Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Goose Is Cooked!

My Christmas project this year was to cook a goose. Daunting, I know, but I did my research and it turned out better than I thought it would. I'll break it down for you in the easy steps I used to get the job done.

1. Go out and buy a goose. I found mine at the Pattee Creek Market, because I know they carry some of the stranger meats in town. But on Christmas Eve I saw a couple in Albertson's as well, so they aren't too hard to find. And come to find out, one of my co-workers raises geese, so I could have gotten one from him. I should have bought a bigger one though, because there isn't that much meat on a goose. Mine was 8.13 lbs. and it served about 5 of us. But we weren't expert carvers either, so that could have made a difference.

2. Clean the goose. I let mine sit in the fridge for a day and a half before I attempted it, and it was still very frozen on the inside. Be ready to pull out a spine and other innards with the massive amounts of fat. I foolishly tossed these, which I now regret, because anything cooked in goose fat is delicious.

3. Put the goose in boiling water for a minute or two. This supposedly separates the skin from the actual meat. I'm not so sure it works, or else I boiled it for too short of a time. But maybe things would have ended tragically if I had skipped this step. I also poked lots and lots of holes in the skin with a skewer. This step was essential, as it allowed the delicious goose fat to escape and flavor the vegetables in the roasting pan.

4. Let it dry in the fridge for at least a day and a half. This also gives you plenty of time to do the rest of your cooking prep work, and buy enough alcohol for you and your guests, since no one wants to go shopping on Christmas day.

5. Arrange lots of aromatic vegetables in a roasting pan. I used carrots, parsnips, celery, onions and lemon. I also used a cookie cooling rack at the bottom to keep the goose out of its own fat. I know, I've told you how delicious it is a few times already, but don't worry, there is more than enough fat in the goose itself.

6. Have someone very special mix up some stuffing for you. If you don't have a ultra cute wife like me, then one of your drinking buddies will do just fine.

7. Stuff the stuffing inside the empty cavity. This will be messy. Vegetarians and need not apply.

8. Apply your glaze of choice. There are tons of recipes out there, just Google it, or head down to your local library and check out a book or two. I used extra virgin olive oil, cracked peppercorn, fresh thyme, salt and chopped garlic. You'll want to make enough to apply a little each time you check on the bird. I pre-heated the oven to 45o and let it cook for half an hour, then dropped the temperature to 350 and checked every half an hour. In retrospect, I would cook it at 375 the next time, because it took longer than I thought to cook.

9. And since I had so much extra time, I was able to sing karaoke while I waiting for it to get done. Be sure to invite friends over, as you'll be waiting around for a while for the goose to cook.

10. Carve the bird. I am by no means proficient and carving any sort of fowl, and so it was a laissez-faire approach to getting meat. It was every man for himself.
11. Be prepared for the aftermath. Everyone will have their fill and this is what you're left with. Be sure to budget time the next day to clean up the remains, and get that goose smell out of your apartment.

The goose was a big hit, although not as much as Darcy's insanely tasty mashed potatoes and stuffed mushrooms. I thought the veggies cooked in goose fat and stuffing held its own, but Darcy also can take credit for the stuffing. All in all, a great success!

...and no, Jeffrey's did not partake in the goose. He's on a diet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Christmas Miracle

Today we went out and bought ourselves some Christmas cheer. First off, we got real, honest-to-goodness mistletoe. We'll see how long it lasts. But I'm excited to steal a few kisses with Darcy under the mistletoe for the next few weeks.

Then we went out on an impromptu Christmas tree shopping excursion. We found a great Charlie Brown-ish tree, stuffed it into our car and set it up. Somehow we lost our tinsel coming in from the car, but we still got it looking pretty good. Where did the tinsel get to? We even checked the fridge, as we bought beer at the same time and stashed that in the fridge. No dice.

And finally, I poured out a little Sparks today for my favorite icicle of the year. What was the deal with our 50 degree weather today? I'm already sick of winter, so I don't like to be teased with spring like weather.