Christmas Dinner

We’ve opened our presents, said our grace, and finished a Christmas Dinner (as a mid-day largest meal of the day)… tonight we will have supper of the leftovers, and boy, do we have leftovers….

For the meat eaters of the group, there was a roast ham (Ham, meet oven, wait…)

For the vegetarians there were the same side dishes (listed below) along with a couple of main courses. Two Lasagnas (yes, 2 ! ) and one ‘scalloped corn casserole’ (which I always thought was an old family specialty then I found out that it’s an old cultural specialty and a lot of folks make it…) Trying to explain to a friend from Ireland how to make it, I discovered that we had different ideas of what a ‘saltine cracker’ might be, so here’s the wiki for “saltine” where it has a picture and lists what they are called in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saltine_cracker

As added side dishes we had mashed potatoes (boiled potatoes, butter, bit of milk, salt, white pepper; whip, “rice”, and / or mash), candied yams, bread, butter, green beans – French cut; and a variety of cookies, brownies, and 3 kinds of pies (pumpkin, cheesecake, cherry – all commercial from the Marie Calendar’s restaurant and pie shop).
Yes, I’m laying down now ;-)

I’m including the Lasagna and Scalloped Corn recipes below. Along with a simple Candied Yams.

Candied Yams

My family is fond of simple foods, so these candied yams leave out the ‘white stuff’. They are fairly trivial to make, but taste pretty darned good. Take a large can of canned yams, dump out most of the water (but not quite all of it… i.e. be quick about it.) Put these on the stove on low. Add a dollop of butter if you like (I do it about 3/4 of the way to done) and dump on about 1/4 the yams volume of brown sugar. Adding a tablespoon or two of REAL Maple Syrup is an option, but a nice one. Don’t use fake maple syrup, it’s not the same… Let that simmer for about an hour (or up to two). No lid. The sugar pulls moisture from the yams and it evaporates (leaving a syrup). Start low, as the water forms, turn up to a slow simmer. Toward the end it can be turned back down to hold warm for hours. Yes, it gets a bit darker and the syrup gets thicker and the flavors get richer. I’ve found no upper limit… at least, none inside my patience limit ;-)

Simple. Easy. Effective. Yes, you can ‘dress it up’ with marshmallows and all kinds of other stuff. Those just seem to me to confuse the flavor…

Scalloped Corn

Incredibly easy to make. Unique flavor.

Take a casserole dish of about 9 x 9 inches (yes, you metric folks get to convert… I’d make it about 25 x 25 cm)

Put into it one ‘stack’ of crushed saltines. (Here they come in a 1 lb box, so it’s 1/4 of a lb – call it about 125 grams.)

None of these sizes are very critical, I’ve made it in many different ratios, with some ingredients missing or substituted, and it just seems to ‘work’. For example, for a gluten intolerant friend I make it with neutral rice crackers of about the same volume.

I crush them inside the wrapper, then open and dump (sometimes this can be ‘exciting’ if they have a weak wrapper !)

Add one beaten egg. Dump in a #2 1/2 can ( 15 ounces or so, about 430 grams, or a 1 pint canned at home) of cut corn drained of any liquid. Add a similar can of creamed corn. (I’ve made this dish with 2 cans of regular corn and a bit of the liquid to make things damp. The flavor is not as rich, but it still works). Mix it all together. ( Creamed corn is like cut corn but with a bit of sweetness and some of the ‘corn milk’ from young kernels making a sort of a sauce).

At this point you have the basic dish made. Yup, just corn, crackers, and egg. Now you get to choose your flavours. I typically put on a load of butter because I love buttered corn (and the saltines already supply salt). Pats of butter on top just melt into it during the baking. If made with bland non-salted crackers, you may want to adjust the salt. I’ll use about 100 grams of butter, a bit under 1/4 lb. It works with anywhere from 1/4 lb to 1/8 lb pretty well. Like pepper? Sprinkle it on… (we usually don’t and leave that to the individual). Put in the oven at about 350 F to 425 F (depending on what else is cooking in there) for about 25 minutes (Same temperature used for chickens up to biscuits).

