Wise Sensei (& others) menu needs review please!

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by Squishy, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    Grasshopper needs menu evaluation... [​IMG]

    So... I called dibs on making Thanksgiving dinner this year, several months ago. I have never made a holiday meal, and I want the fun and experience of doing it! It will likely be just mom and me and we are hoping some of moms lady friends will take us up on the offer to come over too [​IMG] She needs drinking buddies, and I need people to keep her out of my hair while I cook, because I am keeping some of the meal a surprise! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Well, we have never been a turkey family... we just don't appreciate the flavor of turkey in comparison to other meats. Most years we just decide what we are making for Thanksgiving and Christmas based on what we feel like, though it's always rich, involves stuffing, and gravies/sauces. Some years it's been Lamb, others stuffed Pork (moms is to die for).

    However, I, in my infinite grasshopper wisdom (snort) have decided to make something mom hasn't made, I know what it is I am making and am keeping it a surprise secret from mom until it's time to eat it [​IMG]

    Thus, I sadly can't reveal what the meat is here. I know her... she's sneaky and she would read it [​IMG]

    I have made this meat as part of a meal before, it was a marvelous success and the only reason I have to date to think I have any innate ability in the kitchen. A little assistance from a friendly butcher, like last time, and that part is all set. Although I am curious about marinaides.

    I just came from a discussion with mom about sides. I am keeping one of the sides secret as well, but the rest she can know about. I think we have a lovely plan for sides, though there might be too many [​IMG] I plan on making up as many items as I can in the days before this feast. All other ingredients I need on the day will be chopped, washed, prepared, ect, the day before.

    In for a penny, in for a pound, right? So I have decided to set the meal up as a 5 course. We are not present people, we are food and alcohol people, so why not go elaborate?

    Course #1.... (Normally the Appetizer, right?) will be my secret side that mom can't know. I have made it before, when I made this meat, and it turned out quite nicely. It takes a bit of preperation, but it also fits into the role of appetizer on many a menu, so that should do fine. Maybe I will PM you, Wise Sensei, regarding these secret items.

    Course #2... (Normally Soup?) Will be French Onion Soup. We both LOVE French Onion, I just don't have any clue what method I will be using for the soup, canned, powdered, scratch, ect. Suggestions would be welcome! [​IMG]

    Course #3.... (Normally Salad?) Will be vegetable related... A platter of Celery sticks, some stuffed with Cream Cheese and sprinkled with fresh Chives, some with Peanut Butter (YUM!) [​IMG]

    Course #4... (Entree?) Will be the Secret Meat, my special and legendary Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes - with Gravy, also Juliene Carrots lightly sauteed in a garlic butter with a little Red & Green Pepper. I will do my best to make an artful display on the plates with that [​IMG]
    I'm still not sure what kind of gravy, canned, powdered, scratch.. I know how to make scratch but canned and powdered are always better [​IMG]

    Course #5... (Desert?) Mom will be responsible for Desert. She is going to make a Pavlova, but we want to put a twist on the family recipe and fill it with Chocolate Mouse and top with Strawberries, instead of the normal Whipped cream and Strawberries. I am hoping she can pull it off, because it sounds YUMMY and I want it now! [​IMG]

    So... Any tips on French Onion Soup, on Gravy, and on the use of a Marinaide with the meat? Also any tips on pulling off such an elaborate meal? I have nearly 2 months to prepare, to experiment, and to plan. I am a good chopper, if a bit slow (because I try to bring order to the universe in the form of evenly sized peices). I can Juliene carrots. I can make a rue. I can set a timer. And I can most definitely make a huge mess.

    I just think it sounds fun! Really fun!

    It would be nice if we had all the trappings to make a fancy dinner, fancy, but we can substitute... any ideas? I'd love to set out an excess of silverware just to get a giggle out of it.. hehe... and if only we had the cute little bowls, I could hand out fingerbowls with Rosewater before the meal and after every course [​IMG]
  2. KenK

    KenK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    Kind of hard to opine on the menu when half of it is secret.

