December 24, 2012
Each Thanksgiving we have at least twenty people for a sit-down dinner. I cook the meal and the guests supply the appetizers, deserts, and wine. The only difference to the dinner listed below is the sweet potatoes. My niece makes a dynamite dish and I hope she will allow me to share her recipe here in the next few weeks.
So turn on the football game and let’s start cooking!
Candied Sweet Potatoes
White Wine – Riesling
2 leeks including some green – chopped
2 large onion – chopped
15 baby carrots – chopped
4 tomatoes – chopped
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried marjoram
1 large bay leaf
Bacon strips to cover breast
Place unopened turkey on a cloth lined cookie sheet and thaw in refrigerator 7 hours per pound or one day for every four pounds of frozen turkey.
If turkey’s not completely thawed, set in a large pot of cold water to complete. Dispose of packet inserted in cavity. Rinse well, then pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
10 – 18 lbs. 2 – 2½ hrs.
18 – 22 lbs. 2½ – 3 hrs.
22 – 24 lbs. 3 – 3½ hrs.
Melt 1 stick of butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay the turkey on its side breast down. Brown the breast until golden, first one side then the other. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.
Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Insert cooking rack. Add chopped vegetables. Place turkey on rack breast up. Lay bacon slices over breast to cover well. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the pan bottom by 1 inch. Cover the turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping the sides well.
Remove from oven at the predetermined time. To test if the bird is done, use a paper towel or pot holder and shake hands with its leg. The leg should move freely. If you use a meat thermometer it should read 185° when inserted in the thigh. For an accurate reading, be sure not to touch bone. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 – 45 minutes before carving.
1 package bread stuffing cubes plain or seasoned
½ pound Jimmy Dean Original Sausage in the tube
1 rib celery chopped
½ medium onion chopped
1 stick butter
Chicken stock about 2 cups maybe a little more
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
The stuffing may be prepared a day or two in advance up to the baking point.
Fry sausage, breaking into small chunks until lightly brown.
Melt butter in a medium size skillet. When the foam subsides add the celery and onion. Sauté 3-4 minutes, be careful not to let it brown.
Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. Add sausage and vegetables with all their juices. Mix well.
Beat egg in a small bowl. Pour onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.
Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy.
Spoon into baking dish, do not pack in, and cover tightly with foil. (This is your stopping point if you make this before Thanksgiving. Refrigerate the stuffing until you are ready to bake it.)
Remove stuffing from the refrigerator early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the stuffing for a half hour. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top has browned.
1 small russet potato per person
The Day Before:
Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 25 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a fork into a potato. It should insert easily.
Drain potatoes. Mash well without adding other ingredients. Cool completely in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Remove potatoes from the refrigerator early in the day to allow them to come to room temperature. When you are ready to serve, microwave potatoes until hot. Stir in butter, sour cream, milk, and pepper to the consistency you prefer.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
32oz. can of sweet potatoes – my favorite is Royal Prince Candied Sweet Potatoes
½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 stick of butter
1 cup mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Drain the potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13×9 inch glass baking dish.
Sprinkle brown sugar across the top, then dot with butter.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Scatter marshmallows over the yams and bake for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are brown.
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle
½ cup olive oil – possibly more
½ medium onion sliced
1 inch piece gingerroot peeled and cut into strips
1 head broccoli trimmed and cut into florets
½ small sweet red pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
½ small yellow pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
2 large garlic cloves pressed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 green onions sliced on an angle
5 mini Bello mushrooms cleaned and sliced into thirds
1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
Have all the ingredients prepped and on the counter before you begin cooking.
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, carrot and gingerroot. Sauté until carrot is almost soft. Test by inserting a toothpick into the carrot. Remove as many gingerroot pieces as you can find. Don’t worry if some are left in the pan.
Add broccoli, red and yellow peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes. Stir constantly to insure broccoli is well coated with the oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on the lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 – 4 minutes, but be sure the broccoli and peppers still have crunch to them.
Blend in green onions and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are heated through. Serve quickly.
Serves 4 – 6 so adjust accordingly.
From the corn through the gravy it shows you just how lazy I can be on holidays.:)
1 can of corn per 4 people – my favorite is Green Giant Niblets
Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Lay 2 or 3 pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.