When it’s browning a bit and bubbly at the edges (it doesn’t bubble much, so don’t over cook it waiting for a lot of bubbles – if it’s browning it’s likely done) take it out. It can stand for 5 minutes pretty easily, leftovers from the fridge are great for days.

Lasagnas

I ‘short cut’ this by using commercial sauce. I’ve used a lot of them, they all seem to work. I tend to use Prego brand as it’s not made with any Soy products (and one relative has a problem with soy products). Pick your favorite spaghetti sauce and go for it. ( I have used home made a lot, and one of my favorites is a home made sauce with a pound each of Italian Sausage, hamburger, and 1/2 lb pepperoni with sauteed onions and garlic, slow simmered in the sauce… but this is the vegetarian quick version…)

Ingredients:

Italian Seasoning (sold as such all over, or make your own mix – lots of Oregano in it, please ;-)
Garlic – a couple of crushed cloves or dehydrated granules
1 can olives – black, drained (about 15 ounce / 1 pint / 400 grams)
1 can mushrooms – about 5 ounces or up to twice that if you like more, drained.

These things are all done in pound units. Part of why I like the pound is that a LOT of things are ‘just the right size’ done in pounds. It goes in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (though if you make the meat sauce it overflows into a 2nd dish… 3 pounds of meat stuff will do that to you!) For those who are “pound challenged” you can use 1/2 kilo and two pans, or 1/3 kilo and be about right.

OK, I use “way too much sauce” because I like a sloppy lasagna. If you like a drier more solid lasagna, just cut the amount of sauce back.

1 pound mozzarella – shredded
1 pound ricotta cheese – dry cottage cheese can be used in a pinch, creamed cottage cheese if really pushed.
1/2 pound parmigiana ( though I like using Pecorino Romano sheep’s milk for added ‘kick’ ;-)
1 can (see above per corn size can) spinach, gently squeezed to reduce moisture.
A good sprinkle of Italian Seasoning. 1 tbs? I just dust it until it smells good and is about 1/8 saturation of the surface.

Dump those in a mixing bowl and squish it all together with your hands. Lick your fingers before rinsing at the end ;-)

Yes, you can use fresh spinach if you cook it first. Same thing for frozen. I’ve tried them all. Canned just works better. Others are prone to being a bit tough or stringy unless you cook them as much as canning anyway… Just be careful to gently squeeze the water out of it and stop when the spinach starts to squirt between your fingers …

That’s the “cheese mix”.

I use about 24 ounces of sauce ( which becomes a lot more if you put the meat in it…) so between 1 and 2 pounds of sauce as you like it.

1 lb of lasagna noodles, cooked al dente, cooled in cold running water and mostly drained.

Now you are ready to “assemble the lasagna”….

In the bottom of the pan, put a very thin layer of sauce. About 1/2 cm. (for you non-metric folks, that’s about 1/4 inch ). I sprinkle in a light dusting of Italian seasoning and optionally put in some crushed garlic – about one clove – or a sprinkling of dried garlic granules – depending on season and what I have). That’s the layer that first hits the tongue, so it gets the added spice.

From here on up, it’s: Layer of noodles, 1/2 covered with cheese spoons / crumbled blobs from the hand, other half sauce daubs, add any ‘variety filler’, REPEAT.

If I’m running out of space, I’ll push things down to gains some space. If I’ve got way too much stuff I’ll make a second pan… Some folks have started selling lasagna noodles in 12 ounce or even 10 ounce packages. They always fit in one pan, but have leftover cheese mix…

The final layer is noodles, then topped with crushed or sliced in half ‘olive dots’ on about 3 inch centers and sprinkled over with a layer of Parmesan about 1/4 inch thick (until stuff is covered). Sometimes I’ll put a sprinkle of Italian seasoning on the top in the middle of the cheese, too; makes for a very fragrant lasagna. If it’s “just me” I’ll add garlic and pepper to the top too ;-)

The “variety filling” is any of: Olives, black, drained, broken. Mushrooms, canned, drained or sauteed. Meat in the meat sauce. Whatever. I once made one with the odd hard boiled egg in it. It made for a very rich creamy character… The Usual is just olives and mushrooms. “Just for me” is with those spicy meats sauteed in onions and garlic prior to adding the sauce; and with added garlic on top.

