Friday, November 28, 2014

Xan, Catherine, Kathleen, Jenny: Chicago Thanksgiving!

After a disappointing turnout of zero physical guests last year -- although Linden and Chris did join us digitally via Skype! -- we were excited for Mom and Kathleen's visit to Chicago for Thanksgiving 2014.  We had a great time and made too much food, which is the point of course.

After years of dissatisfaction, I decided to go ahead and separate the dark and white meat. I did an especially fine job of encasing the breast in bacon this time. In fact I attained 100% bacon coverage:

However, the oven temp was a bit too low and the bacon did not render and brown enough. It was still good though!

Meanwhile, the dark meat was braised in wine and stock:

Elsewhere, Kathleen and Catherine worked on the braiding of the herb bread:

As you can see, they have both contracted an acute case of PaulaDeenitis, also known as The Orange Horror. That's what happens when you sneak sweet potato biscuit after sweet potato biscuit before dinner, even though it is expressly forbidden:

"I only ate three!"

Here is a full plate:

Turkey breast with gravy, turkey thigh, stuffing, brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, sweet potato biscuits, herb bread, salad.

There was also some caramelized pumpkin soup:

And finally, pie!

It looks like I've been thoroughly shut out of the pie-making decisions at Thanksgiving time, although I anticipate this changing soon. As you can see, the King of Pies is clearly absent. Apple pie is good, but pecan pie will always be the best. That is an objective fact. Furthermore, I'm not a big fan of pumpkin pie, although apparently this was the best pumpkin pie anyone had ever had.  As you can see from its extra-deep orangeness, it is a Paula Deen recipe, which also means it is the worst pumpkin pie anyone has ever had.  This pie has butter and half-and-half and cream cheese and whipped cream. I am now completely surrounded by orange people, and they're orangening more with every slice. In fact I can hear them in the other room right now, eating pumpkin pie for breakfast. I give them a week, tops.  After that, I will be making all the pie decisions!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kathleen's chili salsa!

Kathleen sends in a picture of the prepping her famous All-Chili Salsa!  In this salsa, she dispenses altogether with the usual "filler" of tomatoes, onions, and other unspicy foodstuffs, using a variety of hot peppers in their place. After chopping up the peppers, the salsa needs just a squeeze of lime to be complete.

Here is the cast of characters, ready to be diced:

You may ask yourself, if tomatoes have been replaced by peppers, then what are peppers replaced by?  I mean, as you can see, Kathleen has replaced tomatoes with habaneros (in the back) and chocolate habaneros (the dark ones), onions with lemon peppers (yellow), and cilantro with fish peppers (green). Where can we go from there? What are those wrinkly red and orange things?

Brace yourself.  I'm sorry to report that Kathleen has just progressed into Stage VI of the Heat Madness. I did not even know her affliction had a Stage VI, yet here we are, undeniably. The mystery pepper is none other than the Bhut Jolokia, the fabled ghost pepper, and Kathleen has obtained no fewer than five of them. Yes, you should be scared. The Ghost pepper clocks in at over 1 million Scoville units. (For comparison, jalapenos are rated at about 1,000 Scovilles).

In case you haven't noticed, ghost peppers are a primary hallmark of insanity in the 21st century. There are dozens of lunatics on Youtube taking the "Ghost Pepper Challenge," and it never ends well. For example:

Family, friends, I beseech you. No longer can we stand idly by. No longer can we ignore the warning signs. It is time and past time to stage an intervention, or we will lose Kathleen forever to the deepest depths of the Heat Madness. The time for actions is upon us. What say you?