Thanksgiving retrospective, or the bacon parade


As I mentioned in the master roundup of last week’s consumption, Thanksgiving Day was an uncharacteristically small affair for us, just DPaul and me. For years, DPaul has lamented that we don’t get to cook a Thanksgiving dinner of our own, but the reason is not necessarily what you might think. His beef is that, since we are eating Thanksgiving at other people’s houses, we don’t get the pick of the leftovers, and therefore never have the proper makings for what is in his estimation the most important part of the Thanksgiving meal: The sandwich composed of cold turkey pulled from the bone, a sweet-tart smear of jellied cranberry sauce (from the can, thank you very much) and a sizable dollop of stuffing. Well this year, things were different.

But as it was just us, a whole bird would have been an abomination. No one needs that much leftover turkey hanging around, even if you do get a year’s worth of use out of it. We opted for a good-sized turkey breast, far more manageable.

Several weeks ago, DPaul tried marinating a half a chicken in pomegranate juice, and then roasting it. The result was quite good, so we decided to try the same thing with the turkey breast. We started with one whole pomegranate, extracting the arils.


Too often on cooking shows I’ve seen this stupid method for removing the arils from a pomegranate. They cut the thing into quarters, then invert the cut side and tap the rind with a wooden spoon or something heavy, dislodging the seeds one at a time. Aside from being phenomenally tedious, this strikes me as being a really good way to make a big mess. There is a much, much easier way. Score your pomegranate several times longitudinally, just enough to weaken the skin. In a big bowl of water, submerge the pomegranate and pull it apart. Then, gently work the arils out from the pith. Aside from preventing geyser-like sprays of the most stainariffic juice on earth, the water has an added benefit: The seeds drop to the bottom, and the pith floats. Once you’ve gotten all the arils out, just skim off the pith and drain the bowl.

(Photos: DPaul Brown)

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Adventures in leftovers: Faux risotto

FauxrisottoPerhaps it was due to the thick, chunky tortillas. Or perhaps we just bought too much seafood. At any rate, we were left with a nice collection of grilled shrimp and scallops from the weekend’s taco adventure. What to do, what to do.

As I’ve said before, we are masters of leftovers. Italian cooking makes that easy — there’s pretty much nothing you can’t throw in a pasta or slap on a pizza. After toying around with the options, and considering what we had in the pantry, I fell back on one of my staple recipes, faux risotto.

I love risotto, but the difference between an OK risotto and a truly euphoria-inducing one is far more art than science. I’m of the lazy and imprecise ilk, so I prefer to use pasta, which is far more forgiving. I used orzo, which technically makes this an orzotto, nothing faux about it. But I sometimes use the smaller riso pasta, which would make it … risotto. Sort of. Whatever. Anyway, using the pasta instead of rice makes for a nice, silky texture that will not turn to glue as easily.

This is another one of those non-recipes. There’s nothing precise about it — you just kind of go with the flow. But an approximation of the recipe follows after the jump.

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