Holiday Recipe Request

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moira finnie
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Holiday Recipe Request

Post by moira finnie »

Okay, gang, as everyone who was chagrined to see the Christmas decorations festooned everywhere the day before Halloween knows, the Holidays are almost at our throats again.

In an effort to sidestep the appearance of the dreaded green bean casserole with french fried onions on top on our dining table again, could you please share any tried and true or new recipes for the Hols?
Is anyone doing anything "radical" like deep-frying a turkey this year?
Thanks in advance for any ideas.
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Hi Moira!
I would say: why don't you drop the turkey and try another bird? :wink:
I am very fond of guinea fowl. It's got a delicious flavour far more interesting than bland turkey and battery chicken. Get one from the supermarket or your butcher shop, put it in the oven with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put some dollops of butter inside and roast nicely in the oven at medium temperature.
You can serve it with a nice sauce made with morel mushroom. [soak some dried morels in hot water; drain; cut in pieces, and add to boiling cream with some salt & pepper]
I would recommend some sautées potatoes with it (potatoes cut in slices and roasted in a pan with olive oil and butter) and some ( boiled) peas and small carrots. hmmmm....delicious! :P

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Here is the bird! It makes an awful racket but you can forgive this minor defect once it's in your plate! 8)
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Post by klondike »

In the Highlands, in the season of Yule, while the laird was in his keep (or dunn), gobbling his roasted venison, skirlie was what the crofter's wife was making over her peat hearth to feed her brood, up in the braes.
Try it, it's yummy!

Ingredients for Skirlie:
4 oz fat, or 4-5 tablespoons of oil (traditionally any good flavored
dripping, or rendered beef suet would have been used)
2 large, yellow onions, chopped (1/2 finely, 1/2 coarse)
1/4 pint chicken stock
8 oz medium steel-cut oatmeal, lightly toasted
Salt and pepper, season to taste

Directions for cooking Skirlie:
Lightly toast oatmeal (pinhead or steel-cut only, never the "rolled" or porridge kind) in a dry pan over low heat, and set aside; melt the fat or heat the oil in the pan, then add the chopped onion and cook until soft and golden. Mix the toasted oatmeal well into the simmering onion, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock, lower the heat and allow it to be absorbed by the oatmeal. Season well and serve with light creamy mashed potatoes (tatties) or boilt turnips (neeps).
Skirlie may also be used as a stuffing for any kind of game bird or poultry; 'tis also a very nice companion to rich, meaty or gamey stews. Also capital beside cubed beets, or sharing a plate with tripe!
Klondike's recommendation: Wait for a cold, dark, blizzardy night, then enjoy your skirlie while watching any film featuring Donald Crisp; if you've been extra "guid", allow yourself a tipple of Drambuie for dessert.
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Post by Metry_Road »

Ok Klondike, as you seem to be the resident expert on Hibernian cuisine, I need to know if you have a good recipe for 'Scotch Eggs', or 'breakfast in a ball' as my grandmother called them. Haven't had one for years.

The British are not known for their cuisine, but anyone who has visited any part of the British isles and eaten Fish, Chips, Mushy Peas and Gravy from newspaper knows that it is the food of the Gods.

All cooked (of course) in life preserving lard.

Why are my favorite foods so damned unhealthy? it's not fair.

Regards
klondike

Post by klondike »

Just for you, Metry, ol' Chum:

Scotch Eggs

1/2 lb Sausage meat (pork and/or lamb, not too lean)
5 Eggs
Fat or oil, sufficient for deep frying
1 cup Seasoned flour
1 cup Bread crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

Hard-boil 4 of the eggs by placing in a shallow pot of cold water and heating slowly until it starts to simmer. Do not allow water to boil as this will toughen the whites, but keep at this temperature for 30 minutes. Place in cold water; beat remaining raw egg & set aside, then shell all four boiled eggs, once they are quite cold. Dip in seasoned flour, cover with sausage meat, molding firmly, then dip in beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs, pressing crumbs well in. Gently lower into deep fat or oil (375 deg. F.) and fry until golden brown. Drain, and cut in halves (if found intimidating); serve warm or cold, thanking your ancestors.
My Uncle Hollis would argue, annually, that the bread crumbs should have 3-4 oz. of blended Scotch whisky stirred into them before application, but you're certainly free to disregard his advice, just the way my Grammy always did.
jdb1

Re: Holiday Recipe Request

Post by jdb1 »

moirafinnie wrote:Okay, gang, as everyone who was chagrined to see the Christmas decorations festooned everywhere the day before Halloween knows, the Holidays are almost at our throats again.

