Today’s Turkey Stew with Rosemary Sour Cream Dumplings is brought to you by the word “envy”. It was Thanksgiving in the United States last week and it was not in Canada. I know, we got to go first. We did the turkey, the trimmings, and all the wine. And we’re going to get another shot at the whole feasting thing in less than a month. Rationally, I know this is all true but my petulant inner child is feeling all butthurt and forgotten.
Braising may be my favorite cooking method of all time, and clearly, I’m not alone. Nearly every cuisine on the planet practices some form of braising. From tagines to slow cookers, braising is a friend to anyone with a hectic, fast-paced life. And because it’s best deployed on tough, cheap cuts of meat, braising not only saves time, it saves money. Take today’s Spiced Apple Lamb Shanks for example. This dish took exactly 20 minutes of active prep time. Once it was in the oven, I folded socks, painted my toenails, re-watched 2 choice episodes of Chef’s Table, and contemplated numerous reconfigurations of my home bar. I didn’t follow through with any of them because that would’ve involved, you know, work. But the point is I had a luxurious amount of time to waffle about it.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and this year I’m playing it low low key. However, I know I’m very much the oddity. Most of you (well, the Canadian yous) are probably defrosting a turkey in your sink, stocking up on pumpkin puree, and clinging to your sanity amidst the holiday preparations. You probably don’t need me being all smug about my plans to drink cocktails in my pajamas. So, instead, let me move onto to something more useful to you, like this Mushroom Wild Rice Chowder with Crispy Fried Leeks.
My interest in Italian plums is entirely shallow. It’s not that they’re not delicious, Italian plums are, but they’re just so beautiful that I tend to forget about their other attributes. I think it’s their silvery bloom or maybe their shocking yellow interior or perhaps it’s because they’re purple and we all know how I feel about purple. Whatever the reason, they certainly have a hold on me. So, when I saw them at my local farmer’s market, I knew they had to be mine. Is it strange to have such strong feelings for a stone fruit? You don’t have to answer that – I know it is.