The Beginnings of a Lovely Beef Curry

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( beef cubed, ginger and perfectly blended Sri Lankan spices )

A friend hand delivered a box full of ingredients that would do me good for a fine beef curry. Alls I have to do is add the beef. Seeing as we are beef farmers, I happen to have a kilo or two of beef in the freezer ( or on the field depending on how you wish to slice it ).

Thus far, I’ve got my meat locked and loaded for a few hours of supermarionation. This will soon be followed with a quick sweat of the onion bits, a browning of the beefy bits followed by some water and tomato purée to bubble away for a couple hours.

I must say, the “curry kit” was an awesome gift. As I know you don’t Patek your curries, that pre-spice blend can take a little time. Having it pre-made was a great gift. A little holiday idea for you. As a recipient, I was most pleased.

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A Final Dish of Brown

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Today marks the conclusion and ending ceremony of Thanksgiving. There will be no poultry paraCelebration. This is it. With the final few bits of turkey parts, I bring you: Turkey Soup.

I stuck the rest of the turkey, any leftover gravy, all the celery and friends in a pot with an onion pricked with a few cloves, some bay leaves and a dash of sage and thyme.

That bubbled away as stock ( but not too bubbly ). After a chill and a strain and a meaty bits sort, I made some soup. It turned out good. When the husband eats a couple bowls, you know it’s not for pity’s sake.

Thanksgiving Pot Pie

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Okay, it’s not done yet, but I layered Thanksgiving in a pot pie. Sure it’s been done before, but I ain’t got time for interwebs. What I have is a lotta leftovers.

A turkey stock milky gravy, frozen peas, carrots, leftover roast yams, some leftover mashed pots, leftover turkey chopped that is all covered with leftover stuffing will hopefully make for a warming dinner tonight. Only time will tell.

I’ll let you know if it sucks.

Our Evening Of Brown

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As we are in France and the kids didn’t get last Thursday off, we gave our thanks on Saturday. I like to do Thanksgiving dinner because it is very American. It’s also an easy dinner to do that isn’t a huge cost ( I’m glad the lord didn’t bless the pilgrims with a mother load of rare abalone ).

In America, a whole turkey is easy to find. Often, they give them away free if you start loading up your cart with oodles of pre-Christmas bargains ( cha-ching ). In France, this is not so. I can buy whole birds of many varieties. You got your pheasants, your pigeons, your ducks, your chickens, your medium birds, your teeny birds, your big birds all of which come complete with heads and feet. But do they sell a whole turkey? No.

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To fill my Thanksgiving table, I run around town in search of turkey parts. This year, we had a two legged, three roast turkey. Now if I may draw your attention to exhibit A, you’ll notice that that is a rather large leg for a turkey. I’ve cooked ( okay my husband has cooked ) a lot of whole birds and we’ve never seen a leg quite that big.

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Should you grab a minute while your potatoes are boiling and the yams are roasting to take that leg and mentally build a turkey to scale, I believe you will arrive at a VERY large bird. So you wonder, do they not sell whole turkey carcasses in France because they don’t fit in the refrigerated display case? Are they not able to carry the entire bird, a glass of red wine and a cigarette at the same time? Or is it something more mysterious like it’s not actually a turkey, but a prehistoric genetic strain of pterodactyl that tastes an awful lot like turkey.

We’ll never know. Each year, I will keep at our little slice of America. Maybe someday, I’ll grow a little pterodactyl of my very own. Until then, I use my favorite Thanksgiving photo as inspiration which hangs in my kitchen.

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Operation jell-O Salad Was a Complete Flop

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Dear Winking Jelly Star,

Your instructions were wrong. I followed them exactly and my jell-O ( oh sorry, I’m mean “jelly” and why can’t you use brand names like the rest of us Californians ) my jelly was a flop. Didn’t hold to the mold. Loose as a teenager on prom- night. You steered me wrong, winky star, and I hate you for it.

To cover my ass, I redid your dish with three packets of gelatin powder and some sirop ( that’s sweet stuff in French ). I will either recover my jell-O salad that is due to debut in hours OR I may have just created France’s largest Gummy Bear.

Deviled Eggs

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You must appreciate the deviled egg for its minimal effort, cute packaging, lovely texture match and zing. Once you pull out the yolks and get them sorted, you can add darn near anything. This is the basic deviled egg with mayonnaise, dijon, salt and pepper. The only thing missing is a little umbrella with some green olives.

Wait, hold on a sec …

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Ah, that’s better

An American Amuse Your Boosh

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Ah, canned fruit cocktail … When I think of home, I think of a place where there’s [quick breath] fruit cocktail overflowing.

My mamma used to make jell-O with fruit cocktail in it and served it on lettuce. She only did this on Thanksgiving day and it was offered after stuffed celery and pickles and black olives, but before all the brown dishes were ready.

Now I don’t remember making jell-O much. And I will tell you now: Yuppie moms ( and wives of Yuppies ) don’t make jell- O. Dumping a can of dead perfect, chopped, unrecognizable fruit in with it would cause pony-tails to flail at the local Starbucks. This is not me. Damn it. If my mamma worked it with jell-O salad, dagnabit, I’ll do the same same for my army. Seriously, how far apart are pita bread with hummus and clementines from jell-O salad.

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Seeing as we are in France, jell-O is not abundant ( they’re more into potted cream ). I have some plain gelatin on hand, but I found this star winking at me from the British aisle. It’s not a powder, so I had to consult with my husband, who grew up in London, to see if he had any insight on the premade-jello jell-O. Fukui-San, evidently you simply disolve with hot water, then add cold water and set similar to the powdered version.

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I feel a new crayon name coming on.

Strawberry Smoothie

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My sister Laura taught me this one ( as I write about food, I’m noticing that my sister Laura has had a bit of influence with my culinary techniques ). Very quick, very yummy, very easy:

– a cuppa milk
– frozen strawberries
– some sugah

Stick this baby in a blender until smooth and Smoothie-like. Add milk or strawberries as needed.

To this simplicity, I’ve added ( due to husband research )

– one egg
– a big scoop of whey
– some branched-chain amino acids

What you get is yum. A belly filling yum. A moreish yum that keeps on keeping on.