Lafayette in the Lower East Side, more walking, a glass of vino at the bar of the rustic trattoria Morandi in the heart of the West Village with the Brazilian bartender we met last year. (Andrew McCarthy's family enjoyed their holiday spread at the table next to us) and a timely 4.00 p.m. appearance at PHA whereby the wine began to flow and the halcyon festivities officially began.

Regardless of where we spend Thanksgiving next year, my culinary role come 2017 or how we opt to prepare our glorious bird, at a minimum, I can and will take ownership of pulling together some very mean, day-after, breast meat focused sammies for my beloved posse. Bon weekend and Happy Holidays!

Prime Beef Chili
The only chili you should be making this holiday season.

Ingredients:

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion – chopped in your food processor
2 cloves of garlic – chopped in your food processor
2 lb of beef – I buy the organic, grass fed variety
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp adobo chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 TBS red wine or balsamic vinegar
28 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
4 cups collard greens, kale or any other green of your choice – chopped in your food processor
1 punet of crimini mushrooms – chopped in your food processor
2 cups of cubed butternut squash


Vamonos:

1.  Chop the onion and garlic. Your food processor is the tool of choice for such activity though this can also be achieved by hand but why stress yourself? If you don't have one, ask Santa or Hanukkah Harry to bring you one this December. I have the newish Breville on my wish list! (Hint, hint Matthew!) If you are doing this by hand, please watch your fingers.

2.  In a big pot (I use my large Le Creuset), heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Let them cook for around five minutes or until translucent.  

3.  Add the ground meat and give the pot a generous stir.  Then add the kosher salt through the vinegar, stirring regularly.  Now you want to brown the meat.  

4.  Once the meat has browned, add the diced tomatoes, greens, mushrooms and butternut squash. My rationale behind mushrooms is twofold. 1. You get extra fiber and 2. This bulks up the chili. You'll think there's more beef in the mix, believe me!  Also, we don't use beans in this recipe, and you won't miss them!

5. Given everything a big stir again.  Bring to a boil and then drop to low heat (simmer) and let it cook for approximately 1 hour. If you are feeling as if you need some extra fiber, add a can or two of black or kidney beans. Corn too. Again, I am off the beans these days, and feel amazing!

5.  After an hour, serve garnished with a myriad of goodies.  We like chopped cilantro, pecorino or parmesan cheese and goat's milk yoghurt.  Chopped parsley is also wonderful.  Crumble some tortilla chips. Matt likes his chili with potato chips. Cape Cod if possible. You can of course replace the goat's milk yoghurt with sour cream or Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche. Or you can just call it a day, and dump a boatload of cheese on top yielding a gooey bowl of glory.


Note, preparing this the day before really enables the spices to marry. In short, this yields splendiferous leftovers! I enjoyed mine at lunch yesterday!



































1 comment:

  1. Some recipes recommend adding brats to boiling liquid and then lowering the temperature to medium and simmering them for 10 to 12 minutes.

    ReplyDelete