The house has been very “seasonal” lately, and I don’t mean just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Blount Today does a special recipe section every year, so I have been cooking and baking and getting things ready for this year’s special section.
The first year we concentrated on Christmas goodies. Last year, we prepared side dishes to go with ham, beef and pork. This year, we’re taking on all 12 months of 2009!
In the Kitchen 2009 will feature a special recipe for every month, geared to either a special happening during that month or simply a recipe that “fits” with the month at hand. We are offering a Baker’s Dozen recipes, as we go from December 2008 through December 2009.
This special section is slated to run either Dec. 4 or Dec. 11, depending on the upcoming printing schedule. Don’t miss it! The recipes are a combination of tried-and-true, plus some jewels from classic Southern Living cookbooks, plus family favorites.
A good November recipe is the tradition Molasses Cookie, which hawks back to the days when molasses was the main ingredient for making things sweet. These spiced cookies are great with a glass of milk or a cup of hot tea.
Also a part of this week’s In the Kitchen is publisher Sherri Gardner Howell’s recipe for Thanksgiving Dressing. It was her mother’s recipe, and she tells you all about it in the Dear Readers column on page A23.
3/4 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups plain self-rising flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
In a medium bowl, mix melted margarine, sugars and egg until smooth. Stir in molasses. Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and blend into molasses mixture. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
Roll out dough into walnut size balls and roll them in white sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Tops will crack.
Frances Gardner’s Thanksgiving Dressing
2 pans cornbread
10 buttermilk biscuits
1 large yellow sweet onion, chopped
2 large white onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Rubbed sage, salt and pepper to taste
2 to 2 1/2 quarts rich chicken broth
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
Let corn bread and biscuits cool, then finely crumble them into a large bowl. Reserving 1/2 cup of chopped white onion, sauté remaining yellow and white onion in butter until translucent. Sauté celery until translucent.
Add cooked onions and raw onions and celery to bowl. Add salt, pepper and rubbed sage to taste. Beat eggs with fork and stir into dressing.
Start adding the chicken broth a cup at a time. This is the tricky part. Keeping adding broth and stirring until dressing is soupy, resembling the consistency of oatmeal before it is cooked. If you get it too soupy, it takes forever to cook. Not soupy enough, and it’s dry.
Now add what my mother simply called the “Secret Ingredient.” She says it kept the dressing from “packing down.”
In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, add baking powder to buttermilk and stir. As it foams up, pour at least half into the dressing and swirl it around. You can pour the whole thing, but don’t get your dressing too thin.
Generously grease an extra large pan or two large pans with butter. Pour dressing into pans until almost to top. Dot the top with butter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees until golden on top and “set up.” Don’t overcook it. It’s meant to be spooned, not cut.
It’s best eaten straight from the oven. It can be partially cooked and then frozen, but you may need to add more broth so it doesn’t dry out.