I’ve also been known to use some Cheddar if low on Mozzarella cheese. It makes a very nice rich lasagna… but not ‘traditional’. 1/2 and 1/2 is my favorite, really.

Lasagna #2

As one of the family has started having an arthritic response to tomatoes (as explained in The Arthritics Cookbook – this is common) I made a non-tomato version this year too. Simply swapped Classico brand jar of Alfredo for the tomato sauce. Yes, you could make your own. As mine isn’t any better to speak of, this is fast and works well on a holiday with ‘hustle and bump’… I backed off on the garlic, and it seemed to work well. “Lasagna Alfredo al Forno” if I’ve got the Italian at all close… I used a bit less sauce to keep it a bit ‘tighter’.

The Arthritics Cookbook works, BTW.

This one and the other one both go into the oven at about 350 F to 425 F (doesn’t seen to matter much – I did these at 325 F with the ham, then pulled the ham out and cranked it up to 425 F to brown the lasagna and corn – at Thanksgiving I’ll do them at 350 F the whole time in with the Turkey). This one looked a little more sensitive to rapid browning that the tomato based so watch for that and back off the heat if it’s too much too fast.

It is about 45 minutes at 375 F for the base case, when cooked alone. Look for bubbly edges and browning top. If cooked with the ham, pull the ham from the oven about 10 minutes before the lasagnas are done, and give them 10 minutes of a higher temp (top rack, away from the radiative heat of the element) to brown the tops (if cooked alone at 375 ish it will brown without the ‘high heat’ at the end). Then they rest for 5 minutes to ‘tighten’ as the cheese sets a bit. That gives a 15 minute rest for the ham and 5 for the lasagnas and you still have 5 minutes of standing around talking and doing “Grace” for the ideal moment to serve.

That’s It

Well, almost. We also had some “Sparkling Grape Juice” ( don’t worry, I’ll get my wine later ;-) along with a variety of coffee, tea, milk, water, etc. for beverages.

The whole thing takes little effort to make and is a pretty good presentation. There’s something about the combination of ham, yams, and green beans that has a unique reaction in the mouth. Then a bit of buttered bread with it, and it’s just special. I don’t know what the chemistry is, but it isn’t just additive. I suspect it’s the blend of salty protein from the ham, with sugars from the yams, and butter from the bread. Don’t know what the green beans add, but it is important too. The ‘mix’ in the mouth is just unlike any parts alone (or mixed with other things).

Putting away is just about as fast. Again it’s largely a “dump and go” process (but instead of dump in a pot to the stove, it’s dump in a tub in the fridge…) The lasagna freezes well (and if you make the meat version you will have about a month of food ;-) in portions. I make “home made TV dinners” with some nice ceramic bowls with plastic lids from Corning. They don’t get tomato stains when microwaved like the plastic tubs do. About 6 inches in diameter, mix a “main course in 1/2 and 1/4 each of two sides” and it’s a meal.

A few days later the leftover ham (and bone if you do a bone-in ham) go into a bean pot… Simple ham and beans… fond memories from long ago. Grew up with ’em, with bread and butter and some ketchup… Sigh… I’ll wait ;-)

So that was Dinner At The Smith’s.

Next stop, New Years!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Food, Human Interest and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Christmas Dinner

  1. gallopingcamel says:

    Sounds merry enough; now let me wish you a prosperous New Year!

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @GallopingCamel:

    Well, with luck… I’ve got a couple of ideas, but I need to “make them happen” to be prosperous…

    How’s that go? “Trust in God, but work like Hell!”

  3. H.R. says:

    No Christmas for me this year. I’ve been down and out with some respiratory crud. Cancelled all contact with all the relatives, including the kids.

    I miss the cooking. I had my menu planned and ready to go. My wife shoveled it out the door for others to take care of.

    Better luck next year, eh?

    Merry Christmas to our gracious host and to all who drop by this best-of-all-places to kick around interesting ideas.

