December 6, 2017 10:37:04 AM
Anne Freeze -
If I had to sum up the last two weeks in one word it would be "turkey." We ate the last turkey and dressing sandwich on Monday, and I already pine for more.
We had our Thanksgiving Day meal with new neighbors and their family in Curry, Alabama, where our lake cabin is. The next day we drove back to Columbus for a wonderful, warm and merry Thanksgiving leftovers party. My friend, Bob, noted to me that I left it off of the list of using up leftovers and I need to rectify that omission. Invite your friends over on the day after a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, and ask that they bring leftovers: side dishes, desserts, maybe an appetizer (someone brought home-smoked duck breast served on a Ritz cracker with pepper jelly), or even some of that 23-pound turkey. You provide beverages and have plates, etc. and serving pieces ready.
I really, really wanted to cook a turkey breast and the Segrest dressing pones, and Terry indulged me. So the Monday after Thanksgiving we had our turkey breast, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans and the small can of LeSeur peas. I let the breast air-dry in the refrigerator overnight and then patted it dry some more. I then slathered soft butter mixed with salt and pepper under the skin and cooked it at 325 F for an hour and a half, turning up the heat to 450 at the end to brown it.
The dressing was crumbled cornbread, biscuits (I made one very large cream biscuit and let it sit a day to dry out), sauteed onions and carrots, and turkey broth made from removing the backbone from the breast and cooking it with aromatics. Liberal salt and pepper were thrown in, as well as pan juices from the turkey breast and a beaten egg. Then I scooped large spoonfuls onto a greased pan. They were about the size of a large cookie, but oval. I cooked them at 350 for about 30 minutes. Perfection.
Gadgets and goodies
I succumbed to advertising pressure and bought an Instant Pot several months ago. So far, I've made 2 cups of rice in it. That's it, but the rice was perfect. I hope to up my game over the next month. I did cook some dried red beans to add to chili, and it was quicker, but it still took almost an hour.
With the weather finally cooling, hearty soups and stews are what I'll try to master first. I made a yummy cauliflower cheese soup from leftover cauliflower that wasn't such a hit on the crudites platter I took to the neighbor's feast. I had already steamed them a little for the veggie platter, so I just warmed them in chicken stock, pureed them and made a light roux with cream, which thickened the soup. The addition of cheddar and pepper jack was perfect. Terry hardly knew it was cauliflower.
Let's see, another "no recipe" dish I made was to take the leftover spinach dip from a restaurant and make it better. It was gloppy and bland to begin with so I added lots of cheese, chopped artichokes and leftover lemon Parmesan dip (from the crudites platter), along with sauteed onion. That didn't last long.
And I made pocketbook rolls for the first time. Yay me! They looked like someone had inflated them to bursting instead of the dainty little rolls I remember from home. But my dough did rise, which thrilled me. I just fell short in the last few steps. I will try again because there is no reason I shouldn't know how to do these.
When I had my food shop and catering business we had a cook, Merv, who was adamant that our business would not serve frozen rolls at parties, no matter how decent they were. He could knock out hundreds of yeast rolls in minutes with his Popeye-like arms. So if Merv can do it, I can do it. All I want is a dozen. Below is the recipe I used from Craig Claiborne.
I am looking for a recipe for macaroni and cheese that uses eggs -- another childhood memory. Please send to me if you have one.
3 dozen (mine only made 18)
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
Salt to taste, if desired
2 packages granular yeast (he says this is 1 tablespoon, but it is more)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
5-6 cups sifted flour
Melted butter for brushing rolls
(Source: Craig Claiborne recipe, from Anne Freeze)
CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SOUP
16-20 ounces frozen cauliflower or the equivalent fresh
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cream (light, heavy or half-n-half)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Thickening (if desired)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water