Sunday, January 25, 2009


Moving on...

It's been awhile, hasn't it?   I know some of you track my health and well-being by my frequency of posting (thanks Deb!).  I'm sorry if you've been worried.  Everything is fine here.  Great, in fact.

I've gone and gotten myself a job.  A real one, with a salary and an office and, oh please God, a future.  And a full work schedule.  One that leaves me with little time for blogging.  I don't want to give it up entirely, but, honestly, running four blogs simultaneously is just too much for one person with a full-time job. 

I know.  It's a bad habit to keep starting them every time I get a new idea.  I'm on the verge of becoming the Crazy Blog Lady.  It's time to make some changes.

And since I really can't bear to let any of my little blogs (and their wonderful readers) go entirely, what I've decided to do is consolidate a bit.

Pannifer's will end.  Or at least, I'll stop posting to this site.  Instead, I will consolidate with May December Home, which will become May December Home and Food.  It will feature home design ideas and thoughts on recycling as it does now, as well as ideas for entertaining, enjoying life, celebrating the inevitable (Celebration Fridays), and the occasional recipe.

I hope my foodie readers will make the journey over to that site.  It's a friendly place, with a great community.

Thank you for two and a bit great years here.  I've learned so much from this blog.  Shared triumphs, disasters, and meals with you. 

I started it to augment our little food shop.  But the food shop is gone.  And we've moved on.  I hope you can make the move with me.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Way to Cook a Turkey

By "best", I mean "retaining the most flavour", rather than the quickest or easiest.

If you're still with me, take a deep breath and prepare to leave tradition behind.

Turkeys these days are huge.  Ridiculously so.  Bigger than nature ever intended.  Which makes it really hard to roast them in a way that is kind to both the white and dark meat.  You either end up with perfectly roasted legs (I can't quite call them drumsticks when they weigh a couple of pounds each!) and styrofoam for breast meat.  Or the white meat comes out perfectly and the rest of it is a little underdone, leading to suspicious looks from your hypochondriac relatives.

Carving the bird

The answer, my friends is to cut the silly thing up before you cook it!  If you're feeling adventurous, debone the legs and stuff them with something yummy, like goat cheese and mushrooms. 

Dark meat with stuffing

The bones, gizzards and squidgy bits go in the stock pot, with onions, carrots, leaks, etc.

Ready to make stock! 

And when you cook up the white meat, you can take it out before it's dried out and nasty.

Of course, there's no triumphal march to the dining room with a perfectly-formed bird, ready for carving.

There's also no danger of tripping and dropping the entire works on Aunt Ida's head. 

Plus, have I mentioned the flavour?


Wishing all who celebrate a very happy Christmas and all the best in the New Year.

I'll be back on January 5 with another instalment of Blogging Larousse.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Blogging Larousse - Aigo Boulido

The first stumbling block to this project was the realization that I have one of the older versions of the book, one that includes quite a number of recipes with only lists of ingredients, but no measurements!!!!  It's as though the author shrugged and said, "Rosbif, you should just know..."

The first actual recipe I came to was Aigo Boulido, or Boiled Water Soup and since I'm pretty sure I know how to boil water...

Yup, it's boiling!

It's really a very simple recipe.  You just boil four cups of water, add in a half-teaspoon of salt and six crushed garlic cloves.  Let it boil for ten minutes, add a sprig of fresh sage, a sprig of fresh thyme and a quarter of a bay leaf.  Take it off the heat and let it infuse for five to ten minutes.

The basic ingredients, ready to go

Take out the herbs.  Blend an egg yolk with some of the cooled soup and then stir it into the soup to thicken it (doing it in two steps like this blends the egg yolk into the soup instead of cooking it in a solid lump).

To serve, brush a slice of bread with olive oil and put it in the bottom of a bowl.  Pour the soup over it.

Ready to eat!


Very simple to make yes, but how did it taste?  Surprisingly good for such a simple soup.  The garlic was noticeable, but not overpowering and the other herbs added a nice aromatic flavour.

The egg gives it body and modulates the taste.  It also turns the soup a very pretty shade of yellow.

Seconds, without the bread

On its own, this is a good, quick (and cheap) soup to serve on a cold day (especially when you consider that a decent stock can take a couple of hours of cooking time). 

It would also be a good base to make when you find yourself with leftover cooked potatoes or vegetables (I'm thinking green beans would go nicely), or rice or pasta.

Next time I make it, I'll double the salt.  And make sure I have a day-old baguette in the house.   The Three Seed bread we had on hand was not really the right flavour for this soup!