    Back to bed for me. Nitey-nite.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @H.R.: Well, you can always do it on New Years Eve instead…

    Chicken soup and hot lemonade for now, though…. Best of luck kicking the crud and we’ll keep a light on for you ;-)

  5. gallopingcamel says:

    Reminds me of Cromwell’s”
    ‘Put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry’

  6. Jerry says:

    If you have room left :)

    My contribution to our Thanksgiving gathering was a pumpkin cheesecake and a cranberry cheesecake. Most everybody tried some of each and nobody died so I will take that as a positive. Here is the pumpkin recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/philadelphia-spiced-pumpkin-cheesecake/detail.aspx

    The cranberry is my variation on the first recipe – the changes:

    1. I always add 2 tbs of all purpose flour to cheesecake while mixing (including the pumpkin version) , and always use whole cookies to line the side of the pan, with the crumb mixture used to fill in the gaps and for the bottom.

    2. use can of cranberry sauce instead of pumpkin (well duh right, but gotta spell out recipes and computer programs) and no pumpkin pie spice.
    I use the solid, jellied type because that is what cranberry sauce is supposed to look like.- not the whole berry runny kind

    3. use graham crackers instead of ginger snaps and I did not use pecans in either recipe.

    4. Spices – I think I used a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 ~ 1/4 teaspoon of cloves – not positive but that is what I like so it is most likely what went in.

    5. added 2 cups Ocean Spray Craisins (cranberries dried like raisins) just before end of mixing. Hmmm, just a thought, did not do this, but could add raisins to the pumpkin version – probably soak them in warm water for a while to plump them up. May try that next time. Oh, the craisins do not suspend in the cream cheese mix – just sink to the bottom, but that works out fine – just be ready to pour the mix into the pan as soon as you stop mixing or just wait and sprinkle them into the mix after it is poured into the pan – they sink to the bottom either way.

    Anyway, a good time was had by all. :) The pumpkin cheesecake is Good, the cranberry is GREAT.
    Merry Christmas

    and an interesting book – ‘On Food And Cooking’ Harold McGee 1984 ISBN 0-684-18132-0 Not a recipe book, more of a How Stuff Works for food.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jerry:

    I usually don’t do pies, just because I’ve not got much experience at it and the spouse does a ton of cookies and cakes… but I’ll slide the recipe to her! ;-)

    The book looks interesting too…

    @Matthew W:

    It’s particularly nice as a ‘quick to do not much work’ spread.

    Sometimes I’ll just toss potatoes in the oven and have bakers instead of mashed. At that point it’s mostly just “dump and put in the oven” with a couple of “warm on the stove top”. The Lasagna can be assembled a day or two in advance and left in the refrigerator so the “Special Day” prep is minimal. The scalloped corn is so fast to make that it isn’t really worth the effort to make ahead. (Oh, on that one, you can cut the crackers in half, roughly, if you want more of a corn effect and less of a casserole / wheat flavor)

    Anyone else with favorite recipes is invited to post ’em too…

    @GallopingCamel:

    “In God We Trust. (All others pay cash!)”

  8. Verity Jones says:

    Yum. We went back to turkey this year, having had goose for several years and venison one year. What piqued our return was an American recipe soaking the turkey in sweetened brine overnight before cooking to ensure the breast meat was juicy. With the addition of sage and other ingredients to the brine the flavour was superb (and quite subtle) – the most moist roast turkey we could have wished for. Accompanyments – potatoes and parsnips roasted in the last of last year’s goose fat, carrots sauted in orange juice and butter, brussels sprouts steamed then tossed in a pan with fried bacon and chestnuts, and a tray with two kinds of breadcrumb stuffing – sage and onion, apricot and chestnut, wonderful gravy and a lovely tart homemade cranberry sauce.

    @Jerry
    Cranberry cheesecake sounds ideal for New Years party as I have lots of sauce left.

    @E.M.
    Re your scalloped corn I typically put on a load of butter because I love buttered corn Are you able to eat corn again?
    I think ‘Cream Crackers’ (which have no salt on top) are the most readily available substitute in the UK.

  9. My favourite recipe.

    Many years ago, The Git was a wine and food waiter in an Italian restaurant. On quiet nights, we used to cook for each other and this dish was voted most outstanding.