In an effort to sidestep the appearance of the dreaded green bean casserole with french fried onions on top on our dining table again, could you please share any tried and true or new recipes for the Hols?
Is anyone doing anything "radical" like deep-frying a turkey this year?
Thanks in advance for any ideas.
Image
I'm constantly amazed. What is this onion and green bean thing? I never saw it, never heard of it, until I started seeing commercials for French's canned onions on TV about 10 years ago, showing that ghastly looking thing coming out of an oven, and all the people in the ad oohing and ahhing. Yikes! And ugh, too. Canned onions? Yeccch. I don't know of anyone in Brookyn who would even consider such a concoction. Is this a regional dish? Who eats it? And why?

Anyhoo -- we don't do the turkey thing at home. We usually have our Traditional Big Lasagna meal for Thanksgiving. I make a chopped chuck and crumbled sausage gravy (that's tomato sauce to you uninitiated), fried breaded zuchini, marinated mushrooms and chickpeas, and a salad first course.

I loathe pumpkin pie, and bake a prepared one only if we are having company, since it seems to be expected. Thanksgiving is the one and only time I have coconut custard pie, and I look forward to it, and prepare one in addition to the pumpkin. I haven't baked in ages -- usually use a Mrs. Smith's frozen pie; I think they are pretty good.
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Post by moira finnie »

I'm not sure where the green bean casserole came from originally, but it has been around for decades, and gets a boost in the media at the hols thanks to Durkee & Campbell's (shown below).
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My encounters with this concoction have come from pot luck Thanksgivings, not from my family, but it usually pops up due to intermarriage with "outsiders" who seem to have been weaned on the stuff, often along with sweet potatoes with mini-marshmallows, (shown below, ugh). Hey, we all have our quirks. We like worchestershire on scrambled eggs, for instance.
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So, Judith, since you've described an Italianate Thanksgiving does that mean no turkey graces your table? Do you have a large amount of fish dishes around Christmas and New Year's as many Italian families I know have done traditionally?

Btw, guinea hen sounds yummy, Christine, but is probably not in our budget. Turkey is popular because many of us like it, (and are probably unwittingly addicted to that l-tryptophane stupor that accompanies it), and because locally it can be had for as little as 49¢ a pound! It's mostly the side dishes that tend to vary in quality at these feasts.
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Post by jdb1 »

Eewww, Moira, don't remind me. I don't do fish at Yuletide, because my kid won't eat it.

But I have many unhappy memories of Christmas dinners at my Nonna Angelina's where she made octopus, or maybe it was squid. At any rate, it was awful - she was an awful cook (how sad to have had grandmothers who are not good cooks!). She cut the tentacles or whatever they were into rings, and they were like fishy rubber. I can't even look at those things in a restaurant. You were supposed to put them into your macaroni. Ah, me.
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Post by ChiO »

Ahhh...the memories....
that ghastly looking thing coming out of an oven, and all the people in the ad oohing and ahhing. Yikes! And ugh, too. Canned onions? Yeccch. I don't know of anyone in Brookyn who would even consider such a concoction. Is this a regional dish? Who eats it? And why?
but it usually pops up due to intermarriage with "outsiders" who seem to have been weaned on the stuff, often along with sweet potatoes with mini-marshmallows
Growing up on a Hoosier farm with homegrown canned or frozen vegetables stuffing the freezer, what could we look more forward to than green bean casserole and sweet potatoes smothered with a brown sugar syrup and slathered with marshmallows. That's some fine eatin' for we non-ethnic types in the hinterlands. Mrs. ChiO is horrified when I recount some of the fine country meals.
But I have many unhappy memories of Christmas dinners at my Nonna Angelina's where she made octopus, or maybe it was squid. At any rate, it was awful - she was an awful cook (how sad to have had grandmothers who are not good cooks!).


Give her a break! Making octopodi and calamari so that they don't turn into rubber is an art form -- one I wish I could master. At least my maternal grandmother made the finest main course for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners: walk into the side yard, grab one of her chickens, twist its head off (as I'd run screaming) and boil it for what seemed to be hours upon hours; then boil handmade egg noodles (made from the eggs of the now deceased) in the broth, to be served atop mashed potatoes. I can hear my arteries hardening.

Now that Thanksgiving is with Mrs. ChiO's family, it's standard American fare: turkey stuffed with Greek sausage; tiropita; spanakopita; feta; Kalamata olives; pastichio; roasted potatoes; and, as a tip of the Pilgrims' hats to we "outsiders" in the clan, cranberry sauce from a can (personally, I can't eat that stuff), pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Whaddya want...gyros stuffed with tzaziki?
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
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Post by jdb1 »

ChiO wrote:Ahhh...the memories....

But I have many unhappy memories of Christmas dinners at my Nonna Angelina's where she made octopus, or maybe it was squid. At any rate, it was awful - she was an awful cook (how sad to have had grandmothers who are not good cooks!).


Give her a break! Making octopodi and calamari so that they don't turn into rubber is an art form -- one I wish I could master. At least my maternal grandmother made the finest main course for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners: walk into the side yard, grab one of her chickens, twist its head off (as I'd run screaming) and boil it for what seemed to be hours upon hours; then boil handmade egg noodles (made from the eggs of the now deceased) in the broth, to be served atop mashed potatoes. I can hear my arteries hardening.

