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thanksgiving - Qualified Perceptions
There is something odd about cooking - really, about most sorts of Making Things - that sees large piles of ingredients fussed with and distilled down to smaller items. Things are peeled, packaging is discarded, liquids soak into dry things and hide, steam evaporates: almost everything gets smaller when cooked. Everyone who's cooked spinach knows this. The shallot confit was probably the most extreme example of this in tonight's dinner - take a large bag of shallots, add butter and olive oil and sugar and such, cook for an hour and half, and decant a very small amount of confit. But it does get very dense in flavor.

This year, I learned the trick for chestnuts - cut them in half, parboil[*] them for about two minutes, and strip the shells off with pliers. Amazing!

I have been thankful for many things, great and small, but for the moment, I shall be thankful for ilhander and Kye running about like mad things entupperwaring all the leftovers.

*: ilhander asks about the distinction between blanching and parboiling. According to the web, blanching is very fast (30 seconds), and is used to set the color on a vegetable without really otherwise cooking it; parboiling is cooking slightly (a few minutes). harrock noted that he parboils bratwurst before frying them, and we didn't think you could blanche bratwurst.

Current Mood: happy happy

5 comments or Leave a comment
pekmez From: pekmez Date: November 28th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
hee. I think blanch is normally spelled without an "e" when it isn't an athena command. But I bet your fingers don't believe that.

I'll have to try the blanch/parboil trick with sausages.
But for chestnuts, I want them roasted, so parboiling probably wouldn't help with anything. I remember it being a pain to cut the shells and am not looking forward to that part, but oh well.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 28th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Hah, you're right. It's not just my fingers, it's my brain which is sure that "blanche" is the proper spelling of the verb. :)

In this case, they were going in stuffing, so I threw them back in to boil a bit longer once they were peeled, but the difference in texture between roasted and boiled didn't matter so much. (I think if you roasted them after peeling, they'd dry out too much, unfortunately.)
readsalot From: readsalot Date: November 28th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I distilled anything down today. I took about half a very small bag of flour, plus some butter, yeast, milk, and sugar, and made a pan of rolls; then I trimmed (well, ok) and steamed way too many vegetables, peeled vast amounts of garlic, and made bagna cauda. Both things were well-received, so I'm content.

(I know it was way too many vegetables, because we brought back a 9"x13" pan full of them. But that's ok; Richard's mother can make soup, or something.)

And I'm thankful for elderly relatives of my boyfriend's sister's husband, who were talkative and cheerful and fun to be around.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: November 28th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
shallot confit recipe please!
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 28th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
5 comments or Leave a comment