Monday, October 09, 2006

Cabin Bisque

I have just returned from the wilds of Merifield! Well, the wilds near Merifield. Honestly, it wasn't very wild. More rustic now that I think about it. But still! I have returned triumphant! My fantastic and frequently roadtripping friend Andy invited me up to her cabin this weekend. There were a few of us (and several bottles of wine.) The first night was way too much of everything, and I ended up sleeping more soundly than I'd care to admit.
Okay, okay, fine. Sleeping/passing out... really. Who's taking notes. I did utter the words, "Ahms gawnna go ta bed naaw." And others agreed. Therefore it counts as sleeping.
Since we didn't go anywhere, but there was much good food, I thought I'd try to put up a quick post about what we had. I know that I promised all half dozen of you that I'd try to post more often, so don't say that I never did anything for ya.
On the way up to the cabin, Andy and I took sort of a miniature meat tour of Hwy 25. The first place we stopped was McDonald's meats. We would have been insane not to. We were on a tiny country road stuck behind a semi and three SUVs. Also, there was a sign for FREE SAMPLES. Being a complete and unabashed free sample whore, I yanked the wheel to the side and we slid into a parking spot. FREE SAMPLES! Of beef jerky no less! We walked in and immediately I was enveloped my the warm, smokey meat smells. We reasoned that we could probably get the beef roast that Andy planned to make for dinner cheaper and better there.
Andy, independent, Women's Studies major marked right up to that counter and said, "I've never done this before I need a beef roast is it good for braising or is a beef roast just a roast?" The lady behind the blinked.
"I dunno. Same ta me."
Helpful lil' minx, aint cha?
I peered over, well, under Andy's arm (she's really much taller than me.) The meat looked good. There was a lot of marbling. We agreed on a cut and bought it. I'd be surprised later to find the two misshapen bones in the meat that we'd purchased. They were kind of jagged and on the side. I really did expect more from them. We were going to get bacon, but all the had was side fat. Which looked like bacon, but how were we supposed to know if it was smoked? So, we skipped it. And, uh, the free samples? There were none. Well, actually, there were two. The Maple raisin flavored summer sausage tin was full of free samples, but EEWW! And there was one little sliver of regular summer sausage that I ate. And I didn't tell Andy because I didn't want to share. It was really garlicky and if she didn't notice in the car that I reeked, she must have had a cold. Lady that she is, she said nothing.
I also grabbed a little sack of frozen Italian sausage. There wasn't a price, and it took three of the meat market employees to figure it out. It was only $2.63! Now they were talkin' my language!
Andy bought some teriyaki beef jerky, taste unseen (or whatever) that we ripped into in the car. Now I know why they didn't have any free samples. It was naaasty. Dissatisfied, we agreed to attempt to pawn the meat wads off on a friend of ours foolish enough to be sucked into one of those no carb diets. Heh, heh. That's what you get, you no bread eatin' nut.
Our next meat stop was in Pierz at Thelen. The parking lot smelled divine. There was a smoldering oil bin out back that said "inedible," but it smelled reaallly edible. I took this to be a good sign. Inside, we got two pounds of some wonderful smelling smokey bacon. We couldn't really think of anymore meat that we needed to buy so we only left with the bacon.
That night Andy cooked up the roast, but between the cabin clock being an hour late and the prodigious amount of wine consumed, I have no idea how the roast really was. I thought the bones were weird. We should have deboned it. Anyway, the next morning I went to go for a little extra nibble off the leftovers.
"Oh, yeah I saved it," said Andy, face buried in her coffee cup, "but there was mostly sauce left." I pulled out of the fridge what I would have sworn was coffee cake date filling, if I hadn't known better. There were a couple of teeny bits of brown sticking out the middle.
"Sauce! You fiend! That's FAT!" So, of course the roast was really good.
That morning I made hash with onion, garlic, new potatoes and a pastilla pepper and cracked a fried egg over top of it, for each of the cabin guests. Then I fried up the bacon. I practically needed a stool and a whip to keep them out of the kitchen! I could have done the whole two pounds and it would have been gone. It was smokey and undeniably porky bacon. When I cooked it up, it didn't render out too much fat, but was perfectly thick cut and meaty. Jeffery Steingarten is right. Everything is better with bacon. But a cabin breakfast with good bacon is next to heaven.
After the morning meal, I went to sit out on the deck. They have these Adirondack, plastic chairs and the ledge of the deck is just high enough to lean back and rest your feet on. I watched two loons dive out in the middle of the lake. The clouds feathered and streaked across the fall sky while the brown and deep red maple and oak leaves cushioned the horizon.
We lost most of our guests and not wanting to make another trip into town, I realized that we didn't have most of the ingredients need for my Tuscan Soup, the BIG DEAL MEAL. That I'd been promising. I would have to improvise. I did have the Italian sausage from McDonald's, but after all the rest of our disappointments from there, I didn't hold out much hope.
I broke it up and tossed it into a large pot. The familiar spicy aroma began to waft through the cabin. Pork, basil, garlic, fennel... All my favorite sausage friends had come out to play! It was wonderful. I toasted up the end of a Baguette that we'd gotten at Nelson's bread, also on the way up (baguette, was only eh, but their whole-wheat bread was wonderful.) And rubbed it with butter and a garlic clove. All was delicious. So, I'd have to say that A) I'm one creative SOB or DOB, as the case may be and 2) Vegetarians don't know what they're missing.
So, below is my recipe for what we dubbed Cabin Bisque. But really, remember, it's mostly about using whatever you have on hand.

Cabin Bisque

1/2 lb good Italian Sausage

1 small onion diced

1 large garlic clove diced

2 cans of chicken broth

1 can of diced tomatoes

A couple of glugs of Bloody Mary mix ( I used Zing-Zang, which might sound stupid, but is seriously the best Bloody mix EVER. Really.)

1 small container of V8

Generous amount of black pepper

Dash of cayenne pepper

Little bit of salt. Taste, though, 'cause all that canned stuff gets salty.

1/2 pint of half and half

Brown meat. Add onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add garlic clove and saute until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients up to the half and half. Stir. Eat bite of sausage, 'cause it's good. And don't spit it back out again, just because it also now tastes like cold, canned chicken broth. You're the dummy that ate it. Simmer about 20 minutes until reduced. Fix one cocktail in the meantime and admire sunset. Once it's reduced down a bit and the flavors are blended slowly stir in the half and half. This works best if the cream is at room temperature so it won't curdle. But, even if it does, eat it anyway. Remember that time you drank the curdled White Russian? That was good... or at least as far as you can remember. You were pretty drunk that night. Eat it anyway. Dunk the garlic bread the in the bisque and enjoy!


At 2:20 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

Never, ever, is a roast just a roast.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home