Thanksgiving Menu

Since my family will be scattered over the holiday, I’m cooking this weekend.

  • Roasted bone-in turkey breast, maybe with Herbes de Provence. Part of me wants to scrap this and just make honey lamb.
  • Sauteed Brussels sprouts w/ bacon — I can’t emphasize how good these are, halved and sauteed in bacon fat and caramelized with a shot of vinegar.
  • Creole cornbread and sausage stuffing.
  • Baked cheese grits — I don’t have a recipe for this one yet. The traditional one for my family is out of one of those ancient church cookbooks I love, but it’s similar to this, but with additional savory ingredients.
  • I wanted to make hasselback potatoes, but the kids overrode my opinion. Mashed potatoes it is. Boo.
  • Roasted, herbed honey carrots.
  • Deviled eggs.
  • All the pie.

I love a cooking holiday.

Chicken Dum Pukht

This chicken curry recipe is one of the better things I’ve found online, maybe ever. It’s spicy without being too hot, it makes the house smell delicious, and it provides an excellent lesson in making your own curry paste. I’ve also skipped the meat and made a good vegan version with hardier veggies (eggplant and okra were the stars), braising for less time.

Cilantro stems!

Creole Holiday Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing

I stole this picture from the internet. It looks something like this.

I stole this picture from the internet.

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time, a dish present on every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter table set at my mom’s house. The original recipe lives in a non-descript church cookbook from somewhere in the Middle South in the 1970s, and it’s in danger of being destroyed with time and use. Another iteration lives in an email from 2008, which is terribly inconvenient. I decided to record it here for posterity, with some of my own notes added.

This savory cornbread stuffing hits all the taste centers in your primitive lizard brain, with fats and carbs and meats galore. Sorry/not sorry about the sticks of butter.

For the cornbread, make any recipe you’d like as long as it’s a full unsweetened round. I make mine in a cast-iron skillet. And if you don’t feel like making your own Creole seasoning, get you a tin of Tony Chachere’s.

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Mr. Mathers Goes To Washington

Slate is charmed that rap, the whole genre apparently, will be judged in the Supreme Court this December. The case, one in which a man who had been left by his wife proceeded to post increasingly darker fantasies about killing his wife on Facebook, until she received a protective order which he then violated by posting additional dumb, intimidating things online in the form of rap lyrics. Because of his use of lyrics, the case is turning into a referendum on whether the Court recognizes that rap is a legitimate art form. Since rap is often wrongly considered “confessional” by default and Elonis never actually dismembered or serial killed anyone (only graphically threatened to do so repeatedly, enough to concern the FBI, whom he then threatened), the concern is that the stodgy and old justices won’t understand the importance of self-proclaimed, amateur, Facebook rap lords to intimidate everyone in their friend circle with exponentially increasing expressions of instability.

The sticking point is that his threats were both “rap” (talent aside) and posted on social media, thereby an expression of his identity, arguably art, even, and for these reasons subject to free speech laws.

Is rap an art form? Fuck yes. Is it always confessional? Nope. Does Rap (capital-R) need Supreme Court recognition to have arrived? Nope. Personally this delight smacks of white nerds enjoying the transgression and irreverence of “low art” in the highest court of law in the nation, but that’s me and it’s snarky and adds more heat than fire. In all the excitement of dropping the f-word in an amicus brief, there seems to be forgotten that at its crux is a guy who was threatening to dismember and mutilate his ex to all of their friends and family, shoot up elementary schools, and threaten and harass his coworkers and FBI agents until he was fired and jailed. Scary dude, and he’s not even a real artist.

The thing is, as a country we’ve written it into our founding documents that we intend to tolerate and defend idiot speech, and will in fact wage literal and figurative wars over your right to embarrass yourself in public within reason. However, the addition of social media to our culture makes threatening speech that much easier to capture and prosecute, with the added complication of interstate laws that escalate sentencing. And indeed, our right to emotionally terrorize others online hangs in the balance. But the effect of putting the language of domestic violence above reproach unless we can verify what’s in the heart of the speaker is chilling for all the targets who don’t get thrills from their emotional abuse.

Plum and Apple Torte

I made this torte on Wednesday night, and it looked and felt wrong until right before I pulled it out of the oven. It didn’t seem like there was enough batter, the batter was too thick like cookie dough, there seemed to be too much fruit to batter ratio, the spring form pan was too large. Then I pulled it out of the oven and the batter had puffed up into a perfect little cake, swallowing the plums (and apples I’d used for filler), lightly (or heavily) dusted with cinnamon and sugar. It’s a rustic little dessert, heavy with fruit but not too sweet. It couldn’t be any simpler, and it’s delicious — DELICIOUS — on Day Two.

If it lasts that long.