Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

The air outside was chilly as the mood inside grew warmer thanks to the roaring fire in the fireplace, the aroma of the turkey cooking in the oven and the free-flowing wine. The meal was extraordinary; this holiday is always Keith's day to truly shine in the kitchen. We relied on what has become our annual favorite menu: Emeril's brined turkey as well as his detailed but oh-so-delectable Green Bean Casserole, Helen's(Keith's Mom) Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Bread, Cranberry Salad and Pumpkin Pie and finally, my personal highlight: Paula Deen's Old Country Stuffing. I'm including the recipe at the end of this post....I can't imagine the holiday without it at this point. One returning gem this year was the Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie from the King Arthur Flour cookbook. Six years ago, K and I lived in an apartment in Westport and he made this pie but damned if either one of us could remember it's exact origin, so we hadn't had it since. I found it marked in the book recently and that amazing pie made it's welcome return this year.






My thoughts today were often occupied with memories of Thanksgivings past with Dad. As I watched Keith's father carve the turkey, I remembered Dad doing the same after he had led us in "saying Grace". His prayer would never fail in thanking all of us for joining him and thanking Mom for preparing what was always a wonderful meal. Today, my sister joined my Mom at her assisted-living facility for their Thanksgiving dinner. Mom has been quite stalwart since Dad's passing but today she was a bit subdued as it was the first holiday without him.

This year, we were blessed to have Kim, Dave and the kids join us for Thanksgiving for the first time in several years. A first for the family this year: following the prayer, we each spoke of something we were thankful for....mine was the gratitude I felt for all of us being together again and for the family's graciousness towards me during this difficult year.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal and shared memories and hearty laughter with loved ones.....just don't forget to take a minute to give thanks.





Paula Deen's Old Country Stuffing


Ingredients

  • 2 loaves oven-dried white bread (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 sleeve crushed saltines
  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 stick butter, melted
  • Mushroom Giblet Gravy, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crumble oven-dried bread into a large bowl. Add rice and saltines.

Cook sausage in a large skillet until it starts to brown. Add celery and onion and saute until transparent, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour over bread and rice mixture. Add stock and mix well. Add salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning. Mix well. Add the beaten eggs and melted butter. Mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the stuffing mixture for the Mushroom Giblet Gravy.

Pour stuffing into a greased pan and bake until cooked through and golden brown, about 45 minutes.

4 comments:

bradley stewart said...

Qwang -
I am writing to thank you for being an inspiration in the kitchen! I read your posts quite regularly and am fascinated by the stuff you do dealing with food.
I challenged myself to smoking my first turkey in the good ole Weber charcoal grille. To the surprise of all it turned out awesome.
Thank you for keeping me in the kitchen!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families
Beadley

Confounded Cook said...

Thank you, Beadley...I'm glad you enjoy it and congrats on the turkey!! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Kitten said...

That sounded wonderful. I love the picture of the kitties in the basket too. I thought I'd at least run into you at Barnes, but I guess they didn't need my help this holiday... so when are we going to get to hang out? Let's not wait until Hamburger Mary's and Joan Crawford!

Confounded Cook said...

Hey, Kitten, I hope your Thanksgiving was swell. We will be at Keith's family's next weekend and the following weekend is Joan! I agree we should get together before, though.

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