Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lie on your back, relax... Tryptophanasana

A little Bikram joke for ya, courtesy of Mr. Chris.

I finished my Thanksgiving meal and came out of my food coma just long enough to write a few blog entries. I am mostly doing this because I can't move. At all. Well I can move my hands.

Here is the line-up:
clockwise from top left: Turnips, cranberry sauce, lamb and turkey gravy, toasted nuts (my uncle is alergic so we have to leave them on the side), regular stuffing, cornbread crunchy stuffing, apple slaw, Aunt Judy's Cranberry Mould, Nana's Candied Carrots, Mac and Cheese, Nana's Creamed Spinach, Lamb, Turkey

My contributions were leg of lamb, apple slaw, and macaroni and cheese.

#1 Mustard and Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb 
with Stillwater Cellar Door (wheat beer brewed with white sage)

First I made a boneless leg of lamb. This was so simply and so yummy. Lamb is almost as fun to cook as duck. Its really fun to spice and sauce and it is friendly with contrasting flavors. 
I got a 4.5 lb boneless leg of lamb, preheated the oven to 400ºF, and I salted and peppered the whole thing. In a cuisinart I combined the following to form a paste:
4tbsp room temperature butter
3tbsp dijon mustard
1 handful dried sage leaves (probably about 1/4 cup)
3 sprigs of chopped fresh rosemary
3 sprigs worth of fresh thyme leaves
6-8 cloves of finely chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste
You spread that all over the leg, and in the crevices and put it in the oven at 400º F for 10min. Then I turned the oven down to 350º F for about another hour. I had to lay a little foil over the top cause I felt it was getting a bit too brown, but it was high up in the oven with other dishes so a)it probably shouldnt have taken so long to cook, and b) it probably wouldnt have gotten too brown if it hadnt been so close to the element.  The lamb should be about 130º F when you take it out and it should rest for about 1/3 of the cooking time. It will cook more as it rests. Medium-Rare is about 135ºF in my opinion. I wish I had taken mine out a little sooner, but it was still amazing. 
The finished awesmazingness:

#2 Macaroni and Cheese

As I informed you in my last post, How I Ate NYC, my mac and cheese is inspired by Balthazar's Macaroni au Gratin. Its not neat and tidy, and having four hands makes it a lot easier for me cause I always double the dish. Here is the normal size version. It it very rich and would serve 10 people easily.
First get your water boiling for the pasta, and boil up 1 16oz box of elbow macaroni, leaving them just slightly under done, so you maybe think they could cook for another 2min.
While that boils cook up 4oz of diced thick cut bacon. Drain the bacon. Save the fat if you wish. 
When I drain the pasta I put it into a huge bowl so I can toss everything up, and I toss it with enough bacon fat to keep it from sticking together. You could easily use olive oil instead. 
In a large pot heat 5 cups of whole milk till it comes to a foamy boil. The trick is to keep it moving so it doesn't burn on the sides of the pot. 
Now you make a roux. I use the bacon pan and melt equal parts butter to the amount of flour I will use. Once the butter is melted you dump in all the flour at one time and whisk off the heat. You want about 1/2 cup of flour and 4tbsb butter. I actually added some extra bacon fat to thin my roux out. It should be thick but not dry or clumpy. You'll keep whisking for 1 to 2 minutes, just to get the raw taste out of the flour. If you don't do this the roux will taste like paste. 
Then ladel in a bit of milk while vigorously whisking. Keep adding one ladle-full at a time as you fully incorporate them, until you have added four to five, then you can pour in larger amounts of milk, but be sure to incorporate the liquid before adding more. 
Add 3 cups grated cheese to this mixture. I used about 1cup Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and 2 Cups Cave Aged Gruyere. You can use any cheese that melts well. I like the creamy pungency of the gruyere, and the carmel, nuttyness of the cheddar. 
I also stirred in about 1/2tbsp of dried red pepper flakes. 
Pour all this over the macaroni and combine, add bacon last. Pour into a large baking dish, around about 10x12. 
Cook in oven for 15min so the bottom browns, then cover with one cup grated parmesan cheese and cook for 10 more minutes. You may wish to broil this to brown the top. 
Thats about it. It freezes well, but be sure to bring it to room temp before baking, it has a much creamier texture this way.

The rest of the meal, sorry no recipes, my family hasn't passed them on just yet:

Dad with the Turkey

Carving the Turkey... you can tell it rested cause there are no juices
They look so surprised, like I have never stolen and eaten the turkey skin before. Don't they?
Nana's Creamed Spinach, by my request. ooooo, look at that steam cloud.
Nana's Candied Carrots. They may look burnt but they tasted crispy and delicious. 
Nana is The Turkey Monster

Here is the Table, small and intimate this year. Usually there are 15 of us. This year only 7. Clearly we still cooked for 15:

Two types of Stuffing: 

Me, Mom, and Nana... We 3 Cooks.
And a store bought chocolate tort, Aunt Judy's Chocolate Chip Cookies will take its place again next year.

I can't say I am anything other than satisfied. Bikram tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jacquelyn said...

That is an amazing spread! Thanks for sharing some of the recipes, and especially for using Cabot in your mac and cheese. Our farm family owners appreciate your support!