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following the journey of an Ohio Buffum…


Category: Casita

That’s right. I’m the big 39 today (the 10th) Yippee kay aye motherfuckers… It’s the odd ones you have to look out for dont’cha know?

Plan is to go to The Melting Pot for dinner, which will blow the fuck out of my current healthy living and lose weight mode (I’m down to the lowest I’ve been in over 2 years. Yar!) But. It’s my birthday, and I managed to loose weight even over the gorge-o-rama known as Thanksgiving here in the US, and that’s after I spent triple digits and 4 days cooking. :D (I censor the amount so darling hubby won’t pop a vessel when he reads this *^_^*)
So I guess I should go into the planned dinner and the resultant dinner. :)

The planned menu:
Roasted Turkey with Homemade Gravy
Herb Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Butter
Broccolini with Hollandaise au Supreme
Champagne spritzers
Pineapple & Coconut Creme Anglaise Bread Pudding with Dark Chocolate Ganache

So the outcome: :D
I started shopping Saturday before Thanksgiving which for me is 3 days too late. I got a fresh 15lb turkey at the market, all certified and never frozen. I also picked up the majority of the ingredients, which I’d list but your head would spin. :)
Sunday I had to go out to pick up the stuff I couldnt’ find Saturday, namely, Maderia wine, aged balsamic, foie gras, black truffles and figs. 3 stores later, success. I rested up rest of Sunday and then Monday prep began.

Monday I prepared the veggies which meant about 4 hours of mincing and chopping away at pounds of onion, celery, carrots, parsley, apples, shallots and ripping apart the challah bread to let it dry out for the bread pudding a bit. Worn out back aching I called it a day.

Tuesday started off with the stripping of the whole fresh pineapple, coring and slicing into rings. Man those things are sticky fuckers. IF the spines on top don’t get you, the juice will soak you like a snowcone. After the pineapple I prepped the compound butter. Which, consisted of 8oz of Kerry Gold Irish butter, about an ounce of shaved and crumbled black truffles, parsley, lemon juice, kosher salt, black truffle oil, fresh globe basil (from my garden). Creamed together, formed into a log and refrigerated till thursday. I also prepped 4 gallons of vegetable stock with standard mirepoix plus candied ginger, allspice berries, and a stick of cinnamon.
At this point my fridge was so full of containers and things we were in a serious fuck-a-ree of storage issues. I actually contemplated going out and purchasing a small mini fridge to give me more space. But my fridge was packed rafter to rafter, stem to stern.

Wednesday was go day. I started off in the morning making volute sauce, that took a while, after which you turn the volute into allemande sauce. At this point (about 1.5 hours) I held short to turn it into hollandaise au supreme on thursday. I then took a container of blackberries and added them to the simple syrup (1 cup sugar 1 cup water heat to thread stage) after the berries began to burst I used the stick blender to carefully puree the berries. Sieve over fine mesh strainer, fridge to wait. After that I de-stemmed and chopped in half a handful of the figs and put them in a cup of maderia to re-hydrate in the fridge. Time to prepare the foie gras. Which you can only by the full 2 lobes. So I had to cut it down to portions and store for other occassions. The 1.3 lb lobes seperated, blood lines removed, and sliced into 3/4″ slices made 6 servings for 2, (12 slices) Not bad,and I Only fucked up one set of slices which were the left over bits which will probably be used in a forcemeat at a later date. By now it’s mid afternoon and time to brine the bird. I used half the veg stock and prepped it for the turkey brine by adding a cup of salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar, boiled to meld, and then cooled to fridge temp before adding the bird breast meat down, and filling the chest with enough ice and water to cover the turkey.
Gobble. Gobble. You died not in vain you tasty noble fowl.

