Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Suddenly Last All Souls Day

I guess I didn't realize it was Hallowe'en this year because last year was such a non-event.

So I had spent Sunday trimming and cubing a chuck roast. Chuck is a lesser cut of meat and needs a lot of preparation. There are numerous ways to ruin chuck and very likely my mother has dabbled in all of them.

Learn to distrust a culture who thinks soaking food in vinegar is somehow culinary.

My chuck is cubed, then delicately rubbed down in olive oil which dissolves a lot of the sinueous membranes that are characteristic to the cut. A healthy fresh grind of sea salt and cracked pepper add all the initial spices I need but I like the flavor infusion of fresh cut rosemary.

I use chuck as the base for stew, and stew is extended with meat stock or beer. This time, since I was making a smaller portion I was using meat stock which let me further infuse the chuck with a half or so cup of red wine. All that into a freezer bag and let it set up overnight to correctly marry the flavors.

Monday night was when it would go into a pot with cubed onions, potatoes, some carrots and celery and a touch of Tabasco (which I can't say enough good things about) to simmer for a few hours.

As I say, I can't say enough good things about Tabasco. I've toured Avery Island and if you can envision an entire processing plant smelling of Tabasco, well, you've found someplace special. Now of course, the good folks at McIlhenny aren't shy about calling it a hot sauce and as such if it finds a place other than your dish, well that's just an issue you have to deal with.

Like I did.

It found an ideal splash-back target in my eye.

My bad but frankly I'd rather take a piss after chopping up a few dozen habaneros.

Ok, so I've taken the chuck out of the red wine and oil infusion, dashed a little Tabasco in the pot-and other places-and was chopping vegetables when there was a knock at the door.

If you cook professionally or even as an amateur, you know your first line of offense is your knives. A good knife set kicks the shit out of every kitchen gadget you could knock off the rack at Williams-Sonoma. And I have a pretty good set. At the time I was possessed of a 12 inch chopping knife which I was careful to control as the Tabasco began to burn. I'd have likely set it down if there hadn't been a rap at the door. I normally hate interruptions and won't answer the phone, but we have elderly neighbors and it might have been them.

It wasn't.

It wasn't anyone, though I heard a squeal and the gate being thrown open.

Ok, so I was interrupted and hadn't had time to flush my eyes or wash my hands of the red wine and oil, or put down the knife. I just stumbled to the door as quickly as I could, flipped on the light and tried as best as I could to see who it was.

Sort of a letdown, really.

Last year, when I was ready for trick or treaters, I filled the anxious moments with catching up on chores.

It was going to get colder soon and we needed to stock up the wood stove. Trouble was, the chainsaw wouldn't start.

So I gave it my best shot. Working on the kitchen table in a warm house was better that back in an unheated garage. Lo and behold, I got the thing running and was just letting it warm up as I carried it up the hall to greet the first little goblin.

He didn't stick around for a Snickers. Go figure.

Bunny on.


Blogger Ericka said...

you goof. if you have snickers, i am totally coming to your house. :-)

12:18 AM  
Blogger Thimbelle said...

I think you may have stumbled onto a couple of strategies for saving the candy all for yourself... ;)

3:15 AM  
Blogger Johnny C. said...

Giving kids Halloween stories to tell for the rest of their lives!

3:27 PM  

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