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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving without an oven

Surviving Thanksgiving without an oven was easier than I thought it would be. I know I sounded very confident talking about it for the past week, but deep down inside I was a tad nervous wondering if I could pull it off. Well pull it off I did, and it literally couldn't have been simpler.
I took two thawed Cornish game hens and gave them an overnight bath in a brine. The brine I used was a mixture of water, Kosher salt, brown sugar, juice of one orange and one lemon with the fruit tossed in the brine, half a cinnamon stick, small palm full of black peppercorns, few whole cloves, fresh rosemary, 1 bay leaf and a few whole allspice. I brought the brine to a boil and turned it down to a simmer for a bit (until all the salt and sugar is disolved) to let the flavors merry. Then turn off the heat and let the brine cool completely you are not looking to cook the hens. While the brine is cooling you you can remove the backbone out of your hens with a sharp knife or a pair of poultry shears. Then submerge the hens in the brine and put a lid on it and place it in the fridge overnight.
Yesterday afternoon I got the smoker out of the garage, brought the racks in and cleaned them up and found the apple wood chips that I wanted to use. You can use whatever flavor of chips you prefer I used apple wood because I had used citrus in my brine and I thought the flavors would compliment. I placed the hens breast up cut side down on the oiled rack and smoked them for 1 1/2 hours using three pans of chips. At this point the hens may look done but they are not.
This is where the boyfriend steps in and fires up the grill. The hens grilled for another 40 min. to an hour at about 300-350 degrees depending on how big they were in the first place and were basted with a 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 cup quince jelly and 1 1/2 tsp stone ground mustard reduction that I added an additional pinch of black pepper and salt to. So after cooking on the grill they looked like this. Better right?
I also made up some sauteed asparagus. In a large skillet I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter added almost an equal amount of brown sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let that melt together and get hot, add the asparagus and saute for about 4 min. Then to the skillet add about 1/4 cup chicken stock and lid it letting the asparagus steam until desired doneness. This is my sons favorite way to have asparagus.
I also made up some delicious buttermilk mashed potatoes, and all I have to say it if you haven't used buttermilk in your mashed potatoes instead of cream or milk or whatever it is that you use...you don't know what your missing. It also helps if you use Yukon gold potatoes. The flavor just can't be beat. I know, I know what is Thanksgiving without dessert and how did you do dessert without an oven? I cheated thats how I simply found something that was pumpkiny (probably should be a word) and that I would not have a ton of laying around damaging my waistline all weekend. So I give you the store bought pumpkin spice, cream cheese filled and frosted cupcake...pretty dang tasty I have to admit. I only bought four.
This year it was just the bf and I for Thanksgiving I did a real simple table. I used my vintage harvest table linen and put a few sprigs of my fresh rosemary into a antique honey jar. The rosemary perfumed the air just a little which made the whole kitchen smell wonderful even if there was nothing in the oven.
I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year I was again thankful for my job, home, family and friends but most importantly the one I love. He is a very positive force in my life.

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