Progress is being made!

November 25, 2015

First version, before the addition of bacon.

First version, before the addition of bacon.

Still on track for T-day!

Yesterday saw the sweet potatoes and dressing made and stashed away in the fridge, along with the broccoli salad. I got the bread made, and the pate is chilling, weighted down, in the fridge, awaiting his turn to be cut tomorrow night. The curry dip is in the fridge, as it needs to sit a day or so before it’s really “ready” for use.

I am feeling quite efficient. Of course, I have done nothing but cook. The work stuff I was going to do…well, it hasn’t gotten done. Its time will come, though.

Heading out in a bit to pick up the bird, along with some frozen chickens (I’m out, not that it matters since I’ll have turkey for the foreseeable future) and, if they’ve got it, I’m going to run on down to Marvell and pick up some White River caviar.

Caviar. The Arkansas variety.

Caviar. The Arkansas variety.

Yes, Arkansas produces caviar. Specifically, Jesse George, down at George’s Fish Market (where they do not answer their phone; I’ve been trying for two days to call them), produces caviar. About 5,000 pounds a year, roe from the spoonbill catfish (paddlefish), shovelnose sturgeon and bowfin. It is, allegedly, comparable in taste to Caspian Sea sevruga. Here’s the rundown on it, from my friend Rex Nelson, who is an authority on most things Arkansas, and certainly all things food-related in Arkansas.

And I do love caviar. Love. It. Put a dab atop a smoked salmon deviled egg, or on a halved, boiled fingerling potato with a schmear of creme fraiche, and there just ain’t much better. It’s pretty hard to beat just on a toast point with some creme fraiche and chopped boiled egg.

And as I have made pate de campagne, I figure I might as well go the whole route and have caviar, too. That’ll make a fine post-Thanksgiving snack. Or a meal, for that matter.

The broccoli salad is a new addition to Thanksgiving, though I’ve made a version of it before. I first encountered it when I was having a lot of business lunches catered, and my caterer one day showed up with a salad that had broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, bacon and red onion in a mayonnaise-based dressing.

I about made myself sick on it.

I’ve adapted it over the years. I leave out the onion, because I don’t like it. This year, I added Craisins instead of raisins, because I like them better; sliced almonds instead of sunflower seeds; and diced, parboiled carrots. Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 head broccoli, florets cut off and chopped
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and diced in half-inch or smaller dice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon

Boil the carrots for about 3 minutes, drain and shock in cold water, drain again, and add to other ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar

Stir dressing ingredients together and pour over salad; toss until coated. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

You may wish to add a bit more vinegar. This is a tad more than the original recipe calls for, because I like it tart.

I made this salad, then realized I’d forgotten to put in the bacon, which just Would Not Do, so I yanked it back out of the fridge, added the bacon, stirred it up, and put it back. Nobody but you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em will ever know.

The pate, I’m anxious to try. I love pate, get it everywhere I find it on the menu, particularly at the Pantry in Little Rock, where they make a marvelous version. I’m using this recipe, on the grounds that anything that gets 4 of 4 forks on Epicurious has to have something going for it. As the several commenters on the site suggest, I’m going to add some pureed chicken liver to mine, because I like a bit of a liver flavor. I suspect it will make more than I can eat, and probably no one else will eat it, so I’ll likely wind up cutting it into sections, vac-packing it and freezing it, which is not a bad problem to have. (Between smoked salmon and pate in the freezer, I can handle appetizers in a hurry.) I have cornichons, and I have Dijon mustard. I’m ready to go, possibly tonight.

So if you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em are tired of turkey leftovers and want some fancy appetizers and snacks, come on over and we’ll break out the pate and the caviar and the smoked salmon.

Bring champagne.

 

 

 

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