- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
After a long weekend of over indulging it’s comforting to sit down to a simple dinner of soup made from turkey carcass and ham bone, salad from the winter garden and homemade bread. Oh yeah, I made croutons too with stale bread but the boys hoovered them before I could get my camera out.
Bringing the dinner prep work into the workshop. Rolling out pasta next to carving knives and power tools. The difference between homemade and handmade is slight.
and all through the house, the smell of bacon is wafting about. The pre Thanksgiving wheels are in full swing. Theo and Debbie are starting desserts. Bacon seems to be the common thread running throughout the entire Thanksgiving meal. Today Debbie sizzled up two pounds of the pork to be diced up for the Brussel sprouts. The bacon grease is reserved and later drizzled into the stuffing.
I wouldn’t even begin to know all what Debbie’s puts in her stuffing, but here are some of the ingredients that I know. It all starts off with fresh pain demi, chanterelle mushrooms, artichoke hearts, dried apricots and a bunch of other stuff. And, as I said before bound together with bacon grease.
For lunch today I fried up polenta in the bacon grease and leftover Bolognese sauce. Really, what’s not to like when it’s cooked in bacon?
This year I used a dry Sicilian sea salt rub on the Kosher turkey. I’ve been giving the bird a few daily massages and today applied some fresh herbs which Debbie got from the Santa Monica Farmers Market and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning. And of course, I put bacon on top of the turkey before cooking.
Sam and Henry have been incessantly bickering ( actually some violence ensued) all day about their trivia quizzes they hand out at Thanksgiving and our annual Saturday after Thanksgiving leftover party. Sam started this 2 years ago and last year Henry concocted a Harry Potter quiz. This year Sam somehow convinced (coerced) Henry that 80% of his quiz MUST be sports related. They made me take a photo of them shaking hands in accordance to this agreement.
Besides massaging turkey breasts I’ve been trying to get the yard in shape for the holidays. We had a guy come out yesterday to give us an estimate to put artificial grass on the side of the yard the boys practice their athleticism on. That side of the yard seems to take the hardest beating. I’ll give everyone a little quiz here. How much do you think it costs to scalp our old grass, level our soil, put 3″ of decomposed granite and install artificial grass in an area roughly 36″ X 15″? The answer is $6,295.00!Â And if we do it before the new year he could do the job for $6000.00. Yeah, well that’s not going to happen. Anyways, I’m getting off the subject. Tomorrow we cook, eat and oh yeah give thanks.
Summer is in full swing. The kids are fighting while playing Monopoly. Theo has been caught cheating red- handed trying to load the dice in order to land on and buy Boardwalk. I never liked Monopoly. I still don’t. What I do like is Pork with a capital “P”. We’ve been buying our pork at Costco. I know it’s a huge warehouse store and it’s driving smaller stores out of business, but a pork loin roast priced at $1.85 per pound is just too tempting to pass up. Besides there’s already enough blog postings about wonderful farmers markets and small organic free range ranchers. This post is about the BIG PIG. This is a meal that stretches. Check out what we do with our big pig!
Pork loin braised in milk Bolognese style is what we do first. This recipe comes from “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. It’s easy to make, cooks on the stove top and simply wonderful. First we have to cut the pork loin in half (it’s about 2 feet long) to accommodate the roasting pot. Basically, we braise the pork on all sides in olive oil and ghee (clarified butter) until it is browned, add salt, pepper, fresh sage, porcini mushrooms and simmer lazily in milk for 2 hours or so with the lid slightly ajar.
Next on the menu is pork dipped inspired by Philippe’s. I know it’s not the same but these dips are pretty darn good. And with Debbie’s homemade coleslaw if you close your eyes shades of Philippes run through your taste buds. Shown above with a Japanese cucumber from our war garden. In case you forgot, we are still at war.
What would pork be without carnitas or vice versa? The recipe is simple. Go surfing for 3 hours get real hungry and thirsty then just fry littleÂ pork chunks in canola oil till crispy, add salsa serve on top of a flour tortilla. Drink beer and you are set.
Now batting forth is pork fried rice. Take out the wok satute whatever is left of the pork loin in a touch of peanut oil with a few garlic cloves and remove from wok. Then sautee a carrot, celery stalk, frozen peas, green onions, water chestnuts and whatever else you might think would be good and scramble it all up with 2 eggs. Put the pork back in the wok add cooked white rice soy sauce, touch of rice vinegar, a bit of sugar and you’ve just taken your pork loin on a journey from Costco to Italy to Downtown LA. to Mexico and finally to China all for about $15.00.