Thursday I woke up about 5am. God help me. I played puzzle pirates till about 6:30, damn my lazy ways. I’ll pay for that later. I started out sautéing more mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) till they were sweated and soft. I did begin to caramelize the onions before adding the celery and carrots. To this added a whole granny smith apple, 2 tbsp italian parsley, salt and pepper and another stick of butter (to the one stick already in the pan for the sautéing). Finely a bunch of minced fresh sage, minced rosemary stem, and some more basil from the garden. When soft, I pulled out the fresh egg & cornbread cubes I got from the bakery and poured them into a big bowl. Poured half the veg over the bread cubes, added the pork stock (kosher out the window) I’d had in the freezer from previous culinary genius and added it to the veg simmered till a low boil then poured it all over the bread cubes and mixed, mixed, mixed. Till lovely gooey. Dumped it all into a greased baking dish, put the lid on and set aside to do it’s soak and combine thing. So that was about 2 hours.
Erik is now up so I make the first of the appetizers deviled eggs. Eggs come out, go on table. Snarf. Time to grab the bird, yank it from the brine, gently pat dry, pull out compound butter cut off a tablespoon and place it under one side of the breast skin, mash around, do same to other side, rub down outside of bird with sesame oil. stuff the aromatics into the cavity (1 sliced red apple, 1/2 sliced onion, cinnamon stick, and the herbs (4 sprigs rosemary, a bunch of sage) into the cavity after being pre softened in a cup of water in the microwave) pour the water from the aromatics in the bottom of the turkey pan. Pour in 1 cup and half of the brine under the bird, the rest of the veg stock, as well as more mirepoix drop the rack on the pan, drop the trussed bird on the rack, into 500°F oven for 30 mins. Pull the bird. cover with foil triangle, insert probe thermometer, plop in oven at 350°F till alarm goes DING at 161°F saying birdy birdy done! My god damn efficent oven once again screwed me and finished it in about 1.5 hours instead of the standard 2-2.5. (See I told you I’d pay for the puzz earlier)
At this point another 2 hours has gone by. Time to make the foie gras. I start with reheating the allemande sauce and ladle a coating on the plate, turn and form a circle in the center of the plate. Place madeira and figs in saute pan adding drizzles of the aged syrupy balsamic, and a tablespoon of stock and begin to reduce. Get out the slices of foie gras. Place them in hot naked saute pan, realize pan is too hot. Remove from heat, pray. Woo saved, barely. Because that’s $30 of food right there. And I can already hear Gordon Ramsey yelling at me that I’m wasting his food stock. Sear lightly for 30 seconds each side, plate on center of allemande sauce. Drizzle the madeira/fig reduction around the outside of the allemande/foie gras, place 3 halves of the figs around plate. Serve. Drool. Fucking expensive, but so good it’s sick.
After that it’s time to drop the stuffing into the oven next to the bird. Damn I’m glad I have the big oven. :) So gibblets go into pot of water with salt and pepper, boil to make stock for gravy. Peel a dozen new potatoes, place in pan cover with half whole milk, half heavy cream. Boil for 20 mins or so till tender. Now it’s onto dessert. Simmer 3/4 cup of heavy cream, remove from heat dump in 9oz of Scharffen Berger 62% cacao chocolate bar that’s been chopped up. Melt, combine. voila ganache. In the meantime make the creme anglaise (eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, sugar, coconut extract) and whip till smooth, let sit till airbubbles pop, otherwise you get lumps in your pudding! Dump bread pieces of the challah bread into the creme, soak soak soak. Butter & sugar baking pan, chop up fresh pineapple for the bottom till a good single layer is formed. Dump bread mixture into baking pan and top with 1/2 cup or so sugar to form a nice golden crust. Set aside.
So at this point I realize i’m fucked. I haven’t prepared the rolls, or peeled the broccolini. Fuxor. In the weeds. The turkey dings. WEEEDSSSSS! We pull the bird and the stuffing. Pop in the bread pudding. While turkey rests. Bring stuffing to the table, mash the potatoes, (reserve the cooking liquid to readd to the potatoes to make them creamy) and whip them smooth with stick blender. Plate bird. Take to table. Pour 1/2 oz blackberry syrup into bottom of champagne flute, add berries, add champagne. eat. Yum. Good. Oh and the compound butter gets placed ontop of the potatoes at the table. Take the bread pudding out of the oven after 45 minutes to hour or so, when it’s puffed up.
So we ended up with Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with the butter and the champagne. Erik said it was okay to skip the rolls, we had enough bread in the stuffing, and we’d forgo the broccolini for another day.

An hour or so later after my back began to let me move again, we served up the bread pudding with the chocolate ganache. I found the ganache to be too overpowering for the light tropical flavor of the pud, so on subsequent eatings, I used some of the blackberry syrup with the pud instead. That. Was fucking out of sight.

So that was thanksgiving. :) I made enough food to feed 15 people probably. Well, a week of left overs was nummy. :D Nom Nom Nom!

