Gobble This Up

In food on 12/15/2009 at 7:14 pm

If you ever wanted to know what a freshly rotting body smells like, just take some juniper berries and add it to a stock you’re simmering, along with some turkey neck bone. After about 2 hrs, take out the neck, close your eyes and munch away on your ‘cadaver.’

Last week, after inadvertently adding these death ova to my soup, I promptly decided I would never use them again. Putrid is not a flavor I want in my repertoire. In other news, a hefty, juicy beefalo sirloin steak from Hollister Hill was cooked Peter Luger-style (high heat, but on the pan) and gobbled up. It was tenderly juicy, with a hint of grass, but still QQ, and slightly gamey, full of umami. We will definitely stock up next time we’re in the neighborhood.

As for the fate of the 31 lb turkey? I dismembered it gleefully with my trusty cleaver after 5 days of slow thawing in the fridge, disregarding the warning of the horrified Farmers Light of some horrid bacterial food poisoning if I didn’t keep it frozen. It was quite the bloody hack fest.

The first item I whipped up was a spicy BBQ glaze and baked up two forearm-sized turkey wings. Again, lovely QQ and eau du dindon, though not as pungent as I thought it would be. Quite satisfying, definitely worth all the sweat and trek from up north.

Tonight, I’m cooking the long-deferred Thanksgiving meal with one of the massive thighs, complete with the trimmings – stuffing à la Balthazar pain du siegle and Andouille sausage, orange zest-infused cranberry sauce, and pan drippings gravy. Everything is liberally dotted with butter. It’s beginning to smell a lot like Thanksgiving! We have enough turkey to feast at least 4 more times.

We were going to make this meal yesterday, but I didn’t have any juniper berry-less stock, so I boiled up 3 tasty piglet tongues from the farm and ate them my favorite way, simply dunked in grated garlic soy paste with a side of fluffy white rice. Baby tongue is über-tender, but less QQ than normal pig tongue I’ve had from conventional butchers.

The only thing I’m missing is dessert. The other half is not home yet to make a pumpkin pie, but today I read about an ‘ice cream’ that doesn’t need to be churned, a recipe offered from my latest food book, Death by Pad Thai. With candied pumpkin seeds or seasonal fall fruit sauce, this nougat glacé/semifreddo is just the thing.

For the sauce:
1 bag frozen berry, defrosted (traditionally raspberry)
1 cup sugar
fresh lemon juice

For the glace, a.k.a. ice cream:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites, room temp
1 1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
1/3 cup creme de cassis (or your favorite liquor)
1/2 cup unsalted pistachio nuts (or pumpkin seeds), lightly toasted in dry pan, coarse chop
1/2 cup glace cherries, coarse chop (available in Italian grocery)
2 oz extra dark chocolate, coarse chop (can use nibs, more bitter, whiz in food processor with nuts to chop up)

Make the sauce:
1. Puree raspberries with 1 cup sugar, to taste, and lemon juice.
2. Strain sauce and refrigerate.

Make the glacé:
1. Line loaf pan with plastic wrap, leave 3 inch overhang on each long side.
2. Combine sugar and 6 Tbsp water, cook over moderate heat until sugar dissolved.
3. Boil until candy therometer shows 245 deg F.
4. Meanwhile, beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff peaks.
5. Pour syrup in slow, steady stream down the side (don’t hit beaters).
6. Beat 2-3 minutes on HIGH until stiff, glossy peaks.
7. Beat 8-10 minutes on LOW until cooled to room temp.
8. In separate chilled clean bowl, beat cream with cassis until soft peaks.
9. Fold into meringue, and sprinkle in nuts, cherries and chocolate.
10. Pour and scrape into loaf pan.
11. Freeze overnight (at least 6 hrs)

To serve, invert glacé onto platter, cut thick slices. Pour sauce on top. Dust with cocoa powder or chopped toasted nuts.

P.S. The leftover meat closest to the bone has some major funk. It’s like licking someone’s hairy armpit on the hottest day in August.

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