Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Not Sure if I am a Breast Man or a Leg Man

Bet you wondered where I might be going with this and why I dind't include the third part of the anatomy that makes up the Guy's Trinity, especially after that last post. Sorry to disappoint you ... sorrier still if I don't follow up next saturday with someting better. Anyway ...

My excuse for not joining the Expat Bloggers' Meet-up was that I was cooking Thanksgiving Turkey for the Partnerin and her friends. Yep, Thanksgiving came a week early because the Partnerin has a business trip next weekend.

The Partnerin has really gotten into roast turkey ala Thanksgiving ... so much so that she insists on a turkey several times a year. The first time I cooked, I had a friend with Commissary privileges, and managed to get my hands on a Butterball ®, which was great. But, not having access to a commissary and friends who did now being DEROS (if you know what FIGMO means, you can figure out DEROS ... if you don't, I'm going to leave you guessing, since I would have to kill you if I told you), we had to improvise.

So we took one of those nice german blocks of butter that are equivalent to two American sticks of butter, mixed that with plenty of tarragon, and then pumped it under the skin of this 5.2 kilo bad boy, in essence creating our own version of the Butterball®.

Stuffing was another matter. I like mine savory, as in "so full of sage that your stomach will be clear for a week." Sage is great for the digestion, which is why it is an integral part of many stuffings. This is simply bread crumbs from a loaf of Rye bread; in this case, store bought, since I don't want to bake a loaf of bread to then turn around and make it stale. One onion, a couple cloves of garlic, celery (which the Partnerin hates and therefore will not touch this stuffing except for the cursory but polite "this tastes very good" taste), fresh parsley, a bit of white wine (the one-euro per litre box French stuff is pretty good for cooking just about anything). Sometimes I put a bit of lemon or lime joice in it, mostly to use up old lemons or lime that would otherwise go forgotten in the Ami-fridge. I also add what would be breakfast sausage in the US ... the closest german equivalent is Zwiebelmett, which looks and tastes a bit like Jimmy Dean's but is eaten raw by Germans. Then salt, pepper, and a lot of sage. If I could remember to sing "Scarborogh Fair" while cooking, I might remember the rosemary and thyme, but I almost always forget those two things.

The Partnerin likes her stuffing on the sweet side, with apples and raisins. She also uses rye bread crumbs along with the apples and raisins, and then soaks it all in milk. Aside from a little salt and pepper, nothing else.

This time around the Partnerin's stuffing got to be in the bird. Actually hers goes in the bird most times. This being Germany, we have to make a choice because the oven will only hold the bird and little else ... next kitchen we have, I am choosing the appliances, which will include an Ami-sized oven, maybe two of them, and an Ami-sized sink that can hold a week's worth of dishes (if I keep dancing with russian girls, I might be batching-it again, so I will need a place to store the dirty dishes until the nice and pretty polish housekeeper comes to clean up after me ... just kidding).

This lack of oven-capacity has forced a few interesting decisions on me. First, my stuffing now cooks stove-top in a dutch oven. It actually works rather well; the stuffing directly on the bottom of the pot does burn and stick, but when you scrape that part away at serving time, it gives a nice carmelized taste to the whole thing.

The other, harder choice, was what to do with the sweet potatoes. Since I had been out late the evening before and then spent too much time the next day puttering around, I didn't to the necessary prep work that would have had them par boiled and pre-baked for the glazed sweet potatoes of American Thanksgiving fame. So I simply boiled them until totally soft and then mashed them with some butter, crystallized ginger, brown sugar, lemon juice, and a bit of salt, pepper, and cinnamon. They were pretty good like this, and we also then didn't go overboard with ordinary mash on top of all the other starch.

I found a nice jar of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce in an English Shop near my office, which rounded it out nicely. If you can't find that, german stores carry Preiselbeeren, which are pretty close. The Partnerin also wanted corn, so we had corn.

All in all a good feast.

OK, that actually was a good excuse, but reality was that I was recovering Saturday morning from a little too much vodka on Friday evening, Saturday I was cooking, and Sunday I was recovering from eating too much on Saturday and it was sh!tty weather and I didn't want to drive to Bonn in that weather.
I'm sorry I didn't meet up with you all, as it sounds like I missed a good opportunity to broaden my circle of acquaintences. My dance card is never too full, so to say, but I can usually handle only two parties per week at my advanced age.

Next time, if you will suffer me.

Butterball is a registered trademark of ConAgra Brands, Inc., of Omaha, Nebraska, which we crew dogs affectionately called Aromaha, because on a hot summer day, when you popped open the hatch or canopy of your aircraft at Offutt AFB, you could smell the rendering plant from many miles away. Ah, for the goood old days when the Cold War raged quietly and the world was a safer place. You know, it's really sad, but now that I am working I find it hard to remember I had a sense of humor this twisted


Blogger Scott said...

As long as you're just dancing with the Russians, you should be all right. It shouldn't matter where you get your appetite, just as long as you eat at to speak.

I could probably have gotten all of the fixins from the Commissary, too, if I had planned ahead. My in-laws live next door to some soldiers. Alas, I procrastinated (surprise!), so no "real" Thanksgiving food this year. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to "produce" a pumpkin pie.

Btw, where did you find brown sugar? I haven't been able to find it anywhere to save my life -- not even at Walmart (soon to be Metro).

11:47 AM, November 22, 2006  
Blogger Maribeth said...

Today is my big cooking day. I'm making two apple pies, butternut squash, pearl onions and making my stuffing which has:
and my secret ingredient, chestnuts soaked for three days in brandy!
Next year if you can't get pumpkin send me your address and I'll mail you a couple of cans of pumpkin.
We're having 11 and everyone is bringing something.
The cpomplete enu will appear on Princess tomorrow.
Happy Thanksgiving!

12:36 PM, November 22, 2006  
Blogger Claire said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I am only posting a picture of my turkey if it looks as good as yours. Your stuffing sounds great. I am not that ambitious. I have my mom send me packaged stuff.

11:19 PM, November 22, 2006  
Blogger Haddock said...

Well we Brits have our turkey at Christmas, but we do wish our American cousins a happy/merry/relaxing & fun thanksgiving.

Hope to see you at the next blog meet up! :)

11:42 AM, November 23, 2006  
Blogger christina said...

Oh all right, I suppose you did have a good excuse and that meal looks delicious. At our house nobody but me will eat stuffing (I like it with sage and celery too) so I usually don't make it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

3:55 PM, November 23, 2006  
Blogger Mike B said...

Scott: Brown sugar can be had at WalMart, Real and Toom as Brauner Zuker ... don't know why you can't find it way down there ... must be a Bavarian thing.

Maribeth: I have this raging internal debate about nuts in stuffing. I occasionally use walnuts. I would certainly try chestnuts soaked in brandy if had ever occurred to me. Will have to try next time.

Claire: Thanks, but I wish I had color corrected the photo since the stuffing looks a little out of sorts. Then again, I never pretended to be a food stylist ... oh wait, yes I have.

Haddock: Thanks for the wishes. I guess Harvest Festival is as close as the UK comes, but the Brits don't gorge themselves, drink too much and watch lots of footy that weekend ;) Sounds like Sunday in America too.

Christina: Don't hate me for sounding patronizing, but that is really a shame. You should make it anyway, and then make lots of Mmmm noises as you eat it by yourself. Who knows, maybe curiousity will get the best of them. You can win converts through somewhat silent strength and perserverence.


10:08 AM, November 25, 2006  

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