December 13, 2009

Thanksgiving #2

Last night, we went over to my friend Claire's house to celebrate Thanksgiving #2. Rather than post an explanation for the who, what, when, where, and how of Thanksgiving #2; here is a link to Claire's blog to give you all the details:

Thanksgiving #2

My contribution to last night's festive holiday meal, was my mom's versions of Sausage Dressing and Candied Sweet Potatoes. I would love to post recipes for both these dishes, but there are no recipes. No measurements at all. Both dishes are something that you do by sight and intuition. That is how my mom learned and that is how she taught me. Directions like, "add chicken stock until the dressing is wet...but not TOO wet" is what I am talking about. How do you translate that into a recipe???? I am not sure. Sigh. It is all very vague. I have always planned dissect each recipe and write down exactly what I am doing, but yesterday was not that day. So, I think I will post the general idea of each recipe so at least something is recorded. As it stands, there isn't even that right now. It is all verbal and by memory. I want to at least try to record something, so here it goes...

Mom's Sausage Dressing (Stuffing)

equal parts of sage sausage and hot sausage (I used a 1/2 lb. of each for last night's dish)
1-2 onions, diced
4-5 stalks of celery with leaves, diced
1 loaf of white sandwich bread
1 loaf of wheat sandwich bread
salt and pepper to taste
chicken stock to taste
poultry seasoning to taste
dried sage to taste
1 or 2 eggs, beaten
cooking spray

Toast all bread in oven on both sides. Tear toasted bread into bite sized pieces, into a large bowl. In a large skillet, saute onions and celery with a big pinch of salt; until onions are translucent but still firm. Add sausage, making sure to break up large chunks with the back of a wooden spoon. When sausage is no longer pink, mixture is done. Add to bread pieces. Season with salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning to taste. Add beaten egg(s). Add chicken stock until mixture is wet (but not too wet) and mush with your hands until all bread is incorporated into the mixture. Adjust seasoning if needed (yes, you have to actually taste it at this point to figure out if you need more seasoning). Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray, and add the dressing to the dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven until top of dressing is toasted, but bottom is still a little moist (keep checking until the desired effect is achieved...about 1/2 hour or so).

Jen's Notes:
Quantities of ingredients need to be adjusted, depending on the size of the crowd you are feeding. For example, I only used a loaf and a half of bread and a pound of sausage for last night's dinner that fed 6 adults and 3 kids.


Mom's Candied Sweet Potatoes

2-4 red yams (not really sweet potatoes, but that is what we call 'em)
allspice to taste
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg taste
cloves to taste
ginger to taste
salt to taste
brown sugar to taste
maple syrup to taste
1-2 Tablespoons of butter, cut into pea sized pieces
mini marshmallow for topping
oil (such as grapeseed)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cube yams into bite sized pieces. Place cut yams onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with a little bit of oil. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Toss with clean hands until everything is well coated. Bake until yam pieces are soft (but not too soft).

Take the yams out of the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray and scrape all the cooked yams (and all the leftover contents of oil/spices that are on the sheet pan) into the casserole dish. Add additional salt to taste. Dot butter pieces on top. Add about a small handful of brown sugar. Drizzle maple syrup on top. Toss with hands or a wooden spoon, so everything is well coated. Top with enough marshmallows to cover the top. Bake at 350 degrees until all the marshmallows on top are puffy and nicely toasted.

Jen's Notes:
Again, everything is approximate and quantities need to be adjusted based on how many people you are serving.

The Result:
I forgot to take photos again; but Claire got some, and was nice enough to share. The only negative thing that happened is that I found out that the sweet potatoes don't travel very well. By the time we got to Claire's house, my marshmallow top totally deflated and looked kinda sad. The dish still tasted good, but looked better fresh from the oven. Overall, the food and company was fantastic and Thanksgiving #2 was soooo much fun!!!!

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