Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving! Part 1

I can’t think of a better way to have spent my short Thanksgiving break from school than by cooking for TWO ENTIRE DAYS! It was pretty epic, not to mention delicious. And just about everything turned out exceedingly well considering most were first-time recipes. My dear friend Diana came into town from Oklahoma City for the holiday and was my partner in crime for the cooking extravaganza. Together we made a feast to rival any other!

So, where shall I begin?

Saturday-Sunday I put the turkey into the fridge to defrost and planned our menu. I knew I would be brining the turkey, strictly following Alton Brown’s oldie-but-goodie episode of Good Eats: “Romancing the Bird”. My family always used the Reynolds Oven bags for our turkey, and it was always hit or miss. I kept getting the oven-bag advice from naysayers of the brine, but knew that my man Alton would not steer me wrong (I am a faithful Good Eats-ite from way back). For the rest, I took a turn from the website on their “Classic Thanksgiving” menu and subbed/added some of my own classics from home:
  • Giblet Stock Gravy (I sort of made this one up as I went)
  • Cornbread Dressing (Pepperidge Farm bags, my Dad’s tweaked recipe)
  • Mashed Potatoes (basic Yukon Golds w/ butter and cream)
  • Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Thyme
  • Green Bean Casserole (Old-school with canned beans/soup/onions! Nothing gourmet here!)
  • Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce (Can-mold intact!)
  • Kat’s Angel Biscuits (Recipe to Follow)
  • Pumpkin Pie (again, went the easy route with the canned stuff)
  • Double Chocolate Pudding Pie (for Steven)
  • Schminnabons (to eat whilst watching the Macy’s parade!)
  • Deviled Eggs, Cheeses, Pickles, Olives, (for munching!)
So, Wednesday Diana and I carefully planned out what we should cook when. The pies and biscuits were to be baked that evening, the cinnamon rolls would be all-but-baked, the turkey would be put in its brine, and the eggs would be deviled. A tall order. But by doing our calculations, analyzing oven temperatures along with baking/rising times, we handled it in style!

The Angel Biscuits, I must say, turned out unexpectedly well. I’ve always had trouble with biscuit dough being too messy to work with, and it was looking like it would turn out that way this time, but with a little flour at hand, it was quite painless! My good friend Kat has told me this is not a secret family recipe and shared it with me willingly, so I figured I could share with the two people who read my blog (parenthesis emphasis = mine):

Angel Biscuits
5 c. (yes, that is correct) AP flour
1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter (unsalted)
1 packet dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. buttermilk (and no, not that milk-with-vinegar stuff…the real, full-fat, thing)
Additional butter for melting/dipping (you’ll use about 1.5 more sticks)

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter with pastry blender (till mixture resembles crumbs). Dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand 10 minutes. Add yeast/water and buttermilk to dry ingredients. Mix well. Knead until elastic. Roll out (on parchment dusted with flour) to 1/2 in. thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter, dip in melted butter, and fold in half. Place on baking sheet and allow to rise in a draft-free warm place (We let em go for about an hour, and they didn’t rise all that much. No worries, as they were still delicious.) Bake for about 12 minutes (and then resist eating every last one).

(Yield: about 2/2.5 dozen depending on the size of your biscuit cutter)

Fear not my friends. Part 2 is soon to follow. For now, alas, I still have schoolwork to accomplish.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So I’ve been on hiatus from blogging at all this last month-plus due to the explosion of the fall semester that inevitably occurs 3-6 weeks out from finals.

What’s new?

1. My hard drive crashed last week. It’s been rough. But I finally got my computer back today, and it’s like starting fresh and actually feels rather cleansing. I can now just take a deep breath and move forward. No news yet of how much if any data will be recovered. I remain hopeful, however, because really, why not?

2. There are about two weeks before most of my DMA applications are due. I almost have all of my ducks in a row. I just need to finish the actual applications online, update/print all of my scores I intend on sending out, and of course, finish the orchestrated chunk of my thesis that I want to send out as well. All of this has been put on hold for the last week as a result of point 1. Dumb.

3. I am almost done with my ensemble for the semester. It’s been swell. I like playing piano in an ensemble. It’s stressful but not nearly as much as solo playing, which gives me the shakes.

4. I have so much classwork to catch up on it’s not even funny. A 10-12 page paper due in exactly one week, an opera proposal for a play I haven’t even read yet in three, a 20 minute presentation over lord knows what in three, and a 16-20 page paper due in four.

So for now I bid ye adieu mein interwebs. And also a fond farewell to my friend sleep. I’ll miss you both. See you again mid-December!

I just finished reinstalling Sibelius onto my computer. Nose to the grindstone. Pedal to the metal.