Tag Archives: Goose

Christmas Eve 2011 – the Turducken challenge

4 Jan

At Thanksgiving, Papa paused, and said, “Why don’t we have a turducken?”
I pushed back, feeling my beloved roast turkey couldn’t be de-throned, and told him, “No, no, no.  Turkey is for my favorite holiday!” 

So we had a gorgeously juicy and moist turkey from Makinajian’s for Thanksgiving.

Then, year end festivities began, and we started the usual-last-minute-what-are-we-doing-for-Eve dinner debate.  No goose (last year’s Eve), no turkey, no duck, no capon, no chicken, no fish, no pork.  Hmph.  I personally loved my roast goose last year despite the thin layer of fat I had to scrub off from the oven and surface it managed to sputter onto, but alas…  Perhaps this was a time to cave into Papa’s turducken.

Papa and I had our first encounter with turducken (de-boned chicken stuffed in a de-boned duck, stuffed in a de-boned turkey, tied together) at his boss’ Christmas party a few years ago.  I remember being impressed by the sheer, solid mass of protein – but even more exciting, was the fact I had FINALLY encountered this magnificent Cajun dish that Jeffrey Steingarten had so deliciously documented in The Man Who Ate Everything. 

I drooled the first time I read and re-read the section on turducken.

I called Makinajian Poultry Farm in the hopes they might magically be selling turducken, but to no avail.  I then started seeking options on-line, until a lightbulb turned on in my head.

What about Fairway Market?  I recalled my mother-in-law ordering a massive leg of lamb a few years ago which we triumphantly roasted, and created a perfectly carnivorous Christmas.

Once I confirmed I can order the massive bird(s) at Fairway (although the head butcher was out that day), I gave my husband the reins to order the size he wanted.

On Christmas Eve, after snoozing a couple of times from 4:30 am, we put the turducken into the oven at 225 to slowly roast for 9 – 10 hours.  Given the 3:30 pm (but everyone always comes fashionably late) start time, we thought we had ample time.  The goal was for the internal temperature to reach 165.

Twelve, stressful hours later, our turducken interior reached 165, yet, when we started carving it, we were alarmed it was still a little pink.  Perhaps we should have allowed it to rest.  However, with the thought of our hungry guests’ stomachs rumble as the gorgeous scent of roasting turducken perfumed the air, we decided the best thing to do was to start carving, and as a desperate last-ditch attempt – we microwaved the pinkish interior.

It was quite a gorgeous sight to see…

We finally sat down to eat around 5:30pm, after pulling crackers, and putting on our crowns, we tucked in for our meal.

Accompanying the turducken was:

Roasted parsnips and carrots

Mashed potatoes

Mushroom saute – I took Eringi, Bunashimeji, maitake, and regular button mushrooms, sliced them into 1/8 inch thick slices, and sautéed in a little butter and soy sauce until limp. 

Pan sautéed brussel sprouts with pancetta with a soy sauce drizzle

Jellied cranberry sauce, ridges intact (per Papa’s specifications)

Green salad – courtesy of Nanna who always makes a huge one for me

Sausage stuffing – Papa had insisted that Stove Top stuffing was the best; however, I have now (he grudgingly admits) converted him to the virtues of my own stuffing… albeit I do use a mix!

It was quite a lovely Christmas Eve.  Now, if only I could convince my dear farm they should start selling turduckens….

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Where are you spring? Week 3 of the new year

3 Feb

January was simply, a wild ride.  Sandwiched between various school closings resulting from weather, parent-teacher conferences and illness, my normal routine was completely off schedule.  It felt as though I was driving through a speed-bump riddled parking lot at 40 mph.  Perhaps I was too relaxed after the year-end hurricane of events, and before I knew it, February blew Punxsutawney Phil out of his lair into the midst of an ice storm, glazing him with a 1/4 inch thick coat of ice.  Perhaps he wanted to retract his official declaration that spring’s around the corner. 

Perhaps I spoke too soon when I stated my blog wasn’t going to face a sad ending due to my mikka bouzu tendencies…. but wait!  Here I am!

My daughter has stubbornly remained on a beet kick – so you will see I’ve religiously included roasted or steamed beets in her box.

The day after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I packed a colorful bento as follows:

Baked turkey meatballs with minced shiitake mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, flax seeds and grated ginger

Steamed broccoli

Roasted potatoes seasoned with a tiny bit of sea salt

Sliced roasted beets

Grape tomatoes

Sliced cucumbers

The next day, Wednesday the 19th, I packed:

Steamed broccoli

Roasted beets

Pan-seared chicken tenders seasoned with Trader Joe’s 21 spice seasoning

Whole wheat rotini pasta with turkey meatballs in marinara sauce

The 20th was a continuation of the beet and meatball medley…

Roasted beets

Baked turkey meatballs with minced shiitake mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, flax seeds and grated ginger

Grape tomatoes

Roasted potatoes with sea salt

Blueberries

I actually roasted the potatoes in a little goose fat that I had saved from our Christmas roast and had stored in the refrigerator.  The potatoes were crispy on the outside, but creamy on the inside, and despite the nagging guilt of calorie counting, they certainly were decadent. 

