December 26th, 2003

Porsupah smile by Djinni

Stuffed panda! Free to a good home!

Oh, now that was a Christmas (well, Yuletide..) dinner to remember. ^_^ I'd happened to notice a random usenet posting a few days ago, extolling the virtues of brining poultry as a route to Gaining Friends and Increased Succulence, or something like that. After some more sniffing around the net, I plunged into the task (somewhat literally), and simmered some salt, garlic, rosemary, sugar, and sriracha, to let everything dissolve/diffuse for a little.

Now, the turkey had been defrosting in the fridge for a day, and seemed happy enough (so to speak) on one of the shelves. But, if you add the weight of even a modest turkey to a gallon or so of briny marinade.. I decided I should probably abandon the idea of putting the bird back on the shelf (with the one above moved out, and its wares shifted onto the same shelf), and moved everything from one of the crisper boxes and the low glass shelf up to the top.. eh, suffice to say, it all fit, and the bread box worked perfectly as an ad hoc marinading bin. ^_^

Let me now state clearly: brining a turkey can indeed result in the most succulent, tasty poultry you've ever had. (Of course, the roomie stuffing a mix of garlic, olive oil, and such beneath the skin in a few places can hardly have hurt)

The roomie managed to juggle the cooking perfectly, so the meat was extraordinarily tender. The gravy was enhanced with a dash of asafoetida and oregano. The broccoli, carrots, and brussels were simply boiled briefly, whilst the potatoes and parsnips sat in the oven, crispening up nicely, even if they did remain a little fond of wanting to cling to the foil.

Oh, stuffing! Of course! A couple balls of simple sage & onion, and then another "on the spur of the moment" creation I felt I had to bring to reality - three of those (1.5" or so) balls, a third of a can of chestnut puree, four large finely chopped chestnut mushrooms, salt, a good bit of pepper, a sprinkle of fish sauce, and a small splash of sriracha, all enjoyably smooshed up into tiny patties.

All accompanied by a 1996 wine of unknown variety, from the Cariñena region of Spain, in the very northeast of the country, which developed some surprising toffee overtones midway through the meal.

There is a chocolate log sitting in the larder. I'm scared.

And last night's TV capturing yielded a couple possibly worthwhile nuggets - "Based on James Kudelka's masterpiece for the stage, The Firebird combines classical ballet with technological wizardry. The Kirov Orchestra perform the Stravinsky score.", and a German marionette production, "A Rat's Tale". Rats, yay!

In the afternoon, I decided to go for a good wander. Maybe it's a bit of the red panda in me, but I don't like sitting around, when I could be wandering. Sadly, the roomie was in a more sedentary mood, but that didn't subtract from the damp glory of the wintry scene of the riverside, with a drizzly haze frosting the air above the meadow, nor the simple happiness of seeing the ducks on the river paddle past (some pausing to check to see if the big creature might have food), or seeing the occasional landing, taking them from back-flapping slowing down to a comfortable wading.

(I admit, I could've done without the jacket's hood touching my face at precisely the wrong angle, and managing to extract my right contact lens - but I was able to let it fall safely into my palm, and then secure it in some paper I had in the pockets, so it should all be fine. Rather a fluke, but so it goes, and they needed taking out anyway)

La vita è bella. ^_^
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