The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Cremant de Loire’

The Turkey That Keeps Giving

In General Articles, Recipes, Thanksgiving on December 4, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Here it is nine full days after Thanksgiving and we are still enjoying the gifts given up by our 21 pound Plainville Farms Thanksgiving turkey. The turkey dinner and its side dishes are but a memory.  The leftovers of hot turkey sandwiches smothered in gravy, accompanied by re-heated stuffing and the counterpoint of tart cranberry sauce, as well as cold turkey sandwiches on rye bread slathered with homemade Russian dressing disappeared days ago; and now the last of the Turkey Soup is gone as well. I have had my fill of Tom Turkey and if I don’t meet him again until next Thanksgiving, that will be just fine with me. But it is remarkable how many meals one can squeeze out of a single bird.

Our Thanksgiving feast this year started out with a gift of more than two dozen deliciously sweet and briny East Dennis Oysters™ compliments of John and Stephanie Lowell of the East Dennis Oyster Farm and our mutual friend Serge. I first became acquainted with these briny delights in Biloxi, Mississippi while on the payroll of Uncle Sam and stationed at Keesler AFB. Having had a long established relationship with another hard-shelled creature of the sea, Cherrystone clams, I never felt the need to meet their cousin. But clams were not readily available on the Gulf Coast, while oysters were in abundance, thus began a long-standing conflict; clams or oysters or both!

I am an able-bodied clam shucker, but never developed the skill of oyster shucking, so have always had to depend on the kindness of strangers. Our son-in-law, having grown up on the North Shore of Boston and on Martha’s Vineyard, is a skilled oyster shucker. He was assigned the task of prying these creatures from their shells, and as you can see from the picture, did a remarkable job in doing so.

Original East Dennis Oysters™

My wife, bravely tried her first raw oyster, but happily for the rest of us, demurred from having a second. As a result, our two daughters, son-in-law and I finished them off in a flash, washing them down with a well-chilled bottle of Crémant de Loire.

By the time we finished off the oysters, the main meal was ready. The Roast Turkey, having been filled with Dorothea’s Italian Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing, was waiting to be carved.

Ready and Waiting for the Carving Knife

I dutifully performed that task while my wife readied the delicious Bourbon Sweet Potatoes and the additional side dishes of Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts and Cranberry Sauce. The latter was prepared by following the recipe on the bag of fresh cranberries, as opposed to opening a can.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sitting around our harvest table, with no gift-giving, or tinsel, or Christmas music to distract my thoughts, I reflected upon how fortunate I was to be surrounded by the love of our ever-growing family, which over the past 40 years has grown from two to seven.

Sunday Chicken Dinner – No Leftovers!

In General Articles on October 31, 2011 at 6:55 AM

Last weekend, one of our daughters and her family came for a visit. As working parents with a toddler and an infant, she and her husband do not have a lot of time to prepare big meals. So when she expressed a desire for a Sunday chicken dinner, we willingly and lovingly headed off to the market to get the fixings: large roasting chicken, vegetables, potatoes and, of course, dessert.

We settled on a seven pound Bell & Evans organic chicken and a colorful medley of fresh vegetables, which we decided to roast in keeping with the autumn season.  Fingerling Potatoes, which are easy to prepare and have a great taste, were in stock so we chose them over Yukon Gold, which we frequently use, and Idaho and russet. Several herbs to enhance the chicken, vegetables and potatoes were obligatory, and for their healthful aspect, fresh berries for dessert. Preparing berries is quick and easy and seemed like a good counterpoint to all of the cooking required for the other dishes.

To accompany this autumnal feast we chilled a bottle of sparkling Crémant de Loire from the Loire Valley region of France, and to enrich the berries, a pint of heavy cream. We were so focused on cooking and eating this feast that I only remembered to take a photograph as we were clearing the table.

Here it is – No Leftovers!

No Leftovers!

The recipes for these delicious dishes can be found at:

•    Roasted Chicken with Tarragon & Lemon Zest
•    Roasted Herbed Vegetables
•    Fingerling Potatoes Roasted with Rosemary
•    Berry Compote

The beauty of this meal is that the vegetables and potatoes can both be cooked at the same, during the last hour that the chicken is roasting. and the prep for these two dishes can be done while the chicken is in the early roasting stage.

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