Now that Thanksgiving is with Mrs. ChiO's family, it's standard American fare: turkey stuffed with Greek sausage; tiropita; spanakopita; feta; Kalamata olives; pastichio; roasted potatoes; and, as a tip of the Pilgrims' hats to we "outsiders" in the clan, cranberry sauce from a can (personally, I can't eat that stuff), pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Whaddya want...gyros stuffed with tzaziki?
Well, yeah, I was willing to give Nonna a break. But you'd think after 50 or 60 years of cooking the stuff and hearing the complaints, she'd have made an effort to get it right. But no -- not our diminutive Queen of the Passive Aggressive.

But Mrs. C's dinners sounds great. To our family, that's what an American Thanksgiving is -- American and then some, just like us. In the past my mother did the turkey thing, but always enhanced by various nods to our family's various ethnicities and backgrounds, which were either prepared by her or brought by guests.

Hey -- I often put tzaziki on my gyros. You mean you're not supposed to?
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Post by moira finnie »

Hey, this is fun.

Guess we're all "outsiders" to someone! Btw, ChiO, there's an art to keeping that lovely ridged pattern from the can in your side of cranberry. When I first left home for college, I came back and dared to introduce the whole berry canned cranberry stuff to our family holiday. You should've seen the looks the following year when I brought home fresh cranberries and added it to the stuffing as well as making a side dish of it with a dash of ginger and grand marnier as well as orange zest into the cranberries. No can pattern was detectable in the cranberries but you could see the chagrin on my family's faces.

Oh, boy, now I've just remembered a vegetarian-in-law who insisted on bringing a tofurkey (in the "shape" of a turkey of course.) Even the dog wouldn't eat those leftovers.
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Post by jdb1 »

The cranberries in the stuffing is a good tip, Moira. They can really add interest to what in many instances is the blandest part of the meal.

This also reminds me of the year I labored long and hard, and spent a small fortune, to prepare traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my prospective mother-in-law, who, even as she was still walking through the door, blithely announced to me that she didn't eat meat. No one (meaning her son, my beau) had bothered to tell me that. I should have taken a cue from it as to what was in store for me.

In my family, we used to tease my mother about the weeks' worth of turkey-themed meals she would give us after the Big Thursday. It would begin with leftovers on Friday of everything we had eaten Thursday, progress through the weekend into the next week with hot open-faced turkey sandwiches, then on to turkey hash, turkey soup (bones and giblets), and last but not least, turkey foo yong (a/k/a the last little turkey bits in an omelet). Nevertheless, that was far preferable to Nonna's rubber calamari.
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Post by ChiO »

Our multi-ethnic Judith wrote:
But I have many unhappy memories of Christmas dinners at my Nonna Angelina's where she made octopus, or maybe it was squid.
Hey! Sometimes I'm slow (the rest of the time I'm r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w). Christmas. Calamari and/or octopodi. That's one side of the equation. How did the other side deal with trayf? In Chicago -- maybe it's the same everywhere -- I learned that trayf is kosher only if it's in a Chinese dish. But Italian? Not in these here parts.
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Post by jdb1 »

I don't recall ever having any sort of Thanksgiving dinner with the Jewish side of the family. Maybe they just didn't observe it, although my father came to the Italian side dinners when I was very small. I have one interesting memory:

I remember both of my grandmothers lining up raw dumplings on a clean cloth on the dining room table prior to cooking them when company was coming for a holiday. Nonna Angelina had hers configured as ravioli, and Bubbie Sarah had hers configured as kreplach, but there were essentially the same things.

By the way, the best Thanksgiving dinners I can remember were prepared by my Norwegian-American, Minnesota-born stepmother (but no green bean casseroles).

ChiO, do they have the same adage in Chi-Town that they have in NYC? That is, when the shofar sounds to end the Yom Kippur fast at sundown, you must make a beeline for the nearest Chinese restaurant.

Chinese food and Jews: Yes. Chinese food and Italians: Not so much. When New York Italians eat out, at least as families, they still tend to eat in Italian restaurants, which is why there are so very many Italian restaurants here. There are also a great many kosher Chinese restaurants here -- it means no pork or shellfish, but there's still lots on the menu. However, many of us prefer to recognize modern scientific principles of food preparation, and reason that strictures against certain kinds of foods were prompted long ago by health concerns which no longer apply.
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Post by moira finnie »

Okay, guys, this is it. Thanksgiving is almost upon us. My family indulges one passion annually (and sometimes others, but those are private) on Thanksgiving: we love pumpkin pie.

Do you have any great recipes involving canned pumpkin, pie crust and people who crave the divine decadence that is a simple slice of pie? Many thanks in advance...
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