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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Thanksgiving on Orange

Thanksgiving on Orange

Happy … Cyber Tuesday? I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Are you still feeling sluggish after the Big Feast? Are you still feeling slugged after a bare-knuckle brawl at Wal-Mart Black Friday?

New Year’s Eve is a month away, but I figured I ought to get started on my resolution to blog promptly in tandem with real-life events. The un-resolved Violet would have waited till 2014 to detail this past Thanksgiving. But now that I’ve donned my Anticipation Cap, I can see that there will be many Christmas-related posts to write (as there always are, knock wood!). Not to mention the still-incomplete Hawaii chronicles. Just hold on, we’re going blog.

Wednesday evening, Deepak kindly brought home the leftovers from a holiday-themed luncheon. After sitting out for hours and being picked over thoroughly, these remnants were destined for the trash. (Be still my heart!) You may recall the account of how my parents raised my sisters and me on a peculiar “mother’s milk” of dented, heavily discounted canned food items. So I was perfectly happy for the variety, economy and food value of leftover Middle Eastern pre-Thanksgiving luncheon.

But after some rudimentary probing, I determined that the food had sat uncovered at room temperature for a few hours. “Danger Zone!” I squawked instinctively. Deepak didn’t understand. I had to research to satisfy my curiosity: Does anyone remember this video? As a kid, I remember being thoroughly propagandized about “Fester, a villain who encourages [kids] to eat food that has been in the Danger Zone too long.” Now why can’t I find a clip of this USDA-sponsored VHS on YouTube?

Deepak, diligently researching Bacillus cereus ("it was mainly a worry in the '70s!") and other blights of cooked chicken stored at room temp.
Deepak, diligently researching Bacillus cereus (“it was mainly a worry in the ’70s!”) and other blights of cooked chicken stored at room temp.

In the event, we just ate it. (Sans the rice — too sketchy and not worth it to risk the B. cereus.) We were sneaking by on a wing and a prayer, literally. Also: foolish frugality.

The fixings were placed on the fridge shelves with care. (Pay no attention to that Trader Joe's-brand prefab stuffing on the second shelf, to paraphrase the Wizard of Oz.)
In preparation for the feast, the fixings were placed on the fridge shelves with care. (Pay no attention to that Trader Joe’s-brand prefab stuffing on the second shelf.)

After a token tune-in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, we were ready to hunker down. First we had to catch Kristin Chenoweth’s adorably insouciant missed lip synch cue. Short hair, don’t care.

Friends!
Friends!

Then, made a few calls to the family, scattered around the country to celebrate.

My dad seems to be gearing up for a football game.
My dad seems to be gearing up for a football game.

Naturally, with the latest addition to the family, I had my dessert work cut out for me.

"TAKE PICTURES!" I demanded of Deepak.
“TAKE PICTURES!” I demanded of Deepak.
He means well and tries earnestly, but I maintain that I look terrible in almost every snap he takes. Though admittedly, the off-brand Chinese glasses and utilitarian topknot in this one are all me.
He means well and tries earnestly, but I maintain that I look terrible in almost every snap he takes. Though admittedly, the off-brand Chinese glasses and utilitarian topknot in this one are all me.

IMG_3849

Whipping up some of the most decadent ingredients in the house!
Whipping up some of the most decadent ingredients in the house!
Yes, admittedly, this is skim evaporated milk.
Yes, admittedly, this is skim evaporated milk.
Obviously, there are many more steps and temp controls involved in making ice cream versus, say, buying a carton.
Obviously, there are many more steps and temp controls involved in making ice cream versus, say, buying a carton.
Went for a Thanksgiving Day run on the trail ... very pretty!
Went for a Thanksgiving Day run on the trail … very pretty!

Finally, Deepak spatchcocked a chicken. That is, he cut the major bones out. This leads to a somewhat deflated-looking bird, but makes it much easier to cook and tastier to eat.


For your convenience, I’ve selected the most sinister YouTube how-to video on spatchcocking.

Pre-spatch
Pre-spatch
Spatch in progress
Spatch in progress
Rubs and veggies
Rubs and veggies — celery, carrots, brown onion, cremini mushrooms; salt, pepper, paprika; olive oil
Cooked chook
Cooked chook

Afterward, Deepak wanted to review his handiwork, so requested to browse my photos. (See? It’s nice when someone is on hand to take flattering photos of you in the kitchen!) He wanted a dramatic before/after diptych for the chicken. While I got plenty of afters, I had been too afraid of getting in his way for the before shots, so didn’t get much of a baseline look. We improvised with this.

Miley-Cyrus-Twerkin-Turkey
Commentary on a bird: the faux “before” shot.

Meanwhile, another triumph: Thanks to diligently pre-cooling my mix, and allowing the machine to run its full chilldown cycle, I finally got to hear the completion music on my ice cream maker! Previously, I think the mix was just too hot. Combined with the fact that we cut recommended fat out of the recipes on a regular basis (such as skipping the heavy cream or egg yolks), I’d never seen the machine finish its official cycle. When the pre-selected tinny bars of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” came on, I felt triumphant!

IMG_3878

IMG_3883

"Why is it playing Donkey Kong music?" Deepak wondered.
“Why is it playing Donkey Kong music?” Deepak wondered.
Now onto you-know-what!
This looks terrible on a coffee table and in front of a powered-on TV (my grandmother would blanch!). But I keep this table pretty clean, and I didn’t feel like moving all the textbooks off the dining room table ..

Another Thanksgiving down.

IMG_3731Now onto you-know-what!



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