Happy holidays, everybody, and welcome to The Chef’s Prerogative Christmas Extravaganza. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to have my family here by my side acting as my honorary sous-chefs, even if they still think this “cooking thing” is some kind of silly pipe dream. At least I’m not gay, right Dad? And I’d also like to take time to thank my wonderful, supportive friends who have made the trip here to be with me today and eat all my food that they didn’t help make. Can someone freshen up my Scotch? Thanks. Today marks a joyous occasion in the culinary world, as Christmas is one of the few times we get an opportunity to enjoy goose. Or is it geese? Whatever. Goose is akin to a duck, I think, but more of the female variety. Or is that a swan? We’re not cooking swan, are we? Okay, I just looked it up, and a goose is not a swan. Much like a duck, goose is covered in a luscious layer of subcutaneous fat which serves to keep the meat tender and jucy, and also covered in fat. Generally a flightless bird, gooses don’t fly; this means that their meat is not sinewy like a chicken’s or turkey’s, but smooth and silky, like that of a Laotion pool boy. Just kidding, Dad. This wine is fucking delicious, by the way; can you get me a refill? Great, thanks, Tom. So, anyway, I don’t want you beautiful, demanding people to think that goose is the only thing on the menu, though. Oh, no, we’ve got a bunch of delicious sides planned, as well, that I’ll also have to make! But I’m happy to do it. Verrrrrrry happy.
The side dishes will start off with Potatoes Anna. Now, I know that there are some people here today who aren’t big fans of carbs. But you know what has surprisingly few carbs, though? Shutting your face. Ha ha ha, just kidding, folks. Hey, Timmy – be a sport and go get Uncle TCP a bourbon, okay? If you’re confused about which bottle that is, it’s the one your Daddy starts drinking from right before he gets angry and yells at Mommy until she cries. Thanks, kiddo. For those of you who are trying to watch your weight over the holidays – Aunt Marie – I’m also featuring an orzo salad with lots of vegetables and herbs in the colors of the season. Hey! Someone put on Manheim Steamroller! I can’t cook without my Man-Steam. Don’t get too excited about the thought of Man-Steam, cousin Mike, or you’ll out yourself to your parents. Shit. Sorry. Anywho, you know what we should do? We should watch Christmas Vacation, tonight. I love that scene where Chevy Chase tells off his boss about how much he hates him and resents his lack of support for wanting to do something other than be a lawyer like your cousin Mike. Whew, this eggnog is strong. What an odd word “strong” is. Strrrrroooooonnnnggggg. Where was I? Thank you, Pat – yes, our final side dish will be the stuffing we cook in the bird. I’m fairly certain this won’t give us salmonella, but we’ll see, right? Jesus, Kim, you have really grown up – we’re not related by blood, are we?
Stuff We’ll Need
Definitely a strong Manhattan
Those little pasta pellets. I can’t remember what they’re called, but they look like rice
You know what’s another great holiday movie? Die Hard.
Green herbs. You know, I just realized this, but all herbs are green. So, “herbs.”
No, No, No – You Go Sit Down, I’ll Do All The Cooking:
Martin, I’m a grown-up adult person, and I’ll tell you when you- I’ve had enough. So, hey, we’ve got our swan thawed out and ready to cook in the cooking machine. Look very, very closely at the tempachure… temperchur…. temp-er-a-ture dial on your thing. It should read 350 350. Tell your two-headed cousin to help you up off the floor, then put your duck in the fridge. Oven. When nobody’s looking, sneak some whiskey in the coffee your grandma gave you to sober up with, even though she’s a hypocrite and smells like a distillery and also only sends you birthday checks for $5.00. In the meantime, let’s start on our sides, won’t you?
Peel your potatoes because no one is going to help you, and pull out that one thing that you rub stuff on and it cuts it. You know, the thing? Cut your potatoes about an eighth of an inch thick. Put ’em in a bowl or whatever, and cook them. Salt and pepper. But first, put your goose in the oven. DAVE! Put Manheim back on. MANHEIM !!!! Now that our potatoes and water fowl are cooking, let’s cook that other thing I talked about earlier. Will someone please hand me that margarita. When did I make margaritas? The pasta should be placed in boiling water, and then boiled. During this time chop up your herbs and some tiny tomatoes and onion. Mandoline! That’s what the potato-cutty thing is called. Mandoline.
I didn’t forget the giblets, Dad, I took them out before. And if not, I left them in on purpose. Geeses don’t have giblets! So now our geese is cooking in the stove, there’s potatoes there, and I chopped up herbs and things for stuff to put them in. This tryptophan is making me sleepy. Dave, I don’t come to where you live and tell you to stop drinking and embarrasing this family, I think I deserve the same respect in my house that my parents live in with me. Besides, who apointmented you king of the alcoholoic people? Never, that’s who! Someone put on the Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas CD. HARRY CON– Oh, it’s on. Thank you. Back to cooking… Karen, not for nothin’, but that sweater looks great on your boobs. Oh, lighten up, Josh – you paid for ’em; am I not supposed to look? Jesus, you people need a drinking to lighten up. Someone take the rice off the oven burner. Good, it should be the consistency of a nice mush. Drain in a collander and, no, wait, don’t drain in a collander – it just all goes away. Oh, well, let’s check on the potatoes. Where are my potatoes? Well why are they in the cupboard, Brian? No I did not put them there.
No, fuck you, Todd. Maybe you spilled that wine on yourself when I tripped and spilled that wine. And considering the Cosby nature of that sweater, I think whoever spilled that wine was doing this party a favor. Karen, take off your sweater and give it to Todd. And your bra. I’m just trying to have a little fun, folks; don’t get all serious on me. Where’s everyone going? What? Why?!?!? I am too not drunk! I’m just a little buzzed right now from being drunk, is all. I don’t know why everybody’s leaving – we’re getting ready to eat soon, once I’ve had a cocktail and cooked everything. Jim, take the goose out of the stove. What do you mean the goose is under the sink?!?!? I have no recollection of doing that. I think it was probably black people.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Unless you’re one of those liberals that O’Reilly warned me about, that is; in which case, happy Kwanzaa!
I held off for as long as I could, but last weekend I felt it was my duty to finally undertake the daunting and fist-sized-hole-in-the-wall inducing tasks of baking bread, then reporting the arduous process to you. I figured that I’d written about a lot of my favorite foods on this illustrious blog, but have neglected perhaps the most basic and delicious of them all, simply because it’s difficult to make. Some may call this cowardly, others wise. Others, still, might wonder what the fuck they’re doing on this blog in the first place. Before I started baking, I did some research on-line and discovered that looking at naked girls making out with each other after a tough soccer practice while their coach watches for a while, but then decides to join in, is way easier than baking bread. After that, though, I dedicated myself to the notion that I would bake some bread in the afternoon – right after this nap. Then I did some research not consisting of videos of naked girls making out, and thought to myself “you know, I was under the impression that baking bread was going to be hard, but it turns out that I was mistaken! It’s fucking impossible.” Thus, my search for girls making out with one another after various sports activities resumed. My unwavering and annoying sense of duty, however, commanded me to move forward and try my hand at making my first loaf of burned-on-the-outside, wet-on-the-inside bread. If for no other reason than to piss off the ghost of Robert Atkins and the legions of his mongoloid followers who eat hamburgers wrapped in fucking lettuce. Yeah, fuckface, because it’s the bun that’s going to get you fat, not the greasy red meat and two slices of cheddar. Whore-bag.
