Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Entertain my mouth

The cranberry relish that I usually buy in the store is a lot cheaper when it's homemade and really easy, too. I decided to give it a food processing whir last night and it's marinating in the fridge right now. I had some last night (have to taste test it) and it was really good. I may have a touch more before I start work, just to see how it's coming along in the marinating process. In fact, I think it would be a great addition to a pot roast on dark rye sandwich for lunch.

I have heard all the talk, and seen the recipes for, brining meat, but I came across a new technique that I'm going to try tonight. Using kosher salt and spices, I'm going to salt the turkey. It's the same idea as brining without all the water. The salt brings the juices in the turkey to the surface so that when it bakes it stays moist without all the basting. After it's done, the turkey sits for 30 minutes before carving so the juices redistribute. I'll let you know how it goes.

On tonight's baking schedule are yams (for the sweet potato pecan pie), lemon meringue pie and carrot cake. I'm still not sure if I want to make muffins out of the carrot cake batter or a two-layer cake. Either way, the carrot cake gets a traditional cream cheese frosting. I also have to make shiitake mushroom caviar (caviar is Russian for any spread with minced vegetables, and you thought it just meant fish eggs) so that it has time for the flavors to develop.

Tomorrow's pretty easy. In the morning, I'll boil the potatoes for the mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and put together the butternut squash au gratin for the main side dishes. Guests will bring salads and sides and ham and the drinks are on me, a nice light white wine and a full bodied Merlot. There will also be fresh lemonade and water to drink and a few amuse bouches to whet the appetite before the main event. Friday is reserved for an intimate meal with one really good friend who has requested rye bread and mustard for his turkey sandwich. The rye bread I get, but I was expecting a request for Miracle Whip or mayo for the turkey sandwiches. I'm open to anything, like cranberry relish on pot roast sandwiches. I like trying new things, especially when it comes to food, unlike Beanie who is a traditionalist to her core.

When Beanie and I talked this morning and I mentioned my schedule, she said I was weird with all the gourmet food. I don't consider shiitake mushroom caviar or mashed potatoes with sour cream and roasted garlic gourmet, but someone for whom stuffed celery is gourmet, I'm sure it seems that way. She doesn't like Swiss cheese because it tastes nasty and she prefers ranch dressing while I finally found a recipe for authentic green goddess salad dressing that includes anchovies. I'm sure she wouldn't like to know what else is in it. At least, she approved the carrot cake. It's something she recognizes.

I've always been different than my siblings and I love trying new things, especially food, which is why I live in Colorado and they all live within 50 miles of Columbus, Ohio where they grew up. After all, life is too short and the world filled with new and different sensations and experiences and I still have a long way to go in trying them all. I may have to come back several more lifetimes to get them all in and revisit the ones I really liked. I consider cooking as stress reducing therapy while many other people consider it stressful. It takes all kinds of people to make a world.

In the meantime, enjoy this time with good friends, dear family and lots of foods, but pace yourself. There's a long weekend ahead and you don't have to eat everything during dinner tomorrow. Save a little something for a midnight snack, breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you do it right, you could have a feast every day for at least a week.

That is all. Disperse.

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