Things are getting busy everywhere now. The time of the year of course may have something to do with it. Planning for a ridiculous meal that will take all of 20 minutes to consume. It never ceases to shock me, after putting in hours of work designing and cooking it.
Adding to this is my continued involvement at Christ Church. My meeting was moved to Friday at the last minute. I’ve had contact as well with the Adult Ed program that runs four years. I think they are waving me off until next fall, with but at least I’ll get the summer reading program underway sometime. It’s still unclear to me, and they said they would get back with me. As well, the jail ministry won’t commence until spring, mostly because the jail won’t be ready for occupancy again until then. This due to the floods.
Add to this the Contrarian has got three appointments for various consults at the VA and more to come. Most is just the usual, a new colonoscopy is due, and an MRI. He has balance problems but this is something that has gone on for years and they are thinking perhaps a pinched nerve. It is something he has learned to live with, but treatment would be a blessing. No major concerns on our part at all, just the misery of driving to Iowa City and sitting in waiting rooms. You cannot know how much the Contrarian hates this. “Might as well just rent a room down there and stay for two months,” he carps.
So, with all that, I’m sure I’ll be missing some postings along the way. But I trust that most everyone else is just as busy. I was grousing last night about what to do for dinner today, when his Majesty, the Contrarian whimpered with the appropriate tear in the corner of his eye, “Perhaps chicken potpie?” he whispered. I looked with disdain,
“Do you have a clue how much work that is? I mean we have the chicken, but cutting up veggies, making a gravy, and then making a biscuit crust to bake on top? Do you know how much time that takes?” “But it would be so good,” he retorted, his soft blue/grey eyes begged silently. “We shall see,” I replied, unmoved by his puppy dog eyes. (So you can guess what I did this morning after cleaning the kitchen and laundry room!”
I wanted to show off my FIRST scarf that I knitted. It shall take me forever to make them of course, and certainly, I won’t have more than a couple for the upcoming winter, but I think it turned out nicely enough.
I did it in a simple k5, p5 for five and alternate. It looks to be plenty warm and I hope someone enjoys it. I’m making another but for myself. I bought a “new” coat at the Goodwill, my favorite place to shop, and I had nothing that would match it, so I am making a scarf and hat to go with it. Hopefully it will be finished before the winter takes hold!
Now I thought I would lay out the menu for Thankgiving. It’s a huge meal for us, but we eat it for three days with relish and then I freeze up the remaining turkey and dressing if any is left. I’ll give some of the recipes should anyone be interested.
- Mashed potatoes/gravy
- Winter squash
- Caramelized onions
- Cranberry sauce
- relish tray
- Parmesan Creamed corn
- pumpkin pie
- german chocolate cake
By all means brine your turkey. It makes so much difference you will never not do it that way again. The brine consists of:
- 1 1/2 C salt
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 TBSP whole coriander
- 1 TBSP juniper berries
- 2 TBSP who peppercorns
- 1 TBSP fennel
- 1 TSP mustard seeds
- 1 Bottle white wine
- 2 medium onions
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- Enough water to cover the bird.
Place all in a bucket, lined with plastic bag, secure, and keep in a very cold place, outside if possible or in an unheated garage, for 24 hours. Drain, pat dry and prepare as usual. I’m told the brining reduces the cooking time by about 20%. If you have no cold place, put all in a cooler filled with ice bags. It is also better to dissolve the salt in part of the water heated until dissolved. Add the spices and herbs to this and allow to cool a bit before proceeding to the bird.
I got this last year from GMA from their dressing contest. I have no idea whether this one won, but it was one of the 4 finalists, so I tried it, and we loved it past adoration. We scarfed it unabashedly as if we were stealing. It is sinfully caloric and fattening, but so good it will become your favorite. I am just giving the ingredients, you know they all get added together. Bake at 375 for 45 min or so. depending on what else is in your oven at the time.
- 1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, decased and cooked
- 1 large onion, sauted
- 7 ribs celery, sauted6
- 4 cloves garlic, sauted
- 6 oz bacon, ham or panchetta cooked and crumbled
- Add to:
- 6 C. bread, staled and cubed
- 3 C cornbread, crumbled – make ahead a day or so
- 1/2 C butter, cubed
- 1 TBSP sage
- 1 1/2 TBSP poultry seasoning
- 1 TSP salt
- 2 C mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1 C Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 C pinenuts
- 4-5 cups chicken broth.
Nothing special here, but I am adding some rutabaga and parsnips I think to the potatoes to enliven the taste a bit
I’ll use the neck and gizzard, heart and liver which I will cook in some chicken stock and then remove the meat from the neckbones. I’ll add minced onion, garlic, mushrooms and saute them. Salt, pepper, a bit of worcheshire sauce, and then butter/flour and the chicken stock and heat until boiling and thickened. Add a bit of cream if desired.
I always bake this a day ahead, remove from the skin, add butter, salt, pepper, some maple syrup and mix together. On the day of eating, I’ll add pecans to the top and bake covered until warmed through. Also can be microwaved if space is hard to find in the oven.
Nothing tricky here. Just simmer your onions a bit, cut off the root ends and slip the skins off to a clean new surface. Drain nicely, add to a pan with butter and just saute forever until they are nicely browned all over. Slow is the key, don’t turn them too high or they will burn. Make the day before and then you can just heat them before eating.
Prepare according to package directions. I then section an orange, and add it, and some of the juice to the cooled cranberry sauce. Just before the meal, add chopped walnuts or pecans. I think I may add a bit of raisin this year and see how that tastes. I’m also adding some minced fresh ginger as well.
Creamed corn with Parmesan
This is simply corn, sauted with salt and pepper, some cream, a bit of chicken stock and Parmesan cheese. All done on the stove. The recipe calls for 6 cups of corn to serve 4. If you use that much, use 3/4 C of the cream, and 1/4 C of the stock, with 1 C Parmesan. I plan to cut this down to closer to half. (Martha Stewart Living recipe)
Directly out of the Joy of Cooking , the bible of American cooking
German Chocolate Cake
Right off the back of the package of the German chocolate
Well, that’s about it. We don’t go to nearly this trouble for Christmas, but we really enjoy this meal a lot. The only thing different this year is the corn recipe.
I do as much of the stuff ahead as I can. I’ll start on Tuesday and do the bulk of the cooking on Wednesday. Thursday will be for roasting the turkey, potatoes, and gravy mostly.
Have a blessed day everyone, and stay warm!