Saturday, August 30, 2008

Neighborhood Block Party.

Frank-The-Good, who lives down the street, is having his annual-neighborhood-block-party-pig-pickin' today. As usual, I'm making my corn/bean/tortilla/pie to take to the festivities. People knock each other over and throw small children and old women with walkers out of the way to get to this. Just like Mr. Hawthorne at a buffet.
First, I cook my black beans. If you use canned black beans, then I'll have to hurt you. (Same goes for using canned peas.) Equal parts black beans and corn. And yes, you may use canned corn.
Here's what all's goin' in, in no particular order: olives red pepper onion green onion jalapeno cilantro Monterey Jack cheese Cheddar cheese
A caveat: I must caution you. Use EXTREME caution when dealing with red bell peppers. According to Aunt Snady, the seeds are EXTREMELY HOT.
Here, I have chopped red peppers, sliced jalapenos, chopped onion, chopped green onion, and cilantro.
Mix in the onions and red peppers with the corn and beans.
Grate huge honkin' piles of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
Here's everything ready to be assembled.
Take a tortilla. (I use flour.) Top with cheese and corn/bean mixture.
Next layer.
And the next. Keep layering with cheese and corn/bean mixture until you run out. Mine was 6 tortillas tall.
I have my tortilla stack on the right and my melted buttah on the left with cumin and cayenne ready to add.
Cumin and cayenne in the buttah.
Stir it up with a brush.
Then brush all available tortilla space with the buttah mixture - top and sides.
After buttering, top with a bit of the corn/bean mixture, then some sliced jalapenos, sliced olives, red peppers, onions, and green onions.
Then top with cilantro and cheeses.
Finally, go around sides and sprinkle/throw some cayenne and cumin.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Maybe cut down to 300-325 degrees and tent with foil. And cook a bit more. And here's my corn/bean tortilla pie. Mr. Hawthorne sliced it up and it's ready to transfer to the pig pickin'. Here's Good Neighbor Frank tending to his grill.
And here's the amazing spread. Everybody that comes, brings a covered dish. That's mine front right, covered with foil.
Amazing barbecue.
My wonderful neighbors. That's Mr. H. front right.
And here's Occifer Dangle. Dave always wears these short shorts. Somebody needs to give him a clue. Years ago, when my boys were little, Dave would start to cut his grass, wearing his Daisy Dukes, and my boys would run into the house, screaming at me to close the blinds, shut my eyes, Dave was in his yard. Good boys. They tried to shelter me.
After about 10 minutes, I went back in to check on my corn/bean tortilla pie. This is what was left.
Various neighbors and their T-shirts.
Bobby and Good-Neighbor-Frank.
More T-shirts.
Dave and his short shorts.

Xmaskatie, Glowria, and Katie Come For A Visit.

Rosie was quite excited since Xmaskatie, Glowria, and Katie came to visit yesterday. I decided to make Julia Child's Chicken Melon for dinner, from Julia Child & Company, and as this meal is somewhat involved and requires a bit of preparation, I started early yesterday morning on it.
Gentle readers, some of these pictures my be quite graphic in nature, so please be aware and proceed with caution.
The first thing I need to do is remove the carcass from the chicken, leaving the skin intact except at the openings at the back vent, the neck, and along the backbone. The meat of the chicken goes into my stuffing and the skin will be the container for the pate mixture. You with me here?
I inserted my hand between the meat and the skin to carefully loosen the skin all around the breast meat, thighs, and drumsticks without tearing the skin.
Turn Miss Chicky over and work on the other side.
I'm quite good at this. Actually, I've done this numerous times before with my Thanksgiving turkey. I take the carcass out but leave in the drumsticks and wings, then stuff it and truss it. Talk about an impressive bird.
And you know what? This chicken still calls me. By the way, the number of times the phone will ring while you're in the midst of this procedure is directly proportional to how far your hand is up the chicken's ass.
Next, cut down the backbone.
Carefully scrape down the backbone.
Sever the ball joints of the wings and thighs.
Continue down rib cage.
Finally, lift carcass and scrape under ridge of breastbone to free it.
And Wallah! Or, alternatively, Vallah! I"ve heard Aunt Sandy use both mispronunciations in one episode. The carcass is free.
Next I have to remove the wings, the drumsticks, and the bosoms.
Carcass, wings, drumsticks, and bosoms at top. Skin in the foreground.
I salted and peppered the skin, then sprinkled some sherry on it.
My chicken parts go into a freezer bag so I can make stock later.
I've cut the meat off the drumsticks.
Next, I diced one breast (on the right) and will save those chunks. The rest of the meat (on the left) is diced and ready for my processor.
Process the chicken meat in batches.
Mmmmm. Yummy.
Green onion and tarragon.
My ingredients for the stuffing: salt and pepper nutmeg 2 eggs 1 cup heavy cream
Chopped onions and tarragon go into the mix.
Then the eggs.
And finally the cream. And process for about a minute or so.
In another bowl, I have my diced chicken breast, diced smoked ham, and pistachios.
Then I remembered my organs, so I chopped them up and added them in.
Pour the chicken sludge from the processor into a bowl.
Then fold in the diced ham/chicken and pistachios.
And here we have the stuffing.
Now, here comes the fun part. I've threaded my needle and I'm ready to loosely baste around the circumference of the skin.
After you sew the chicken, pull up on the two ends of the string to make an open pouch.
And stuff away.
Pull up on strings to make a nice round shape.
And continue stuffing.
Next, soak some cheese cloth in melted butter, wrap up the chicken, then wrap string around the chicken to make a melon of sorts.
Place in a buttered dish, upside down, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Then turn it over and continue baking until temperature reaches 170 degrees (about 2 hours). Baste throughout the baking time.
Let set for about 20 minutes before unwrapping.
As you can see, we enjoyed this quite a bit.
Close up of innards.
And here's a slice with Mr. Hawthorne's corn and bacon that's so good. Too bad Glowria left before dinner. But I'll save you some. Next up, my appetizers, which Glowria did get to eat. I know. I'm doing this bassackward.
First I sliced bananas, then battered them in a mixture of: 1/2 cup Bisquick (I Sandra Lee'd it!) 1/4 cup milk 1 egg 1 tsp oil Then fried 'em up in Crisco.
And drained on paper towels.
Fried banana with my Thai cucumber dipping sauce. Delicious.
Tostitos with my queso dip and homemade salsa.
By the way, let me introduce you to our guests. This is Glowria.
And this is Xmaskatie.
And of course you know Dixie. That's her hedgehog.
This is Katie and her hedgehog.
Guess who showed up right at dinner time. Youngest Hawthorne, Daughter Hawthorne, and Giada. Katie and Giada get to know each other.
Dixie's not hungry, but she's not going to let Giada get any of her food.
Giada, sweetie, you're getting a bit too close.
Dixie resting on her pillow.
Katie on her blankie.
All the little doggies taking a nap.
Heh. Dixie's giving Giada the evil eye.
Giada, I do believe you're in Dixie's personal space.
Dixie doesn't appear to be too happy.
Dixie tolerates Giada, but not much.
Giada's got the Flying Nun ears going on. Thank you Glowria, Xmaskatie, and Katie for visiting.