Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Famous Stuffing

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which for me means getting dressed, watching the Macy's day parade, and eating lots of yummy food with my family. Despite the controversy surrounding this holiday I still can't help but get excited. I hold no illusions that Thanksgiving is representative of a culturally diverse meal shared in the first November of a young America. I'm well aware of the blood that stains our history. However, seeing as all of that took place many years before I was born and banging my head on a rock now will not erase time I choose to enjoy the holiday for what I feel it represents in the modern world, togetherness, family, thankfulness, and the wonders of seasonal vegetables, turkey, and assorted side-dishes.

This year we're going to my parent's for the feast, but don't think that means I would give up cooking. I'm bringing a pumpkin pie and my famous homemade stuffing, although when it's not in the bird I believe it's called dressing. My husband could live off of the stuff. I made it for the first time for my husband when we first met (long story) and he's been in love with it and me ever since. This year I decided to photo log the stuffing making process and share it with everyone.
My stuffing started on Tuesday with bread (I know, big surprise) It really doesn't matter what bread you use, so use what you like. I've used a different type of bread literally every time I've made this stuffing. This year we chose 2 packages of King's Hawaiian Savory Butter Rolls.
First I cube the bread then I spread it out on a cookie sheet and season it with pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley. After it's been seasoned I bake it in a 300 degree oven until some of the pieces are brown. Some, not all. After it's baked I let it cool completely and I bag it up for the next day.
The day after I've prepared the bread I put the stuffing together. I dice 2 stalks of celery, 1 large carrot, 1 yellow onion, about 5 large button mushrooms, and mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. This delicious mixture gets seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence (my all time favorite herb blend) and sauteed in a TBSP of butter.. delicious golden butter.
After the veggies are sauteed until tender and set aside I brown up a pound of Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage. Nothing else will do, I use the same brand and type of sausage every year, I feel remiss that I didn't take a picture of the package. I love it that much and yes I'm aware it is a sickness.
After the sausage is browned and I've finished my mantra reminding myself not to nibble on it  I break out the dried bread cubes from the day before and into the giant mixing bowl they go.
Then in goes the veggies, sausage, and a 32 ounce box of chicken broth. The amount of chicken broth used is really up to whoever is making the stuffing but if you're making this keep in mind that if it's too moist it turns to mush and if it's too dry it won't hold together properly.
After it's all well mixed I tip it into a greased baking dish (the crayon on the table is of course optional). This is for tomorrow so I covered it with tinfoil and put it in the fridge. Tomorrow it'll be put in a 350 degree oven until the edges are nice and toasty and the middle isn't soggy anymore.
I hope you enjoyed the journey of my stuffing and to all who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Madness

I love squash. I love, acorn, and butternut, and pumpkin and far too many others for me to list them right now. Just after Mabon I get this itch for Pumpkin, I could eat it all the fall long with and in everything (and usually do), pumpkin bread, cookies, pies, bars, soups, casseroles, and just by itself with salt, pepper, butter, and a pinch of brown sugar.

Yesterday we went a bit Pumpkin crazy. I bought a humongous pumpkin for carving and unfortunately due to my husbands work schedule we just never got around to carving it. Well there was no way I was letting that giant ten dollar beauty go to waste, so we cooked it. I had cooked a sugar pumpkin a few weeks before and figured it would be just as easy, WRONG. I think each half of the pumpkin took about 2 hours in the oven minimum. By 10:00 last night all of it was finally cooked, scooped pureed and bagged. So for ten dollars I ended up with 14 cups of pumpkin puree. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.
It occurred to me after the pumpkin was cooked (isn't that how it always is) that I should have take a picture of our lovely. So here's someone else's picture of a beautiful pumpkin.