I feel lazy today, but I have things to do and places to be...
So it's time for me to get off this computer and fix the frog-eye salad and the ham. But before I do, I want to ask you what YOUR favorite Thanksgiving dishes are. Do you love the old faithful turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce? Or do you go for Ham and mashed? I have switched back and forth several times, to voluble complaints from those who wanted one or the other. So now I fix both ham and turkey, and let them choose their meal.
Because my house is too small to hold so many people, we have dinner at my son's home. I left the 10-pound turkey breast with my son last night, along with the taters and the big crescent rolls and the Martinelli's Sparkling Cider (I don't buy wine anymore because it makes the gathering shaky at best) and I will heat the spiral sliced ham and make the dressing, the frog-eye salad, and the candied yams. They love my recipe for the salad, dressing and yams.
I watched my mom slave over those damn yams year after year, and I detested them. Cooking great big huge yams from scratch was a total pain. You could never get the stringy things out of them. And using brown sugar is great, but brown sugar and marshmallows don't give the deepest flavor. Yep, they are sweet, but something was always "missing".
So I decided to experiment. Why spend three hours boiling, baking, or steaming those yams when there are some wonderful canned sweet potatoes available in the store? I buy a couple of large cans, drain them, and arrange them in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Then I dot butter over the surface and add light brown sugar to cover the yams. I sprinkle walnut halves over that, then cover the whole thing with tiny marshmallows. Then I drizzle heavy cream over the top (not a lot, because it makes the yams too wet).
Pop into the microwave (or oven if you have time) until the goo on top is melty and bubbly. Then allow to cool on the table before spooning out. The yams will be resting in a nice golden caramel cream sauce and the nuts add warmth and crunch. As the sauce cools it thickens up.
And my dressing is never made in the bird anymore. I use the turkey drippings and chicken base and I use cornbread mixed with the traditional crouton type stuffing pieces. I saute finely chopped onions with finely chopped fresh celery, using one full cube of real butter. I add the poultry stock and stir, then add a cup of slivered almonds. I add sage and seasonings to taste, then I pour the stock mixture over the bread crumbs. I mix by hand until it is well soaked, and then I spoon the dressing into a baking bag, and pop it into the oven for about two hours (or the microwave for about 18 minutes).
Another thing I sometimes add to the dressing before baking is sliced mushroom caps. I buy the small ones. The kids don't like those as much as the nuts, so I often split a batch.
Hope your Thanksgiving is good. Let me know what your favorite recipes are.