And… Another Fine Mess

We’ve enjoyed these stuffed sweet potatoes so much that we look around for different things to stuff them with.  Thanksgiving leftovers work pretty well.  This one has turkey, dressing, cranberries, and gravy.


DSC_1595 (1600x1060)I suppose I should open with the Christmas Dinner – the rib roast worked out nicely for us and I’m tickled because it was my first time doing one.  We followed, loosely, the Serious Eats recipe, including the ox tail in red wine for the jus.  I’m a little bummed, I made a nice dressing to go with this and left it, forgotten, in the basement fridge until too late.DSC_1603 (1600x1060)I went ahead today and cooked it, I’ll portion it out and freeze it, then vacuum seal it for later.  It, too, is a recipe from the Serious Eats folks.  I had even used my own patio grown sage for the seasoning:20151224_085628[1] (1600x1060)I picked a paper sack full of leaves from the container plant and let them dry atop the freezer, a nice out of the way spot that stays warm due to the heat exchange system built into the walls of the box.  The food processor made short work of them, reducing the sackful to the not-quite-powder that they label as “rubbed sage” in the retailer’s spice rack.ginger sewing help (1600x1060)Mrs J took a snap of Ginger this afternoon, and it got me to searching for the pictures we took of him and his siblings right after they had been dumped at the neighbor’s house:DSC_4288 (1600x1060)This was taken in October of 2013, they are Ginger’s litter mates but Ginger isn’t among them, we didn’t capture him until 3 or 4 days later – he had evaded the initial round-up.  Mrs J took him to our vet for an evaluation and the vet tech said he hadn’t had anything but grass and leaves to eat for a while.  DSC_1591 (1600x1060)Here’s a ham and Swiss on rye, lightly grilled.  I have a nice beef top round brining in the basement and I wanted to try a couple of rye bread recipes in the machine.  This was a light rye with caraway seeds.  Should be perfect for the corned beef-to-be.20151217_155035 (1600x1060)I mentioned in a post this spring that a neighbor bought a couple of swans they were going to raise along with the goats they’ve been keeping.  I was driving past their place when I looked out the window at the goats browsing on their pond dam and had to do a double take – those swans are nearly as big as the goats!DSC_1598 (1600x1060)Here’s a different angle on that rib platter.  Mrs J is wishing we had bought another one to put back, this one was so good.

T-day Rehearsal Dinner

DSC_7344 (1600x1060)We have been deciding on a Thanksgiving dinner menu and have it set, mostly.  Nothing here will be a part of the dinner save for a cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce.  The dressing was a trial run, I think it will work out.  It has homemade cornbread and was good but I think I may go half and half with white bread next time because the cornbread was a tad crumbly.  On the plate tonight are braised chicken thighs, the dressing, mushroom gravy, corn, cranberries from a can, and ciabatta rolls with garlic butter.

The big day will see a table groaning under a roasted turkey, dressing, garlic mashed white potatoes, pecan praline sweet potato casserole, huge fresh baked dinner rolls, a tub of gravy, scratch made cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and Mrs J’s Famous Pumpkin Pie.

Sammich Pr0n – Pastrami

DSC_7195 (1600x1060)Getting to the end of the last pastrami I made recently.  It was scratch built from a beef brisket, we corned it per Alton Brown’s recipe and then smoked that for a while, and then steamed it across the finish line.  This sammich has farmer’s cheese and ‘kraut and Catalina dressing in lieu of Russian or thousand island.  This isn’t the fresh, soft farmer’s cheese, it has a little age to it so it can be sliced.  The fresh stuff is spreadable.

Sourdough Boudin Sausage Dressing

This just happened by pure accident.  I was dicing some sourdough buns that were going stale for scattering out at the bird feeder in the back yard when it struck me that this sure looked like a good start on a dressing, and the Big T-Day dinner is fast approaching.

I considered cooking some chicken as I was digging through the big freezer when I came across what surely is my last package of boudin sausage from that Cajun Grocer place I’ve linked to before.  This “sausage” is not sausage as you may envision.  I’ve seen it described as “rice stuffing with its own gravy” and that is actually a good description.  Take it out of its casing and it falls apart.  dump those parts into some chicken broth and you have a creditable gravy, instantly.

Anyway, the way forward was clear.  I chopped some celery and an onion and started it cooking in a pan with some butter, adding minced garlic as it warmed up.  I broke apart two links of the boudin and added those with some chicken broth and simmered it a little, adding some fresh rosemary and thyme and some sage.

Tossed all of that with the cubed sourdough and baked it in a greased casserole for about 45 minutes at 350 until the top browned a little.  While that was baking I made the gravy as described, with some corn starch slurry added to thicken it somewhat.  Lovely way to start the morning, I feel so…frugal!  (h/t to our pal across the water)

Mmm…Roast Chicken

Slathered the bird with a butter/EVOO garlic herb sauce, under the skin and on it.  Roasted the bird on a bed of dressing.  I thought it a fair idea but the chicken grease (and all that butter and oil) turned it into a greasy slop.  I put the dressing under the broiler for a while to try to crisp the top some and that helped a little.  I managed to eat a spoonful without gagging.  The chicken was great!

Roasted some cauliflower while the chicken rested and made a lemony butter sauce (beurre blanc) that worked very well on the veggies and on the chicken.


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