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Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Month of Sundays: Part 1

Last Sunday, Kacey, Thuy, and I sat down for coffee, without our children. This was a major accomplishment as something like this has not occurred for about three years (or since before we had children.) The cause for such a momentous occasion? We were determined to have a focused discussion on how to achieve world domination through our blog.

In the week since that conversation occurred, the book deal has not materialized nor have we broken into the Technorati top 10 (or top 1000 for that matter). However, during our coffee house chat, we did come up with an idea for a series of posts during the month of November focusing on our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. We agreed that every Sunday this month, we'll post some of our tried and true formulas for side dishes, desserts, and the almighty bird.

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday...food, family, food, football, food, fun festive hats, and, yes, more food. Since we missed posting our food finds last week, we offer a few extra this Sunday. Enjoy!

Creamed Corn
Serves 12

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
8 cups frozen or fresh white and yellow corn kernels
½ cup sour cream
1½ cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons quick-cooking grits
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup (packed) coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup (packed) coarsely grated White Cheddar cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add butter to pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion; saute until light golden and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add corn; saute 5 minutes. Add milk, sour cream and whipping cream; bring to boil. Gradually stir in grits and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer creamed corn to prepared dish. (Corn can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake corn uncovered for about 45 minutes.

Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing
Serves 10-12

1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms*
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced, stems removed (Use any variety/combination of mushrooms that you can find. We have tried shiitakes, oysters, portobellos, bella, and buttons and had great success with all.)
1 pound sausage, casings discarded (Any type of sweet or spicy Italian sausage works well.)
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 8-ounce French-bread baguettes, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock

Combine 1 1/2 cups hot water and dried porcini in small bowl. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to work surface; chop finely. Pour mushroom soaking liquid into small bowl, leaving any sediment behind, and reserve.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; saute 10 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and porcini mushrooms. Cook until almost all wine evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover mushroom mixture and porcini soaking liquid separately and chill. Reheat mushroom mixture to lukewarm before continuing.) Transfer mixture to very large bowl.

Mix bread into mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper; mix in egg.

(Note: Although you may bake the stuffing inside the turkey, we recommend not doing so. Try baking the stuffing separately and be awed by its wonderful goodness.)

To bake stuffing in dish: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add enough reserved mushroom soaking liquid to stuffing to moisten (3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups). Depending on how moist/dry you prefer your stuffing, add an additional 1 to 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 40 minutes.

* Dried porcini mushrooms are available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores, and many supermarkets.

Cranberry Sauce
Makes 3 1/2 cups

1 2/3 cups ruby Port
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
8 dried figs, stemmed, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar

Combine first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Discard rosemary. Mix in cranberries and 3/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to bowl; chill until cold. (Cranberry sauce can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6-8

2 to 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), baked or boiled, still warm
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup bourbon or similar whiskey
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
About 1/2 of a bag (or more!) miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a medium-size baking dish.

Peel the sweet potatoes, if needed. In a large bowl, mash or whip the potatoes with the butter. Add the remaining ingredients, except the marshmallows, mixing until well incorporated.

Spoon the potatoes into the baking dish. Scatter as many marshmallows over the potatoes as humanly possible. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until heated through to the ooey-gooey stage. Serve warm.

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forever folding laundry said...

Those look great...thanks ladies! And that creamed corn? Ummm...butter, whole milk, sour cream, whipping cream, and THREE kinds of cheese??!!!? I'm feeling lightheaded. Yum.

*MARY* said...

I'm always on the look out for great recipes, thank you.
Oh, and I wish you all the best on your attempt to take over the world; you seem like nice ladies.

Susannah said...

um, yum.

i am so excited...am i right or have i enjoyed a few of these recipes before??

francesca, any chance you remember the yummy ice cream topping you made a few (ok, maybe like 6) years ago? i doubt it but i have dreamed of it many a time since. it was kind of like crumbled chocolate chip cookies but more caramel-y or toffee-like and AMAZING. if so...i request a blog entry recipe...

as usual, i love your blog. keep it up ladies!

jen aka mommay said...

I keep saying I'm going to add sausage to my stuffing...maybe this year I will!


wendy said...

glad you three has some 'alone' time.