    Base recipe:
    1 cup uncooked rice (pref. Basmati)
    2 1/2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable, or dissolve a heaped teaspoon of Korma curry paste)
    1 diced onion
    1 dash of olive oil (a little dash of sesame oil for aroma is optional)

    Options:
    Mushrooms, vegetables cut into small pieces, prawns, diced fish, diced poultry…

    Method:

    Fry diced onion until transparent. Add dry, uncooked rice and fry until just gilded. Add stock and cook, covered for 20 minutes.

    Options:

    Diced carrot, if used, should be added just before the stock. Green vegetables that cook slower, such as cauliflower can be added just before putting the lid on the pot. Quicker cooking greens such as fresh peas & asparagus, & bean sprouts should be added partway through so they don’t overcook. Add them quickly as for most of the cooking time it’s steam that’s doing the cooking rather than liquid.

    Meats, if used, are added before the lid is put on so they steam rather than boil. Mushrooms the same and since they contribute moisture you need to reduce the amount of stock slightly to compensate. Beef & lamb are less successful than poultry and fish, (the rice tends to become sticky) so I usually cook those separately and serve the rice with veg as a side dish.

    Favourite version is with prawns & small pieces of salmon (1 cup of each) and chillies.

    Another option is to stir a beaten egg into the dish when cooked. There’s sufficient heat in the rice to cook the egg.

    I learned the basic recipe from a Sri Lankan, but it’s well within the style of rice dishes served in Northern Italy. My boss at the restaurant named it Rice Giovanni after my nickname back then.

    @ Verity Jones

    Can you share the recipe for the brine you used with the turkey? I’ve pretty much given up on turkey. We had roast duck with fresh peaches this year. It was very Yum and not at all sweet.

  10. Judy F. says:

    I’m a little late in reading this thread. It is interesting to read how each family’s traditions are played out. My birth family’s traditional meal was roast beef, occasionally with yorkshire pudding, if my mom was feeling ambitious. Then one of my younger brothers was born on Christmas, so we had to have birthday as well. My brother rarely had birthday cake, but instead had birthday pie ( candles and all). My brother’s family now has Christmas breakfast which consists of pie (usually apple and cherry, both homemade) and bacon. Pie for breakfast can’t be all bad, can it?

    My mother in law gave me a recipe from her side of the family, that I always enjoyed. It was her favorite vegetable side dish.

    Baked Carrots:
    3 cups cut up carrots ( 8 medium carrots); 12 saltine crackers, crumbled; 2 tablespoons minced onion; 2 tablespoons melted butter; 4 tablespoons diced cheese ( She always used Velveeta cheese- her 4 tablespoons of diced cheese morphed into 1 1/2 inches of velveeta cheese cut from a 2 pound loaf) ( It is one of those recipes where it really doesn’t matter how exact everything is)
    Boil carrots in salt water until tender. Drain carrots, reserving 2/3 cup of the salt water off the carrots. Mash the carrots, leaving a few small chunks. Combine the reserved water,butter, cheese and onion. Stir this mixture into the carrots, then add the cracker crumbs. Mix together and put into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

    Now, in anticipation of a New Year’s Eve party:

    Jalapeno Poppers

    Ingredients: fresh Jalapeno peppers, cream cheese, uncooked bacon

    Cut the stem end off the Jalapeno peppers, slice once lengthwise and remove the seeds. Fill the pepper cavities with cream cheese. Cut the bacon in half widthwise. Wrap the filled Jalapenos with the piece of bacon and use a toothpick if necessary to keep the bacon in place. Place the wrapped Jalapenos on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350 oven until the bacon is cooked. ( 20 minutes?)

    Verity, if you can’t get Jalapenos where you live, you will just have to come to the States to enjoy this treat.:)

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Verity:

    No, I can’t eat it… but I can enjoy the aroma ;-)

    Just fond memories for me and watch faces around the table light up…

    Yes, brine and birds are a great mix… I also slide some herbed butter under the skin… Chiffonade of parsley, sage, thyme mixed with equal volume of butter…. More parsley than the other two combined… We have done Turkey for Christmas for the last few years, so did the swap to ham this year. And added the lasagna…

    Love your vegetable selection….