Follow package instructions
1 can of sauce per 6 people – my favorite is Ocean Spray Jellied
Lay the sauce into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve.
1 jar of gravy for 4 people – my favorite is Heinz Home Style Gravy Roasted Turkey
Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in a few tablespoons of the juice from the roasted turkey pan. Heat through and serve.
I’ll be back Monday with Lisa Greer. Until then…
Lena Austin is not only a talented author of many genres, she is also a marvelous cook. Below is her fun recipe for all your Trick or Treaters of any age.
One six-ounce package blueberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
4 cups cold water
3 cups lemonade, chilled
3 cups lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled
In a large mixing bowl, combine gelatin and two cups boiling water; stir until dissolved.
Stir in cold water. Cover and chill at least four hours. Gelatin will be partially set.
To serve, stir gelatin with a large spoon, fork, or wire whisk until gelatin is broken into small pieces.
Place ¼ cup of the lemonade in a large, clear glass or plastic tumbler. Add ½ cup of the gelatin to the lemonade, then add ¼ cup of the carbonated beverage.
Stir slightly and you’re ready to slurp some slime. Do not over-stir.
Makes 12 servings.
While you’re waiting for the Blue Slime to set, here’s a little from Lena’s exciting romance novel BERDACHE.
Lizard must convince the warrior Red Wolf to become a shaman –and a Berdache—or Red Wolf will go insane.
Red Wolf has always been the perfectly controlled Choctaw warrior. His childhood friend, the Berdache shaman Lizard, must convince Red Wolf to take the shaman’s training and learn to walk in both worlds safely. With the help of the captured Chickasaw maiden Moon to help, Lizard just might keep Red Wolf from going insane.
Learn more about Lena Austin, also known as the Duchess of Depravity, on her website and blog where you’re sure to find some of the best recipes on the internet. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.
Have a great week. I’ll be back Monday with Patricia Yager Delagrange. Until then…
To celebrate the USA Armed Forces, Musa Publishing is offering a free copy of Penumbra eMag to every service person in the States and overseas.
Please go to Penumbra eMag to send the free PDF and for your opportunity to win a copy of the Love Notes anthology.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!
Our family celebrates Easter with a mountain of appetizers, a great meal, and lots of laughter. We usually have twenty-one for a sit-down dinner and each family brings a contribution to enhance the event. Below is what Studs and I prepare. Hope you enjoy it.
Ham Baked in Bread
My Mom’s Potato Salad
Fresh Green Beans
Black Olives in Oil
Fresh Fruit Salad
White Wine – Riesling
Ham Baked in Bread
7# smoked ham – I use Kentucky Legend. It’s excellent, but this recipe works for all hams.
3 packages prepared pizza dough found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
½ cup water for sealing seams
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll the dough into a rectangle. Lay ham curved side down onto dough. Gently lift the dough to wrap the ham securely. Be careful not to rip the dough.
Dip your fingertips in the water, then rub them along the seams to seal. This may take several water dips to achieve. Place the ham seam side down, so it doesn’t burst during baking, on a non-stick cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Bake 20 minutes per pound or until bread is toasty brown.
Remove the ham from the oven and let cool until you can touch the bread without burning your hands. With a sharp, thin knife, cut off just the top portion to create a lid. Carve the ham and remaining bread into slices. Don’t worry if the bread falls apart as you slice it. This can happen. Discard any scrapes. Lay the ham and bread on a serving platter. The bread will be a little soggy, and that’s good, because it has soaked up the ham juices. Cover with the lid you cut off earlier.
Right before you serve, cut the lid into neat slices, lay them around and over the ham. Your guests will love it.
My Mom’s Potato Salad
1 red potato per person
1 hard boiled egg for every 2-3 potatoes
one stalk celery for every 7 potatoes chopped fine
½ med onion for every 7 potatoes chopped fine
Mayonnaise – NO substitutes
Boil the potatoes in their jackets until just fork tender. Remove from pot as they are done and allow to cool. Scrape the skins off. Slice in half widthwise then lengthwise. Slice into the bite size pieces.
While the potatoes are cooking, lay the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, and place a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then shut off the heat and allow to sit on the burner for 7 minutes. Cut into quarters, then slice. Set aside covered with plastic wrap or a paper towel to eliminate drying out.
