Recipes and Stories

28 November 2012: Creamed Turkey on Toasted Dressing

November 28, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving Leftovers, Creamed Turkey, Historical Southern Cooking

Thanksgiving Dinner's Last Hurrah: Creamed Turkey over Toasted Dressing
This is how we polished off the last of the turkey and dressing in my house. Although it’s now too late for your Thanksgiving leftovers, it’s worth keeping on file, especially if you have turkey and dressing at Christmas. And if you should not have any leftover dressing, try it on waffles, biscuits, or just buttered toast. (more…)

21 November 2012: Thanksgiving Lagniappe—Purefoy Cranberry Relish

November 21, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Cranberry Relish, The Purefoy Hotel, Historical Southern Cooking

Purefoy Cranberry Relish
If you’re getting down to the wire with Thanksgiving and don’t have time to make cranberry sauce, but still don’t want to open a can, here’s a quick and simple classic that requires no cooking. If you have a food processor handy, it comes together in five minutes flat—and will keep until Christmas if you keep it well-covered and refrigerated, and use only a clean silver or stainless steel spoon to dip into it. (more…)

21 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving VIII—Damon Lee Talks Turkey (and Dressing)

November 21, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Roasting Turkey, Dressing, Sage and Onion Dressing, Bacon Dressing, Sausage Dressing, Counry Ham and Pecan Dressing

Roasting a Turkey perfectly is no harder than roasting a chicken--it just takes longer
It’s now time to talk about the Thanksgiving cook’s central job: the turkey and dressing. If you haven’t tried to roast a turkey in a year (or have never done it) the first thing to do is relax: a turkey roasts just like a chicken – it just takes longer. Allow plenty of time and remember that it doesn’t have to look like those magazine covers. (more…)

20 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving VII—The Pastry Cook

November 20, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Pastry, Piecrust

The elements of pastry are very simple: low-gluten pastry flour (a good all-purpose will do), a bit of salt, cold butter, an ounce of chilled lard (for tenderness), and ice water to bind it
You’ll notice that up till now there’s been no mention of pastry-making (which I’d normally be doing either today or tomorrow). Happily, thanks to the gentle art of delegation (also known as sweet-talking), someone else is making the pies and dinner rolls.

If, on the outside chance the pie-making still falls in your lap, today is not too soon to make the pastry, (more…)

19 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving VI—Tradition and Oysters

November 19, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Ruth Adams Bronz, Lucy-Mama's Oysters, Oysters, Thanksgiving Traditions

Lucy-Mama's Oysters
This morning my own stock pot came off the pantry shelf and I set to work cleaning and slicing carrots, celery, onions and gingerroot. Deciding to give the broth a little extra color and depth of flavor, I tossed my hoard of turkey wings and necks into a large roasting pan, lightly coated them with oil, and set them to roast in a hot oven (425° F. for about 45 minutes).

While that was going on, (more…)

18 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving Dinner V—The Perfect Mash

November 18, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Perfect Mashed Potatoes, Potato Ricers

Perfect Mashed Potatoes, courtesy of the potato ricer
For some reason, Thanksgiving dinner tends to be a feast of starches: there’s that quintessential dressing/stuffing, yeast rolls, sweet potatoes, flour-thickened gravy, pastry, and often even cake. My own family also had baked macaroni and cheese. And just in case that’s not starch enough, many families throw in mashed potatoes. And what could be better? Fluffy, cloud-like, and meltingly tender, they’re the ultimate comfort on a fork. (more…)

17 November 2012: Mastering Thankgiving Dinner IV--Cornbread and Dressing

November 17, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Dressing, Cornbread Dressing, Cornbread

Cornbread the way God Meant it to be: made with no sugar and baked in a cast iron skillet.
Today’s post is late because it’s my birthday, and is about dressing and cornbread because—it’s my birthday, and for this one day I can be personal and frank.

Whoever figured out how to recycle stale bread by seasoning it with herbs and spices, moistening it with broth, and then shoving it into a roasting fowl so that it slowly baked, basting itself in the juices from the bird while it rotated on the spit, is one of those thousands of unsung culinary giants that has been lost to history. But that the idea survives to this day is a testament to its sheer genius, and it’s a shame that they never got due credit. (more…)

16 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving Dinner III

November 16, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Broth, Homemade Broth

It doesn't look like much, but the contents of this pot make all the difference between a good Thanksgiving dinner and a great one.
Today, let’s talk about the foundation on which the entire Thanksgiving dinner will rest: broth.

The most neglected pot in far too many American kitchens is the stockpot. At Kitchenware Outfitters, the kitchenware store where I work and teach, we sell a respectable number of these pots, but inevitably the words “cooking pasta” or “spaghetti sauce” or “chili” or “stew” come up, accompanied by a lot of questions about other possible uses for this tall, relatively narrow pot. (more…)

15 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving Dinner II

November 15, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Cranberry Orange Conserve

Cranberry Orange Conserve with Bourbon
Thanksgiving is just a week away. If you haven’t already started to plan, you need to know that time, as they say, is wasting. You aren’t in trouble yet, but you will be if you wait until next week to start planning and shopping.

Your three greatest weapons are good organization, the practical art of the make-ahead dish, and the fine art of delegation (also known as sweet talking someone into doing something for you). (more…)

14 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving Dinner I

November 14, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner

The Perfect Roasted Turkey is not hard to accomplish. Stay with me and learn! Photography by John Carrington
For the first time in more than a decade of writing for the Savannah Morning News, my November columns will have nothing to do with Thanksgiving. My friend Teri Bell (brave woman) has decided to take on the subject in her Miss Sophie feature.

You’d think I’d be happy: (more…)

4 November 2012: Trout with Rosemary, Ginger, and White Wine

November 4, 2012

Tags: Historical Cooking, Classical Southern Cooking, Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, Karen Hess, Poached Trout

To Boyle a Trout, or Poached Trout Steaks with Rosemary, Ginger, and White Wine. Photo by John Carrington, from Classical Southern Cooking
One of the amusing things about the today’s culinary community is its assumption (or should I say presumption?) that we, being smart, inventive, and modern, have made great strides over the cookery of our past, which was naïve, crude, and, well, just plain archaic and weird.

Someone is naïve, all right, but it’s not the cooks of the past. (more…)