What does Rumpole dine on this time of year?
Well, turkey and potatoes and stuffing are so humdrum.
We will start this Thursday with Widows Hole oysters, cultivated on just a few small underwater acres in the bays of Long Island, NY.
Because fish, mostly cod and stripped bass, was integral to the Pilgrims survival, we will have some simply salted and battered fried cod filets with our oysters. Wine pairing: A Muscadet is a wonderful and inexpensive French wine. Crisp and clean, a bracing cold glass stands up nicely to the salinity of the oysters. We like the Domaine du Fief aux Dames Muscadet Sever et Maine Sue Lie. It's a mouthful, but at $16.00 or so, a great value. Please get the 2017. 2016 was damaged by an early frost and just doesn't hold up.
Money Bread was made famous by Ronald and Nancy Reagan. A Reagan family tradition, it garnered a lot of attention when served at the President's Thanksgiving dinner. While many recipes call for a sweet cinnamon-roll like bread, we like the plain round loaf of flaky dough, made with a liberal dose of butter. Pull off a piece and enjoy.
Our turkey is made simply. We recommend brining in a simple solution of one and a half cups of kosher salt and two gallons of water. (Traditional solutions are two cups of salt, but we worry about over salting the bird). Have some fun and add a half a cup of brown sugar, a cup of OJ, some thyme, and kick it up a notch with some chili powder.
After 24 hours in the solution, pull the turkey out and let it rest at room temperature for two hours. Pre-heat the oven to 425 and reduce to 375 when putting in the bird. Liberally rub butter with seasoned salt under the bird's skin and baste infrequently (twice at most). Opening the oven to baste lets the heat out, which adds to cooking time at lower temperatures, which dries the bird out. The key to a juicy turkey is brining and roasting quickly at a high heat. Cook it all the way through and get it out and then baste to your heart's content.
Stuffing is made from two day-old French baguettes, cubed with a stick of butter, chopped garlic, chives, and a sofrito of mushrooms, shallots, salt, pepper, and chopped jowl bacon if you can find it (regular bacon is fine as well).
You can mash some mashed potatoes (yawn) or put some whipped yams in a casserole dish with some mini-marshmallows on top, but really, aren't you bored with those pedestrian dishes by now?
Since we live in the crossroads of the Caribbean, how about some coconut rice (just cook jasmine rice in coconut milk instead of water, top with scallions-throw in some chickpeas for your vegetarian guests and they will be happy). How about this for a change: scrape off the kernels from ears of corn, simmer in coconut milk, jerk seasoning, and some brown sugar. Wanna go crazy- put the mixture into a food processor and blend. Add almond flour until it becomes a paste (add eggs unless you have vegan guests), and fry like latkes.
We will pair our meal with the 2016 Cade Cabernet blend of Cab, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. It's rated 96 points on Wine Spectator, and one of our favourites this year.
For a white we like the Radio-Coteau Savoy. It's big, and buttery, and organic all in one.
We aren't big on sweets and deserts. Some fresh fruit-mangos, late season cherries, and blueberries mixed with some crème-fraiche is a nice way to end the meal.
And then the really best thing to do is go here and donate a few bucks to Habitat for Humanity. It's President James Earl Carter's favourite charity, and it provides housing for ...well...humanity, which is a good thing to do.
Happy Thanksgiving to our readers.
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