Combine celery and onion in a large bowl. Grind in a healthy amount of fresh pepper. Stir in several large spoonfuls of mayonnaise. You have to gauge by the number of potatoes you use. Mix well.
Add the potatoes, two at a time and mix well. Continue until all the potatoes are added. Check the salad for dryness. It should be moist but not swimming in mayo. Add the sliced eggs and stir again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fresh Green Beans
1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
2 – tbsp butter
Fresh ground black pepper
Bring large pot of water to a hard boil. A high heat setting is best.
Drop the beans in by the handful. Boil 10 to 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender. If you plan to reheat the beans, boil for less time as the reheating will cook them further.
Drain beans in a colander. Add butter to the hot pot and swirl to melt. Return beans to the pot. Toss with butter and coat well. Season with pepper to taste and stir again.
They may be made earlier and reheated on low heat. Be careful not to scorch them or burn the butter.
Black Olives in Oil
1 can medium pitted black olives
3 garlic cloves
Glass jar with a secure lid
Drain the black olives and pour them into the jar. Crush the garlic into the jar. Pour in the olive oil to cover. Refrigerate at least 1 week. The mix will become thick and cloudy. It’s okay, that’s the oil solidifying.
To serve, set the jar on the counter until the oil becomes clear and returns to its normal consistency, which may take several hours. Spoon out the quantity of olives you wish to serve into a pretty dish. Be sure to have toothpicks. Put the jar back in the fridge for future use. You can refill with more olives. The mixture will stay good up to two months.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Red grapes seedless halved
Combine all the fruit into a mixing bowl. Add a few drops lime or lemon juice to stop the bananas from turning brown. Gently stir to blend the fruit.
Pour into a glass bowl, cover and chill until time to serve.
My good friend Yasmine Phoenix emailed to tell me about The Spice House where you can find everything at reasonable prices. This amazing store is on North Wells in Chicago’s Old Town. Don’t let that bother you, they ship.
Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back Monday with Emma Lane and her new release BLACK DOMINO. Until then…
aren’t always found under the tree. CLAIRE DE LUNE, the erotic sci-fi book I co-authored with razor-witted Robert Appleton, is listed on Amazon. That’s right, folks, you can now buy it on Kindle and in PAPERBACK.
Here’s a little to entice you.
CLAIRE DE LUNE
Robert Appleton & Sloane Taylor
ISBN E-book 978-1-61124-011-5
ISBN Paperback 978-1-61124-995-8
Amber Quill Press – Amber Heat
You’re invited to the galaxy’s most prestigious beauty pageant.
Romance and danger…fully provided.
Cocky young detectives Gerry Rappeneau and Sebastian Thorpe-Campbell arrive at the premier lunar resort expecting a week of eye candy and long massages. With a half-billion-credit purse up for grabs, this year’s pageant is the focus of a hundred worlds. And beauty isn’t the only thing in the eye of the beholder.
One contestant, Evelyn Lyons, is attacked and her assailant killed. Surely a simple case of a stalker gone mad, as nothing bad ever happens at the Selene contest. So the brochure says.
The closer Gerry gets to Evelyn, the more he is convinced she’s hiding something. His meticulous character sparks with her wild, sassy nature, and they embark on a torrid affair. Their forbidden romance isn’t the only thing set to ignite in Pont de Reves.
Sebastian’s infatuation with demure Claire Villiers, another contestant, threatens to put all four of them in harm’s way.
A deadly trail of corporate conspiracy, monstrous assassins and hot bikini wax is more than anyone bargained for in this incendiary erotic mystery. Get ready for some serious heat on the dark side of the moon.
I’ll be back Wednesday. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a BRILLIANT NEW YEAR!
I’ll be back next week. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Only hours away now and I can’t wait. 2009. What a beautiful opportunity to correct all the ills of the past year and make all those resolutions that last about a day.:)
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Have a safe and great time this evening.
Many thanks to Sloane Taylor, a great friend and ab fab author, for inviting me to share in this most special of days, Christmas Eve.
Gathered here are my traditions and photos of an English Christmas in Canada.
Gifts with Morning Champers
Upon rising, the stuffing is prepared with much chopping and sautéing to get the goose or buttered turkey in the oven before gift opening begins.
