Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Pre-Game Lineup

People have asked me what I'm doing for Thanksgiving and I have to admit that it's pretty staid and traditional. All the same, I thought describing the line up might be fun, with the expectation that things will happen spontaneously, as always. There must be turkey, a fairly small Willy Bird, but he's been seasoned with wild sumac and juniper provided by our friend Miss Butterpowered Bike. Brining makes the bird taste like saltwater, so I just salt (delicately smoked Maldon flakes) and season a day or two before. Then there's also a goose. Actually two. One to roast on a spit before the fire, the other has been curing, finely chopped with the fat, in a cow's bung the past few months. I have no idea what it will be like, most likely a kind of spreadable confit, but not cooked of course. The bones went into a fine stock I froze, for the roast goose.

With this I was thinking of Varsa, a traditional Romanian sauteed sauerkraut with butter and paprika. This time my own sauerkraut and I'm thinking goose fat to stick with the theme. Kimmy is bringing roast Brussels sprouts which will go perfectly too. Got to be mashed potatoes, scalloped white sweet potatoes with maple syrup, a stuffing - I'm thinking made with a fresh sourdough spelt bread I'll bake today. J is making a fancy salad, though it's heresy on such a day. And of course I forgot to get string beans. I do the exact same clichee casserole, but with fresh shrooms, cream, stock, and fried onions on top.

The starters will be whatever I can find in the cave. A cured tuna belly - which turned black, a kind of tarantello, though I'm thinking of smoking it, to make it a sorra. A good 16th century trick. I also have a slab of mangalitsa lardo I made a couple of weeks ago, for the intrepid. There's the free-form cheddar, though maybe I'll make some fresh mozarella today too. Wouldn't you know there's a recall on raw milk this week in California, so it will have to be pasteurized. Drat. Smoking it might be fun. Some sopressata. I'm also considering breaking out the garum and soy sauce. The former is nearly a year old now, the latter close to that. Neither have been tested yet. Maybe each as a kind of dipping sauce for cardoons if I can still find them. Oh, I have some pickled walnuts too, a full year old and some pickled lemons. Who knows what other surprises might be in there? OH, miso pickled burdock root, now nearly 3 years old and never touched. I think I put it up when we started the first cookbook. Isn't a larder a lovely thing?

My usual drink of choice is good bourbon, couldn't find Pappy Van Winkle, but Buffalo Trace will do. This year there's absinthe too. A bottle of Enigma that's been waiting patiently a long time and some Jade Edouard, which is splendid. And of course the concord eau de vie chez moi, which is very pleasantly sweet and aromatic this year. Lots of wine too naturally - I've been on a pinot noir kick since visiting the Willamette Valley.

Apple pie is traditional, got to do it. A pumpkin pie also forcoming. And if I can find them not too expensive, a pecan pie. We'll see. So when are you coming?


Jeremy said...

Sounds lovely!
Last weekend I sliced up the salame from your class; it was a beautiful thing much appreciated by friends. I was surprised that it lost over 40% of its initial weight so quickly, and still was pleasantly moist inside.

Anonymous said...

Wish I could be there. Sounds like you've been busy. We're going more non-traditional, and decided on sushi for the day. Just finished getting the last of what we needed at the grocery store. We'll be pairing a view varieties of the sushi with a beef rolled asparagus and topping everything off with key-lime pie. After a few glasses of wine, everything will blend together just fine. LOL
Blessings bro!
Joseph Fox

Ken Albala said...

Hey Jeremy, SO glad to hear that! I guess I'll serve the one I made that day too. Have a great Thanksgiving!

And Joe, BEST to you and yours, old pal.

So weird to chat with friend of a year or so, and of 30 or more!

Deana Sidney said...

I wish I was there... what a great feast you are having. I wasn't doing dinner and now I am... much simpler... very ducky.

Have a good one... I know it will be delicious!

Glenn said...

Alas, alas, I was occupied that weekend, though your presence was felt where I was. You've so encouraged me that when I got roped into helping do a medieval feast for 50-ish Saturday after Thanksgiving, I volunteered to make sausages (Sabina Welserin's zervelat) and sauerkraut (a la Albala) for all...

That feast was a wonder to behold.

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