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Well I’m just as high as Lenin right now. (I meant to write John Lennon but with my brain in revolutionary Russia Lenin just flowed out and I’m keeping it.)
No, not marijuana, cocaine, or heroin but turkey. Specifically turkey soup. More specifically turkey noodle and rice soup.
In her fantastic cook book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, Judith Jones writes about the next lives a meal takes on from the left overs. My parents and I are big believers in this and this turkey soup is the third life of a multi-pound turkey. It started as a roast turkey served for our thirty guests gathered for my birthday five days ago. The next few days it was sandwiches consumed by me (wheat bread, turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing) and then yesterday I spent the day inhaling the scent of the turkey carcass boiling in the large black pot. Today my father used the remaining turkey meat and this fresh broth to make a fantastic soup that I’ve had for two meals today.
A homemade turkey broth, slivers of turkey, rice and egg noodles. Perfect.
The dinner served up by my father tonight was simple, hearty and utterly satisfying. Besides a massive bowl of this lovely soup there were slices of a soft long bread with sesame seeds along the crust. And butter, so much butter. One of the greatest joys in my life comes from slathering salted butter onto a thick slice of bread and soaking it in the broth. Then I pop it into my mouth and lick the juices off my fingers.
And now I have a mug of Earl Grey tea, Selected Shorts (with Leonard Nimoy currently reading) on the radio and Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Classics coming up.
I’m just high.
This is (more or less) my copy of Julia and Simca's book! --Image via Wikipedia
First of all. These are not Julia Child Crêpes Suzette or even “real” crepes. I love traditional crêpes but sometimes I want the sugary Joy of Cooking-based recipe that my mother has concocted. In fact to prevent the food purists (of which I kind of am) from writing me about what a crêpe really is let’s just call them crepes. There are /ˈkreɪp/ and there are cray-pps (yes I made up that other phonetic spelling but I think you can get it.) I’m writing about cray-pps.
A few posts ago (maybe two or four) I mentioned that I was making a Mess of Crepes. I’m sure you were all on the edge of your seats waiting to find out what exactly I meant by this so here is the recipe.
First make sure that you like sweet things. Do you? Good.
The next thing you need is our super secret recipe. Basically we just adjusted the recipe in the Joy of Cooking. Here it is:
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup of lukewarm water
- 3 large eggs (home raised free ranged eggs are the best but I’m a bit biased)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3+ tablespoons sugar (add more as your taste runs)
- pinch of salt
Beat it all together. Now take a flat pan, about the size you’d use if you were normally making crêpes or perhaps scrambled eggs, and add a Julia Child sized tablespoon of butter to the pan and heat it so it’s all buttered up. Now pour in the batter. All of it. With a spatula (I’d recommend against using a spoon or fork as the batter tends to stick into these particular utensils) mix it up like scrambled eggs. Keep mixing until it’s firm and lightly, lightly browned. When you’ve got this in your pan then drop it onto a plate. Eat it. Die of cholesterol. Enjoy.
This may not sound like a big break through but I feel like most people wouldn’t do this without some prompting. It’s funny how scared people are to play around with recipes. I’ve never really felt like I need to follow a direction word for word. After all if it turns out inedible then I simply feed it to the chickens or our garden and cook a frozen pot pie.
Drawn from all my September posts here are my recommendations (fun fact: clicking on each item will take you to the post I referenced it in):
- “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks”
- “To the Lighthouse”
- “The French Chef”
- After I Quit My Day Job
- Annie’s Mac and Cheese
- Quorn Chik’n Nuggets
- Margaret Warner
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Annie’s Mac and Cheese. Annie’s Shells & White Cheese. It has Bernie’s “Rabbit of Approval” so it has to be good, no?
Unfortunately this simple but wholesome fare is so easy to ruin that I’ve had plenty of bad bowls of Annie’s. Runny sauce, clumpy sauce, limp noodles- egh. My own parents can’t seem to produce a decent batch. And no, I’m not picky, I just know what I like and am not afraid to say so.
Don’t despair, there is a way to produce it in a way that makes you just moan with joy. You just need to know how to produce it just right. Let’s look at what the box says:
- “Boil: 8 cups of water in a medium saucepan.
- Stir In: pasta, bring to boil again.
- Cook: 8-10 minutes, until done. While pasta is cooking…
- Measure: 1/3 cup lowfat milk in a measuring cup. Add cheese and stir until smooth.
- Drain: pasta in colander. Return to saucepan.
- Pour: cheese sauce over pasta and stir well.”
