Category Archives: Recipe
After a long weekend of over indulging it’s comforting to sit down to a simple dinner of soup made from turkey carcass and ham bone, salad from the winter garden and homemade bread. Oh yeah, I made croutons too with stale bread but the boys hoovered them before I could get my camera out.
Bringing the dinner prep work into the workshop. Rolling out pasta next to carving knives and power tools. The difference between homemade and handmade is slight.
and all through the house, the smell of bacon is wafting about. The pre Thanksgiving wheels are in full swing. Theo and Debbie are starting desserts. Bacon seems to be the common thread running throughout the entire Thanksgiving meal. Today Debbie sizzled up two pounds of the pork to be diced up for the Brussel sprouts. The bacon grease is reserved and later drizzled into the stuffing.
I wouldn’t even begin to know all what Debbie’s puts in her stuffing, but here are some of the ingredients that I know. It all starts off with fresh pain demi, chanterelle mushrooms, artichoke hearts, dried apricots and a bunch of other stuff. And, as I said before bound together with bacon grease.
For lunch today I fried up polenta in the bacon grease and leftover Bolognese sauce. Really, what’s not to like when it’s cooked in bacon?
This year I used a dry Sicilian sea salt rub on the Kosher turkey. I’ve been giving the bird a few daily massages and today applied some fresh herbs which Debbie got from the Santa Monica Farmers Market and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning. And of course, I put bacon on top of the turkey before cooking.
Sam and Henry have been incessantly bickering ( actually some violence ensued) all day about their trivia quizzes they hand out at Thanksgiving and our annual Saturday after Thanksgiving leftover party. Sam started this 2 years ago and last year Henry concocted a Harry Potter quiz. This year Sam somehow convinced (coerced) Henry that 80% of his quiz MUST be sports related. They made me take a photo of them shaking hands in accordance to this agreement.
Besides massaging turkey breasts I’ve been trying to get the yard in shape for the holidays. We had a guy come out yesterday to give us an estimate to put artificial grass on the side of the yard the boys practice their athleticism on. That side of the yard seems to take the hardest beating. I’ll give everyone a little quiz here. How much do you think it costs to scalp our old grass, level our soil, put 3″ of decomposed granite and install artificial grass in an area roughly 36″ X 15″? The answer is $6,295.00!Â And if we do it before the new year he could do the job for $6000.00. Yeah, well that’s not going to happen. Anyways, I’m getting off the subject. Tomorrow we cook, eat and oh yeah give thanks.
Summer is in full swing. The kids are fighting while playing Monopoly. Theo has been caught cheating red- handed trying to load the dice in order to land on and buy Boardwalk. I never liked Monopoly. I still don’t. What I do like is Pork with a capital “P”. We’ve been buying our pork at Costco. I know it’s a huge warehouse store and it’s driving smaller stores out of business, but a pork loin roast priced at $1.85 per pound is just too tempting to pass up. Besides there’s already enough blog postings about wonderful farmers markets and small organic free range ranchers. This post is about the BIG PIG. This is a meal that stretches. Check out what we do with our big pig!
Pork loin braised in milk Bolognese style is what we do first. This recipe comes from “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. It’s easy to make, cooks on the stove top and simply wonderful. First we have to cut the pork loin in half (it’s about 2 feet long) to accommodate the roasting pot. Basically, we braise the pork on all sides in olive oil and ghee (clarified butter) until it is browned, add salt, pepper, fresh sage, porcini mushrooms and simmer lazily in milk for 2 hours or so with the lid slightly ajar.
Next on the menu is pork dipped inspired by Philippe’s. I know it’s not the same but these dips are pretty darn good. And with Debbie’s homemade coleslaw if you close your eyes shades of Philippes run through your taste buds. Shown above with a Japanese cucumber from our war garden. In case you forgot, we are still at war.
What would pork be without carnitas or vice versa? The recipe is simple. Go surfing for 3 hours get real hungry and thirsty then just fry littleÂ pork chunks in canola oil till crispy, add salsa serve on top of a flour tortilla. Drink beer and you are set.
Now batting forth is pork fried rice. Take out the wok satute whatever is left of the pork loin in a touch of peanut oil with a few garlic cloves and remove from wok. Then sautee a carrot, celery stalk, frozen peas, green onions, water chestnuts and whatever else you might think would be good and scramble it all up with 2 eggs. Put the pork back in the wok add cooked white rice soy sauce, touch of rice vinegar, a bit of sugar and you’ve just taken your pork loin on a journey from Costco to Italy to Downtown LA. to Mexico and finally to China all for about $15.00.
