Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Update

I don't know about you but I had an awesome Thanksgiving holiday. I ate so much that I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to wear my Wonder Sauna Pants for at least a week.


I'm not sure how this will fit in with the office dress code....however knowing my co-workers I doubt I will be the only one wearing a pair. I had the pleasure of not cooking a darned thing for the dinner. Let me tell you it felt mondo weird but my big gay boyfriend Craig had it all covered, including this beautiful table setting with a tablecloth he threw together himself.

pretty table


Craig actually had the dinner catered. I'm not telling you who did the catering because it was so freaking delicious that I don't want the secret to get out.

turkey and gravy

By the way, if I'm ever in a coma and my mom's gravy is unavailable, this is the 2nd in line turkey gravy to plug into my IV in order to revive me. Even though we had plenty of food, Craig decided to deep fry his own turkey.

deep fried turkey

He was testing out Butterball's new indoors turkey fryer. He had the small model but it worked so well on this little turkey he went right out and bought the larger version the very next day.

Good food, good friends, children telling embarrassing stories about their parents, and plenty of libations to keep the mood festive. Even the weather had a good time and busted out with the low 60's that allowed us to sit outside and snack before dinner. But the icing on the cake? A soft, adorably cute, 10 week old Brittany puppy named Dusty.


Really, if you want to make your party a total success, rent cute puppies and let them loose on your guests. Especially if you to see me turn into a goobering idiot.

dusty 1

Hi, my name is Dusty and I want to whisper secrets in your ear...

Meanwhile back in the kitchen, a tragedy is about to happen. Turkey carcasses were about to be thrown out. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm fairly certain Craig thought I was crazy but just like making fish stock, meaty carcasses make the best stock. Since I hadn't cooked anything before the meal, I rushed home to cook after the meal. First I cleaned off a lovely pile of meat from the two turkey carcasses I rescued. Next I arranged all the bones into a big roaster and let them get good and brown. Then I hauled out my big blue granite ware canning pot and dumped the hot bones in some water with some onions, celery and carrots and a little bundle of fresh herbs. A couple hours and a lot of skimming later we have turkey stock.

So I've got plenty of white meat, dark meat and stock. What to do? Actually our weather helped me decide. Currently we have been yoyoing between winter-like temps and Indian Summer. The day after Thanksgiving swung back to the cold side so soup seemed like a good idea. I'm not a white meat aficionado so finding a way it more palatable was necessary. Tortilla Soup seemed like a winner.


Since this was basically a leftovers meal, I didn't want anything too complicated. The Pioneer Woman Cooks had just the right Tortilla Soup recipe. I only had a couple of changes to her recipe. First, didn't have to roast any chicken breasts since I had the turkey. I did sprinkle some of the spice mix over it and then stir fried the white meat in a little bit of oil to give it some depth.

leftover turkey

Followed the rest of the recipe except that I added some finely diced jalapeno and a can of hominy to the soup. As for the toppings, I went with fresh onion, cilantro, avocado and lime. Many recipes call for sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese but frankly, with the avocado, who needs it?

tortilla soup 2

Oh so the right choice. Earthy flavors of cumin and garlic with the brightness of lime and the crunchy yumminess of corn tortillas. Really this is almost a stew but who's complaining. It's the Thanksgiving that keeps on giving.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you should remember that we had a Pie Off not too long ago. One of the pies in the running was Momofuku's Crack pie. Froggy over at her blog has a Thanksgiving family tradition of making a Mystery Pie and yep, you guessed it, she made Crack Pie. Go on over and look at it's loveliness. By all accounts Crack Pie goes into the win column.

My last duty of Thanksgiving is to give Dani of Gardening Under the Florida Sun her Thanksgiving Holiday turkey.

dani thanksgiving 2011

Mr. Dani should be thankful that I'm only giving her a digital turkey because we all know she wants a real one.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Foodies come in all shapes and sizes

Jackson and I have a routine. We walk. A lot. We walk because he can jump my backyard fence as easily as he breathes. So at least three daily walks happen. He enjoys it because it allows him to patrol his neighborhood for squirrels, rabbits and crows and I enjoy it because my leaf lard ass sits in this chair entirely too much blog surfing. So we walk. As you can imagine, we see a lot of squirrels. Squirrels in trees, squirrels on the ground, squirrels just being squirrels.


