I don't know if it's to distract myself from the nuttiness at work, or what. But all day I've been obsessing about cooking. I realized that on Sunday I won't be able to do the veggie dish I wanted to because it requires a cast-iron skillet, which I don't have (goodness, I need to get a cast-iron skillet!). So instead I'll roast a cauliflower with some mix of herbs and spices I'll figure out later.
I've always loved cooking for holidays, and tonight it's almost all I can think of. But I love holiday breakfasts as much as holiday dinners, and nobody has EVER cared to enjoy it with me -- my birth family or my ex and his parents.
Watching Hell's Kitchen tonight I figured out the menu for a Thanksgiving breakfast: cheddar-scallion bread pudding, beef smoky-link sausages, compote of dried mixed fruits, and your choice of coffee or hot chocolate (made from scratch with milk, cocoa powder and sugar, of course).
I thought of Thanksgiving dinner. Ted Allen has the wonderful idea of buying turkey parts instead of a whole turkey, since they cook for different lengths of time and you can cook them at their own times (plus, no thawing!) with a pan of dressing. I'll admit, I'd miss stuffing the bird and especially the crisp part under the neck skin. (Although, of course, Alton loves to say that "stuffing is evil.") But I seriously think I'm going to use Ted's idea this year. I also think (deep breath) that I'll make my stuffing from scratch and not invite Mrs. Cubbison. I might even bake the bread. Who am I kidding -- I'll probably be cooking for my ex and he doesn't care if I use Stove Top. Which I flatly refuse to do. The tacky green bean casserole with canned green beans, canned mushroom soup and canned fried onions is disinvited. I'm trying to work out a savory winter squash recipe and lead with a mixed-green salad. I always thought poultry required white wine (isn't there a law about that?), but I think I'd serve a California zinfandel instead.
I'm imagining Christmas breakfast of crisp, thick-sliced bacon, gingerbread French toast and apple-cinnamon compote (same beverages). Christmas dinner will always be roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (this is NOT subject to revision), but I'm going to start making my own gravy and not using canned. I also have to get that cast-iron skillet before Christmas so I can make Ted's gorgeous green vegetable side dish. Served with a fresh-baked rolls and a rich barbera or a Spanish rioja wine -- I would not be ashamed to serve that to anybody.
I denied this side of myself for so long. My ex and his parents wanted the same five or six things over and over and OVER. People told me I'd never lose weight unless I treated food as the enemy and ignored it as much as possible. Well, it's the same bullbleep I was told about my Irish side. This is ME -- unabashedly food-loving. Regarding food as art. Not willing to ignore the depths of flavor, the colors, smells, shapes and sounds (seriously -- have you ever heard a steak hit a H**l-hot skillet?).
Thank you to Food Network and its wonderful stars for letting me delve into this side of myself without shame (and for the occasional enjoyable romantic fantasy here and there).
Now...to get past the store-bought eggnog I unfortunately love...