Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Thursday Report

Can't believe I still haven't gotten my Lewes Dairy EggNog yet!  This afternoon Tomorrow for sure!

I don't know about your house, but our kitchen is full of giddiness this week.  Next week is sure to be even giddier.  It might be Santa - or is it the NSA? - probing into everyone's minds to see that they are nice not naughty, but it seems that bursts of laughter erupt at the slightest event.  Debbie is, of course, the most excited, with more questions than anyone has answers for.  Her number one concern: do we get paid before Christmas?  She brought everyone a Christmas Card this morning!

Last night's prix-fixe was hugely successful and a sell-out.  It was an appropriately comforting menu, given the chilly temperatures outside in the winter wonderland, including the seasonally correct angel food cake.

First course was a puff pastry filled with brie.

The finished dish looked like an eclair.  Kevin's puff pastry was delicious, with its coating of toasted almonds and drizzle of malt vinegar-maple syrup gastrique.  Doesn't that look good?  It's on the lunch menu today, with soup and a side salad...

Beef stew was the main event.  A tummy filler, that's for sure!  It was a very pleasant evening, with a lot of Wednesday night regulars to chat with.  The only problem was it ended way early! I think it was just after 7:15 that the last table sat down!  I know it's dark out, but that is ridiculous, no one coming in after that.  Of course there is a silver lining - we were home early too!

I suppose the above picture is the story of the week.  The big Hobart stand mixer in pieces all over the kitchen floor. 

It's possibly time for brain surgery, and the surgeon won't be back until Saturday, at the earliest.


...Mandrell is gamely kneading his burger bun dough by hand.  Usually the mixer does this job, but now both breads are hand kneaded, giving some lucky cook quite a work-out!  The Hobart is also the tool that grinds the meat for the burgers and for sausage, which can not be done any other way.  Our little Kitchen Aide can do a pound maybe, but not twenty.  So, thank goodness for good neighbors!  Kevin reached out to Jeff at the Fish Whistle and has been there twice with our meat grinder attached to their Hobart.  Thank you Jeff!!!

Our 30 quart Hobart is quite old - we got it used at auction back in the 80's - but these workhorses last forever, if well cared for, and at the price of a new one, it is worth taking care of and repairing.  It gets used every day in our kitchen, from the aforementioned bread kneading and meat grinding to mixing salad dressings and double batches of angel food cakes to whipping potatoes by the gallon.  We would be hard pressed to get along without it.  

When Steve couldn't get the Hobart fixed right away, he set his sights on the little stick mixer to get his confidence back...

We don't serve a whole lot of desserts this time of year - there is too much of that to be found elsewhere, apparently - but that doesn't stop Cherelle from doing some nice work.  Here she is with a carrot cake we served last week.  Kevin and I got the last piece.  The recipe originally came from my ex-sister-in-law, and it makes an excellent cake.

In contrast, who knew that Brussels sprouts would be a hit as a small plate option??  Well, they have been very popular, fried and sauced with a honey-balsamic concoction.  They have been ordered as a shared appetizer, as a first course and as a main, several times a night since they've been on the special list.  

The meat specials this week have included St. Brigid's Farm veal loin with portabella mushrooms, and...

...Shure-Nuff Farm lamb done two ways - with the loin wrapped in lamb sausage and the shank slow cooked and served boneless with panko for crunch.  Nice.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  And with the Big Day less than two weeks away, the mind tends to wander into the Christmas Carol zone before you even realize it.  When the LaMotte wreath goes up, you know it's time to start drinking eggnog and wearing a sprig of Holly in your lapel.  We begin our annual Winter Holiday traditions this third Sunday in December, most of which tend to revolve around food and champagne, and continue into the New Year if we are lucky.  The watching of "The Christmas Carol" and the listening to "Amahl and the Night Visitors" will begin in earnest, and both have their own food related aspects, some of which have been replicated in holiday menus.  (Of course, not the "fragment of underdone potato" that Scrooge blamed for his visions.)   There may be some plates of Holiday Cookies making an appearance in our kitchen and hopefully some of Kevin's salted nut brittle will be left for us to enjoy.  The Holiday of Food is about to begin, and we are Ready!  

Peace out!

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