Thursday, November 22, 2012

Farm to Table

So last Saturday, we went and did this.

And had she been alive to see it, my mother likely would say this:

“Your grandmother didn’t haul her ass from the mountains above Krakow, land at Ellis Island and go to work in a Chicago slaughterhouse so her college-educated granddaughter could kill her own food. Get your head out of your [expletive] and go to the grocery store like a normal human being.” And then she would utter a few curses in Polish while shaking her head in disgust.

It was a breathtakingly expensive turkey. We named him Carl, in honor of the irritating kid on The Walking Dead. (He has has his own twitter hashtag— #killcarlalready.) Here's what he looked life before:

And here's what he looked like after 12 hours in brine and nine hours of smoking on the Weber:

No, Carl isn't burned. That's just what the skin looks like after nine hours of smoking. The tradeoff for not having the crisp golden skin is probably the juiciest bird we've ever had. Seriously good turkey.

I came home from work last night to find Chuck in the kitchen, scalding and peeling Carl's feet. The feet went into a stockpot with celery, carrot, onion and some herbs; Carl's neck went into the oven to roast. I chopped up the neck meat and used the drippings and foot stock to make gravy. Seriously good gravy too.

And then we ate. The complete menu: cold cracked crab, crab cakes with homemade remoulade, the world's most expensive turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes (because as much as my friend Carmela says she doesn't like children, she knows my youngest loves her roasted potatoes more than anything), my mother's bread dressing, cornbread dressing (because Chuck doesn't like fruit in his dressing and you can't make my mother's recipe without the dried fruit) and green bean casserole. Dessert: caramel apple cake, cheesecake with pineapple compote and vegan pumpkin pie (don't ask). The guest list: fun people we love.

Apropos of nothing, here's my friend Koly with a crab claw shoved up her nose.

And just in case you were wondering, it's been 10 days since Nigel's last escape.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Frailty, Thy Name is Turkey

In about 10 hours, Chuck and I are going to a harvest party. What's being harvested: the main course at Thanksgiving dinner.

For some reason, getting a turkey raised with organic TLC by someone we know sounded like a great fucking idea two months ago. But now that I received the Facebook message from a friend advising us to wear clothes we don't mind getting bloody, it seems like less of a good idea.

It's part of next week's cover package. The Silence of the Turkeys: Sometimes to make a killer holiday dinner, you have to kill your holiday dinner.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Random Facts

Or, ten things most people don't know about me.

10. I read every single thing I can get my hands on about Mt. Everest and the climbing of it. I get altitude sickness if I'm more than five feet above sea level, but I love reading about climbing.

9. I have a Chandler & Price 1904 treadle-action letterpress and two job boxes of type. I like to think of it as, "What I'll do when I retire."

8. I become obsessed with certain music based on the season. Right now, it's the Tomasz Stanko quartet, Spoon, and Gorillaz. In January, I will obsessively listen to Sting. Food obsessions take place based on season too. Right now, it's soup and cheese.

7. My sister is 20 years older than me; she lives with us and we take care of her. If anyone messes with my sister, they will end up wishing they were dead. NOBODY messes with my sister on my watch.

6. I work for two men who have really empowered me to speak my mind when it comes how the workplace operates. I'm sure there are days when they regret it, like when I told them they were hypocrites for taking vacation the week between Christmas and New Year's while the rest of us are at work.

5. I get nutty if my house is messy. This means I'm mostly nutty all of the time.

4. My idea of perfect happiness--Chinese food and a movie with my family--takes place almost every Friday night. Tonight the eldest teen joined us for the food, and the youngest joined us for the movie.

3. My best friend became my best friend by stumbling on an early blog I had and making me a sock dog named Fergus. The BFF can do anything she sets her mind to and is a good counterpoint to my approach of neurotic laziness.

2. If I feel a relationship is doing me more harm than good, I have no qualms about ending it, and once it's done, I will never think about it again. This has given me a reputation for heartlessness, but really I just figure life is too short to be with people who suck the life out of you.

1. I miss my mother something fierce.