Friday, December 02, 2005

Turkey Day Pictures

Out of extreme laziness, I haven't posted any Thanksgiving related stuff yet. I had to mention, however, a commercial for "Bob's Discount Furniture," involving two computer animated turkeys that had Bob and his wife's heads superimposed on them. They sang a song where the only words were "gobble gobble gobble gobble" and some little snippets about the furniture they were selling, e.g. "gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble There's a Bar that Hides AWAAAY!" Classic.
On to the pictures:
The night before Thaksgiving I made the desserts, starting with Madeleienes. I tested out new silicon madeleine molds versus my traditional metal one. The silicon mold smelled terrible as it was baking, overbrowned the edges of the shell and didn't brown the body of the shell at all. There was also no hump on the back of the madeleine, which is just (picture a french dude saying this...) OUTREEEGEOUS! So, silicon madeleine molds are REJECTED. Somewhere, a curmudgeony old French luddite is saying "Roh ho ho ho hoooo." New for 2005 to the madeleines was chocolate. Using Trader Joe's Belgian Pound plus 70% dark, melted over a makeshift double boiler and tempered (by stirring in unmelted pieces off the heat), I dipped or decorated about half of the madeleines I had made. Tempering the chocolate ensures the chocolate adheres, makes for a nice smooth look, and ensures the chocolate doesn't crumble when bitten into.

While preparing the madeleines, I decided that they wouldn't be enough as a dessert, so I decided to make something else. At first I thought "Tiramisu," which I make for any occasion, and also "pumpkin pie," in honor of Thanksgiving. Combining the two ideas gave me the idea for a mascarpone pumpkin cheesecake. I had no idea how I was going to make a cheesecake or what you have to do to make cheesecake, but I consulted some basic recipes online and went from there. I made the cheesecake's crust out of Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps and melted butter. The filling was half mascarpone, half regular cream cheese (due to mascarpone's different texture and high cost), eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, flour, heavy cream, and some spices. I garnished it with heavy cream whipped up with a bit of superfine sugar and brandy.

The cheesecake was rather light, wasn't too sweet, and had a slightly stronger flavor of cheese than a regular cheesecake.

Here are a few pictures of what my sister made (I did most of the grunt work), because she's even lazier about posting pictures than I am.

The turkey, brined overnight and (almost) completely cooked. The beautiful skin was achieved by not being afraid to massage and coat the entire turkey in a layer of butter.

A beet and fennel salad with citrus vinaigrette a la Thomas Keller. Finished with gorgonzola and orange zest. I call this one "mastercard salad."

Mixed vegetables in some sort of Asian-y dressing in a kabocha squash bowl. Eat the bowl...go on I dare ya.

The wine, a 1987 Chateau Duhart-Milon Rothschild Pauillac. It's no Charles Shaw, but it was still good.

This table is much too small to hold all of the food we made, so it was served up buffet style in the kitchen.

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