Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving food thoughts

A few years ago, I published the New York Times old recipe for turkey stuffing, and it must be (even more than Mary Seagull) the most popular post ever, so I'm providing a link below.

We writers are a picky bunch when it comes to word usage, we like le mot juste.  It drives me crazy to see embryo and foetus universally misused.  Didn't anyone ever take biology?  The other word constantly used wrong, even in food magazines is stuffing and dressing.  If it don't go inside the bird it ain't stuffing, it's dressing.  Sometimes one needs bad grammar to emphasize a point.This may become my new battleground.  I mean are you stuffing your freaking stove top?
This year, with a vegetarian at table, we have had to make some accommodation.  No disgusting Tofurky, of course.  Turns my stomach to think of it.  Kierkegaard said, "sin bravely," and I feel the same way about vegetarians.  If you don't eat meat, well, then don't eat "faux" meat.  Have the courage to stand for your convictions.  This year, therefore, I'm not doing the world's best stuffing (and at our house, except for this year, we stuff), but rather a dressing. "The world's best" contains meat.   I'm using the second best recipe.  My mom's.  Except I lost it, or maybe I tossed it.  Last year I searched all over the Internet and couldn't find.  This year, I found it in spades, and all the comments all said, "my mother used to make this."  Amen.

Now I was a godawful squeamish eater as a kid, and I didn't like any kind of potatoes except French fries and chips.  Can you believe that?  But I did like my mom's stuffing (it was inside the turkey cavity).  So I am going to give you
1)  The World's Best.  It originally called for ground veal, but since I am not eating baby animals anymore, I substitute ground turkey or chicken and can't tell the difference.  When I say I'm not eating baby animals anymore, that means lamb and veal.  I don't buy it or order it, but if I'm a guest in someone's home, I eat it without comment.  Like the lamb in Portugal in the little hill town of Monsaraz. The potatoes were cooked in the lamb broth.  I felt so guilty enjoying every bite.

Significant Other likes to say, "In an emergency,  the devil eats flies."  Make of that what you will.

Here's a link to the original blog post: The World Best Turkey Stuffing Recipe

First of all, the holiday menu Chez Grapeshot  I found a bunch of Ina Garten recipes in Good Housekeeping and am using three of them.

Thanksgiving Menu  2011

Ina Garten's Herb Roasted turkey with Pan Gravy

Wild-Rice Stuffed Squash (Martha Stewart)

Earla' Old Time Potato Dressing

String Beans with Shallots (Ina Garten)

Cranberry Fruit Conserve (Ina Garten)

Pumpkin Chiffon Tarts

Wine and/or Cider

Now to the second best.  Earla's Old Time Potato Dressing (may also be eaten as we did in my childhood, as a stuffing). Ready in one hour.  Serves six or more.  From by Lauren Buckner with a few changes by moi.

1 large onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup (or more) butter
1/4 turkey or chicken broth.  I'm using vegetable broth.
8 slices day old white bread, cubed with crusts removed
3 cups mashed potatoes (you can cheat and use prepared dry potato flakes to make 3 cups)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 t. poultry seasoning  (I'll used fresh thyme, summer savory, and the herbs that constitute poultry stuffing).
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. ground nutmeg (I always do fresh)


1. In a skillet, saute onion and celery in butter until tender.  Remove from the heat; stir in broth.  In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, prepared potatoes, egg and all seasonings.  Sir in onion mixture.  If mixture seems dry, add more melted butter or broth. Transfer to a greased  2-qt. baking dish.  Cover and bake at 325 degrees F. for  40 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the top is browned and a  meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.  You can also put a little extra butter, salt and pepper on top and place under a broiler until browned and bubbly.

Hint:  put in a shallow dish and you will have room for the stuffing AND the turkey in the same oven.  A little extra onion or some shallots or green onion would not be amiss.

I will post the recipe for pumpkin tarts in a subsequent post.  Another lost recipe, except I lost it last week.  So annoying.  It's not like anyone broke into the house and stole it!

We are off to Roche Bros. to buy groceries.  Larder is bare with no trips to the store since the 6th.  Yikes.  I always buy whatever I can in advance.  Cranberries have been in freezer already for a spell.  I have a big sage plant and some thyme and oregano, even parsley and chives that are still thriving in the garden.  It is such a pleasure to have a late harvest.

Eat well.


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