Once the bird is stowed, a nicely chilled sparkling wine is popped and poured as we sit around the tree. Several bottles are kept perfectly chilled on the back step to the garden, ensuring glasses are topped up as prezzies are opened. Everyone takes a turn and gifts passed around for viewing.
After paper and ribbon are collected into the recycle bin and with gifts spread about the front room, it’s time for:
Games, Nibbles and Drinks
Charades are lots of fun for everyone and can be enjoyed by youngsters as well. Board and card games are then brought out and the whole party joins in or we separate into groups of fewer players. Some of our favourites are Mad Gab and Pictionary for group participation; Clue, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit for four players each; Yahtzee, Cribbage and Uno for two players.
Nibbles are best made ahead and even better, if easy-peasy start to finish. These Cheese Pennies are one of my favourites. A savory bite-size delight fresh from the oven, they are excellent served with any unsweetened drink and will disappear very quickly.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
¾ lb Old Cheddar, grated
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon hot mustard powder
¼ teaspoon salt
In a food processor, combine the butter and egg yolk until smooth and creamy. Add the grated cheese and blend well; cheese does not have to be completely incorporated into mixture.
Stir the salt, mustard and flour together until evenly blended.
Add the dry mix to the food processor in one go, clean the sides of the bowl and pulse just until the dough comes together to form a ball. Dough will be very soft; try not to over process or handle too much, as the delicacy of the penny will be compromised.
Ready two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the dough in half, placing each piece on a parchment. Working with one half, gently nudge the dough into a log about an inch to an inch and a half thick, using the parchment paper.
Wrap the log in the parchment and then in plastic wrap: refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. The logs can be kept up to one week in the fridge or three months in the freezer!
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Remove logs from the refrigerator or freezer and unwrap. Slice into ¼ inch pieces and arrange on lined baking tray. No need to worry about crowding as the pennies don’t expand much. The longer time is for frozen pennies.
Bake until golden, about 10-13 minutes. Makes about 100 pennies.
Serve slightly warm.
And a few hours later, everyone is ready for:
Christmas Lunch with Crackers and Paper Crowns!
In England, it’s called Christmas Lunch as it is usually served by early afternoon but the traditional dinner can be served at any time, according to games in progress or the amount of treats and drinks served beforehand…or the timing of the bird.
A Christmas Cracker is positioned at each place setting and upon taking a seat at the table, the crackers are pulled with the assistance of a nearby participant. Oohs and aahs are voiced according to the ‘crack’, as the snap is absent if the cracker is not held firmly at the twist.
Cracking is best done before plates are laden as the contents of the cracker may end up in your dinner…there are jokes or riddles, small prizes and a paper crown. Colours usually vary from bright pink to blue, orange to yellow, purple and red. My cousin Katie is pictured here in a fabulous gold crown.
Hats donned, we help ourselves to a platter of sliced goose, a massive bowl of sage and onion stuffing, a covered dish of tender brussell sprouts and glorious oven roasted parsnip and potatoes. A good portion of thick gravy is poured over all, by me at the least.
During the gorgeous meal, riddles are shared and the wee prizes from the crackers displayed: flashlights, key chains, glass charms, tiny roller ball games, plastic insects (much loved by small boys), teeny packs of playing cards and so much more. Gads of fun!
Then for afters, steamed Plum Pudding! Ever on the Christmas menu, I never make this lush stodgy dessert as there are so many excellent puddings available. However, I will suggest plum pudding be served with either clotted cream or vanilla ice cream, as it’s much too rich on its own.
Once the dishes have been cleared, everyone seeks out a place for:
Reading, napping or viewing
Movies are slipped in the DVD players as others take to a comfy chair with a new book. And on this special eve before Christmas, I am feeling especially blessed and grateful as my Medieval Fantasy Romance The King’s Daughter is to be released in print in a few days. On December 30th, it can be ordered at all good bookshops or online everywhere!
THE KING’S DAUGHTER
It is the year 997 AD, in a country broken by warring clans, led by
The secluded, protected daughter of the King of Munster, Magaith,
must wed a king in a pact of peace and renounce her true love. But
naught is what it seems for sinister plots and deception abound. Thus
begins a journey of discovery as Magaith is introduced to enchanted
beings and animals, spells and powers.
