Thanksgiving

My biggest food memory of Thanksgiving is waking up to the smell of onions and celery sautéing for cornbread dressing. My mom always made two pans of cornbread a couple of days before, usually while I was in school, but the dressing wasn’t made until Thanksgiving day. That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow – and it will be awesome, at least in my mind. I made my cornbread tonight, pretty boring stuff that I wouldn’t eat on its own because I have the best cornbread recipe from one of my very good friends, Dawn. It is such a good recipe that I toast a piece with salted butter for breakfast. Yep, it stands on its own.*

Many years ago, I started making my own cranberry relish – that I also shared half of it with my friend Dawn, so now another Thanksgiving food memory is the smell of orange juice, cranberries, and then the addition of horseradish. I made my second batch tonight – gave away the first batch because so many people like it. It really hit me, making it tonight, how much that is part of my memory. I don’t think it would be Thanksgiving without it – no, I’m sure it would not be.

I think I’ve read the memories of smells are most evocative and I really believe it. Celery and onions are my perfect example, but so is, totally unrelated, diesel fumes in cold weather – to me that will always be London. It happens every time, unbidden, but it always makes me smile. And miss England, again

plain cornbread drying for dressing

Drying Cornbread – for Cornbread Dressing

So here is the cornbread recipe for tonight – just for dressing. The one I plan to leave out overnight to get a bit stale – you need to do that to make the cornbread dressing work. It does make some degree of sense.

Cornbread

1 1/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/3 all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/3 cup buttermilk

Mix together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. I whisked with a fork. Melt butter and let cool a bit.  Mix into the dry ingredients the buttermilk, and then the three eggs and finally the cooled butter.

Pour into a baking sprayed 8 x 8 pan and bake for 30 minutes, rotating half way through until the edges pull away from the baking dish and the top and bottom seem brown-ish.

Keep in mind this is only for dressing. I don’t think you want to eat this otherwise. Just tried it, and the answer is  – ugh, no.

*See related post that I have yet to write, but since it might (?) be getting close to chili weather, it could happen.

It is a rant … Dressing vs. Stuffing

It is that time of year … the time when people seem to be very confused by two terms. Stuffing & Dressing. Come, come people! This is not that frigging difficult.
Stuffing – seasoned bread (onion, celery, etc.), used to stuff a bird of some sort and then roasted.
Dressing – seasoned bread (onion, celery, etc.), esp. cornbread in the South, baked in a casseroles dish – read: not inside a bird.
Please do not use these terms interchangeably. They may have, mostly, the same ingredients, but the methodology makes them very different.

Searching for … My Mom’s Meatloaf

Lunch Box NFL American Conference

My 2nd grade lunchbox

One of my favorite things when I was a kid was a cold meatloaf sandwich with ketchup – in my NFL lunchbox. Yep – I was that girl – or that tomboy.  I had the best NFL lunchbox in second grade. I think the boys were really pretty envious.

Just ask me – which helmet meant which city – I could tell you and the team name. Who was the quarterback? Totally got that. And could tell you a few other fun facts. Hello boys from the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Daddy raised me right. At least for me he did – I’m pretty sure he wanted a boy – duh. The lunchbox choice was all mine though.

Back to meatloaf. I do not remember caring for it at dinner, but for a left-over sandwich, it was nothing less  than sublime. Why is it most kid memories seem that way? I guess it’s just a filter that you didn’t know you had.  Nonetheless, I’ve been searching for my mom’s meatloaf – not because I want to eat it when I make it, but I want it the next day in a sandwich with soft white bread and some form of ketchup.

This time I looked at 6 meatloaf recipes I have on file. They are All-American Meat LoafMartha Stewart’s Meatloaf.  Turkey Meatloaf from Trisha Yearwood (but honestly, I would pretty much never use turkey). Cracker Barrel MeatloafMeat Loaf by Ina Garten who I adore, by the way, and AB’s meatloaf.

I have made the All-American meatloaf before, but not by following the actual recipe – no surprise there – in January of this D&D_0862year, and again in February. The right kind of weather is necessary for meatloaf. It is not spring or summer food. October, yeah, that seems like meatloaf weather. It really was good and here is the mixture of these six recipes along with the things I know to be true.

1 medium carrot, finely grated
1 small yellow onion, grated
4 Tbs fresh parsley, rough chopped
1/4 Parmesan, finely grated
2 slices white bread, torn into pieces
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbs ketchup
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 pound ground chuck

3 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire
2 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate the carrot and onion into a large mixing bowl. Add parsley and Parmesan. In a medium bowl, place the torn bread and milk until the bread has soaked up all the milk. Add to the large mixing bowl. Add ketchup, garlic and eggs. Mix until combined. Add the ground chuck and mix with your hands until just together.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and mold meatloaf into shape on baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and brown sugar.  After 30 minutes is up top with glaze and bake until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Let cool

I don’t bake this in a loaf pan – that just seems yuck to me (and to Alton who I learned the trick from), especially when using ground chuck. The only problem I have with this is it does not hold together well, but I don’t want to add more eggs or binders. I had a friend tell me to use oatmeal, so I may try that – or one of the other binders, dry bread crumbs, or saltines. Worth a try. But the flavor of this, for me and the MotH, was pretty damn good. Oh, and I made a little more glaze – using the same ratios – and put it on the bread for the sandwiches – very very good. Next time though, I make simmer the glaze a bit to let it reduce and meld together a little more.

Is it my mom’s meatloaf? Not quite, but getter closer and better every time.