I realize there were several days of meatballs; however, my daughter tends to finish her meatball lunches – perhaps they are easy to eat during her lunch period.

Welcome 2011, Year of the Rabbit!

3 Jan

Firstly, Happy New Year!! May the year of the Rabbit bring serenity, fulfillment and happiness!

I’ve unburied myself from the holiday event on-parade, survived the relentless chase of events accompanied by the thump-thump-heart beat of stress and anxiety with every ring of the cash register (or the click of “complete purchase”) and feeling like a sailor trapped between Scylla and Charybdis.  (a la The Police song too)…  Like critters crawling out from the nooks and crannies of a beach at low tide – I scuttled out of my little corner of security to venture back into the daily routine.  Actually, I ventured out, stretching out toe by toe, last night, as I put together my daughter’s lunch for today.  I thought I was ahead of the game as I cooled her steamed beets, placed the silicon cups into the lunch box, and smiled how peaceful this morning was going to be.

UNTIL I REALIZED I COULD NOT FIND, MY DAUGHTER’S LUNCHBOX, THIS MORNING. 

My head spun.  I started hyperventilating.  I recalled putting her cleaned and dried water bottle into the lunch box, zipped it closed, and putting it… WHERE?  I paced through the house.  I opened cabinets, cursing at myself (inwardly) wishing I had actually remembered AND SET IT OUT last night!  I felt like the character in Munch’s The Scream and I almost knelt down on the kitchen floor and flopped about in a moment of childish tantrum.

Then my memory nets snagged a vague recollection.  Amidst the scurrying, bustling, and frenetic hustle-bustle of wedding-birthday-birthday-birthday-birthday-Christmas Eve-Christmas Day-Boxing Day-New Year’s Eve-New Year’s Day chaos, a subliminal roadmap to the lost lunchbox.  I remembered the metallic click of doorknob as I shut it, feeling triumphant I had found a suitable place for… the lunchbox.

I continued climbing on the kitchen chair set aside each high cabinet, and opened and closed the cabinets that I could reach and rifle through.  How in the world could I have lost a bright red lunch box the size of a toolbox?!

Eureka. 

It was hiding in the food pantry, the victim of over-zealous organizing and cleaning – perhaps it was my husband who banishes clutter to the netherworld where one is lucky if we could find anything, or perhaps in my quest to try to prove that I could stomp past both Scylla, Charybdis and whatever other chaotic maelstrom year-end was throwing at me I had an outer body experience, BECOMING my husband for that brief episode of frenzied cleaning.

Today’s lunch is (and due to chaos looking for the box, I neglected a photo… sorry)

Steamed beets, cut into heart shapes

Rolled omelette with chopped broccoli and shirasu (boiled baby sardines)

Sliced cucumbers and grape tomatoes

Osekihan, or steamed glutinous rice with red beans, left over from Japanese New Year osechi

One note – what I DO have, is our first attempt at roast goose.  We ordered this 10 lbs beauty from Makinajian Farm, and I was pleased at the outcome.  I researched, read and stressed over the preparation of goose – and each article, commentary and blog pointed to the importance of draining the fat.  Fortunately, I have a roasting pan with a raised rack, and it worked perfectly. 

I rinsed the goose with water, then dried the surface with a paper towel.  I trimmed the fat from the skin, and wherever visible.  I saved these in a pan, and set aside for cooking other items.  I set the oven to 400 degrees to preheat.  I then salted the outside, and placed two cut onions, two celery stalks and an orange into the goose.  Dried tarragon and rosemary stalks were tucked inside, around and on-top of the goose.  I took a sharp knife and pricked the skin – this was the advice given to me by ALL sources – to drain the FAT!

After the goose browned (and smoked and sputtered – about an hour in the oven), I lowered the temperature to 300 for the next hour, and put an aluminum tent, tightly around the goose.  I religiously checked and poked the goose skin, and had images of dangerously delicious roasted potatoes and vegetables crisped in goose fat dance across my head.

After a total cooking time of 3 hours, I took the goose out, and was satisfied.  The skin was golden, crisp, fragrant, and the smell of roasting goose was dizzying.  Although the goose had to compete with roast lamb and roast pork tenderloin (this will have to be another blog discussion in itself) – it was one of the most delicious roasts I’ve ever eaten.  Darker than turkey, but not as dark as duck – I was sold. 

Now if I can only fight off my husband’s obsession with Turducken for this coming holiday season… (I can’t find one that’s organic, and I like supporting my local farmer!)