Saturday, November 29, 2008
A culinary recap
I thought I would recap some of the information about the Thanksgiving meal our home served.
Mostly because I took some really sweet pictures!
I mentioned earlier, that I made a make ahead turkey gravy recipe. It was really easy to make and turned out swell! You can go here to save and try the recipe, it is a keeper for next year.
Then came the buttermilk biscuits. Now, I am not sure if it was because of the Depression, (the Great One) or what, but this recipe has only 3 ingredients. My (now deceased) made these biscuits from the time she was in about 5th grade (which, as the story goes, is when she started having to care for her younger siblings because her mom had died) I make they seldom, mostly because it is just Gene and I now and we try not to eat too much bread items. But it is a necessity for the corn bread stuffing recipe I use, which was also her recipe. So, as I was making the biscuits, I thought of how I wish I had gotten to spend more adult time with her and get to know things about her. Some things have been lost. Like she use to make the most wonderful Chicken and Dumplings! I can still hear that stove top pressure cooker hissing along. But I digress...
As you see, they turn out great.
Here is the recipe if anyone is interested.
Grandma Melba's Buttermilk Biscuits
2 C self rising flour *(very important it is self rising)
1/3 C Crisco
3/4 C Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°
Cut Crisco into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk. Stir with fork until blended. Kneed gently about 8 to 10 times. Shape by hand. Place on ungreased sheet close together so that they touch each other. You can let sit for a few minutes to rise or put in oven and bake @ 425° for aprox. 12-15 minutes.
There you have it! Pretty simple, but I can never get them to taste like hers. When we made her write this down...about 35 years ago, she would talk in terms like tea cup and just "some" Crisco. But over the years, I have figured out the amounts but it wasn't easy. I guess the idea is to add more or less of an ingredient based on how the dough feels. If you don't know how it is suppose to feel, then well, you are in trouble.
That was the "cup" she used to measure flour. It was always in the flower bag. I remember finding it and keeping it because it reminded me of her. Then along came eBay and I could put a saucer to the cup! Now it sits in a place of honor on one of my tea cup shelves. Funny thing, but I think that cup use to come in soap boxes! But that is a whole other post.
Everything is ready for the big day! We have our Butterball turkey. Why Butterball? Another thing my mom would always do. Only, she would be sure to buy a hen (which you can't hardly find stuff labeled "hen" anymore) And, she always wanted the prebasted one. But I haven't been able to find those for years. Probably stopped making them. So, I use butterball and either fry it or bake it in the oven bags.
Gene cleans up the turkey, rubs salt into the cavities and prepares the bag.
I the stuffing things together and toss all the "dry" ingredients together. You see, the corn bread and the biscuits have been sitting together for 5 days with nothing but a towel over it to keep the bugs out. (Oh, the lovely fall flies that invade our houses to try and escape the inevitable freeze that is coming) Each day we toss the stuffing mixture.
Then just before the bird goes into the oven, you stuff it with Melba's stuffing. Here I am mixing it all together.
After it is moist, very moist, I put some of the stuffing into another bowl, so I don't contaminate the total with raw turkey juice. I then stuff both cavities of the bird. You have to pin the neck flap closed. After the bird is stuffed, you rub the turkey with butter (or olive oil), we used butter this year. It was delicious! Then into the oven to cook as specified on the bag instructions. Don't use the instructions we know, we called the Butterball hot line one year and asked!
There you have it! Well of coarse there is more that goes into Thanksgiving than that, but who really wants to read all of that? All I knew, is my little family was going to be there in a few hours and we were going to have a great time. I was expecting 3 more people. Small but with lots of love involved.
Grandma Melba's Cornbread Stuffing
3 pkg. Aunt Jemima (the ones with the trays)
1 cookie sheet of buttermilk biscuits (recipe above)
**let sit up crumbled together for several days
6 hard boiled eggs
one onion dice
2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
4 cans chicken broth
Mix all together until moist, add more of anything to acquire the desired outcome. It's not a rigid recipe!
What I do, is when I have stuffed the turkey, I melt a stick of butter and add it to the remaining stuffing then put it in smaller square baking pans. Bake after the turkey is done. This is great for leftovers and for your family members to take home. The butter adds flavor since it wasn't in the bird. I found it really needed something if it wasn't stuffed!
Preheat oven to 425°
Cut Crisco into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk. Stir with fork until blended. Kneed gently about 8 to 10 times. Shape by hand. Place on ungreased sheet close together so that they touch each other. You can let sit for a few minutes to rise or put in oven and bake @ 425° for approx. 12-15 minutes.