Stuffing With Sausage

I’m up early this Sunday morning to prepare the stuffing for our turkey dinner this afternoon. My husband Joe and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with our children today. Wish we could all be together on Thanksgiving Day, but as a blended family things can’t always go as you wish. I am grateful to be able to prepare such a special meal and share a day of thanks with each of them. Thanksgiving is such a special holiday for me. I have a many treasured  memories from my childhood. Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday season in our home. My Dad and Mom loved the holidays and spoiling their seven children with a feast on Thanksgiving another feast and tons of presents under our tree on Christmas. Those days were the happiest I can remember. Days before Thanksgiving my sister Carol and I would help Mom by washing all the china. We had at least 20 people at most of our dinners. I remember one year my Dad putting two wooden stands several feet apart and laying ply would over them for our table. Mom would lay a beautiful table cloth and the lovely china and food were the decoration, which would cover the entire table. One of my favorite dishes on the holiday table was Mom’s stuffing. It was made with sausage and stuffed into the cavity of a twenty five pound butterball turkey. Dad always put strips of bacon across the top of the turkey. When the turkey was resting I loved to sneak the bacon off the top. It was so crisp and delicious. The stuffing recipe was my Grandmother Queens and Mom always made the stuffing just the way her Mom taught her. Mom didn’t have a recipe box which I’m sad about now. However my sister Bev and I put the recipe together the best we remembered.

Grandma Queens Stuffing

2 bags soft unseasoned bread cubes. I use Stroehann Pennsylvania Dutch bakers.

1 16 oz. Package Jimmy Dean premium pork sausage, regular

2 eggs beaten

1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped fine

3-4 celery ribs, Chopped fine

1 stick butter

Chicken stock, use as much as you determine based on how moist you want your stuffing. Start with 2 cups. Grandma and Mom used boiling hot water. I like the stock for the flavor.

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, you could also use mixture of fresh chopped herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary etc.

In a large sauté pan melt the butter. Add the onion, and celery. Add just a little salt at the point. Sauté until the onion and celery are tender. In another pan break up the sausage and cook till almost brown. Drain off any fat. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the beaten egg and toss with the bread cubes. Add the onion, celery, sausage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the chicken stock has salt as well. Toss everything together. Add broth starting with 1 cup use your clean hands to mix. Add stock as needed to get the moisture you desire. I use about 2 ½ cups. I love mine moist. Cooking the sausage is optional. It will fully cook in the oven when you bake it. I prefer it this way. If you are worried about the fat then cook and drain the sausage. Put the stuffing in a large casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

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Carrot soup

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Carrot soup was always on the menu at The Mulberry Tearooms where I had worked for a short time. It is creamy and delicious. The grated carrot added after the soup is pureed compliments with a little texture. This soup was a favorite with all the customers and me! It was served with a warm baguette and butter. I loved to dip it into the soup. I penned down as much of the recipe as I could while at work on part of a menu. I took my penned notes and what I remembered when making the soup and came up with this recipe. Always use the freshest ingredients. I know you will love this comforting soup as much as I do. Enjoy!

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Carrot Soup

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 ¼ lbs. fresh organic carrots, peeled and cut into 2inch pieces

4 oz. finely grated organic carrots

1 large onion, sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

¾ teaspoon of kosher salt, or to your taste

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to your taste

31/2 cups good vegetable stock or chicken stock

¼ cup heavy cream

Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Crème fraiche or sour cream

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the sliced onion cook for about 5minutes just to sweat the onion. Add the garlic cook for 1-2 minutes then add the cut carrots, and salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the carrots are fork tender. Puree soup in a food processor or emersion blender. If using food processor put the soup back in the pot. Add the grated carrot, fresh nutmeg. Cook 10 minutes more till soup is heated through. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream. Serve with French baguette or sour dough bread.

Note: If you don’t want the extra calories of the heavy cream you can omit it. You may need to add just a little extra stock after you puree.

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Egg Salad and Bacon on Seeded French Baguette

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It’s hard to believe Labor Day weekend is already here. Fall will be coming soon and thoughts of hosting a tea party are on my mind. I would really like to change up my standing menu by changing the tea sandwiches and lightening up my quiche. I thought different fillings on top of crostini would offer a nice change. Egg salad is one of my favorite sandwich fillings so I want to start with that. Instead of the plain mayonnaise I added a little Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, fresh chopped chives and salt and pepper. Because I’m a bacon lover I fried up some bacon to add a little something extra. The seeds on the baguette work nicely, adding flavor that works well with the egg and bacon. These little egg crostini turned out delicious and look elegant on the plate. Just what I was envisioning. I will be working on a tuna and chicken salad crostini next. I would also like to lighten up my quiche. My favorite quiche is loaded with three different cheeses. It is delicious but a bit on the heavy side. I’m going for a classic French quiche in which the filling has a delicate custard and crisp diced ham. I love that it’s a light bite and oh so delicious. I’m still struggling with the tart crust. I need to find the perfect dough. My dough turned out a bite gummy. However the filling taste just right. So please don’t judge my crust just yet! It’s a work in progress. I will post my final result soon. But here’s a sneak peak at my French quiche.

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DSCF5901Egg Salad crostini:

6 eggs

4 Tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard

3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1-2 Tablespoons fresh chopped chives, or green onion

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly cracked pepper, to taste 

French baguette, seeded or plain, toasted

Boil the eggs and cook the bacon till it’s crispy. Prepare the mayonnaise dressing. In a small bowl add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, chives or green onion, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to mix well. Chop the eggs and add the mayonnaise dressing over the eggs and gently blend together. Reserve just a small amount of the mayonnaise dressing to spread on your crostini.Toast your baguette rounds in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till golden brown. Lightly spread the crostini with the mayonnaise dressing place a piece of the bacon on each crostini and top and put a dollop of the egg salad on top.

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Breakfast on High Street

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I was watching a cooking show a few days ago on the cooking channel. The host was making delicious sandwiches with French baguette. I found myself day dreaming of a favorite outing with my children. When we lived in England we would go into town on the weekend. Our destination was the High Street in Reading. There was a lovely coffee shop that sold scrambled eggs and bacon in a French baguette. The baguette was lightly toasted and spread with soft butter. Then freshly scrambled eggs and bacon were stuffed inside. The tasty sandwich was wrapped in parchment so you could manage to eat and walk around the High Street and window shop. My children loved this sandwich with the exception of my youngest son. Timothy was not a fan of eggs but he loved bacon. His sandwich was buttered and stuffed with just bacon. I still make it with just bacon for him to this day.

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Mini Quiche

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These mini quiches make the perfect little savory bite. I love serving them at my tea parties. The crust is flaky and the custard light and delicious. The cheddar cheese adds a sharp note and the red pepper adds a hint of sweetness. They just melt in your mouth.

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 Quiche Custard

3 large eggs

¾ cup heavy cream

¼ cup milk

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

½ cup diced red pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Dash cayenne pepper

Whisk eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to blend.

Method:

Use store bought or homemade pastry crust. Using a biscuit cutter cut circles from the dough. Gently push the dough circles into the spaces of a greased mini muffin pan. Put a small amount of the cheese and a couple of pieces of the diced red pepper into each space. Carefully fill the spaces with the custard do not overfill. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When you can safely remove them arrange on a serving platter. Serve hot or cold. Recipe yields 48 or more mini quiche.

Note:

You can make this recipe ahead. The quiches freeze well. Just refrigerate to thaw the night before ready to use. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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