Well it looks like it's going to be the first snowy weekend of the year in the NorthEast. Do folks have any special cooking plans they like for times like this?
I am having a small cooking get together over the weekend. I was planning a big dinner party but with the possibility for strong weather I just invited a few locals and die hards over for the whole weekend. I offered to give some basic cooking lessons and folks chimed in with a resounding yes.
Some of the things I will be doing are a nice fresh chicken soup. Just mirepoix cooked in broth for 20-30 minutes then cut up boneless, skinless chicken thighs added and cooked for another 20 minutes with a bit of sage and peppercorns. (This soup freezes well.) I may add some matzoh balls since they are quick and easy to whip up. I have a non-kosher version where I add romano cheese and garlic to the matzoh ball mix. They may not be traditional, but taste amazing.
I will show the basics of making rouix. The light, medium, dark, and when to use. (This way I get to season up some cast iron pans found in the latest rummage sale, and it stores well in the freezer for instant use when I don't have 30 minutes to make some.)
Spaghetti meat sauce. I make a big pot that simmers for hours and then bag it in quart ziplocs and freeze.
Manicotti- It's so easy and fun to make from scratch and goes great with the meat sauce.
Steaks seared in a cast iron pan and finished in the oven with red wine and mushrooms. The wine / mushrooms are quickly reduced to form a sauce on the stove top after removing the medium rare steaks from the oven.
Hamburgers and cheeseburgers. I found a local Asian supermarket that has great tasting, rough ground meat. It's only ground once to about 1/4" to 3/8"'s thickness, instead of the normal triple grinding to about 1/8" that reduces the meat, fat, and assorted tendons and other junk to mush. This makes a great burger cooked at high heat in cast iron. For great cheesburgers I just started melting extra sharp cheddar briefly in the microwave and then pouring the liquid cheese onto the bun before putting on the burger. This works much better than trying to melt the cheese on the burger under the broiler.
And of course I am going to show folks how to brew beer and am making a batch of Belgian Trappist style Doppel. Dark and strong with just a hint of Saaz hops and some added dark Belgian candy sugar to boost the alcohol level up to about 7-8%. It will be ready to drink for New Years. Yumm.
It's too bad that the batches of hard cider I started just before Thanksgiving need another few weeks before they are done. I may siphon off a gallon or so and make a low alcohol, half fermented, mulled cider with it to sip and keep warm while brewing the ale outside.
Hmmm... It looks like a chowish winter weekend is at hand!