Countdown to Thanksgiving…

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The sun came up today and revealed a lovely crisp autumn morning. My husband I went to early Mass and we stopped at the Orange Cat afterward, as is our custom. I hung out with Dorothy, Tim and my other buddies for a while then decided to get a head start on my a thanksgiving preparation.

I headed over to Tops to pick up some of the things that will not perish prior to their use Wednesday and Thursday.

Today I’m going to make my cranberry compote. This year I am going to double the recipe and preserve some for myself and friends. The house will soon smell so good. I walked around the produce department twice and could not locate the cranberries. I was slightly panicked so I asked Mike Fland, one of my favorite grocers if there were any. He jokingly told me no as he walked to the display and revealed many bags. Phew. Crisis averted.20121118-114619.jpgOne of the key ingredients in the compote are oranges. The pickin’s were slim and I asked Mike about that. He said they were expecting some this morning but my time restraints prevented me from waiting. As I was chatting with my friend Annie, Mike wheeled a cart toward us filled with oranges. How cool is that? That is great customer service and why you never lose when you shop locally. Mike has been with the store for 22 years, starting in 1990. Thanks again Mike!

Sometimes it can take an hour to pick up one thing…you see all kinds of people and catch up between aisles. I saw my friend Annie and she told me she was thinking of making the stuffing recipe I posted yesterday. She asked me a few questions and I showed her the stuffing I was talking about. It is croutons seasoned (or not) in bags.

20121118-114310.jpgIt makes a completely different consistency dressing than one made with bread. It’s the one I was raised on so it’s what I know.

I am never more flattered than when someone tells me they read my column. What blows me away is when they tell me they use my recipes. Please let me know if you ever have any questions about any of the original (or family) recipes I publish. If you can’t make them then what’s the point, you know what I mean?

Have a yummy day!!

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Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

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Gramma Anne’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

Servings:for a 20-23 pound turkey
Prep time: 1:00
Categories: Side Dish
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 1 lb Golden Raisins

• 1 lb Bacon (cut into little pieces)
• 1 lb Sage Breakfast Sausage
• 1-2 Small Onions, finely chopped
• 6-7 Stalks Celery, finely chopped

• 1 Stick Butter

• 2 Bags Stuffing Croutons (I use Arnold Stuffing)

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• 2 Eggs

• Optional:

• Cook the pieces with the turkey like the neck, etc. remove from turkey and bag. Put in medium sauce pan with a quartered onion and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Strain the liquid and use instead of water in the stuffing.

Directions

Put the raisins in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water and microwave for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, on medium heat cook bacon, sausage, onion and celery until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add butter and let melt.

In large bowl, add bacon and sausage mixture and drained raisins. Add stuffing mix to the bowl and add at least a cup of water (or the stock from the turkey parts). Beat two eggs and lightly stir until the mixture is wet.

Chop the turkey parts and remove the meat from the neck and add to stuffing, if desired.

If you are not stuffing your bird or have more than will fit inside, you can butter a table ready casserole, fill with remaining stuffing, add one cup of stock or dry white wine and dot with butter. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees (or up to 400 degrees depending on what else is in your oven) covered until the last ten minutes. Remove the cover and let get crisp on top. If there is not enough room in your oven, when you remove your turkey to rest for 30 minutes then carve, put the casserole in. It will be perfectly cooked in time for dinner.

from http://therecipeboxapp.com

JudeTheFoodie.com Have a yummy day!!

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A tale of two stuffings

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The Foodie:

If you read my column you know my mother is an amazing cook and The Foodie’s culinary role model. My mother is like Edward Scissorhands. She could throw a few ingredients up into the air and make something amazing. What a gift!

If my mother is gourmet, my mother-in-law is meat and potatoes. And, that is not a bad thing at all. There is something comforting about the tasty predictability of my MIL’s cooking. You always got a protein (usually roast beef – cooked well done – something that shocked my rare sensibilities when I dined at their table the first time), a starch (who am I kidding … it was a potato and it was likely whipped into creamy mashed potatoes by my father-in-law who used the hand mixer which was stored in the box he made of popsicle sticks).

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Come to think of it, it struck me that a male was involved in the kitchen. I thought all males did on Thanksgiving was complain that we were missing the four o’clock game.

My mother spent days preparing for Thanksgiving. Soup was always involved. One potato, no — both mashed and sweet. Squash, a green vegetable, turkey with homemade gravy, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce and several types of pie (one was always pumpkin). The pies were all homemade with my mother’s incredible crust which was flaky and buttery filled with a creamy mixture of pumpkin and cream cheese. There was at least one chocolate pie with the scratch pudding which had a film on top, covered with whipped cream. The whipped cream was whipped fresh while the coffee brewed.

My mother’s stuffing recipe has a great deal of Italian influence. It includes both sage breakfast sausage and bacon. There is onion and celery, golden raisins, eggs, stuffing croutons, water and homemade turkey stock. Also included is the meat from the turkey neck, the gizzards (the outside cut off), heart and liver (good thing I did not know that when I was a kid … just sayin’). Mom threw it up in the air and it landed safely in the turkey where it would be baked to crispy/soft perfection. I love that stuffing and will make it on Wednesday. I will put some in the turkey and the remaining will go into a well buttered casserole dish along with some homemade turkey stock.

My mother-in-laws stuffing has day old white bread (she breaks it up by hand), celery, onion, butter, water and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning. That’s it. It is so delicious I can eat it alone. No turkey, no vegetables, no potatoes, just this soft and perfectly seasoned flavored carb ball.
My mother’s and MIL’s stuffing is so different they are like two different foods. I could make both and it would be just like making white and sweet potatoes … both potatoes but completely different.

My mother-in-law cared for her table but did not obsess. There was no kids table since each table was lined up in a row for a long table filled with family and friends. There are tons of aunts, uncles and cousins in my family. Because of that we were usually at our own house for dinner and had dessert together. The dessert house was the house where my grandmother was (most often at my house as my mother is the eldest of her siblings). At my in-laws you got an eclectic combination of family and friends.

There was one thing that was absolutely the same at each house. Both women prepared their food with love and the knowledge they were doing something positive to gather their family and friends. They only wanted to give them a reason to sit at the table and simply share time, the ultimate gift.

It was with this wonderful family that I began to understand that, as my son described to a neighbor friend, some people you are related to by blood and some people you are related to by love.

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours!

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