In my opinion they left out a few things. Let me show you:
- “Boil: 8 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Fine.
- Stir In: pasta, bring to boil again. Stir these noodles in! Try to keep the noodles from sticking to the bottom of your metal saucepan. (You paid good money for this and want every noodle.)
- Cook: 8-10 minutes, until done. While pasta is cooking… 8-9 minutes depending on your stove. 10 minutes pushes it for my taste buds.
- Measure: 1/3 cup lowfat milk in a measuring cup. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Stir? Beat. Beat that cheese into the milk (I say whole milk but that can depend on your dietary needs). It’s smooth? Beat it more. Your wrist hurts? Beat it more. Your fingers bleed? Beat it more. Your measuring cup has broken from your viciousness beating? Done.
- Drain: pasta in colander. Return to saucepan. Rinse it before returning to the saucepan and then add a dollop of butter to the pasta. And I’m using the Julia Child measurement of a dollop of butter (conversion: two sticks of butter.)
- Pour: cheese sauce over pasta and stir well. Remember the instructions for the beating of the cheese? Do the same (but a bit more gently, pasta breaks and broken pasta is impossible to stick on your tongue like a yarmulke.)“
Keep in mind that these instructions are based off of my own personal taste buds. You can go ahead and ignore these instructions if you want, it’s a free country (despite what Mr. Beck likes to claim.)
Last night I tweeted an excited tweet (that just doesn’t sound good- I wrote an excited tweet?) that ran along the lines of: Making seitan, blog post to follow! or something like that. Here’s the blog post.
Seitan: Tons of fun to make. It’s got the therapeutic properties of making pizza or bread dough but simpler and a bit easier on the arms (a big plus when you’re sick with a cold/cough/influenza thing.) The recipe I used was from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook and looked very simple. I soon realized that simple meant that they condensed and shortened a two page recipe into one page. After looking up more detailed recipes online I made seitan. That part was great.
Seitan Ribs: One of the things that I didn’t mention in my tweet was that I was making “ribs” from the same cookbook that I mentioned above. The ribs were puffy, dry, and reminded me nothing of the ribs I ate back when I ate meat (how can it be three years this upcoming July already?) After putting on the barbecue sauce and baking for the required ten extra minutes they were less dry but still horrendous. One of my parents did eat almost all of them but I ate Annie’s Mac and Cheese and carrots from our garden. My plan is to make these again but this time not cook them for an hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit like suggested but 350 degrees and check them every half hour.
We also watched Max and Mona. Watch it.
One of my favorite things about living in a rather isolated Vermont town is that most of the food I enjoy are somewhat of a cultural oddity to my schoolmates (tofu, tofurkey, vegetable sprouts, carrots). The looks I receive are pretty priceless (today’s sandwich, an open faced tofam, cream cheese on a sesame seed bagel brought a few “fuck”s and lots of suspicious squinty eyed looks) and that really just encourages me to keep things up. My main encourager to continue eating “unusual” foods is the fact that it keeps away the undesirables in my school. If you can’t handle raw maple-ginger tofu than you can’t handle the Lady Jane.
Seitan, or braised gluten (a much more unappealing name that has even better results), is high on my list. It comes in an oily sauce and looks like dog testes (we dissected these in eighth grade so I am not just picking a horrifying metaphor but rather being fairly literal). I eat them cold and slimy and the more pungent the better. Even my closer friends (or at least my more tolerant schoolmates) tend to shy away from me during lunch or snack time when I break out my mason jar of testes. Today however was a first, I have this female friend, a lovely girl about three years younger than me who I’ve built up a sibling relationship with, actually ate one. Never, let me repeat that, never have I had to share my seitan before. She told me it was too greasy and we both agreed that if I siphoned off the sauce it would be more appealing. Than she tried to take my lemon button cookies (they’re local!) and I tried to hit her.
A final note on the subject before I need to finish my American Literature test: Quorn Chick’n Nuggets. Besides being delicious they are extremely use full at fending off rednecks and raising eyebrows. The whole secret to using these properly is making use of their deceptive qualities. These meatless and soyless products are spot on imitations for the real deal (and not just based off of appearances, they taste fairly similar as well) and so if you can spare one than allow your target to enjoy it before casually mentioning, “The great thing is that they’re meatless! Mycoprotein is such a blessing, isn’t it?” You’ll get a queer look which is your cue to explain how they just at fungus. It’s delightfully fun.
Alright, it’s nearing five-thirty here in the Green Mountains so I’m going to chop up some potatoes, grate some cheddar, open a can of black beans and pop it in the oven.