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photos by gluttonforlife

11.22.13 Stuff & Nonsense

Stuffing. A topic as divisive as any discussion of religion or politics. You'll find it made with rice, with sourdough bread, with cornbread; studded with chestnuts, dried fruit and pecans; larded with sausage, oysters, gobs of butter. Some like it soft and steamed, emerging from the bird's cavity, while others insist on maximum crunch. It's a reflection of culture, tradition and personal preference, an opportunity for experimentation and self-expression. But, in the end, it's just stuffing. I make an alternate version with cornbread at our Thanksgiving so that my gluten-free husband can partake. In the past, I've added fresh cranberries, pecans and sausage for a sort of down-home version. This year, it's got the last kale from our garden and lots of chewy, flavorful mushrooms. Next year, who knows? Perhaps something with wild rice. And the beat goes on.
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photos from here and there

11.8.13 Prep Talk

In some situations, preparation is everything. Well, maybe not everything, but it can make the difference between an occasion that is relaxing and fun and one that is borderline hysteria. Yes, I'm talking about Thanksgiving, which is less than 3 weeks away. My sister-in-law and I got on the phone earlier in the week to plan our menu. Every year we do our best to inject a bit of newness into the proceedings. Some years we succeed more than others. It's now part of our tradition to make two turkeys—one roasted and one deep-fried. This way, we are not challenged for the all-important leftovers.

Since we're going to have a king's ransom's worth of hot peanut oil on hand, I though I would take advantage of it to make David Kinch's drool-worthy herb beignets to amuse our bouches. I've been reading about them for a couple of years now, and finally have the recipe from his newly published Manresa cookbook. Don't roll your eyes at me. I'll also be making some easy standards and—new this year—a ginger pumpkin cheesecake. More highlights follow...