The Spy Test Kitchen is still recovering from Halloween. It has been a long time since I had eaten that many Peanut M&Ms, but they were truly deelish. One advantage of being an adult is that you can eat Halloween candy, knowing that Luke the wonder dog will happily walk it off with you. I am oddly proud of myself, because I packed up all the other leftover treats, and sent them to Mr. Sanders’s office, with few regrets. Though a Snickers bar would be divinely tasty right about now.
It is time to start thinking ahead. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is fewer than three weeks away! It’s time to order your turkey. It’s time to start scribbling lists and timetables. If you buy a frozen turkey you can’t forget to factor in thawing time. The USDA recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/11/18/how-safely-thaw-turkey A thawed turkey can safely sit in the fridge for up to four days. Ideally, have a thawed bird sitting safely in the fridge by November 20.
And don’t forget – there might be a shortage in birds.The avian flu wiped out 47 million of chickens and turkeys this year. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-nears-record-poultry-deaths-bird-flu-virus-type-complicates-fight-2022-10-18/ It might be the year to consider serving ham, or get on board Calvin Trillin’s campaign for Spaghetti Carbonara for the National Thanksgiving Meal. http://www.rlrubens.com/Thanksgiving.html
It is time to get out your spread sheets. You should be planning the sides, the dessert, the linens, when to assign the silver polishing, what child will be making the centerpiece, what to have for a breakfast casserole, are you going to bake the potatoes before mashing them, or are you going to boil them the way your mother did? Pumpkin or pecan pie, or flourless chocolate cake? Salad?
There are lots of details, which you can review when you wake up at 3:00 in the morning and lie in the dark, considering your sad, pathetic existence. Which I choose not to do for another week. I am in deep denial. I would rather deal with the mundane today. We still need to eat dinner tonight. And as much as I would like the weather to be chilly, it is not. So no hearty lasagne, or beef stew here yet. We will have a quiche, because I have lots of eggs, and can improvise enough of the other variables to make an interesting dish, which will yield even more breakfast or lunch leftovers. Perfecto!
The quiche recipe I followed called for a mere 4 pieces of bacon. I am sorry, but that is not enough bacon. I used 8, crunchy, aromatic slices, which I baked on a cookie sheet at 400° F for 11 minutes. I also used half and half, and not full-on heavy cream, just because I’d like to make it to Thanksgiving without a major cardiac incident befalling any of us. I also used cubes of cheese from a block of grocery store brand Swiss. The way prices are soaring, Gruyére and Jarlsberg have become a just too expensive. And, because no one will ever notice, I used a store-bought pie shell. I know my limitations, and I just can’t bake an attractive pie crust. They always look like the bad pots I threw during my sophomore year in ceramics; sad, lopsided, mangled pieces. https://www.copymethat.com/r/joEwUEPoy/quiche-lorraine-craig-claiborne/ There might be a paywall: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018126-quiche-lorraine
You can be autumnal as you improvise your own special quiche – throw in some zucchini or other squash. https://food52.com/recipes/8125-roasted-butternut-squash-prosciutto-and-sage-quiche Here is Martha’s take: https://www.marthastewart.com/331749/butternut-squash-and-bacon-quiche
Or you can splurge on the Gruyére, while also indulging your inner Popeye: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/spinach-quiche.html
Here is a good compendium of quiches, which will encourage you to explore the inner recesses of your fridge, and use up the trace amounts of spinach, broccoli, taco meat, asparagus, feta cheese and bits of potato lurking there: https://gypsyplate.com/the-best-quiche-recipes/ And key to the quiche’s attraction is its ability to be reheated. Please, do not use the microwave! https://www.tastingtable.com/824169/the-best-ways-to-reheat-quiche/
Next week we will gird our loins for the Thanksgiving Experience.
On a sad note, we say farewell to one of our favorite food writers, Julie Powell, who died this week at 49. She helped bring cooks out of the woodwork and into their own tiny, messy kitchens to revel in mastering the art of French cooking:
“I have never looked to religion for comfort—belief is just not in my genes. But reading Mastering the Art of French Cooking—childishly simple and dauntingly complex, incantatory and comforting—I thought this was what prayer must feel like.”
― Julie Powell, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen