Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey Day 2006

This Thanksgiving Day was a great time for food, bad time for my camera to go on the fritz. I won't have pics until later, but I might as well blab on about the food. Yeah sorry, not much to say about design yet.

Usually I am with my family up in Cleveland, however this year I made dinner for my wife's family. A typical Cleveland T-Day consists of turkey with giblet gravy, ham or pork roast, huge dumplings, sage stuffing, saurkraut and sausage or stuffed cabbage, cranberry sauce and relish, a lettuce salad, canned sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, deviled eggs and many bottles of wine. My wife's typical T-Day is turkey with plain gravy, box dressing, macaroni and cheese, canned sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole and soda. Of course my family is larger, but I think the ethinicity is more prevalent despite the extra dishes.

To blend the two I played it safe...turkey with gravy made from stock saved from months ago including the fond from that time. Wild mushroom stuffing tamales, candied sweet potatoes made from fresh Louisiana yams, deviled eggs, fresh cranberry-orange-pomegranate relish, sweet corn, green bean casserole, wheat rolls, and packaged mashed potatoes (for my wife).

One of my greatest prizes from the meal is a very thick, dark and very rich gravy made afterward from the pan drippings and the 2 Qts. of stock I made from the carcass, which I made later Thursday night. The tamales turned out OK. In the rush I forgot to saute the aromatics so it was crunchier than I intended.

Sunday I made sweet potato gnocchi with a maple-pomegranate glaze and a turkey ragu from the dark meat utlizing the dark gravy mixed with stock for the liquid.

Wild Mushroom Tamales

1 lb 12-grain bread , dried, diced
20 dried corn husks
1 oz. dried mushrooms
4 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 cup onion, medium , chopped
1 cup celery , chopped
2 Tbsp shallot, large , chopped
2 Tbsp garlic clove, large , minced
1 sprig thyme
1 tsp sage , chopped
.5 tsp rosemary , chopped
.5 tsp salt
.25 tsp black pepper
.5 cup turkey stock , reduced by half
4 eggs, large , lightly beaten
1 Tbsp chives , chopped

Cover husks with water and simmer for 10 min. then let soak for 2 hrs. Place mushrooms in bowl or cup and cover with boiling water. Place saucer over bowl to keep mushrooms submerged, let set for 1 hour. Dice bread, spread on baking sheet and place in 200° oven for 30 min., set aside. Turn oven up to 350°.

Save juice from mushrooms but press and drain mushrooms, then chop. In 2 T butter, saute onions and celery until onions start to get clear then add shallots, garlic, thyme, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper. At end add 2 additional T of butter and let melt.

Place bread in large bowl and add vegetables and butter, mushrooms, chives, eggs, 1/2 cup of reserved mushroom juice and turkey stock and mix well.

Take 2-3 husks and tear 1/4" strips to tie filled tamales. Lay whole husks flat, place mound of stuffing in center and fold husk sides together over stuffing. Twist each end and tie with strip. Repeat. Place tamales on a cooling rack on a baking sheet in the oven for ~40min. or to 160°. To serve, cut slit down center and push ends together to expose stuffing or completely unwrap. Drizzle with gravy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Old Town Fiesta, Part IV

Church Street Cafe
2111 Church Street

• Chili with Red Sauce Meat and Beans
• Menudo with Red Sauce on the side
• Posole with Green Sauce on side with Sopapilla
• Sangria

Every one of the sampled dishes was fantastic. The chili was the best I've had in a long time and the sauces were rich and smooth.

The real taste I was seeking here was the tripe. I was raised eating tripe (specifically beef reticulum, or honeycomb tripe) and offal in its many forms are part of my family cuisine. One of my Dad's favorite dishes is pig tails and beans (a dish known as Kuba), sausage was a food group and chicken hearts were the prize giblets. You should see my family at a pig roast practically fighting to get pieces of the crisped skin.

Breaded Tripe

1 egg, large, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Flour, all purpose
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme, dried, crushed
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
oil for frying
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 lbs tripe, beef reticulum, cut, palm size

1. Boil tripe from 30-45 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and let cool to room temp.

2. Heat oil in pan. Use only enough to raise oil halfway up thickness of meat. Heat until breadcrumb sizzles, ~350°-370°.

3. Mix breadcumbs, flour, paprika, thyme, and pepper together on bowl for dredging.

4. Lightly beat egg and milk together in shallow dish. Pat tripe dry then run through egg wash mixture. Drain shortly, then coat with breadcrumb mixture, patting breadcrumbs into surface.

5. Pan fry in oil until golden, flip, repeat. Drain on rack, cover with foil to rest.