    For the soup, make it from scratch.
    Buy beef bones and make a really delicious stock. You can do this far ahead and freeze it if you like.
    Make enough to use some in the gravy if that will work with the meat.
    Get really nice bread and cheese for the topping.
  3. Nicola

    Nicola Chook Cuddlin' Aussie

    Feb 23, 2009
    When my mum makes a roast lamb in the oven she uses the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan ( they have flavor in them) with a few tablespoons of plain flour with some water to make a gravy from scratch always turns out nice, maybe you could try that with your "mystery meat" depending on how you are cooking it..
  4. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    French onion soup is easy to make from scratch.

    I use 3 onions - one sweet, one vidalia, one white plus a few cloves of shallot and one or two cloves of garlic.

    I dice my onions and get my thick bottomed pan ready & preheated on med. high heat. I add a tablespoon of olive oil and then a couple tablespoons of butter, then my onions. Many people render bacon fat for the onions and that is yummy too. I give them one or two good stirs, drop my heat to med. low and put the lid to my pot on. (Julia Child told me to.) After 3-5 minutes the whole kitchen smells like onions and I know it is time to deglaze my pan. Just before I do I add my shallot and garlic and stir for a minute. This keeps them from burning & layers the flavors a bit, making a dish with more body.
    I have used port, burgundy and many other wines for this part, but I like a good Pinot Noir or Shyraz for deglazing. Mostly because I prefer to drink those reds. Old Vine Zinfindel is also good.
    After I have gotten all the yummy chunks off the bottom of the pan & the wine has reduced I add my herbs. I like to chop the rosemary up pretty fine. Probably a bi-product of my Dad always using old dried rosemary whole in his sauces as a kid & hating the big, dry bits, but it does bring out the flavor. A lot of chefs I know add mustard at this point too, but I prefer just a dash of dried mustard (at most) to the squeezed from a tube kind - if I add it at all.
    Once I can smell the herbs strongly I add my broth. If I don't have a demi in the freezer I have had good results from the demi-glace/veal stock in the cardboard carton at the grocery. I try to get the one that is lowest in sodium, but since I don't add salt until just before I put the soup into crocks it is easy not to over salt regardless of whether or not I can find low sodium demi. Beef stock works great, too, and I have gotten rave reviews for my vegetarian version which I use equal parts mushroom stock and vegetable stock.
    After I add the stock I bring the whole thing just to a boil, knock my heat back to simmer and walk away.
    If when it is time to serve you don't trust your broiler you can always make croutons and toast the swiss cheese on top of them in the oven. It looks pretty and still gets the point across. Otherwise, laying the cheese & croutons on the top of the soup & a few minutes in the broiler & it should be great. Just don't forget to add salt & pepper to taste before you pop the croutons and cheese on top.

    Hope this helps. Sounds like you have a lovely meal planned, best of luck.
    I am a chef & do a fun radio show on Thanksgiving morning, I cook and talk and people call in with their emergency food prep questions. It is a fun morning with lots of great info and funny callers. Check out WXGR online of you run into trouble morning of. I am on from 7-11 a.m.
  5. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ms. Squishy

    A secret communication has been transmitted from BigCommandCentral in the lost regions of New Jersey. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to review and execute the orders therein on the date specified.
    This msg will self destruct in 30 seconds.

  6. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    Grasshopper acknowledges receipt of comunique. Grasshopper will thoroughly peruse said linkages containing instructions this evening after the aminals have finished with her [​IMG] Thanks Wise Sensei! Always appreciate your input!

    Thanks also Kitchengirl! That must be a really fun job, how neat! I'll look forward to tuning into your show the morning of! [​IMG]
    Hopefully it will be with my feet up having done the hard cooking parts the days before as Sensei suggested!

    On your French Onion recipe, how much wine do you add? How much rosemary... besides the mentioned iffy mustard, do you use any other herbs?

    ETA: How do you drag the Zinfadel away from the attendees? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Can't give any secret marinade recipes without knowing what the meat is.

    However, I can't think of any meat that doesn't go well with a marinade of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and fresh crushed garlic. That's mostly what I use for pork, chicken, and lamb.

    I'm trying to think the last time I marinated beef. I think it was ..... never.
  8. ChooksinChoppers

    ChooksinChoppers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocala, Florida.
    [​IMG] You guys really crack me up! Don't worry, Squishy dear, I will buy you a small bottle of shiraz or whatever you decide and keep the Zin for me and guests*hic* [​IMG] This dinner is sounding pretty good!
    ps...I like provalone on my onion soup

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