Archive for the ‘Accoutrements’ Category

MARCUS’ POTATO SALAD

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Whenver you have left over celery, chop several spoonsful into what I call Marcus’ Potato Salad, along with boiled, cooled and diced red or yukon gold potatoes and those other embroideries, peeled and chopped cucumber and red onion, some minced parsley, and a dill Dijon mustard mayonnaise spiked with a few drops (or more!) of dry sherry.  You can serve this salad with garlic sausages and tomato halves, or as part of an antipasto misto.  Don’t stint on the mustard and cucumber, and don’t overchill . . . and note that this salad is even better if orchestrated with sprinklings of paprika and turmeric.

GIGI’S SWEET POTATO CROQUETTES

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

        A crunchy childhood souvenir, also associated with Thanksgiving. My childhood, in fact, was filled with dark brown zeppelins rolled out by my mother or Hoi our in-house gratiné expert: minced salmon croquettes, veal croquettes, rice croquettes with a shaking crown of currant jelly on top.  I loved them all — and am now a little wary of such potentially gummy yummies.  Meanwhile we confront the renaissance of the fritter!

        And old Thanksgivings come into focus, the wartime one for instance when a lonely serviceman was sent out to our house by the USO and Mummy choked on his unseemly anti-FDR spiel.

 

Peel and boil 1 sweet potato per serving until they’re soft but not mushy; then mash the potatoes until they’re free of lumps, adding lots of butter, a little orange juice and some grated orange rind.

Now add enough milk and cream to achieve the consistency of stiff mashed potatoes; when the mashing is done refrigerate your “dough” for several hours. Shape the potatoes into patties, dip them in fine breadcrumbs, beaten egg, and crumbs again, then fry them in hot vegetable oil and drain afterwards on paper towels.

The color of these croquettes should be dark brown, like oldtime filet of sole when it was done properly.

CHESTNUT PURÉE

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

(to serve with Roast Turkey or Pork Chops and cress)

        Quite a long time ago chestnut purée became a given on our Thanksgiving turkey-and-trimmings menu.  Earlier than that, back in my Orléans days, it accompanied wild boar or venison when several culinarily deprived GIs trooped to the stately salle of the Hôtel Ste-Catherine for a festive meal.

        Another delicious escape from Headquarters Co. 7805 was dinner at a little upstairs place called Au Père Jean where course 2 out of 5 was always escargots and the gastronomic needle tended to get stuck in a groove at this point as we ordered seconds of the good father’s amply-garlicked snails.

 

Put 12 to 20 chestnuts in a pot with cold water up to 1 inch above them, bring the water to a boil and simmer the chestnuts exactly 30 minutes. Keep the chestnuts covered in the water as you remove them one at a time, cutting each nut in two and pushing the inside out.

Now put all the peeled nuts in a pot with water to cover and boil them until they’re very soft, about 30 minutes. Purée the nuts in a blender or food processor a little at a time, along with some cooking liquid, until they’re the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Finally, add butter to taste (don’t stint if you want a silky texture) and reheat the purée in a double boiler.

ALTERNATIVE:   Serve your turkey or pork with Gigi’s Sweet Potato Croquettes.