Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2007 - Looks can be Deceiving......

Keep in mind these pics are from Thanksgiving 2007, I haven't been able to share them based on sheer embarassment. I could formulate some Martha Stewart classic Thanksgiving story filled with delicious eats and treats, family bonding and other hoop-la, but that would be lying and well........I don't want to be labeled as a liar.
Isn't it interesting how photos offer a visual capture of what seemingly looks good but really isn't?!?! Have I peaked your interest enough for the gruesome details????? The wonder of grace should've really hit me on Thanskgiving Day - I prepared a feast for two, and while some dishes struggled others were flat out a hit! The menu included Martha Stewart's Classic Roast Turkey and Gravy, Nana's Amazing Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans with Tarragon Herbed Butter, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, and Homemade Dinner Rolls. Dessert was Paul's choice - a real homemade Pumpkin Pie ( no cans of pumpkin puree, people, from a real freakin' pumpkin).
The highlights of the meal include the everything but the gravy, turkey and green beans. I burned the green beans! How might you ask? Simple - in a rush to finish the gravy, which Paul takes credit for, finish the mashed potaters, and plate our food, I thought I turned off the burner that had the green beans (which were perfectly cooked prior to their meeting with hell), come to find out I didn't. After realizing what I had done, I took the pot off the burner and having no room to put the hot pot anywhere, set it on my cheap countertop, which then BURNED my countertop. So now I have a lovely ring of burnt laminate to always remind me of said unfortunate event.
Now onto the worst of it all.....the bird. That poor poor bird. Thank God I can laugh at this all now because I have a witness (can I get a witness?) who will verify I was not laughing, in fact I was in tears when all was said and done. At least I had a nice $40 Pinot Noir from California to soothe my weary soul. There is no other way to say this with class, but the bird was too damn salty. Martha's recipe called for the turkey to be brined (a method in which you give the bird a day or two bath in water, sugar, salt and other accoutrements). Keep in mind the original recipe was for an 18-20 lb. bird, my bird was 9 lbs. I made the recipe in 1/2, including the brine. After I made the brine, it didn't look like it would cover the bird completely so I made the WHOLE brine recipe instead, therefore killing my bird with salt. Lesson learned - trust your culinary instinct, please, for the love of God. Paul suggested that this year (2008) I should not brine the bird, but I have to master this bird!!!! One thing I can say for it was that it was the most MOIST, TENDER, and JUICY bird I ever ate!
As much as I want this blog to display my culinary victories, I have to come to terms with the fact that there will be culinary casualties as well, this being the BIGGEST blunder of them all (let's hope)!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Welcome to Indiana....or India?

I think there is a misconception about the Midwest, often that good food does not exist or rather difficult to find. And while I agree with these sentiments to an extent, I have found that if I can't find it then I sure as heck can make it! Being that I am a west coast girl at heart, and have been exposed to a variety of ethnic cuisines, I dedicate this one to my dear Indian friend, Maggie (back in Cali)!!! I have been craving (and let me tell you folks, the craving has been deep) for some Indian food. This last meal planning session I found myself perusing my 1,000 Indian Recipes book for ideas and came across two recipes that sounded interesting. One was a Curried Chicken dish made with yogurt, spices and caramelized onions and the other recipe was for mixed vegetables in a tomato cream and yogurt sauce. What you see above is the final result, it was the first plating, so to speak (and I may add Paul helped himself gladly to it). While eating our meal, Paul and I were discussing the various elements of Indian food that make it so special, so unique. We delved into the heating and cooling elements Indians use with food. The fresh chiles and spices, may "heat" the dish, but the use of yogurt adds a cooling element. That's why you will may see a dish of "raita" on the table at an Indian restaurant or home. When you eat the spicy foods, the raita or yogurt dishes cools you off. Indian food also uses the various healing properties of many pantry items and foods to take care of physical ailments. Food is not only a source of pleasure, but also a source of healing and health. This may be Indiana, but we sure can cook some yummy Indian food!!!