Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving recap + early morning USG visit

My photo assistant was still sleeping when I got home from the greenmarket at 9:15 (left at 8), so I have no photos of today's wintry bounty, but luckily, I have a shot of our Thanksgiving feast. We had delicious curry dip and cheesy toasts (the greatest use of cheese known to man, I think) for appetizers; Tofurky, squash puree, mashed potatoes, garlicky spinach, and homemade cornbread stuffing as our mains; and probably the best apple pie I've ever had (sorry Mom!), as well as pumpkin pie, for dessert. All in all, a bit of a crazy spread for just the three of us, but lots of fun.

Regarding the dishes I made, I thought the acorn squash puree was good, but a little over-nutmegged, the mashed potatoes (German butterballs) were terrific, and the stuffing was well-received by stuffing fans (recipe at the bottom of this post).

Today's USG cornucopia:
2 bags spinach
1 bag salad mix
1 bunch carrots
1 lb. turnips
1.5 lbs. ruby crescent potatoes
1 butternut squash
1/2 lb. shallots
4 lbs. Mutsu apples
2 "mother of Mutsu" apples
Total spent: $27

I went a bit overboard with the apples, so I think this week I will finally make good my promises of applesauce. And I do love using my food mill...

Other plans include carrot/turnip mash alongside sauteed tofu and spinach tonight, with the rest of the spinach being added to pasta, burritos, and anywhere else possible for lunches. Leftover turnip and carrot mash will hopefully work for fritters tomorrow.

I bought the ruby crescents because the sign describing their "hint of chestnut" flavor has tempted me every time I've walked by for a month; I'll probably make a potato puree with them (again with the food mill). Otherwise, I plan to try a recipe for squash and cumin soup I found on a site I "bloghopped" to from The Food Blog Blog and so can't remember its name. If it's good, I will find it again and post a link.

Vegetarian Cornbread Stuffing (Dressing?)
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups diced celery
2 cups peeled, large-diced apples (tart and crisp - I used Mutsus)
1 cup seeded, diced zucchini
1-2 tbsp. fresh sage
1-2 tsp. dried rosemary (you could use fresh, but I only had dried)
1.5-2 cups vegetable stock
1 egg (optional)
4-5 cups slightly-stale cornbread, cut into 1" dice (to dry out fresh cornbread, cut into 1" slices and leave out overnight on a baking sheet, covered with a kitchen towel)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

All measurements are approximate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Do not allow shallots to brown. Clear the middle of the frying pan, and add sage and rosemary; stir into rest of ingredients when spices become aromatic. Add zucchini and apples and cook, stirring, until zucchini is tender and apples have softened (they will not be completely soft).

Allow vegetable mixture to cool. Place diced cornbread in large bowl and add vegetable mixture, one cup of vegetable batter, and salt and pepper to taste; add egg after tasting for seasoning. Use your hands to mix thoroughly. Continue adding stock until all ingredients are moistened and stuffing is coherent but quite moist, like muffin batter. Spread stuffing out in a 9x13 baking dish (or stuff whatever you need to stuff with it), and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until browned all over and crusty around the edges. Or, stuffing can be made up to this point and refrigerated overnight to be baked the next day.

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