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November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving with Skillet Doux

A brief interlude before I finish up the last New York post.

I'm always torn at Thanksgiving. It's the ultimate comfort food holiday, and I always feel like I should just be making the best damn turkey and stuffing I can muster. But then I get in front of the stove and start messing with things. I'll do a traditional Thanksgiving one of these years. But this year, it was my first Thanksgiving in the kitchen after a long layoff and we were only serving four, so I figured I'd seize the opportunity to pull out the stops. Some hit, some miss. But I actually took some notes this time around, so I'll post a recipe or two next week.

Field Greens with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette and Candied Pecans
This was mostly borne of my obligation to serve something green and my unwillingness to add another complex dish. I candied some pecans, then reduced down some apple cider with a lot of cinnamon and used that as the base for a sherry vinaigrette. Simple and good.

Corn and Crab Pudding with Old Bay
An ode to our temporary home. I was pretty jazzed about this one's potential, but let's just say you won't be getting this recipe. I steamed up six beautiful blue crabs for the meat and made a great stock to use as a base, but it just came off all wrong. Too eggy. Too intensely crabby. Too dirty tasting. There's a good dish in there somewhere, though. Maybe I'll revisit it at some point.

Potato Pavé with Ancho Chiles and Roasted Garlic
This one turned out quite nicely. It's a Trotter base (russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, cream, salt -- gotta love it), to which I worked in the garlic and chiles. And it's always fun to break out the mandoline.

Pork Tenderloin with Bacon Apple Stuffing and Spiced Cranberry Sauce
The big winner of the evening, even if the photo doesn't do it justice. I somehow managed to channel '70s food mag photography here. At any rate, I kept the stuffing simple (apples, bacon, bread, stock) and focused on the sauce. The sauce was a port reduction with shallots, cinnamon, cloves and allspice, blended with cranberries and finished with some homemade chicken stock and plenty of butter. And some of the leftover candied pecans from the salad were a nice garnish. The sauce turned out fabulously. I will post this recipe.

Maple-Jack Glazed Quail with Squash Stuffing and Poblano Cream
I told my sister-in-law they were Andean Pygmy Turkeys. I think I had her for about two seconds. Or maybe she was just humoring me. In any case, I love stuffing little birds for Thanksgiving. This one is an old Iron Chef Squash recipe. The stuffing is something of a mishmash, with cornbread, squash, chorizo, goat cheese, garlic, vegetables, thyme and marjoram, but it works. The sauce is just roasted poblanos and cream, and the glaze is maple syrup and whiskey. Some toasted pepitas for garnish, and these fellas are golden.

I don't have a photo, but I also did the candy cap cheesecake from Iron Chef Mushroom for dessert, albeit with a revised sauce. This one gets a recipe for sure. Nothing like watching people picking their plates clean only to inform them that the only seasoning in the cheesecake is mushrooms.

Recipes shortly. But first, back to New York.


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