    @Judy F:

    Must try those baked carrots… I can almost smell them now ;-)

    Pie for breakfast? Of course it is good! You have wheat and fruit… why, it is just like a bowl of cereal and fruit topper… just add a beverage of milk.. Say, perhaps a side of cheesecake or a Caffe Mocha / Latte? Yes, I’m sure that’s it! ;-)

    @Verity:

    If you try the Jalapeno poppers remember these important points:

    1) Remove ALL the seeds. They are the thermonuclear part…

    2) Rubber Gloved during assembly REQUIRED, but not sufficient. Avoid any stray touching of the face in particular… (I almost lost a lip that way once…)

    3) Fire Extinguishers will provide psychological relief for a short time only. Dry Ice slightly longer. Best cure is a large dollop of yogurt washed down with 4 ounces of Tequila…

    4) It is considered poor etiquette to call them “Okra Wraps” while handing to friends from The South, except for those from Texas who will complain that their isn’t much okra in them and ask why the spice is so mild …. ;-)

  12. Verity Jones says:

    @pompousgit
    This Maple Brine one http://bbq.about.com/od/brinerecipes/r/bl61203d.htm except that we dropped the garlic (just felt it didn’t go with the rest of the food this time) and substituted sage for bay according to family taste.

    @Judy F.
    I’ve done cream cheese stuffed chili peppers before, but wrapping them in bacon sounds fabulous. Really thin pancetta would work very well – in fact I can almost hear the crunch of biting into one. I’ve been asked to provide dessert this year for New Years so I’ll have to find another reason to try them.

    @E.M.
    The family taste for chilies has been tempered in the last decade by the need to cook food that can be eaten by children, however that is starting to change. Raw banana beats yoghurt any day as a fire extinguisher.

  13. Jerry says:

    I can see the need for a recipe thread shaping up here. Maybe Tips (sub: recipes or ???)

    @Verity
    Cranberry cheesecake for new years would work fine! Will you please e-mail me some of that homemade cranberry sauce? or post the recipe :)

    @ E.M.
    Re: Jalapeno poppers – the native Texan viewpoint.

    1. Don’t remove ANY seeds. They are the thermonuclear part!

    2. Rubber gloves – YES!! and under no circumstances mess with your contact lenses for the next 24 hours at least no matter how you wash your hands.

    3. Do a preemptive strike with the Tequila, worm and all.

    4. Etiquette Hell, just put them on the table – them what don’t know will gain Sublime Knowledge and them what do can see the humor in the situation. Since you are in CA guess legal counsel would be advisable.

    Re: Turkey – butter under the skin.

    I use an ‘Injector’ and melted butter. Cut some small .5 inch or so slits along the breast bone and use the handle of a large stirring spoon or similar to push thru the slits and loosen the skin without making any holes. Then suck up the melted butter into the injector and squirt it under the skin. The injector needle is closed on the tip and has very small holes for the liquid to go thru. If it is desired to use a liquid containing any particulate find a cheap plastic injector and cut the end of the needle off above the existing holes. Since it is not going to be inserted into the meat this works fine and will prevent clogging. Sometimes injectors can be found at dollar stores or sporting goods stores after the holiday season for a couple of bucks.

    An injector – http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas-Commercial-Marinade-Injectors/728895.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dinjector%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts%26x%3D12%26y%3D8&Ntt=injector&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

  14. Judy F. says:

    @Jerry,

    I am not Verity :) but I have some good cranberry sauce recipes too.

    Whole Berry Cranberry sauce:
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2 cups water
    1 pound cranberries ( cranberries used to come in 1 pound packages, now they come in 12 oz. packages. I use 1 1/2 packages of cranberries, or 18 oz. of cranberries, so I can get 2 batches out of 3 bags.)

    Boil sugar and water together for 5 minutes in a 3 quart pan. Add cranberries and boil WITHOUT stirring until all the skins pop open, about 5 minutes. remove from burner and allow to cool in pan.

