Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We thought that for this post we would depart from our usual "bloggy ways" and try a continuously updated post of me and Peg's Thanksgiving doings.  We decided to spend this holiday season alone and celebrate our life together.  Just the two of us at home.
   Before breakfast I tippy-toed out into our frosty yard and picked the morning's citrus juice on the hoof.
After a wonderful breakfast I took out the hen, I had thawed overnight.
I it out and shined it up with some bacon drippings from breakfast.

Then on go the 'usual suspect's.
Our own Cajun seasoning.
Some oh shoot!  Lea and Perrins.
Good ole Crystal hot sauce.
Then set it aside to 'let it get to know itself' till tomorrow.
Then I seasoned 6 redfish fillets with the same usual suspects along with a splash of lemon juice and parked them in the fridge till morning.

A couple days ago Peg made a pan of crusty bread, and as bad as I wanted to dive in with a stick of butter, I refrained myself  knowing it was destined for future stuffing.  It is currently whacked into cubes and being left to get dried out for the stuffing she's planning on making.
In the meantime, the pie process is proceeding.
Later, between pies, I made the creation I've been making on boats for years.  I call it my 'sweet tater pone'.  Call it what ya like, its very tasty and here is how I do it:  We always have some baked sweet potatoes around this time of year; they are wonderful, healthy and very versatile. I like to peel a few and put them in a pan with some soft butter.
I smash them and smooth them into an even layer.
Then put a layer of pecans on top and pour on my pone mix, which is approximately 1/3 cup of Steens cane syrup and 1/3 cup of light brown sugar.  (use more or less 'pending on how big the pan  is; ya want a thin coating on top of the taters).  Add one egg and a pinch of salt and ya done. Pour the glaze on top of the taters and nuts and bake at 350 or so till it's done.

This pan is cooling its heels in the fridge till morning. We know better than to bake it in advance, cause we can't stay out of it when its done.
Remember those beautiful bread crumbs up there?  Peggy took them and simmered down some veggies in chicken stock and giblets. 
She took her seasoned homemade bread chunks
and combined them into a luscious bread stuffing or dressing if ya will, on accounta we aint stuffin'
it in anything but us. It might not look like much, but with a nice 45 minute 'visit' to the oven, the top will be kinda crispy, the inside will be moist and flavorful, and if we were having gravy, (the jury is still out on whether we will or not)...but if we were, a nice gravy over the top of it is just overkiller good!
  When we were in New York State we had bought a bunch of Concord grapes.  We separated the skins from the fruit and froze them for the trip home.  We cooked the flesh then strained it to get the seeds out,  then recombined them.
Then Peggy made her gluten-free crust.
filled the crust with filling.
Then topped it with crust with her family swirl cut on top.
I'd show ya a slice in a saucer but I cant cause we ate it. (Well, not all of it of course, but now it's not pretty.)
Thanksgiving Morning
At 8:30 this morning coffee in hand I opened the pit took the grill off and tore up some used charcoal bags into pieces.
One of my tricks for lighting the charcoal chimney is to use a small piece of coal on bottom with the paper.  It helps lots in keeping the paper lit and burning.  By 8:45 I had the chimney lit.
As the paper burned down I kept adding more pieces till it all got used.  You can't pack it in too tight or it will smother itself.
by 9:00 the chimney was well lit so I put the charcoal in the pit then covered it with more charcoal.
At 9:10 a.m. once it was well lit, I added a handful of water-logged hickory chips straight on the coals.
For 9:30 the grill was on and the hen was in position.
Here's a tip: Take the juice left over in the pan, that the chicken was parked in all night,
rinse it out with a beer into a sauce pot.  Add a stick of butter and some more usual suspects, and when doing chicken and or fish, add a splash of lemon juice.  Put it on a low heat and bring it to a simmer; this kills germs and cooks off alcohol.  Let it reduce a lil and use that for a mop sauce.  That way you don't waste all the great flavor in the pan.
I mopped and flopped the hen for 2 1/2 hours with my bratty buddy Beaux looking on.

When the hen reached 160 degrees F. I put some redfish on to keep it company.
Later when the hen went in the kitchen to rest, I replaced it with a few ears of corn.

While the corn and fish sat on the warm spot, Peggy had been busy in the kitchen getting everything else ready.  She got brussels sprouts ready for a quick stir-fry, and took my potato pone out of the oven.

Who needs desert when your side dishes look like this?
We fixed you a plate.
Oops, forgot the bird.
Now thats a plate to be thankful for.  We sincerely hope that you were blessed, safe and happy this day and remembered to give Thanks for what ya have.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Smoked Hen, Sausage, Aundouille, Gumbo

Those of you who read our blogs may recall the smoked hens I brought home from our buddy Sam's smokehouse.

Those of you who have not come across the tale of me going to friend Sam's outdoor kitchen to help him break is and season his new cypress smokehouse the story is here:
It was an aromatic trip home with all of that 'smokeylicousness' assaulting my nostrils to be sure, and when I hit the door back home, hens in hand, Peggy said, "One of those birds goes in the fridge for gumbo."  The other 2 got stored in the freezer and the next morning Peggy had one boiling away on the stove.  After it cooled she took it out and pulled it off the bone before returning it to the stock it boiled in.

To the well-seasoned smokey stock she added onion, peppers, celery and sausage and homemade andouille sausage, and as usual, our own Cajun spice, some 'woo', and hot sauce.

The andouille sausage pictured above was made and smoked by our good friend Todd.  While the stock simmered, I took out Peggy's special gluten-free flour mix to make a roux.

 This stuff makes a good roux; the only thing is ya hafta use more than ya would a regular flour roux.
Some of you may be thinking I am nuts making a roux with a spoon but this aint no ordinary spoon.

Part spoon part spatula, its a Cajun creation, a roux spoon.  The flat end allows ya to cover the bottom of the pot and prevent burning.  With me stirring and the burner set pretty hot it didn't take long for me to have a nice rusty colored roux.

 We added the roux to the gumbo and let is simmer for an hour or so and it made a really nice gravy.
This was a wonderful pot of gumbo and like most things of this nature even better the next day.

The amazing thing is that there was any left for the next day cause we both had a couple servings of this amazing Cajun soup.