Weeks before our camping trip, the emails about food start. What usually happens is 2 families are responsible for one dinner each night. Lunches are real simple, sandwiches, fruit, beef stick, cheese. This year it went something like this: Night 1 -Â Catriona made a 18 or 19 bean stew served with corn bread. Johnny Sequoia made bison and pig chili.
I am not going to critique any cooking on our camping trip. I am grateful for any contributions to our meals but, if want want to read Sam’s Food Blog you can get a feel of what a “picky kid” likes and dislikes. I am of the school of thought that everything tastes good camping. Just read the story, The Big Two- Hearted River by Hemingway, Nick Adams enjoys a camp meal of canned beans and spaghetti topped off by a can a peaches and cowboys coffee. I believe somewhere in the story he also makes reference to a raw onion sandwich.
Saturday night was Mediterranean Night at Long Meadow. Grilled Lamb burgers encrusted with mint, drizzled with yogurt and dill sauce. Humus, string cheese and pita bread accompanied the meat.
Dessert on night 2 was a Ben & Jerry ice cream caked brought up packed in dry ice by Beth and John to celebrate Sam’s 15th birthday.
Some new faces around the campfire this year were a couple of guys named Weber and Kinsford. Weber was John’s BBQ that he graciously schlepped up the hill from Santa Monica. I know you are supposed to grill in the great outdoors on a camp ring but, have you ever grilled for 24 people while squatting on the ground, with no air stoking the fire while Dave our fire meister throws hot coals into the fire pit and ashes onto our dinner while the sun in sinking and kids are hungry? Well I have and Weber and Kingsford were two welcome additions. Let me just say that I am in no way criticizing Dave. Camping wouldn’t be the same with out him and his massive campfires. I remember last year when the weather was so cold and wet everyone huddled around his fires all morning and all through all night. Thanks Dave.
This might be a nice time to pay tribute to Coleman. Coleman is our 2 burner campstove held together by love and bacon grease. We’ve had this workhorse for close to 20 years and many a meal has been prepared on her. While making coffee on Sam’s 5th grade camping trip to Santa Cruz Island I discovered a family of mice had build a nest in Coleman overnight and were a little pissed when I asked them to leave.
Our last dinner was billed as “The Mountain of Meat Night.”Â The Vincent- Orths brought the mountains of meat which consisted ofÂ 2 big ole tri- tips,Â Korean style ribs, and eveyone’s favorite Hawaiian boneless short ribs aka as Sookie meat. While this wasn’t my night of cooking, I am usually engaged in some capacity when it comes to grilling, as was the case on this night. I love BBQing. Every meal is an adventure and there is something about people coming over to “see what’s cookin’ which makes for great conversation. I was in charge of the tri tip.Â I must state for the record that I am not to blame for it being overcooked by some peoples standards (Me included). I was give a meat thermometer and asked to cook it too 145 degrees. I actually cooked it to 140 degrees. I never use a meat thermometer and felt in my heart that it was done a good 5 minutes before I took it off.
So that’s the dinners. One breakfast always features Wendy’s griddle cakes. They are out of this world earthy good and go well wrapped around a chicken sausage. Everyone brings home the bacon camping and I usually cook it on my Coleman. This year Catriona had a great idea to use the Weber to BBQ the bacon.Â As soon as the bacon flared up I would over it cover it and the bacon continued to smoke and smoke and smoke. I think I cooked 7 pounds of bacon on this particular morning and as a result was left with a slightly cooked hairless right hand.
Let’s see what else. Oh yes, what could a camping trip be without Johnny Sequoias’ home granola? I’ll try to get the recipe into this post soon.
Nobody goes hungry in our camp. Next year we are planning to stay an extra day just to have a leftover night Dinner.
Now that I’ve got your attention with this post title, here we go… Parenting tip #1, actually parenting toddler tip#1, well actually parenting toddler/ dad tip#1, no wait, Dad who has a toddler boy tip#1- When going into a public mens room andÂ should you give your toddler the option to use the toilet or the urinal, be alert. The other night when I gave Simon that choice he shouted “URINAL!” Â bolted for it, and stuck his hands right in. I wasn’t quick ,my scream of NO was in slow motion and I looked on in horror as Simon held up the splatter screen in his hands. My advice to dads is this, when giving a toddler a choice, be prepared to move fast.
I love the word kosher. It means it alright, no worry and it’s all good. I love the word (words) huli- huli. It means spin spin in Hawaiian. It means Kauai is only 5 months away. Last night I made huli- huli chicken. In other words chicken on a spit. I use a dry rub of Kosher salt, light brown sugar and whatever spices that are in the spice cabinet. Give it a good rub down with the mixture, stick it on the spit, turn on the barbeque, throw some wet oak bark on the flames and let it huli- huli. No worries- it’s all good.
