Friday, December 28, 2007

American Thanksgiving

As the New Year waxes luminously before me I thought it high time I fulfilled my commitment to post and boast this most stupendous gastronomic occurrence. While American Thanksgiving provided the form for this culinary happening, improvisation was the rule of day as friends, local and international, created tantalizing treats both savory and sweet. At the risk of offering a less than complete rendering, our menu consisted of:
  • Stuffed Game Hens with Mushroom Miso Sauce
  • Fruit Stuffing
  • Butterflied Leg of Lamb
  • Roasted Salmon with Hoisin Glaze
  • Spicy Lamb sausages
  • Andouille Cajun sausages
  • Southern-style baked Macaroni & Cheese
  • Butternut Squash with Orzo and Sage
  • Green Leaf Salad with Blue-Cheese & Pomegranate
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Corn Casserole
  • Fresh Baked Bread
  • Mont Blanc
  • Pumpkin Custard
  • and yes, much, much wine

Stuffed Game Hens with Mushroom Miso Sauce

Unquestionably, this is the best mushroom sauce I've ever tasted, which says a lot given that I'm from the land of gravies and sauces. I used a combination of chanterelle, oyster, shiitake, and brown cremini mushrooms.

The sauce consists of:
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 8 oz wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or substitute vegetable stock)
  • 1/4 cup light miso
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  1. Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Combine stock, miso, cream and soy sauce. Stir into mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  3. Drizzle sauce and sprinkle with chives.
Fruit Stuffing
All fruit stuffings are not created equal. Orianne chose a recipe from "A Matter of Taste" by Lucy Waverman and James Chatto. The recipe makes about 12 cups and can be cooked on its own in a greased baking dish, baked, covered for an hour at 375.
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 green apples, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups fresh breadcrumbs (Ori used Challah bread)
  • 1 cup dried prunes, cut in half
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery and saute for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened.
Add apples and saute for 2 minutes.

Combine onion mixture and breadcrumbs. Stir in prunes, cranberries, stock, orange juice, tarragon, ginger and marjoram. Season well with salt and pepper.

Roasted Salmon with Hoisin Glaze
Alright, for all you Salmon lovers out there, here's an easy and delicious way to prepare salmon. I prefer to cook the salmon at a higher temperature as it gives a firmer texture. The rule of thumb is to roast at 450 for 10 minutes per vertical inch when the salmon is measured at its thickest point. This recipe makes 8 Claire-sized portions (as opposed to Rochelle-sized portions which are 20% less). BTW, this dish is served well cold, room temperature or hot - thus making it ideal when struggling to land a number of dishes all at the same time!
  • 2 center-cut salmon fillets, 2lbs each (I always ask the seafood shop, or Capers, to cut off of a large fillet so as to prevent getting the tail end which thins out too much)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp hot Asian chili sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (yes, you absolutely must have a pepper mill!)
  1. Place salmon skin side down on an oiled foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Combine hoisin, wine, vinegar, oil, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Spread over top and sides of salmon. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.
  4. Roast salmon for 15 to 25 minutes, or until white juices just bein to appear on the sides. Remove from oven - fish will continue to cook as it cools.
Spicy Lamb & Andouille Cajun sausages
The only advice I'll offer up for preparing sausages on the stove top is to butterfly them and garnish with sauteed onions & peppers.

Southern-style baked Macaroni & Cheese
Comfort food par excellence! While I have no images of this Southern staple - which I had for almost every Sunday dinner (which means lunch for you Canadians) while growing up in Tennessee - I'll include the recipe as so many have asked.
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese (I realize "orange" cheddar is a bit faux pas these days, but from an authentic Southern American and, dare I say it, aesthetic stand point I'd really suggest violating this unwritten social norm.)
  • 1 cup cooked Macaroni Noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of sugar (a key subtlety often missed.)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Enough Whole milk to mostly cover the noodles (ok, you can use 2% but really with all that cheese does another 1.5% of milk fat really matter?)
  1. Cut cheese into cubes in a 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 qt. baking dish, ungreased
  2. Stir in 2 eggs & add cooked noodles, salt and sugar.
  3. Cover with milk and put pats of butter on top.
  4. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 - until top starts to brown nicely

Butternut Squash with Orzo and Sage

This here is a staple Claire dish, and once you've tasted it you know why. The recipe is included in the photo - contact C.M. to fill in the details.

Green Leaf Salad with Blue-Cheese & Pomegranate

Delectable greens prepared by Carla and Chris - wonderful souls (and skiing comrades to boot!)

Mont Blanc

Just take a look at Cristina's Dec 12 blog and you'll get the full low-down on this beauty (including the dessert!)

Until next Thanksgiving...
May 2008 be a year full of uplifting experiences with wonderful friends, great food and delicious wine (ok, and the occasional interloping next door feline).


claire said...

Dear Thomas, what a stunning blog-writing debut! I love it, I love it! And I'm glad to see that you clarified regarding the Claire- vs. Rochelle-sized portions. A stumbling block for many a great chef, to be sure.

c-licious said...

Okay, yes, uplifting indeed