Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday's To Do List

One must be flexible in life, "the best laid plans" and all that. Today is chock full o' fun but the first thing I had to do was give The Dog a bath (for reasons best not detailed due to the "eeww" factor). He is now running like a rabid thing through the house, shaking himself repeatedly and growling in a menacing way. He does not enjoy the bath.

We leave tomorrow for a brief Thanksgiving interlude with the family. Now that The Dog is hygenic I can get back to my original gameplan.

There will be a trip Out and About during which I will visit:

Fremont Gardens for paperwhite narcissus bulbs. I force a mess of these every year right after Thanksgiving so they will be in bloom by Christmas. The peppery sweetness of their fragrance combines with the aroma of satsumas (which we eat by the boxful these days) to make my signature Advent potpourri.

(Appropos of hardly anything, I noticed today that Sarah Jessica Parker has a "signature" fragrance called "Lovely" which is selling at Nordstrom and Macy's for $65 a bottle. And not a big honking bottle, either. I just remembered why my "signature" scent is Ivory soap).

Bavarian Meats for a sackful of sauerkraut, smoked pork chops and assorted sausages. Today is (the very clean) Dog's first birthday. We are celebrating with his sister, Trudy, and her family. Since the pups are schnoodles, part Schnauzer, part poodle, I'm serving Alsatian Choucroute to honor of their heritage. Sauerkraut, now there's a signature scent for you. (Truthfully, this recipe is so yummy even sauerkraut avoiders love it).

Pike and Western Wines to get a bottle or two of nouveau beaujolais, 'cause it's that time of year. We can have one tonight and one tomorrow night with the pate I'm taking to Mummy's.

Finally, somewhere, anywhere I must try to find Swedish fish as The Child promised I'd provide same for a party at school. This provided what the pros like to call a "teaching moment". The lesson: why we don't make promises on behalf of our mother without consulting our mother first.

While the cash card cools down I have to finish getting the house dusted, swept and tucked in for the house/dog sitter. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to bake the eggnog cake for Thanksgiving today or tomorrow. There really is plenty of time tomorrow morning. Assuming The Dog doesn't need another bath.

Alsatian Choucroute Garni
(recipe courtesy of The Cardinal)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2 pounds sauerkraut
1/2 pound bacon ends
1/2 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. thinly sliced onion

Create a bouquet garni by tying up the following in a square of cheesecloth:
1 sprig parsley
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
10 juniper berries
(If you don't have juniper berries you could just toss in a shot of gin)

1 c. dry white wine or 2/3 c. white vermouth
2-3 c. chicken or beef stock
caraway seeds
4-5 pounds assorted smoked meats and sausage

Drain the sauerkraut and roll in a clean towel to squeeze out the juice. Set aside.

Render the bacon ends in a large Dutch oven. Remove the meat.

In the bacon fat cook the onion and carrots until the onion is translucent. Stir in sauerkraut and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

Bury the bouquet garni in center of the sauerkraut

Add the wine or vermouth and then pour over just enough broth to cover the sauerkraut. Season very lightly with salt. Bring to a light simmer on top of the stove.

Place a round of buttered wax paper over the top of the sauerkraut and put in preheated 300 degree oven and let simmer 4 ½ - 5 hours, until liquid is absorbed.

Prepare the meat. Plunge any smoked meat (such as smoked pork chops - yum) into boiling water to blanch. Uncooked sausages need to be browned up.

During the last 45 minutes of cooking remove wax paper. Sprinkle in some caraway seeds to taste and add selected smoked meats and sausages. Arrange meat in among ‘kraut and finish cooking.

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