What sometimes scares me is when we don't see any squirrels at all on our walk, as if the world had gone all zombie and the zombies started by eating the squirrels first. (not really a bad thing)

squirrel stare


Anyhoo, we were out on one of our mid-afternoon walks when we spied a pair of squirrels in the street. This is not unusual. The fat one in the middle of the street had something that appeared white in it's mouth. I say white because I couldn't really see it and my brain just assumed it was an apple. Of course Jackson saw it and went into his patented super slow silent stalking mode, convinced of his own invisibility. I know this because I get nastiest dirty looks whenever I step on a dry leaf when he's in his stalk. Normally the squirrels feel the deathrays shooting out of his eyes and scamper back up the nearest tree post haste. But this squirrel, he kept coming towards us, heading for a tree on the other side of road, very slowly. Drool puddles started to form beneath Jackson's feet in anticipation of Slow Stupid Squirrel. Me? I'm suddenly worried that the white thing in the squirrel's mouth is foam and that we've found ourselves a rabid squirrel. The situation almost reached the point of leaping dog death teeth when the squirrel, not rabid, not slow nor stupid suddenly dropped what was in it's mouth and turned furry tail and ran back across the street. For all you folks who don't believe animals experience emotions like disappointment, anger or frustration, you needed to see Jackson after the Almost Squirrel Snack.


It wasn't until I comforted the hound at his near miss of having a squirrel actually walk into his mouth that I finally saw what the squirrel was hauling back to his nest.

squirrel bread

A full freaking loaf of french bread??? This loaf was longer than the squirrel. No wonder the dumb ass was moving so slow. I'm so sad I didn't get to see him attempt to get it up his tree. Of course my first thought was "Who throws out a whole loaf of french bread?". My second thought was, damn, squirrel's got foodie game! You go Squirrel! Don't forget the brie.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

The season of blood has begun. The trees, in one last gasping spasm of summer life, practically bleed from their branches.

oak leaves 2

It's at if some tragic and bitter massacre has occurred in countless yards and forest floors, some mysterious battle fought and lost....

maple leaf 1

...leaving behind dry brittle bones and blood stained images tattooed into hard surfaces. It's not just the trees that bleed.

leaf outlines

It's the season when men and women take to the woods in sturdy fashions of swirling brown and green. Sitting in trees, crouching in high grass, waiting. Little lies are told of past hunts and if the waiting goes on long enough, bigger truths are examined and revealed.

Tim's Antelope

Hunting is woven deeply into our shared dna, whether immigrant or native born. Protein kept us alive when this country was so very young. Hunters today heed the call of their dna, their blood. They return home with sweat sculptured hair, all angles and waves. They return with cheeks and noses ruddy from exposure, padding around like giant camouflaged ducks with thick grey wool-webbed feet. They nap and dream of big bucks and racing blood.

Chris's Antelope

Most home cooks today only know meat as something vacuum sealed in plastic and styrofoam, waiting in a refrigerated case, only to be thrown in a grocery cart, practically bloodless and sterile.

antelope roast 1

The blood, if any, to be instantly cleaned from the kitchen with anti-bacterial sprays for fear of "cross contamination". Death by chicken blood.

antelope blood

We are lucky to still have a season of blood. That the deer and the antelope still play in such numbers that we can enjoy and appreciate nature's bounty.


I am lucky enough to be the recipient of such bountiful gifts of venison and now, antelope and I am always grateful, especially since I am not a hunter. I always try to do right by the beast that fed me.

roast antelope

This wonderful and tender antelope roast was prepared by using a recipe I found at Texas Hunt Works. It was delicate and juicy and I can't wait to try more recipes for the rest of the antelope I have in my freezer. Thank you Tim and Chris, it's good eatin'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Because Foodies Travel

Thirteen spices and herbs, all packed up and ready to go. Think your mother in law's cooking lacks a little umphf? Slip in a little wasabi powder and you're good to go. A great stocking stuffer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


You may think you can carve a pumpkin...

...but in reality? No, not so much.

Mapril is only a few months away

Oh my....I want to go there.....