Mack's Corner

This Week

Rules for Thanksgiving

I don't remember ever going out of town or to someone else's house for Thanksgiving. I'm sure we got invited, but I never knew about it. I think my mom was afraid that outsiders wouldn't follow the rules. There are rules about Thanksgiving, mostly food rules: Turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with "mush mellows"(that's the way it should be spelled), and canned cranberry sauce. I think my mom cooked the turkey a different way every year, it seemed to never come out right, at least right for her. She figured if the Pilgrims could do it, then she could. She cooked it at low temp, high temp, in a grocery sack, in a plastic bag, in a steam roaster, stuffed, un- stuffed….. (Here's the trick my mom never knew: Get a meat thermometer. Defrost the turkey to room temp. That means use your meat thermometer to check to see if the inside is still frozen. The internal temp when you put it in the oven should be at least 60 degrees.. Then cook it until it gets to 160 degrees, no more … remember at 150 degrees the juices start popping out of the meat cells, so the longer you hold it above 150 the dryer it will be, even if you're cooking it under water… other than this anything else you want to do or you method of cooking is just details). There were some years where I was thankful for the green bean casserole. I'm not sure where green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with mush mellows came from, I doubt the pilgrims had that, but that was part of the tradition since before I was born, so maybe they did. According to all holiday magazines the thing that was the most hated was the canned cranberry sauce. There were hundreds of recipes for homemade cranberry sauce made from real cranberries. There was nothing hard about any of them, it just wasn't right. My mom wouldn't have it.. there were rules! Cranberry sauce had to have those little ripples around the outside and look like a cylinder. Otherwise it wasn't cranberry sauce, and none of that chunky stuff. The funny thing was that my mom served it sliced, cylinder form still intact, in a Waterford crystal serving dish that fit the cylinder perfectly. My sister still does it that way, in the same dish. The best part was that we all knew the rules and loved the rules and expected the rules.
God's like that. He gives us rules. How to treat each other and how to live. How to help people in hard times and how to ask for help. How to love one another and how to depend on God. That's what Thanksgiving is all about.
I need to go buy some of those canned onion rings for my green bean casserole … I love those things … Hug somebody today and tell them the rules.
Happy Thanksgiving..


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

One of the great chefs in LA. is Suzanne Goin. Her restaurant Lucques does Sunday supper every week. It has become famous for this meal alone, they are open other days besides Sunday. This is from her cookbook "Sunday Suppers at Lucques".
Young onion tart with cantal, applewood-smoked bacon, and herb salad.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (frozen section at the grocery)
2 large egg yolks
1/2 lb applewood smoked bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cup slices onions, red and white
1 tbsp Thyme leaves (dried works too)
1/2 cup of whole milk  ricotta, drained (you can also use cottage cheese here and skip the expense of ricotta)
1/4 cup crème fraiche (half sour cream, half cream)
1/3 lb of Cantal, Gruyere, or Comte cheese, thinly sliced
1/2  cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4  tarragon leaves
1/2  cup Chervil sprigs
1/4  cup snipped chives
1/2 Lemon
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 400
Defrost the puff pastry enough to unfold it. Score a 1/2 inch border around the outside. Make an eggwash = 1 yolk + 1 tbsp water whisked together. Paint the border of the puff pastry with the eggwash.. if you have room put it back in the freezer, if not don't worry about it.
Slice the bacon in to 1/8 inch slices across. Heat a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of oil, wait 1 minute, then add the bacon and cook for 4 - 5 minutes..slightly crisp. Turn the heat down and add the onions, thyme, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook for 2 minutes, till onions start to wilt. Then set aside.
Put the ricotta and one egg yolk and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a processor and puree till smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the crème fraiche and 1/8 tsp of salt and a pinch of pepper.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the puff pastry leaving a 1/2 inch border around the outside. 
Arrange the Cantal cheese over the ricotta, then spread the onions and bacon over that.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown… check underneath the crust to be sure it is done… don't want soggy crust.
For the salad: Toss the herbs in a small bowl with a drizzle of Extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon (don't need much lemon). Then salt and pepper.
To serve: let the tart cool a few minutes, cut in squares or wedges and garnish with a little salad on top.
Hint: buy enough to make 2, because you'll eat the first one standing over the stove….. The puff pastry comes with 2 sheets…



Posted by Mack Oates at 11:23 AM