A Little Something for the Cook
I guess it's been a while since I posted. I don't have a good reason for that. V. and I went to Italy in the middle of October, and it was a trip filled with so much good food and wine that I could easily have made many posts about the spinach gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce or the really fabulous pizzas I had in Florence and Rome (we also went to Venice, where the food is slightly less impressive, but the gelatto is cheaper). Or at the very least, I might have posted about the melanzane marinate that I had in an extremely charming family-run restaurant a couple of blocks from the Tibur. I did my best to recreate it when I got home, and I got something very good, albeit somewhat different from the inspiration antipasto.
But I didn't, obviously, write about any of that. Still, it's hard to let Thanksgiving pass without posting.
Thanksgiving this year, as it has been for the last couple, was just the girls and I having dinner together. A. has been away at college, and this was the first time I've seen her since the beginning of September. V. had warned me that when she came back the first time, I would find her changed, but she's the same wonderful person that she always has been. Also hungry. She is not especially enamored of the dining hall food at her school, and she was very much looking forward to having me cook for her. And I have.
Where my daughters are concerned, there is really no point in making the large number of dishes that I would normally prepare. The girls want turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie. A. will also eat green beans. This year, I confited them (reusing the fat from the first time I tried the process), and A. thought they were remarkably good. I had to agree. L. was particularly enamored of the garlic mashed potatoes, and they both liked the turkey, the gravy, and the pies. I was happy with the way everything turned out.
Since I only had eight things to make altogether (turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie) and since the pies and the cranberry sauce were made (and the turkey brined) the night before, the cooking process for Thanksgiving itself was relatively leisurely. At some point, I was putting the turkey neck and the giblets into a saucepan to make a stock for the gravy, and it seemed to me that I ought to have a nice way to use the liver. I had a large pot of water that I was heating up to boil the potatoes in later, so I used that to make a hard-boiled egg, and I made a turkey liver spread that was entirely delicious. It, along with a glass of wine, is just the sort of thing to keep you humming along while you're spending a day in the kitchen.
Turkey Liver Spread
The liver from one turkey
1 T. butter
2 T. port
1 hard boiled egg
A 1/2" thick slice of bread
Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat. Season the liver with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the liver for two to three minutes on each side. Add the port, ignite, and cook until the flames die down. Let cool slightly, then put the liver and liquid into the bowl of your food processor. Add the egg and process until smooth. Add the bread and process again. With the processor running, add cream until the consistency is as you like it. Add salt to taste. Serve with toast.
The spread is especially terrific when eaten right away, but you'll likely have too much to eat right away unless you have considerable help. Cover the rest tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. It's still very good when it's thoroughly chilled.
The girls, of course, have no interest in anything made from liver. More for me.