I cook a big meal twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That’s it. The rest of the year meals are simple and easy to fix. I’m a busy girl, after all.
As a result, I take those two meals seriously. We prefer turkey for our holiday feasts and I always order a fresh Amish bird from down the road at The Country Smokehouse, a phenomenal place to get all kinds of fabulous foods, BTW.
The cornerstone for our holiday meals is the stuffing. One of the true benefits of having moved around the country so much is that you tend to pick up the local favors, so to speak. The year we lived in Houston, New Orleans was a favorite vacation destination. Then we actually got to live there for a year. It had a big influence on my cooking. I guess you could say I cook in an eclectic blend of Pacific Northwest, California cuisine, and Cajun styles.
So, my stuffing has evolved over the past 25 years into a work of culinary art. Here is what went in ours today;
– Pepperidge Farms Herbed Seasoned white and wheat cubed stuffing mix.
– The last three slices of some 8-grain bread I had.
– Caramelized onions & toasted pine nuts.
– An apple.
– Pecans (because I had them).
– Dates (see above).
– Brown & wild rice blend (cooked).
– A handful of dried vegetable soup blend from Whole Foods (this is good added to everything).
– Andouille – a very spicy Cajun sausage.
– Crawfish (headless and de-shelled. We aren’t really Cajun).
– Lots of fresh ground pepper, poultry seasoning, sage, and cayenne pepper.
I think that is everything I put in. After it was all in the oven I realized I’d forgotten mushrooms. Oh well, there is always the Christmas turkey – which will be smoked this year.
Mashed potatoes and gooey string beans won’t be on the table but a bevy of roasted veggies will; brussels sprouts, yam, fingerling potatoes and onion. We are traditional about some things, lots of turkey gravy and the pumpkin pie is pretty much just like everyone else’s – unless our daughter is home to make it, then it is extra good. I think she has a secret ingredient or two.
This year I’m feeling a little adventurous though, our salad is going to involve a baked pear, baked banana, pecans, and a reduced brandy sauce. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US family and friends. We wish we could all be at the same table!