The Sauerbraten Sagas - Part II: Shopping and Initial Food Prep
D-day (dinner day) fast approaches and my to-do list has not really shrunk any. The first thing I do this close to food prep is change the menu somewhat.
Part I- The Revised Menu:
I found a recipe that looks promising!
My SIL is bringing her homemade applesauce, too. Excellent.
It is marinating away nicely, and I've pretty much decided to go with the crockpot. My only question now is whether to cook it for 11-12 hours on a really long, low simmer or 5-6 hours on high. Slower might be better, even if it means I'm in the kitchen at 5:30 browning that beast in the dutch oven.
Oh yes, I've decided to give that Martha Stewart dutch oven a whirl. We'll see how the enamel holds up.
6 am Update: I've decided to give it a go in the crockpot on high.
- Spätzle: check.
You bet your ass there will be spätzle. I'll make a triple batch if I have to!
- Red cabbage slaw: check.
SIL is bringing it.
- Green Beans in walnut vinaigrette - check.
I have to rummage up my vinaigrette recipe and hope like hell I still have walnut oil. I forgot to check.
Also, I bought some beets. I thought that I could roast them and toss them in with the green beans. Yes? Maybe?
Otherwise I fond a really cool roast beet goat cheese appetizer that would make a nice amuse bouche.
- Braised Leeks with Chestnuts - nope.
I couldn't find the recipe for braised leeks, but I did dredge up this, which I think could be adapted by adding some leeks to it. Roasted Onions with Gruyere Croutons
- Cauliflower gratin - check.
All systems go on this.
No idea. I was thinking of my Maple Wheat dinner rolls, but don't think the flavor will work with everything else. Now I want Parker House rolls, but don't have a go-to recipe for those. I'll just wing it.
Yes, I like to live dangerously.
- Linzertorte - check.
This is definitely happening. I think I need to make it as soon as I get the roast in the crockpot though.
- Apple Strudel - Nope.
I just don't think I'll be able to get this done too if I'm making the strudel dough, and I forgot to get phyllo, and I'll be damned if I'm going back to the grocery store.
- Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte - I hope like hell YES.
Another SIL offered to make one and bring it, provided her cold doesn't get the best of her.
What is not to love about Black Forest Cherry cake, a mess of kirsch-infused chocolate cake with chocolate shavings, sour cherries and cream. Dear God - or perhaps that should read; Lieber Gott!
Part II - Timing
Timing the events in the kitchen so that everything appears on the table at the same time, and at the perfect temperature, is an intricate dance which includes strategic runs of the dishwasher, the rummaging out of serving platters used once a year, that panicked 11th-hour mini-laundry load when you realized you've forgotten to wash the tablecloth, and copious amounts of wine.
Wine is not merely for saucing the dish but also saucing the chef.
So, I have a very hazy idea of what needs to get done when.
I have to get to the meat first. I have to take it out of the marinade, pat it dry and then brown it nicely before chucking it back into the crockpot with the strained marinade and some carrots and onions to cook forever.
Something tells me it is going to take a while to brown well. You're not supposed to use these dutch oven on a very high heat on the stovetop. A piece of meat this big over medium-low heat? Yeah, it'll take a while.
Actually, if I still have it in me after I blog this, I could really probably bake this sucker first and then refrigerate it. Barring that, it is the very first thing I'll do once the meat is safely in the crockpot.
Most recipes I've found for it mention that the torte needs to chill a while, even a whole day if possible.
- House Prep
A shitload of cleaning: laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, putting-away-of-various-items etc.
Lucy has promised that she will be my big helper. She is dying to run the vacuum, although it pains me to watch her vacuum: she misses whole swaths of the carpet. Whatever. I'll let her have her fun.
Yes, damnitall, I ran out of cookies and need to bake some more to send to my MIL & FIL and to the neighbors.
Plus I'm making a little sweet treat to set on the plates, a pre-appetizer snack, if you will. I made a bunch yesterday and they're so easy I'll have the kids work on them. Chocolate Hazelnut Sticks. Stick 4 of them n a cellophane bag and presto. Snack.
Whatever rolls I make, I'll need to bake them ahead of time and then warm them up I think I might be able to let them rise in the fridge and stick them in the oven once the meat is resting and I'm making the gravy, but my oven is kind of small. :/
- Table Prep
Get the cat the hell out of the dining room. That will be a job for the kids. Then they'll fluff out the tablecloth and set the table with as little breakage of my fine stoneware (ha!) as possible.
I'll have to have them set the living room coffee table which will serve as the dreaded Kids' Table. Sorry guys, maybe next time I'll have a bigger dining room table! You'll survive.
- Food prep
- Wash green beans;
- Peel a shit-ton of onions, shallots and clean leeks;
- Roast the shit-ton of onions, shallots and leeks;
- Roast beets for the green beans or the amuse bouche - still undecided there.
- Make the garlic croutons;
- Shred gruyere and put it back in the fridge;
- Fry up the bacon;
- Roast the chestnuts (I can still use them for something);
- Pre-steam the cauliflower;
- Make the vinaigrette;
- Make the topping for the cauliflower;
- Drink some wine;
- Feed the kids something at some point;
- Freak out over some lost ingredient;
- Have some more wine;
- Feed the cat;
- Take a shower;
- Assemble the cauliflower and the onion dishes;
- Get the assorted vegetable dishes in the oven to heat through - onions/leeks and cauliflower;
- Make the spätzle batter;
- Steam the green beans;
- Assemble the amuse bouche if making, and plate it;
- Make the gingersnap gravy - this is just about the last thing that needs to be started;
- Make the spätzle;
- Carve the meat.
OK. That should be just about it, though I'm sure I've forgotten some small detail.
OMG I've lost my fucking mind, haven't I?
It ought to be great. :D Tweet