Friday, November 22, 2013


1. Turkey: love it? hate it? self-basted? fry it or roast it? Tofu-turkey? Tell me more. (I’ve only had one roasted turkey come out totally delish so I’m fishing for your tips!)
I wait all year to roast a turkey. First I wash it thoroughly inside, (giblets & neck removed on Tuesday for cooking stock)then I pat it dry. I season with seasoned salt, pepper, chicken rub, and dried sage from my garden. Then I stuff it with my homemade stuffing. LH then sews the turkey shut - with a big needle and cooking twine. We stick in the oven at 400 degrees for the first 20 minutes and then down the roasting temp of 350 or 325 for the remaining time. After the skin begins browning, LH tents the turkey and bastes it, several times with the turkey drippings. Usually comes out wonderful. One year we got stuck with a tough, old bird. Boy was that the toughest turkey we've ever had! I am looking forward to this year's turkey. Last year's was really good. And this year, I have to impress my sister and BIL who'll be joining us!

2. Stuffing: bagged? homemade? sage? sausage? cornbread? oysters? nuts? Got any inspiration for me?
Homemade of course. The stuffing is one small package of wild rice cooked, 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or reg. rice, cook according to directions, 2 big loaves of cheap white bread torn into pieces and then soaked with 1 cup water and 1 cup warm milk, 3-4 strips of cooked bacon, 1 lb of sweet Italian sausage (out of the casing) and cooked with sage, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, 1 lb sliced mushrooms, celery and some diced green pepper. When the sausage mixture is cooled, I mix it together with the cooked rice, and soaked bread. I add salt, pepper, sage, marjoram, etc. to taste. I add some homemade stock and white wine. Stuffing shouldn't be too dry or too wet. Refrigerate until used. Whatever doesn't fit in the turkey I bake in a covered casserole dish for about 45 min. on Thanksgiving Day while we are enjoying our turkey and stuffing! Warning: it takes a strong arm to mix the stuffing once everything is in the bowl!
I freeze all the leftover cooked stuffing in sherbet bowls and we enjoy it later with turkey leftovers or grilled chicken.

3. Cranberries: When we celebrated Thanksgiving in Europe one year, our French friends thought we were nuts to choose a very sour berry and then load it with sugar. (Let alone the stuff that comes out of a can in a blob of gelatinous ooze!) What do you do with cranberries?
Not too much. We usually just use the whole cranberry sauce from a can. At this point, I have made so much, it's a relief to just open the can and serve the chilled sauce. I have used cranberry mustard though after Thanksgiving on turkey sandwiches it makes the
turkey zingy!

4. Potatoes: (Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…) What’s your pleasure?
Mashed with butter, some 1/2 and 1/2, salt, pepper, a hint of nutmeg and a bit of sour cream. Goes good with gravy!

5. Pie: I’m married to the Pie Man. Anything but coconut pie floats his boat. What do you make? (or buy?) Pumpkin? Pecan? Apple?
I don't make pies. I make a Pumpkin Mousse Dessert. It's lighter and fluffier after a big dinner. Pumpkin pie is so dense and heavy. But the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert still has that pumpkin taste and flavor.

BONUS: A recipe that you’ve tried out and will make it to your table this year.
This is my make the night before dessert and just stick in the fridge.
Pumpkin Mousse Dessert
2 cups graham cracker, vanilla wafer or gingersnap crumbs - I use the graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup each: sugar & softened butter
Combine crumbs, sugar and butter, until thoroughly combined. Press into a 13 x 9 pan.

1 lb small marshmallows
1/3 cup milk
1 can pumpkin (1lb) but use only two-thirds of the can
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ginger & salt
1 tub Cool Whip (or 2 cups whipping cream, whipped)
Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt & spices in a large mixing bowl.
Melt marshmallow in milk in a double boiler (I use my dutch oven pot with a 2-3 quart pot resting in the dutch oven pot that
has water in it because of the large amount of marshmallows).
Blend in melted marshmallow mixture until thoroughly combined. (It's kind of a sticky thing). Cool well.
When cooled, fold in the Cool Whip, until fully incorporated together. Turn mixture onto crumb crust. Chill until firm.
Serve with a dollop of whipping cream on pieces, if desired.

So that's our Thanksgiving. And it will all begin next Tuesday with getting the fresh turkey, cooking the stock and rice. It will continue on Wednesday with making the stuffing, the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert, and the cheese ball. It further continues on Thanksgiving with stuffing and roasting the turkey, making mashed potatoes, slipping the frozen sweet potatoes into the microwave, setting the table with china, crystal (that has to be handwashed before and after dinner) and silverware (which I'll polish Thursday morning). It's a lot of work but everything is so wonderful and a blessing to be able to gather with family and enjoy it together.

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