Monday, October 26, 2009

Okay, some of you readers out there are trying to flummox me. And it is working.... Of course, it doesn't take much to confuse me on some subjects; hell, some days on all subjects! I know I have been dwelling on age since my birthday, but that is fading, unlike my age spots. I am dealing with several issues, most age related, but I won't let them do more than temporarily confuse me!
My number one issue is to make a decision on writing a book based on my blog. I am amazed everyday when I read the email concerning my blog and how many people have suggested I turn it into a "cookbook with humor". My creative writing instructor, Mary-Lane Kamberg, has been visiting a brand new baby granddaughter. When she returns, I will discuss the possibility of the cookbook with her. Until then, I will continue on with A Kansan in the Kitchen.

There are so many food subjects for this Autumn/Pre-Holiday season. As you know, I have posted several articles on Christmas baking with my recipes for Christmas cookies. There are more to come, including an article about my favorite Christmas memory. I am sure none of you are surprised to hear it deals with cookies!

Now, with Thanksgiving fast approaching, I feel it is a time for old family recipes; foods that have been on the Johnston/Ogg holiday tables for the last 70 years. When it comes to holiday foods, not much changes. Oh sure, we occasionally throw in a new recipe just to try it out. It may appear for a year or two, but then fades away But those recipes and foods of our childhood will remain with us forever.
In my cookbook class, I try to direct my students to having at least a section on The Holidays, complete with not only recipes, but family stories. Some students have compiled entire cookbooks of recipes, stories, traditions and photographs. Do you realize what an important tool such a book is for passing your family history down for generations to come? Not to mention what a great Christmas gift it would be for your siblings!

So, here we are, a month out from Thanksgiving. I suppose I should start with the subject of turkey.

As a firm believer of the Slow Foods movement and an ardent fan of the local chapter, I talked to the Kansas City Slow Foods Convivium Chairperson, Jasper Mirabile, and asked for his choice of organic, free range turkeys that are now available. He chose a turkey from Frank Reese's Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Lindsborg, Kansas. Frank raises heritage and organic free range turkeys, chickens, duck and geese. A visit to his turkey ranch is a fun day trip from the Kansas City area.Check out Frank's webpage. and Reese's
turkeys are available at Hen House Grocery Stores here in the Kansas City area.
I know they are more costly, but they are truly amazing. Remember the turkey you Grandmother used to put on the table? It was fresh from the farm, no injections, no saline solution to plump it up....just good organic free range turkey. Read about them on line, give it some thought.
So, once you have your turkey, how do you roast it? Or maybe you are a fried turkey fan. Me? I like mine roasted while basting it in butter, stuffed with
Grandmother Ogg's Cornbread Dressing
5 c. crumbled cornbread
1 c. dry bread crumbs
4 1/2 c. chicken stock
3 eggs
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage
Mix cornbread and bread crumbs with the stock. Beat eggs slightly, add milk, salt and pepper. Add to bread mixture. Then add celery, onion and seasoning. Mix well. Bake in well greased pan at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Makes about 8 cups of dressing, enough for a 12 to 14 pound turkey.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. (Use giblets and neck to make broth for gravy, if desired.) Rinse and dry turkey. Fill neck and body cavities of turkey with stuffing.
Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in open roasting pan. Brush skin with melted butter. Roast turkey about 4 hours, basting bird occasionally in beginning hours of cooking and frequently during the last hours. Cover bird with tent of heavy duty foil the last few hours of roasting. When turkey is tender, transfer to large platter; let rest 15 minutes before carving. Spoon some stuffing from body cavity into serving dish. Garnish turkey platter with celery leaves if desired. Serves 12.
As a side dish, may I suggest
Ginger-Glazed Carrots

8 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices (4 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine or apple juice
2 teaspoons margarine
1 teaspoon dry ground ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar

Cook all ingredients except lemon juice and brown sugar in 10 inch skillet over medium heat 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated. Reduce to medium-low.
Stir in lemon juice and brown sugar. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are glazed.

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