At the heart of her destiny lies the salvation of Eire. Yet, as
Magaith battles the forces of evil, her beloved knight is marked to
die – a dark wizard covets her and will see all dead – if they dare
stand in his path to be High King, with Magaith as his wife.
Bestowed with the ultimate 5 Red Roses from Red Roses for Authors
Awarded ‘Outstanding Read’ by Simply Romance Reviews:
The King’s Daughter by MC Halliday is a very well-crafted story of what happens when a young woman is sent away to another kingdom and told to marry for her country’s sake, even though what her heart wills would lead her elsewhere. As the book takes place in Eire, the requisite witches and magic are added with what seems to be a very vivid flair to make the story even more breathtaking and exciting…Ms. Halliday is very adept at combining real with otherworldly characters to create an interesting story, with a happy ending for all. I found this book to be very entertaining, definitely an enjoyable read!
Wishing everyone a most glorious celebration, whether shared with family and friends or away from home and perhaps, alone. As times are troubled the world over and many are weary from worry, truly we are in need of heartfelt joy and a wee bit of celebration.
May love and peace be yours, now and through the coming year.
G’Day Everyone, it’s me, Maggie Nash waving to you from Australia!
People in the northern hemisphere often find it hard to relate to Christmas in the great south land. Summer isn’t something you northerners identify with carols, eggnog, roast turkey and tinsel. Well, I’m here to tell you we love our Christmas here in Aussieland…and we remember that the first Christmas was actually in a hot arid country so celebrating in the hot weather isn’t all that strange. Okay, so seeing poor Santa swelter in that heavy red suit and beard in the heat is a little weird I guess, but hey, we watch TV…we see how you guys do it! We don’t want to be left out….LOL…
To be honest the traditions here are changing. It has a lot to do with our climate, and a lot to do with our multicultural country. As a child I lived in a society where most people were of a European background. Hence we celebrated much like a family from England or from the USA…minus the snow of course. Now we are a more eclectic society. Our neighbours are from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong….plus we still have our Irish, English and European heritage. It’s quite a melting pot really.
So now we combine our traditions. We might have lobster and prawns, and then plum pudding. Some still have turkey and ham and all the trimmings. Some have a barbeque on the beach. Anything goes.
What doesn’t change is that it’s bl**dy hot! So I try to have something cooling but still Christmassy enough to be a special occasion.
Here is my recipe for Ice Cream Christmas Pudding. It’s absolutely delicious, if I say so myself.:)
1 litre tub of chocolate ice cream
500g mixed dried fruit
100 g glace cherries (optional)
100g choc bits
25 mls brandy or rum
500g good quality choc buttons (dark or milk)
250g white chocolate buttons
sprig of holly to decorate
Leave the chocolate ice cream out to soften until it is able to be stirred.
In another bowl, combine the fruit and cherries. Leave aside
Line a pudding bowl with clear plastic wrap.
Melt the chocolate buttons ( in a double boiler, or microwave)
Add a small amount of the brandy or rum to the chocolate and stir. It now becomes hard, in a play dough sort of texture.
Put the chocolate mixture into the prepared pudding bowl and mould it around the sides until you have completely lined the bowl with the chocolate. Place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Mix the fruit and the choc bits into the ice cream and pour it into the pudding bowl over the chocolate lining. Bring the cling wrap back over the top and wrap.
Place the bowl in the freezer and let it refreeze. Preferably overnight, but at least 4 hours.
To serve, pull the pudding out of the bowl with the plastic wrap. Up end it onto a serving plate. Melt the white chocolate and pour it over the frozen pudding and it will harden. It looks like custard.
Decorate with a sprig of holly…and voila!
Christmas pudding Aussie style.
And if you want to get a look at what some sexy Aussies get up to all over the country, then go out and buy yourself a copy of BOYS DOWN UNDER!
It’s available NOW from Aspen Mountain Press
Here’s the blurb from my story in the anthology
The Executioner – By Maggie Nash
A team building exercise at a remote location reignites the heat between former lovers Madeleine Smith and Nicholas Garabaldi. When team members start dying they must learn to trust again so they can outwit whoever is killing off the group one by one. Is this the “Executioner” from the indigenous Dream Time legend of the local Bilbulmun tribe? Or is someone closer to home responsible?
So to everyone, best wishes for the holiday season, however you celebrate it!
Lots of Love,