Happy Holidays everyone, time to figure out what i’m making for christmas besides the ham. ;D

So I’ve spent months, nay years figuring out exactly how I want my house to look. So this past spring I finally got down to business and put it all together in a comprehensive ‘master plan’ document. It was huge.. many things on the list, big things, things I can’t afford… you know, a wish list so to speak..
Now to bribe Santa Erik
So today I go to the Maricopa Home and Garden Show.
It’s the 2nd one I’ve been to, so I know where I’m going this time and when I get there ($7 to park) CRIPES! Okay so I ignore how everyone is heading and go around behind the arena and end up driving right up to the entrance gate, park opposite the handicapped spaces. And .. voila… I’m there… about 20 feet from the entrance gate. Yay me.
So I get in line to buy a ticket, ($5 Adult)… and I begin wondering if I could start my own home show I mean it’s a cash cow apparently. We get the privledge of paying to get herded like cattle through little booths where we can oogle the merchandise and queue up to pay more money.
If “You’ve seen it on Tv!” It was being sold. Floor squeegies, steam cleaners, dog waterers, lithographs, tile cutters, cleaning systems, cooking systems, shelving systems, drapery systems…
Santa Erik and I have a theory of things labeled with “systems” as part of the name.
Are you ready? It’s a crock & a sham. It’s yes a shamockery… you won’t use it past the first week, you’ll go back to what you were using (supposedly what it was going to replace) throw it in the closet, garage, basement and ignore it for the rest of your life, too ashamed at how much you paid for it to throw it out, yet unable to muster the conviction to use it till it breaks. (Or has it already young grasshopper?)
If you doubt me, go to a time share presentation where they’ll explain their “Vacation SYSTEMs” to bleed you out of $18k in cash & then another $500+ a year ONTOP of it. To be pigeon-holed into a nasty condo the same week every year for the rest of your life.
Mmmm yes, system.

So I wind my way through the first building and find the painting lady I bought a very nice Hawai’i-esque painting last January. But all she has this time is the crappy paintings of the desert. I live in the desert, I hate the desert, why would I want to hang desert pictures on my wall? Cripes… okay so off I go, I talk to the guys that do cement coverings…
Basically they take thin cement, mix in color of your choice, and trowel it over your existing concrete slab/sidewalks and it looks like faux brick, flagsone, tile, etc.. It’s a flooring sytem.. rolls eyes yeah I know.
So they want more cash than a 2 week trip to Hawai’i so I’m over the look of basic concrete. My new motto is, it’s simple, easy to clean, and look at that lovely grey color.

I stop to get a cherry lemonade. Yeah it’s mostly sugar, but so tasty. Mmm after I sit in the shade for about 20 minutes and drink the lemonade I head off to the next building.. This one is a cluster of patio furniture, hot tubs (they call them spas now, I’m not fooled), swimming pools, BBQ grill centers, and general outdoor living.
I pass through pretty quickly, although my backyard is a lovely cluster of untouched dirt and a few plants, I know that these people are charging 2x what Wal-mart does or any other local pool/BBQ company that doesn’t go to these shows.
I get to the last building which they announce on the “Emeril Stage” a cooking demonstration of something or the other, and I think yeah I’m tired, I’m going to go walk over and watch the demo. Oh look there’s a sign that says the stage is in this building. Great!
I walk around, and around and around.. and yes you guessed it, can’t find the stage, by now it’s past the starting time I say to heck with it and head over to the Precast concrete backyard things.

Now I love these people. I think it’s great. A cement picnic table 4′ and 2 benches. I wanted one last time, Santa Erik said to get the oblong one instead of the circular table. Okay, I order one in charcoal. Yeah with $50 delivery/setup it’s going to set me back $447.
I’m going to have to be very good to Santa Erik, he’s going to fuss over this one. But I think I’ll sit outside more this winter when it’s nice outside. Especially since I don’t think we’re getting to go on a cruise this year. Anyway, if I change my mind, I can cancel it.

Well I am pooped now, so I go outside sit on a bench. (Yes it is a precast concrete bench, it’s lovely.) As I rest, I’m asked if I found anything good or fantastic. I explain to him alot of systems, but not alot of fantastic. I don’t think he got it. But that’s okay.
I got Santa Erik a Gyro, and picked up an Italian sausage sandwich for me. Came home, and have dawdled on the computers the rest of the day.

Oh btw, it was a bit warm today, 95°F when I left the home show….
If only I could invent a cooler weather system…