It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!
The Australian Dinner was moved to Wednesday night, preparatory to the Thursday (California – Friday Australia) USA Thanksgiving Feast.
Australian Dinner was a “mild burrito” spiced as the spouse likes them – i.e. not much – so I get to add hot sauce to mine ;-)
1/2 an onion, browned in a skillet with a little olive oil, butter or left over lamb fat, then about a volume of mushrooms equal to the volume of a lb of ground (minced) lamb. Diced. As the mushrooms shrink a LOT in cooking, they end up at roughly the same volume as the onions after cooking.
When the onion & mushroom mix is about 3/4 done (i.e. the onions are becoming clear / transparent but not yet browned heavily), add the ground lamb in tsp (5 ml or so) sized bits. This isn’t precise and ‘bits’ can range from a single ml up to an ounce. Just wherever it breaks in the grab really.
Yes, this makes your hands greasy and yes, you could just plonk the whole pound in and use the spatula to cut it up, but that’s messing with the stuff in the pan and starting to cook the big lump while you chop it. Doing it this way, steam from the onions / mushrooms will gently start the little bits cooking, they all cook more evenly, and when it’s cooked some, flipping over spatula full chunks of it puts the lamb mostly on the bottom so it can brown some. Then some more turning and flipping to finish evenly.
Somewhere in that process I ‘sprinkle over’ with salt & comino / cumin and put a couple of grinds of pepper into it. Plus a light sprinkle of dehydrated garlic granules. A fresh garlic clove or two works also, but I’ve not been able to tell much difference between the two in this dish.
When cooked through, that’s the basic filling. A Tortilla is laid in a cast iron skillet that’s warmed up on medium (drop to low to ‘keep hot’ if you have a bunch of these being made) and heat through, turning in the middle of about a minute (or maybe less if very hot). As a kid, at Miguel’s house, I learned to cook tortillas over an open gas flame, but with the electric range a skillet in the middle helps even it out. I just grab the edge for the “flip” in the traditional way, but you can use a spatula if you like. When to turn? When put in the pan, they will be cold. Touch the center of the tortilla ever 15 seconds or so, when it’s getting significantly warm, flip it, then let it go about the same amount of time.
Put the tortilla on a plate, filling in the middle in a line (about 2 ounces I think, varies with the size of tortilla ;-), top with whatever you like: Mexican cheese shreds, olives, lettuce, salsa, hot sauce, tomato bits, whatever… Then pull one edge (on your side) from behind the line over the the top of the filling, press gently into the tortilla on the other side and pull back to tighten the roll of goodies. Fold each end in to block their escape, and roll! That’s it. With practice the “roll” becomes one smooth movement that takes about 10 seconds. Repeat as needed ;-)
We had a side salad with this. Regular old Bag-O-Salad with Ranch dressing.
With the burrito, I had a very nice “Mr. Riggs” 2014 Lamane Cabernet / Merlot blend from South Australia. About $10 at the Bargain Market (and no doubt more elsewhere…) Yes, I went “upscale” for the holidays ;-)
The other wine on offer was an easy drinking Chardonnay from Lindeman’s. Bin 65, 2019 “limited release”. Also very nice. It pairs better with Turkey… but the Lamane stands up to burritos better. Both very nice wines, and yes, I’m on the hunt for more of both.
Thanksgiving in the USA
Found a small 10 lb Turkey. Stuffing was croutons made from home made bread. A mix of light and dark. Sprinkle over with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. 1/2 onion in 1 cm or so bits. 2 carrots scraped, then use a peeler to make wafers or strips of carrot. Chop about a cup of celery into bits. Mix it all together.
At that point there’s 3 optional things I add that you can leave out if concerned about either of them. I add one egg, beaten, to help hold the dressing together. IF you really want a loose dressing, you can leave that out. I’ll melt butter (about 1/2 a stick, or 4 Tbs, or 60 cc for a 10 lb bird, a whole stick for a big bird) and drizzle it over the mix. I like the richness and flavor it brings, but you can leave it out for fewer calories and less fat. Finally, I’ll add enough moisture to make it damp. About 1/2 cup for the small bird, a whole cup for the big one. This avoids dry dressing issues. I’ve sometimes put a tsp of Chicken Bullion into the warm water if I want to jack up the flavor even more. This time I added a bit of garlic granules instead of the bullion.
Mix it all again, and then stuff the bird.
I also do “Larding and Barding”. Mix butter (1/2 stick for a 10 lb bird, whole stick for a 20+ lb. bird) with seasonings. Parsley, sage, thyme, if you add rosemary make sure you run it through a chopper first so it isn’t hard little needles… This gets shoved under the skin over the breast meat and down the sides.
Sprinkle the bird with a bit of salt, pepper grinds, poultry seasoning, and a light bit of garlic granules. Into the oven at 325 F for 3.5 hours for a 10 lb bird. (275 for longer with heavier birds). I cook it covered until the last 30 minutes when I let it brown up. Keeps it more moist ;-)
Sides? Oh, did we have sides:
Home made mashed potatoes (turkey gravy or butter as you like it. Gravy made with pan drippings from the roaster. Cooled fat mixed with flour to make a roux. This is put in a skillet and warmed, then the other pan juices are added and the whole thing whisked. Optionally you can add some minced bits of meat or gizzard.)
Steamed Red Chard stems.
I think that was everything ;-)
Tim Pool has some choice rant words about Australian Detention Centers / Concentration Camps:
Starts off with a bit about Austria (not Australia) using police to round up citizens who violate their Hard Lockdown, then transitions to Australia swapping their “International Arrival” centers over to concentration camps for folks they don’t like. “Quarantine” they say. Uh Huh… With the military rounding people up and putting them in “camps”.
Not seeing any reason now to visit Australia ever again. By the time this cultural shift is reversed, I’ll be past my traveling days.
Given that the covid tests have a fairly high false positive rate, rounding up anyone who had contact with anyone who got a positive result can end up with rounding up everyone. If it’s 1 in 50 that’s a false positive, and you have 50 contacts, that explodes to everyone.
Sadly, at this point, at least in Europe and Australia, the reality in the world has caught up with the Alex Jones rants from last year. Sigh.
I suspect that somewhere, in one of those countries with draconian lock-downs and military oppression / camps; the time of the French Haircut may return… It looks like about that time now.