Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best Holiday Dressing

(Printable Recipe)
My mom always said, "If you don't have celery and sage, don't make dressing." This has plenty of both and proves her point. I've made this more times than I can count and it's always been a favorite at Christmas and Thanksgiving feasts. Both bready ingredients are easily made on the spot (or even several days ahead since stale bread works wonderfully in a dressing). And both are "cheater" breads although if you'd prefer to make from scratch, have at it. I toast your virtuous nature.

Here I have baked one can of southern style biscuits and two boxes of Jiffy cornbread. I prefer Jiffy because a sweet cornbread enhances the natural sweetness of the pecans and balances beautifully with the savory sage and vegetables. Crumble both into a large baking dish at least 9x13. I've used one size larger, please don't ask me to go measure it.
Add a large onion and 2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped. 
And be liberal with that sage. I mean throw in 3 or 4 palms full. If it doesn't smell fragrant, stop now and go buy a new bottle. I realize a whole year can slip by without breaking out the sage and it bottled herbs just don't live forever.
I've added a heaping cupful of whole pecans and most of a stick of butter cut into small pieces and scattered over the top. Lastly, pour on a full quart of chicken stock. It should be very wet, almost swimming in the stock. Add more until you can see liquid within 1/4 inch of the top of the dry ingredients. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or even an hour, until the top is browned and slightly crunchy but the inside is moist. The final dressing will be loaded with flavors, herb fragrant, and nutty delicious!

Fall Fest finishes out this week with these other delicious ideas for Holiday   sides. But check back in two weeks as we begin to blog together for Comfort Food Feast.   Have a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kahlua Baked Acorn Squash

(Printable Recipe)
A little liqueur is a delicious enhancement to the natural sweetness of many a winter squash. These festive looking babies are Carnival Squash, love child of the Sweet Dumpling and the Acorn squash. (Sounds rather carny, I know, I know.) They are beautifully sweet and orange on the inside and make a lovely side dish to replace those overly sweet sweet-potatoes. And prep time is maybe 5 minutes including reaching into the fridge for the butter.
Use your sharpest large knife - let thin and sharp trump size if you only have a medium size chef knife. You may split from stem to stern if you prefer. I like to slice a thin piece from the pointy bottom to make it sit flat in the pan and I also cut off the top like a small lid.
IF you have one of these grapefruit spoons, you'll find it to be the best of tools for scraping out the seeds down to the smooth flesh.

Aluminum foil makes cleanup so much easier, but you still need to spray with a little Pam for non-stick-to-it-tiveness. Place the squash face down with a tablespoon or two of water and bake 30-40 minutes at 350.

Assemble the finishing touch! Melt 1-2 Tbs of butter and choose Kahlua or Amaretto. There's more than enough for half a dozen squashes in one of these tiny "airline" bottles that every liquor store carries these days. (Prefect size for all sorts of desserts and cheap, so it's worth it to stock up on a variety of flavors.)

When the squash is softened and almost cooked through, flip them over with tongs. Brush each with butter first and drizzle in a teaspoon of liqueur. Brush that all around the rim and insides several times.
Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until completely done. When the fork easily pierces soft flesh it's suppertime!
Check out these other delicious ways with winter squash. FallFest continues several more weeks as we blog together with the Food Network to celebrate winter produce. Stay tuned for Broccoli ideas next week, followed by Holiday Sides!

Feed Me Phoebe: Baked Acorn Squash with Maple-Siracha Glaze
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash
The Lemon Bowl: Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Winter Squash
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Provencal Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas
Weelicious: Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Creamy Squash Rigatoni
Blue Apron Blog: Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Taste With The Eyes: A Hearty Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spaghetti Squash
Devour: Winter Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Roasted Acorn Squash Crescents with Sage Pecan Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Slices with Maple Syrup
Red or Green: Butternut Squash Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Cayenne
Virtually Homemade: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Basil Walnut Pesto
Domesticate Me: Chipotle Pork Tenderloin and Butternut Squash Tacos
FN Dish: Comforting Winter Squash Sides
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