Poule au pinard. Monday, Dec 21 2009 

Aurevoir Aurélie.

Poule au Pinard.

The last in a series of epicurean farewells. Snowed in with 17” of snow  and temperamental gun toting DC Cops outside, a homely, hearty chicken based stew was de rigueur;  Coq au Vin.

Rooster or capon legs were not readily available so tremendous Amazon hen legs were halved and marinated in achingly sweet bargain basement “sangria” wine leftover from the Halloween pumpkin bladder along with vegetable and spiced aromatics for 4 days.

And on the 5th day the legs were seared in a cast iron Dutch oven with lard as were the drained aromatics. Tomato purée was then cooked until dry, a splash of white wine vinegar to deglaze, some flour for a thickening roux. Wine marinade was added to mixture, the meat was slipped in, brought to a barely a boil and placed uncovered in a 275F oven for a few hours.

Once tender, the legs were removed and the braising liquid strained then degreased. The delicate notes of vanilla and chocolate were comforting. Turned potatoes were blanched, fluted mushrooms simmered and an agrarian triptych backbone of carrots, celery and onion were sweated with lardons cut from a smoked pork jowl. All the elements were united in the Dutch oven, whole wheat bread sliced, slides shown and enjoyment all around.

Thick chick legs and wine were in for 2009.

Chicken coquetry: The bread served alongside should have been fried in clarified butter or schmaltz and if brandy were available it would have made a flamboyant appearance after the vinegar. The chicken was properly braised though during the searing process it leached much liquid and made for an uneven coloration and much splattering. Aurélie casually overlooked the above mentioned procedural errors and seemingly enjoyed it. She is loved tremendously and will be missed und metrische Scheißetonne.

The Best of the Wurst. Sunday, Dec 13 2009 

The Great Extrusion.

3 efficiently calculated varieties of tübesteak inspired from the 600 or so Germanic forms of extrüded meat for the send off the dearest sibling ever  to the Bundesrepublik Deutschland’s capital after 8 years in this one.  Many of the 20th Century’s most sinister Aryans’ wieners were smoked, (on and off the battlefield) though Kitsch und Klassics’  smoking hardware is severely  crippled; a modified file cabinet (the Germans coincidentally kept very good files) which erroneously filled the basement apartment with more noxious hickory gas than it did onto the meats to be flavored.  Consequently, a triptych of non-smoked finger-shaped finger food was conjured, the specific proportions of which will remain appropriately Top Secret:

Clockenwise von der top swine: Bierschinken, Nürnbergen rostbratwurst, Fingürlicken rindswurst.

Bierschinken: a breathtakingly large emulsified cooked pork sausage served cold not unlike mortadella or cervelas with chunks of pork and pistachios in it.  Ground twice, seasoned with salt, #1, paprika and puréed with onions cooked in lard.  Should have added more raw pork chunks but forgot to put enough aside.  Poached for 3 hours until an internal temperature of 150F was reached.  Awesome on its own.  The additional dab of whole grain mustard made it more awesome with mustard.

Fingürlicken rindswurst: a plump emulsified beef sausage not unlike the venerable Frankfurter, poached then grilled.  Twice ground rib-eye (erroneously sold as chuck at the neighborhood bodega) and chuck blade were puréed with cooked onions and caraway.  The idea to include a coloring agent of tomato paste and paprika diluted in ice water to preserve the reddish beef flavor was shamefully forgotten.  Despite the use of sodium nitrite (in all 3 varieties), the color was closer to brown than a reddish ochre. The sausages were poached then grilled.  The casings were crisp and after a characteristic “snap” yielded a tender, moist, beefy texture with a hint of caraway that supplemented by repollo curtido (Salvadoran pickled cabbage)  almost conjured the elements of a Ruebenesque hotdog by way of Central America, save for the cheese.  The next aisle over from the pickled whathaveyous featured analgesic Pediatyle style hangover juices fit for a delicate baby , notable a Latino themed horchata version.

Nürnbergen rostbratwurst: a short, stubby, fresh,  ground pork sausage flavored with cardamom, mace, chili and marjoram.  A delectably savory grilled sausage.  Properly seasoned and moist, though perhaps a bit over cooked by our generous host bar’s cooks.

An accoutrement of cauliflower pickles.  Romanesco, yellow and purple cauliflower with red onion, carrots, chili and lemon zest  in a 3% salt, 1.5% sugar and 33% concentrated vinegar solution.  Swedish Ättiksprit (24% acetic acid) was used in lieu of decongesting German essig (25%).  Outside of pickling, such strong vinegars are excellent antiseptics, formidable showerhead cleaners and offer merciless self-defense fumes.

Power to the Pickle.

An excellent evening which brought together a cherished group of all sorts from  parts, albeit to say goodbye to a beloved sister, colleague, teammate and social fulcrum.  However, the sausage innuendo jokes were limp before they even started.