Monday, September 26, 2011

Adding the final recipes

I went to write the Thanksgiving section, and realized that I hadn't yet written recipes for stuffing or cranberry sauce or the pumpkin pie, dagnabit. Crap. Stuffing is a pain to cook and a pain to write about it, because it is so variable. Barbecue sauce also came up, so I got that one written as well. Argh, will I ever be able to move on to draft 3?!

So, after this, I need to finish the Thanksgiving section, and finish the food safety section. (And oh god, writing *that* has been painfully boring.)

Oh, I forgot to mention: getting set up on my parents' computer was a piece of cake, and I am having no trouble finding time to write. It helps tremendously that I am in a house that I am not compelled to clean. Thanks Mom!

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce in a can is decent enough, but the real thing is easy to make, and makes a great condiment for chicken #, pork chops #, and, of course, at Thanksgiving #.

12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup
1 cup orange juice or water
(optional) zest from a lemon or an orange
(optional) cinnamon, or a cinnamon stick, or Pumpkin Pie spices #.

Rinse the cranberries clean. Boil the cranberries in the juice or water until the cranberries pop, which will take ten minutes or so. Add the sugar and spices, and if you like, use a potato masher to smash the berries some more. You can then serve the sauce at once, or continue to simmer it with a whole cinnamon stick.

Barbeque Sauce

This sauce is great on hamburgers, or with leftover meats of any sort. Or you can cook with it by brushing it on meats before cooking, such as baked or broiled chicken #, pot roast #, or sauteed meats #, baked tofu #. You can even substitute it for the dry rub in pulled pork #.

Barbeque sauce is more fun to make if you don't stick slavishly to a recipe. Instead, start with half of a small can or more of tomato paste, and stir other things into it, tasting as you go, until you are satisfied with the results. You will need:

tomato paste
something sweet (molasses, brown sugar, honey, etc.)
something tart (apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, etc.)
something hot (cayenne pepper, taco spices #, hot sauce, black pepper, etc.)
(optional) salt

Be sure to use a clean spoon each time you taste!


Stuffing can either be a side dish (such as alongside turkey, at Thanksgiving #) or a main dish, if made with enough meat and vegetables. It can be vegetarian or not. Stuffing is made up of stale bread, just enough broth to moisten the bread, and various other things, depending on what you have on hand.

This recipe does involve a lot of chopping if you choose to chop your own bread. You may want to chop up your stale bread in a day or two in advance if you are making a big batch. Alternatively, you can keep a container of chopped stale bread in the freezer, and add to it whenever you end up with a stale heel of bread. Then you will have chopped stale bread ready to go whenever you make stuffing. See recipe # to make stale bread.

Don't worry about measuring your ingredients when making stuffing! And don't worry about having specific ingredients. Want to use minced broccoli and leftover Baked Chicken #? Sure, why not​! It might be good served as a main course, topped with grated cheddar cheese.

The following make a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing:

stale bread #, cut into pieces, or pre-cut bread cubes from the store
chicken stock #, vegetable broth, or other broth or stock
sausage, cooked (optional) #
butter, or sausage grease
celery, chopped
onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
egg (optional)
(optional) other spices, such as Lemon Pepper or Parisian Bonnes Herbes #.

You can add other things to this stuffing, and/or omit ingredients. Here are some other ideas you can try: ground turkey and dried sweetened cranberries; cooked breakfast sausage, celery, and parsley; pecans, pear, and raisins; cooked Italian sausage, garlic, and apple.

How much stuffing do you want to make? Pick out a mixing bowl that is about as large as the batch of stuffing that you would like to make. Start by filling it halfway with bread cubes. The rest will be filled with other things. Add extra vegetables as you go to build up the quantity of stuffing that you want. Onion and celery are particularly good fillers, because they taste good with almost any other ingredient that you might want to add.

In a pot that is large enough to hold all of the stuffing, break up the sausage, and cook it on medium heat until it has browned. (If the sausage is made of turkey or chicken, add a little oil to the pan first to keep it from sticking.) Once the sausage has browned, add chopped onion and celery, and stir them over the heat until the onion looks translucent.

At this point, if the pot doesn't contain a few tablespoons of grease from the sausage, then add a few tablespoons of butter. For a medium to large batch, add a half stick or more. Then add everything else except the egg and broth. Pour in the broth a bit at a time, stirring gently, until the bread is moist, but not soggy. Taste the stuffing, adding more salt and pepper and sage and optional spices as necessary.

Now you have a choice. You can either heat the stuffing right there in the pot until it is warm, and serve it as it is. Or you can beat an egg or two, stir the egg into the stuffing, and then bake the stuffing in a casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or longer. If possible, use a probe thermometer. The baked stuffing will be done when the interior reaches 160.

Do not bake stuffing in the cavity of a chicken or turkey, because it is easy to undercook stuffing in a bird, and undercooked stuffing inside of a bird will be contaminated with undercooked meat juices.

Pumpkin Pie

More experienced cooks will want to try their hand at home-made pie crusts, but if you are new to cooking, store-bought pie crusts make this recipe “as easy as pie”. This recipe works just fine with canned ingredients, but you can also use fresh.

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, or an uncooked home-made pie crust
1 15-oz can of pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato, or about 2 cups of Baked Squash # or Mashed Root Vegetables # that have been pureed or mashed.
1 12-oz can of evaporated milk, or 1 ½ cups milk, or 1 ½ cups cream, or a combination of cream and milk
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spices #

Of the pie crust is the sort that unfolds, rather than the kind that comes in a disposable aluminum pie pan, then follow the directions on the box for thawing the dough, and place it in a 9-inch pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 425. Beat together all of the ingredients except for the pie crust. Put the pie crust on a cookie sheet. (This will make it easier to put the filled crust in the oven without spills.) Pour the wet pie filling into the crust, and put it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, and then turn the oven's temperature down to 350. Continue to bake for another 40 or 50 minutes. The pie is done when a sharp knife stuck in the center of the pie comes out mostly clean. Let the pie cool at room temperature for up to two hours. Then serve at once, or refrigerate the pie.

No comments:

Post a Comment