Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home for the Holidays...

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day with your friends and families. So much to be thankful for that we take for granted each on the table, clothes on our back, roof over our head. Things that not everyone in the world enjoys. Things we should appreciate every day...not just one day a year.

I love turkey. I mean, love it. I eat it almost every day. Turkey sandwiches don't stand a chance around me. So, when it comes to Thanksgiving, I've always been a bit of a contrarian, breaking away from the standard turkey and fixin's. We've had stuffed sole, saddle of monkfish, stuffed pork loin, you name it. But this year, I wanted to do the traditional stuff. I wanted a full day nosh that started with bagels and mimosas in the morning, corn chowder in the afternoon and a feast around 9:00 p.m. (and yes...we ate that late!) of roasted turkey breast, homemade southern dressing, Brussel sprouts with bacon and cranberry chutney.

Here's the feast...and yes, the food's on the floor. We eat on the coffee table, so I spread it out so we could admire it.

The dressing is my mother's recipe. The secret is getting the edges nice and crispy while leaving the inside a wee bit gooey. No stuffing inside the cavity for me (we only had a turkey breast), so I make it on the side. I added my own touch -- a can of mushrooms -- this year, but otherwise, the recipe is Lizanne's if you're interested in trying it:

1 bag Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing
1 bag Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing
3 cans of chicken stock
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
3 eggs
1 cup celery
1 cup onion
1 can of mushrooms (optional)
4 tablespoons butter/margarine
A very large mixing bowl
A large casserole dish

Chop the celery and onions and then saute in the butter/margarine until they're wilted. Then, addd everything together and stir well. It should resemble a very firm pancake batter. Spread in a greased casserole dish and then bake at 325 for an hour and a half. You may want to cover with tin foil towards the end to avoid burning the top.

The other thing I'm most proud of is my cranberry chutney. No canned cranberry here, but instead, a very flavorful, aromatic blend of fruits that fills the house and just smells like the holidays. You should try it for your next holiday meal:

1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Serve with turkey, chicken, roast pork, or ham.

Here it is while it's cooking...

And here's what it looks like when it's done:

You can serve the chutney hot or cold. Watch the wine pairing, however, because the high acidity in the chutney will make wine taste funny. The best wine to pair it with is a Gerwurztraminer(pronounced gah-wurtz-trah-miner.)

Well, there's your culinary lessons for the day! LOL!! I'm so grateful to have friends like you to share my love of cooking with. I'm thankful for the Buzz Girls and how special this blog is. I'm thankful for a great day job, nice co-workers, a wonderful husband who supports me in all I do, the world's best literary agent whom I can't say enough about and my editor and publisher who made my dreams come true!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books


TinaFerraro said...

Loved those recipes and the pictures, as well. Among other things, I'm thankful for people like you who inspire me to cook (and believe me, my family thanks you, too).

And a high five for showing me how to pronounce Gerwurztraminer. (Although being unable to pronounce it has never stopped me from ordering it.) :)


Young Adult Authors said...

Yum, looks like you had an amazing feast, Marley. Thanks for the recipes. :)

stephhale said...

What a wonderful post, Marley. Everything looks delicious. I'm so going to try that stuffing recipe! And you are right, we all have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my adoring and adored husband, my 2 healthy, perfect boys, and the beginning of what I hope to be a long and rewarding career. Oh, yeah, and all my buzzgirls! I'm honored everyday that I was asked to be a part of this blog. Love you girls!

Anonymous said...

that picture of the cat and dog in pilgrim and indian gear is the funniest frickin' thing i've ever seen.