‘Tis The Season

December 2nd, 2019

Thanksgiving is over, let’s go Christmas shopping. But first, would you like to hear about my Thanksgiving stuffing recipe? I’m thankful that I still have fresh herbs in the garden. And this is not really a recipe, more of a technique or idea.¬† I chop up yellow onion and celery and saut√© them in a mixture of butter and olive oil (I like the taste of the two combined). Then take whatever bread is on hand and dice it into small cubes. This year it was walnut bread. I’ll give you that recipe in a minute. Toss the bread cubes into the frying pan and stir. You might want more oil or butter in the pan, depending on how festive you feel. Then, chop up whatever fresh herbs you have, but I would suggest that there should at least be some rosemary and sage. This year I used rosemary, sage (really nice sage from seed from Renee’s Garden), Italian oregano (bought from DeBaggio’s in the spring), and French thyme. All amounts are to taste but you want it pretty herby. Toss the herbs into the pan, along with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Sometimes I like to add Old Bay or another all-purpose seasoning mix, but if you use something like that then wait to add the salt. Taste it first and see if it needs it. Now moisten the stuffing with some chicken stock, or turkey stock, or vegetable broth. It should be fairly wet, but not so wet that it turns into mush. Butter a covered baking dish large enough to hold it and turn the mixture into it. Roast it, covered, along with the turkey until it’s heated through. Depending on how you like your stuffing, you can uncover it and let it brown a little on the top towards the end of the roasting time. I used to stuff the turkey with this but I’ve been convinced that it’s a bad idea from a food safety standpoint, and anyway we only smoked/grilled a couple of turkey drumsticks this year. There was just enough room on the grill for a pan of stuffing and the drumsticks. Oh, and I used the extra chopped herbs in the rub for the drumsticks.

Now for the commercial break. I’ve been selling some of my things on eBay and Etsy since August. I currently have a couple of herb books as a bundle listed on Etsy.

TangledBranchesStore

They’re both wonderful books, but I just can’t keep everything (imagine a crying emoji here), and I’d love for them to go to someone else who loves gardening, cooking and crafts.

OK, back to the Thanksgiving recap. Walnut bread. I’ve been making Alexandra Stafford’s Peasant Bread for a couple of years now, but I’ve changed it a little to suit us better. I now make it in one metal loaf pan (instead of 2 Pyrex dishes) and sometimes vary it by adding things to it. So, basically, I use her recipe scaled a bit to make enough for one 9 x 5 loaf pan. For me, that’s 195 grams of Prairie Gold Whole Wheat flour, 390 grams bread flour, 11 grams salt, 11 grams sugar, 7 grams instant yeast and 520 grams water. I’ve been a much happier baker since I changed from measuring by volume to measuring by weight. It’s more precise and gives more consistent results. There are many food scales to choose from, but when I’m done selling on Etsy and eBay I’m going to ditch the food scale and use instead the postal scale I bought to ship things out. When the dough has risen and I’m ready to put it into the baking pan, I fold in about 100 grams of chopped walnuts. Then it goes in the well-buttered baking pan for the final rise. I bake it at 425F for 22 minutes, then lower the heat to 375F and bake for another 22 or 23 minutes.

So that was our Thanksgiving. I’ll be back in a day or two to tout some more garden-related items I’m selling. Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention that there’s a sale going on through December 4 in many Etsy shops, including mine. Shop my sale: 20% off when you spend $10. TangledBranchesStore

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