Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine for November

 

November 1, 2018



Holiday Cooking

Cooking shows on the Food Network have gone the way of music videos on MTV. You do not watch music videos on MTV. The cooking shows on the Food Network are becoming reality based and competition shows. There is very little instructional material or recipes that are useful. The cooking shows on the Food Network are also getting bad reviews. Do a search on GOOGLE for reviews of the Food Network and you will see the same complains I have. I do watch cooking shows on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, but not as much as I use to. I have found great “shows” on You Tube and on other channels like Z Living. If you stream your TV and have ROKU or another streaming service, many obscure channels produce and show off-the-wall shows and occasionally you will find a gem. I like the show “Dish the Fish” on ZLiving. An interesting and informative show on Netflix is Salt Fat Acid Heat. I am hooked on the series “Chef’s Table” on Netflix. The series focusses on world-class chefs and shows the passion, imagination and talent each have as they re-define what it takes to make it to the top of their field. You develop a different idea or outlook about food.

With the holidays coming in November and December, we need to get back to the real world of cooking and feeding yourself and/or your family. In past articles, I have included tips and recipes to help you with your holiday meals. The main meal on Thanksgiving Day will take up much of your time and energy. However, the holidays also bring friends and family together. They need your attention while visiting and you need to feed them! Therefore, I am including recipes that will lessen the stress and time needed to keep the masses happy. This recipe will easily feed the guests breakfast on turkey day.

The oven is heating the main meal of the day and the burners on the stove have every pot in the house on them. Hand each visitor to the kitchen in search of nourishment one of these and show them to the microwave. This breakfast meal can be prepared weeks in advance and ready to eat in minutes.

FREEZER BREAKFAST BURRITOS

INGREDIENTS

2 cups frozen tater tots

2 tablespoons of your saved bacon drippings

1-pound breakfast sausage, your favorite brand

Eight large eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup half-and-half

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

One (16-ounce) can refried beans

Eight (8-inch) flour tortillas

One cup shredded cheddar cheese

One cup shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Chopped pickled jalapeno peppers added to taste

Serve with favorite salsa.

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Cook tater tots according to package instructions; set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and crispy, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat, reserving 1 tablespoon in the skillet.

4. Combine the eggs and half-and-half and add to the sausage in the skillet and cook, mixing, until eggs just begin to thicken and no visible liquid remains, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Set aside.

7. Spread beans down centers of tortillas; top with tater tots, sausage, eggs, cheeses, tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro. Fold in opposite sides of each tortilla, and then roll up, burrito-style.

8. Wrap each burrito tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. To reheat, remove foil and microwave for 4-6 minutes, turning halfway.

9. Double recipe if more company is expected or you want a quick breakfast for yourself after everyone is gone.

Adapted from Damn Delicious.

Yield eight servings:

I hope that by the time you read this article, we have had a cool spell. I do not want a cold spell yet. I want to be able to sit on my front porch and enjoy some sunsets before it gets too cold.

In addition, while I am sitting on my porch I would like to enjoy a hot soup. It has been too hot and humid for too long to enjoy a hearty hot soup. Besides a bean and bacon soup, I enjoy this soup. In addition, it is a great “guests are hungry meal”. The recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed the masses.

WHITE BEAN AND CHEDDAR SOUP

INGREDIENTS

One tablespoon of your saved bacon drippings

One cup chopped carrots

One cup chopped celery

One and one half cups chopped onion

Two cloves garlic, minced

Two 32-ounce cartons of chicken stock or broth or vegetable stock

Three 15.5 ounce cans of Great Northern beans, drained

Two cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Half cup sour cream or plain yogurt.

One cup chopped fresh spinach (optional)

PREPARATION

1. In a large pot, sauté the carrots, celery, and onions on medium high heat until onions become soft.

2. Add the stock, beans, and garlic and simmer for twenty minutes.

3. Keep the soup on the stove and on low. Using a hand immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Slowly add the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted. Add spinach and just stir until spinach has wilted.

4. Add yogurt, and mix thoroughly.

5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serves 4+

For the few that do not have a turkey every Thanksgiving, I salute you. I had the pleasure to enjoy goose, duck, brisket, crown rib roast, bone-in-ham, turducken, and lamb for Thanksgiving meals. My sister tells this story about Thanksgiving and me. While living in Virginia, I had two pet ducks, Huey and Dewey. After a short time, the ducks became too big for the backyard, prompting my parents to give them to friends who had a pond. Not much later, the ducks were eating size and our friends brought us one of the ducks prepped for Thanksgiving. I heard my mother say it was a duck and I asked”, Is it was one of mine and are we going to eat it?” My mother told me it was but it was okay to eat because the duck was dead. My response was, “It’s okay along as the duck was dead.” I ate duck that Thanksgiving and I still do not know if it was Huey or Dewey.

If by some chance, you may be feasting on roast pork this recipe is for you. It will replace the common Sweet Potato same old rut found during the holidays. This is a combination of a common fruit served with pork and an underused root vegetable. It can be a side if the ingredients are stirred together or lightly mashed. If well mashed together, it becomes a sauce.

PARSNIPS & APPLES

INGREDIENTS

One pound parsnips, peeled and chopped

One pound apples (cooking) peeled cored and sliced

Butter, half a stick

Pepper, pinch, or two

Pinch each of ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg

PREPARATION

1. Boil the parsnips in water until quite soft.

2. Cook the apples in a separate saucepan with just enough water to wet the pan. Drain the parsnips well and combine with the apples. If used as a sauce, mash the parsnips and apples well, stir in the butter, pepper, and spices, and serve over the pork.

3. Leave the parsnips and apples chunky to serve as a side dish with the pork. Also goes well with roast duck. Try it with turkey.

I decided I should add some tips to help you pick a turkey for Thanksgiving. There are a few questions to ask that could make the difference between a great Thanksgiving dinner and a soon to be forgotten one.

First question:

Should I buy a basted turkey or a natural one?

Injected or Basted Turkeys are the least expensive, and most likely factory-farmed. They are injected with a saline solution and vegetable oils to ensure that they have large and tender breasts. Injected turkeys taste more buttery and spongy compared to the other types of turkeys.

Natural Turkeys are regulated by the USDA by prohibiting growth hormones and antibiotics in the raising of these turkeys. These turkeys have no artificial ingredients or preservatives so their taste and texture is natural. Unlike basted turkeys, natural turkeys can be brined because there is no added salt.

Should I get a turkey that is fresh or frozen?

A fresh turkey has not been chilled below 26 degrees, while a frozen turkey is a turkey that has been frozen. Generally, plan for 24 hours of thawing time per 5 pounds of turkey.

What size turkey should I get?

When choosing a Thanksgiving turkey, you must keep in mind what size turkey to buy. As a rule, you will need 1 pound of bone-in turkey per person, 1 ½ pounds if you want enough for leftovers (because we all know leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving). When shopping for a turkey you should also consider the size of your oven (and the pan to roast the turkey) to make sure it will fit.

Also, remember you may have other items to bake or heat in the oven. Real estate will rapidly disappear. Think what can be cooked in the oven after the turkey is removed to rest.

Here are three days in November you should be in your kitchen for a purpose: to celebrate food.

November 14 is Spicy Guacamole Day

November 17 is Homemade Bread Day

November 28 is National French Toast Day.

 

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