Anyway, I did my research and steeled myself against the frustration to come. I gathered my instrumentation, put on Kind of Blue to help temper my temper, then commenced with staring at everything splayed out in front of me, wondering “How the fuck do people do this?!?!?” Four scotches later, however, and with a cold Hoegaarden in my hand, all of a sudden baking bread seemed as easy as punching a toddler in the face and taking his candy, then throwing that candy in the trash just to show the toddler that you didn’t even need the candy in the first place, because “fuck him,” that’s why. Waltzing around the kitchen with a swagger not seen since the previous day, when I punched a toddler in the face, I was ready to cook – I mean, bake – my first loaf of bread, which I was sure would put Pierre Poilane to shame (the dead French bastard.) But first I needed to figure out how the fuck the mixer worked. I should have mentioned this, but in order to make bread you’re going to need a stand mixer. If you don’t have one, just ask a lady over the age of forty if you can borrow hers – I don’t care if she’s a meth-addicted shoplifter and part-time prostitute, she’s going to have a fucking Kitchen Aid stand mixer. They’re more ubiquitous than Beyonce. But I digress…
A quick note before we get started: much like new things and minorities not on prime-time TV, measurements scare me. And I’m not talking the good kind of measurements, either, like “Giada’s gotta have at least full D’s,” or “Why, thank you, Guinness – girls always told me it was big, but ‘biggest ?’ Well, that’s just great!” So In order to assuage my crippling fear, and in an attempt to trick my brain into thinking measurements are fun, I’m going to rename all the units we’ll be using. They are as follows:
Things To Begrudgingly Buy At The Store:
1 Epiglottis of bread flour
1 Kerfuffle of instant yeast
2 Kerfuffles of kosher salt
2 Zooey Deshcanels of Water
2 Kerfuffles of honey
10 Englebert Humperdincks of bottled water
2 Thunder Cats of vegetable oil
2 Thunder Cats of corn meal
1/3 Lazer Falcon of tap water
1 Thunder Cat of cornstarch
I Never Thought I’d Write This On My Blog, But “Bake!”
Combine 5 Engelbert Humperdincks of flour, 1/4 kerfuffle of yeast, two kerfuffles of honey, and ten Engelbert Humperdincks of water (in a bowl, Einstein, not just willy-nilly on your counter.) Cover as loosely as your mother’s reputation and stash in the fridge for 8 – 12 hours. I’m sure that what we just made has a very proper and stupid baking name to it, but I got my degree in Registered Scientisting, not Fruity Bread Making, so I’m just going to call it “Steve.” In your stand mixer, combine 11 Engelbert Humperdincks of flour, 3/4 Kerfuffle of yeast, and 2 kerfuffles of salt. Throw Steve in there, too. Knead with the hook attachment for 3 minutes, then cover the bowl and let rest for 20, because apparently our dough is a Teamster. Kneed on medium for 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes sticky, but not too sticky to work with. If you know what this feels like then you need to let me know, ’cause much like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, I’m IN THE DAAAAHK HEEEAH!!! Let’s say, hypothetically, you get to the right consistency – place the dough ball in the center of a large pan greased with a Thunder Cat of vegetable oil. On a lower rack of your oven, place a pan you’ve filled with 2 Zooey Deschanels of hot water. Place the rack with your dough above it. In about 1 to 2 hours, the dough will do it’s best “The Chef’s Prerogative stares at the new secretary’s legs” impression, and will double in size.
Grab your dough and turn it out onto a floured board like it was a mid-western girl straight off the bus after running away from home. Fold the ball into itself twice (whatever the fuck that means), and let the dilatory fucker rest under a kitchen towel for 10 minutes. Fold it several more times, then lightly pass the dough ball between your hands on the counter-top, forming it into a tight ball with a seam on the bottom. Put the infuriating cocksucker on a pan, cover with a towel, and (surprise!) let rest for an hour. Combine 3/4 of a Lazer Falcon of water and one Thunder Cat of cornstarch. Uncover the laziest dough known to man, and slather your mixture on top of it. Slash the top of the bread in the shape of a square and, it doesn’t say this, but I’m sure we have to let it rest under a towel some more. Either way, that gives you just enough time to throw a pizza stone (or a slab of fine Italian marble – whichever you happen to have laying around) in your oven and pre-heat to 450 degrees (oh, and replenish your water pan, too, and keep it in there). Bake for an hour, then let cool for 30 minutes before slicing. You now have your very own loaf of homemade, fresh from the oven bread. Now, you may be a little disappointed in the finished product, and discouraged at the Herculean effort it took to produce it. And I’ll tell you right now that, admittedly, this is not the best bread in the world. But then again, neither are you, so maybe lighten the fuck up.
