"Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation."
- R. Schuller
Today is a day of preparation. We usually knock off around noon the day before Thanksgiving. This year was no exception. I drove straight from my office to the grocery. Actually, I stopped by the house to pick up Clara, our exchange-student-part-time-live-in-adoptive-daughter, first. Clara is good in a grocery. She's calculating and fast and has a natural aversion to spending too much money. Yet, somehow, we managed to spend too much.
Kim and Clara bustled about the kitchen. I brined the remainder of our bird. The leg quarters and wings have been resting in duck fat for two days already. The breast, what was left after parting the thing out, is going on the smoker tomorrow.
I like cooking. More honestly, I love cooking. It's a total zen experience for me. I have a couple of good friends who are professional chefs. They've all been kind enough to help me learn techniques and processes over the years.
Mike D. invited me into his kitchen some 17 years ago to learn. He and I (mostly he) took part in a cooking competition in which I learned organization and preparation. Mise en place, he said. It's the key to great cooking. Prep and measure and portion and prep. Get all your shit together and everything else goes smoother. "Don't fuck with my mise," is a phrase I've heard from Mike on many occasions.
So, I've measured, chopped, portioned, and organized. I'm ready to put these amazing ingredients together and make some good food.
Josh H. has cooked in our kitchen. He's cooked for our parties. He's cooked for fun. He's cooked for pay. He makes the most amazing things in his not-so-secret restaurant, Bastion. He has been kind enough to answer my questions about so many silly things. He's also been a raconteur on purveying farm raised rabbits, chickens, and - yes - for tomorrow turkey.
I'm grateful for my amazing chef friends. They all give generously of their time and have helped me become a better cook.
Menu for tomorrow -
Home made french onion soup
Turkey leg and wind confit
100% from scratch haricot verts casserole (cream of mushroom soup from scratch - foraged chanterelle, blue foot, yellow foot, and button mushrooms. Hand french fried shallots, and other goodness.)
Potato gratin (from scratch)
Blue berry galette (from scratch - pecan crust)
Today is our traditional day of prep. Tomorrow, we'll put it all together. Preparation is the key.