With Winter weather still lingering in southern California, our supply of firewood has reached near end. Sometimes we have the wood burning stove going 24 hours a day. It’s a nice feeling in the morning when you open the door to the stove and see hot embers and you can rekindle your fire without striking a match. I’ve resorted to cutting old 9′ seamless background paper on the table saw and using twine to bind them to make colored paper logs.
I once heard that a guy in Canada got on every catalog mailing list and heated his home with the catalogs for an entire Winter.
We also ran out of Nutella. So, we’ve resorted to placing chocolate chips and chocolate coins in our croissants in the morning. Here’s the recipe:
-Take a croissant
-Slice croissant down the middle
-Place ample amount of chocolate chips and chocolate coins in croissant
-Bake at 350 for five minutes or until chocolate melts
Another new recipe this week came from Debbie. It was meatloaf. Maybe Debbie will edit this post later with the recipe but all that matters is that the meatloaf needs to be draped in a pound of bacon. I remember a saying in art school, “if you can’t make it big, paint it gold.” The same goes for meatloaf, “if you can’t make it pig, drape it with bacon.” Does this make sense? If it does you’ve been to art school.
Every year we sit down at our Thanksgiving dinner table (actually this year we had 2 tables, one for grownups and one for the under 14 crowd) and every year (after the grandmas stake their claim on the turkey wings and everyone has finished asking “where do we sit?”) after we say our blessings I always attempt to thank everyone for helping us throughout the year but I’m always drowned out by the onslaught of friends and family filling their plates and…eating. Well here it is in writing . Thanks everyone. We couldn’t do what we do without your help.
This year the big news on the food front is the special appearance of the capon… yes, the castrated(I’ve used the word castrated more times in the past week then ever before) rooster was sent to us by our dear friends in Maine.
Recipe for the capon: The capon, as Ted mentioned, was a gift, it came from D’Artagnan, a company specializing in free range and organic poultry, meat and fowl. I rubbed it down the day before cooking in a generous amount of black truffle salt.(I got it from my friendJakki, but it’s readily available from Surfas) The morning of cooking I slathered underneath the skin(as well as outside) with black truffle butter I made from balck truffles from the Farmers Market(about 5 small ones) and a half pound of Plugra butter. I don’t stuff my birds with the stuffing we eat, but I did put shallots and a few slices of pain de mie bread, just to keep it from drying out, I don’t really know why. Then I turned it over to Ted who was in charge of the actual cooking of the bird and I resumed the cooking of the rest of the meal.
Another new addition this year was the wet brine for the turkey. Recipe for the wet brine.
- Fill a large clean container ( I used a cooler) with enough water to cover turkey entirely.
- Add 2 cups kosher salt, 1 cup sugar, and a bit of whiskey. Mix thoroughly.
- Add large bag of ice. Wash and dry turkey. Submerge turkey till it’s engulfed in the icy brine.
- Let sit for 6- 24 hours. Never let water temperature to get above 40 degrees.
- Take bird out and rinse with cold water, pat dry and season.
This year I made a paste ofÂ Zankou Chicken butter, fresh sage, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper and placed it under the skin. I always put bacon across the outside of the turkey in an x marks the spot pattern.
The Thanksgiving Feast consisted of:
- Brussels sprouts with French chestnuts and bacon(and a side dish sans bacon for Henry)
- Stuffing(chanterelle mushrooms, prunes, dried apricots,leeks,shallots French chestnuts,pearl onions-all cooked individually in none other than bacon grease-then tossed together and mixed with 2 loafs of cubed pain de mie and Bell’s Seasoning and a half a stick of truffle butter and some of theÂ giblet broth.Cooked in the oven for about 45 minutes)
- Scalloped potaoes with leeks in cream(courtesy of our friend Catriona who was in Wales but left us her delightful husband and children and much delicious food)
- Yams(baked with brown sugar, butter and salt)
- Cranberries cooked in grated ginger, vanilla, sugar,maple syrup and an orange
- Homemade bread
- Pumpkin pie
- Persimmon pudding
- Glazed cranberry cake
At last, after 3 days of preparation, the fruits of our culinary labors were ready to be enjoyed, appreciated and consumed, all within 25 minutes. We were thankful for Aunt YY’s annual contribution of dirty dish duty.Thanksgiving remains at the top of the favored holiday list, because it(and our family) is all about the food!
Our friend Catriona got us hooked on squeezing fresh orange juice each morning. A 25 pound bag from the farmer’s market lasts the week. A glass of juice straight from the juicer beats any fresh juice you can buy. Our juicing device is a vintage Wear-Ever Aluminum juicer found on ebay (no link needed) for about $10.00. The kids love to do the cutting and juicing and after all, isn’t year ’round oranges one of the perks of living in Southern California?