    Jellied Cranberry Sauce, or Molded Cranberry

    1 pound cranberries ( same as above- I use 1 1/2 packages, about 18 ounces of cranberries)
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups water

    Cook cranberries and water until skins pop open. Run cranberries and juice through a strainer ( I use a Foley Mill). Add suger and stir until blended. Boil rapidly 8-10 minutes or until a drop jells on a cold plate. ( it will get thicker as it boils). Pour into a mold and chill. ( I also make this when cranberries are available in the stores and preserve it in canning jars, so I can store it for later. Processing time is the same as for jelly)

    Too bad there aren’t any good cooks around here. Or anyone who likes to eat…

  15. Verity Jones says:

    @Jerry,
    I was going to exclaim over giving a cranberry sauce recipe to an American (next I’ll be selling sand to Saudi Arabia).

    Put washed cranberries in pan with enough water so that they just start to float. Bring to boil and simmer until they’re translucent. Stirr and add sugar to taste (tart or sweet as desired). Bring to the boil again then cool and refrigerate. We sometimes add orange zest, cinnamon or cloves before cooking, but just plain this year.

    That injector reminds me I need to procure a syringe and needle to make Bloody Mary Tomatoes (inject vodka and Worcestershire sauce into cherry tomatoes).

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Verity:
    Banana? BANANA? You KNOW I have to try that now, don’t you? This is a trap, isn’t it? You just KNOW!!!! Damn, where can I get Jalapenos and Bananas at 2 am…. ;-)

    Believe it or not we sell sand to Saudi Arabia… They made a big fuss over “drilling mud” and “drilling fluids” with sand in them, and learned the hard way it wasn’t just any old sand… Now they happily buy our special sand / mud…

    I suppose talking about making jellied cranberry sauce with vodka would be, er, “over the top” since you mentioned children… ;-)

    Like vodka Jello….

    @Judy F:

    Ooooh, yum!

    Now swap half the water for vodka…

    @Jerry:

    I just slide the fingers under the skin and loosen it, then shove lumps under the skin all over. Can pretty much put it everywhere (except into the drumsticks and wings…) Takes about half a minute all told… I bought an injector (and still have it) but haven’t used it…. maybe next time ;-)

    I suppose I could get some Habaneros and decorate them like tomatoes for the Folks From Texas…. Maybe inject them with cream cheese so they puff up like cherry tomatoes…. My, there are a lot of fun things you could do with that idea… Even make a ‘green bean soup’ with those oriental chilies that the Thai use that look like green beans… ;-)

    Only problem is, they would probably like it and want me to make it every year ;-)

    (My Texas Uncle made the ‘mild’ brisket last time I was out there. It took courage to go for seconds… He was adding spoons of “green stuff” to his serving… I tried one drop and thought I was going to die… Texas, it’s like a whole ‘nother world… One time they bought some beer that had jalapenos in it… I think it was a joke… but it might have been a local specialty… )

  17. Jerry says:

    @ Verity
    @Judy

    Thanks for the cranberry recipes! I will be trying them all as well as the brine and baked carrots and EM’s scalloped corn. I also looked up some stuff on http://allrecipes.com/ which is a site that I use a lot, but it is not as good getting a recipe directly from your friends. :) So thanks again and to others who have posted their favorites – I am going to have to bookmark this post.

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jerry:

    Feel free to suggest some of your favorites, too…

    Doesn’t have to be complicated. One of my favorite “simple meals” is just to take a can of oysters and dump into a sauce pan (juice and all). Add a couple of pats of butter and some onion bits (dehydrated or sauteed fresh – about a table spoon fress). Warm to a simmer and add one can of milk, warm gently just until the edges start to froth (i.e. DO NOT LET IT BOIL) and put in a bowl.

    With saltine crackers it is just one of my favorite meals. You can also add various bits of fish, or some left over corn, and it’s a decent chowder base. Doing the same thing with clams and boiled potato cubes (with optional spoon of canned peas and carrot shavings) makes a fast good chowder.

    Oh, and “salt and pepper to taste”… I usually sprinkle a good sprinkle of pepper on the oysters when first dumped into the pot so it can soften and blend during the warm / simmer phase… I’ve also been known to put a bit of garlic in it, but that’s a bit of an “acquired taste” for some folks ;-)

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