Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some food from the weekend

I'm not going to regale you with recipes for every Thanksgiving dish — everything was delicious, and almost everything is a favorite standard — but I thought it best to at least check in with a quick rundown of the weekend. On Wednesday we made pizza for the family (four cookie-sheet-sized pizzas, two with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella and two with pears, walnuts, blue cheese, and mozzarella). Tomorrow night's plan is for stew with chickpeas, clams, and sausage. Tonight we had skate, very yummy baked fifteen to twenty minutes in a buttered pan at 400°, and then topped with browned butter and capers. We served the skate with brown rice and chard: bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large pot, and add a good handful of baking soda, and then stir in two bunches rainbow chard, cut into one-inch-thick ribbons; peel a couple cloves of garlic, mince them, and then add a large handful of salt to the garlic in a small pile on a cutting board and work the salt into the garlic with a knife until you have a nice paste; after about two minutes, drain the greens in a colander, dry them off a bit in a clean dish towel, and toss the greens with the garlic in a serving bowl.

On Friday, as we do every year, we made soup. My brother invited a friend from school to join us for the Thanksgiving weekend, and said friend is quite strictly vegetarian, so in addition to our usually turkey soup, we also made a vegan option. (The friend left today, hence the meaty dinners tonight and tomorrow.) Coarsely chop four onions, half a dozen celery sticks, and about as many carrots, and divide them roughly evenly between two pots. Add a few bay leaves, a few peppercorns, and a large handful of salt to each pot. In the larger pot, also add the saved turkey neck and giblets as well as the bones (break them up if you can with a cleaver to let the marrow out), but discard the skin and use the fat for some other project. Save any savable meat, of course. Cover the contents of each pot with water (but not more than enough to cover), place the lids on, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about an hour.

Dice another three onions. Place two of them in a large pot and one in a medium pot, and saute in a splash of olive oil with some salt. Also add diced carrot and celery to each to make two mirepoix. To the smaller pot, add three quarter pound sliced crimini mushrooms. Once the mushrooms start to release their liquid, add between half and a third of a cup of pearled barley to the smaller pot, and between half a cup and two thirds to the larger pot. Stir the barley in to coat, and then place a colander or sieve over the smaller part and pour in the finished vegetable broth, rescuing the cooked veggies to give to the backyard chickens (it was raining all weekend — that soup was from October). Then move the colander to the larger pot and pour in the turkey broth.

Bring both soups to a boil. After about ten minutes, add frozen edamame to each pot. Bring back to a boil, cook another ten minutes, and stir in a fair amount of saved turkey meat into the turkey-broth (non-mushroom) soup. Adjust the salt and serve with good bread and good wine.

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