Some things change, and somethings don't.
Today I stopped off at the coffee shop to get a double shot of espresso. Blind-Bill was sitting over in the corner of the shop with his family.
After announcing I was me, Blind-Bill laughed.......
"I would have never guessed......so many other people CLOMP around this place!"
I detected a small amount of sarcasm.
"Billy" I said......"You look like you are a little worn out, are you trying to mentally prepare for dinner with the fam?"
"No I'm just tired of the world."
He has a grin on his face when he says this, and then he proceeds to laugh.
Bill is a musician by trade, and now he begins lamenting how his industry is changing rapidly.
"I have to go do a wedding tomorrow. I hate weddings. I actually haven't done one in almost a year, but the money was there, I couldn't turn it down, but let me tell you something....throughout my career, the bride and groom would hire you, you'd play, and then you got a paycheck.
It isn't that easy anymore. Now day's the bride and groom will hire you, and then demand to see your set list. They look it over with a fine tooth comb and deconstruct your list.....
Take this song out, this one, this one...oh and do you know Billy Joel's piano man?
God, I don't ever want to do that again. We sang that at Saint John's and everybody in the room dropped their pants.
I never figured out what that was all about."
Well Blind-Bill....Happy Thanksgiving, I love you....and I'll see you tomorrow.
Now into the present......
Now that my turkey meal was just finished (and cudo's to Sue McGleno and Tydus for providing a Christ like spread)its time for me to focus on holiday baking.
One thing in holiday baking that has changed dramatically over the years is "Mince Meat".
To not have mince meat during the holidays, to not make it....well, it's almost sacrilegious.
Years ago the Brits kinda got this ball rolling, and in their recipe, they used meat and eggs.
As years have past, and FDA inspectors deduced, it was decided that this original recipe was not necessarily the healthiest option, especially if the mince meat was left out for a prolonged period of time.
People actually died.
Next move was to replace the meat and egg with a beef suet. This held up much longer than the original recipe, but it too had a drawback.
It made the final product heavy and greasy.
I guess if you were kicking it on the streets of London Town in 1392, it might not have been so bad.
But time marched on and peeps on the dairy farms started to replace the beef suet with butter.......
And the rest is history.
So....Brothers and Sisters, I proclaim unto thee that you live in the present. It is my hope, and the hope of the Polish Christ that you will not wait for the future.
Don't tell yourself that you'll indulge next year........
For tomorrow is promised to nobody LOL!
I urge you to get into your kitchen right now....this very moment and make some mince meat.
First off.....if you are going to make the modern version, it breaks into 2 camps.
#1 The Gift Version -
In the gift version, you should use dried fruits. They will hold up longer, and the alcohol won't break down the fruit
#2 The Holiday Meal Version -
If I am baking items like Mince Meat Cheese Crowns, or Savory Mince Meat Coffee Cake (shrouded in puff pastry and topped with Parmesan cheese. I use fresh fruit.
Basically I let this version soak for 24 to 48 hours. The first version can soak for weeks.
In the past I have discussed booze options........
The 2 brightest pastry chefs I have ever worked with respectfully disagree in opinion.
Gilson won't even make minced meat if she can't use dark rum, and H-E-N-N-E-S-S-Y swears by bourbon.
But Danny Klecko........This year he's going with Whiskey, and Irish Whiskey at that....Jameson.
The coolest part about mince meat is that everybody makes it a little different.
For me, it's NOT a competition.
If yours is better, I'll be the first to admit it, but mine is p-r-e-t-t-y good.
OK, the version I am going to toss at you here is one that incorporates some fresh fruit. Often times when people chop certain fruits that brown fast, they rinse them in lemon juice to retard said browning process.
However....when you use booze, it isn't really quite so necessary......
KLECKO'S MINCE MEAT RECIPE -
2 large apples, I core them and dice them into pieces the size of a nickel.
Many people peel theirs, I don't, I feel like the peel helps hold the fruit together as the booze and sugar break it down. Try to find big/hard apples if possible.
2-3 pears, dice them into nickel sized pieces.
1 cup black raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup craisins
1 cup citron or candied peel.
1/2 cup brown sugar, Many people like dark...I usually use the regular. Often times I will add this in last after the liquids are all in. This 1/2 cup measurement can vary quite a bit, but in the end...I want that brown sugar to form a loose paste, a paste that binds...if that makes sense.
1 cup Jameson Whiskey (or dark rum, or bourbon....or even cognac)
1/2 cup salted butter, I know-I know....soccer moms and hippies will yell at me, but the salt helps preserve are mincemeat eco system and extends our shelf life in a somewhat natural manner.
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
Orange Zest, either use a micro-planer or use some orange peel that you get from a spice store. whatever route you pursue....this will determine your levels. And...if you don't use the orange....then take out the clove as well. Mincemeat and Christmas Spice Geeks demand that you can't use clove w/o orange
1 teaspoon salt, this really is essential, Klecko demands that you you don't cheat yourself by leaving this out....the salt is going to make the fruits "POP". Gilson once told me that only savages refuse to utilize this Godsend.........
Then for my last Item, just before adding the mince meat into it's mold or form, I add 1 cup of walnut pieces. I don't like them to soak for a couple days. Squishy nuts ='s ishy texture.
OK L.A.B. Rats......I sincerely hope you try this recipe or one like it.
If you are an alcoholic, or giving this mince meat to somebody in a 12 step progra,....swap out the booze levels with apple juice.
Alrighty then......Turkey day is over so.....Hark the Herald - Angels Sing,
If you have ANY questions....shout at me.