7 December 2008
If there’s one thing I don’t mind over-paying for it’s a good, soapy, full-body Asian massage to completion. If there are two things I don’t mind over-paying for, it’s a good, soapy, full-body Asian massage to completion, and sandwiches from a Jewish deli. Twelve bucks for a sandwich seems a little outrageous, sure, but when you realize that that twelve-dollar sandwich is actually two regular size sandwiches in one, it all seems to even out. Throw in some good pickles, doting 70-year-old waitresses, and that one blonde sitting by the window in that tight sweater, and the bill just doesn’t seem to matter. Unless you don’t have any money, of course, in which case I guess it would matter a lot. And while most Jewish deli menus are chock full of sandwiches made with brisket, tongue, turkey, pastrami, and “why don’t you marry a nice doctor,” my favorite deli fare is corned beef. I think. In all honesty, I can’t really tell the difference between a lot of these meats, and I’m not particularly picky. Does it really matter, though? After all, you’re just here to look at pretty girls in sexy outfits and maybe, just maybe, learn a little bit about yourself and your place in this world in the process.
Ah, but friends and people who accidentally stumbled upon this blog, corned beef is not just for juicy, delicious, outrageously large sandwiches! Indeed, a “hash” may be made from this wondrous protein, as well. Not only that, but corned beef may also be paired with cabbage, in a dish more commonly referred to as “Mom, why the fuck did you make corned beef and cabbage for dinner. I hate you.” Regardless of what you choose to use your corned beef for, this recipe will prove to be a delicious addition to your culinary repertoire – I don’t not refuse to not guarantee it! But, hold on there, buckin’ bronco, this recipe ain’t for those cooks lookin’ for a quick meal on the go. Nope; this meal, like a fine wine or an unemployed stripper, is best when given a lot of time. Not only that, but we’re also going to need to utilize a brine. Before I made one for the first time, brining scared me almost as much as conjoined twins. Don’t worry though, unlike siblings sharing body parts, a brine won’t steal your soul or try and incorporate you into its hideous, contorted body like some kind of humanoid amoeba. In fact, brining is quite simple and makes meats of all kind more delicious and moist than they would be on their own. Whoa, whoa, whoa – not that meat, you sick bastard. Put it back in your pants.
Jesus, This Is A Lot Of Shit
Ass-load of salt
Saltpeter (no, seriously)
Uh, You Know, Cook
After all that time spent at the store shopping for this shit you’re going to be pretty hungry. Well don’t worry: before you know it, you’ll have a great deli sandwich all ready for you. In two weeks. You see, that’s what makes a brine work – much like that girl in your International Relations class, this bitch is going to need some time to get ready for you. Unlike her, though, Corned beef’s ex-boyfriend won’t punch you in the face when he runs into you at Ralph’s. Make the brine by combining all the shit up there in some boiling water. Cool it down with some ice, and throw that beautiful piece of meat in there. No, not your penis, you ego maniac. Put everything in a plastic bag and stash it in the fridge. If you’re like sous-chef Bruno, you’ll spend the next ten to fourteen days staring at the refrigerator.
After waking up with the pretty red-head from the W on the fourteenth day, take out your brisket, rinse her off, then put her in a pot of water with the carrot and onion. Much like an Italian mad at his sister’s cheating boyfriend, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer, and let cook for three hours. After that, do like me: use your Adamantium claws to thinly slice the brisket. Place three pounds of the sliced meat in between some rye bread, and enjoy with your vodka and grapefruit. OY VEY!