Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Oldie but Goodie

(I initially posted this last November, but the house is currently filled with the smell of cornbread, and the dressing process is well underway. I hope you take some time to count your blessings this weekend - I know I am.)

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I've always loved to cook and see family. We're the kind that stays, eats some more, and stays, naps a little, and stays, talk a lot, watch some football, stays a bit longer, and eventually waddle our way back to our cars with heaping plates of leftovers for the next day.

I thought I would share with you the killer cornbread dressing recipe from my Grandfather. I love to make it every year in his memory, in the very big silver "dressing bowl" he taught me to prepare it in.

The year before Papa Loyd died he was still stubbornly insisting on hosting Christmas Day dinner at his house like we always did. I went over to help with the preparations and brought my video camera to try and capture the infamous dressing recipe on tape. I let him boss me around and call all the shots - watching that video makes me laugh as I cry.

Me & Papa Loyd circa 1979

Papa Loyd's Holiday Dressing & Giblet Gravy

Note: no shortcuts allowed. No broth instead of homemade stock. No store bought cornbread. I've tried the shortcuts and they just. don't. work. It's not the same.

1 hen (not chicken)
2-3 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 large pones cornbread (if you don't know what a pone is you have no business making this recipe)
1/4 butter
2 TBS yellow mustard
2 TBS ketchup
2 TBS Italian seasoning
1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh sage, finely chopped (reduce amount if dried)
3 slices bread, torn up into small pieces
1 (8 oz.) can oysters, drained & chopped
3 TBS jarred pimento, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

The day before: cook cornbread & cool completely. Crumble both pones.
Day of Thanksgiving:
Remove giblets from hen and set aside.

Rinse hen and place in stockpot & cover with water, about 8 cups. Simmer covered until done, reserving broth. De-bone hen & reserve meat.

Preheat oven 350 degrees

In large saucepan melt butter & add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Add all the broth from hen, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

In BIG ("dressing") bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, torn bread pieces, & the broth mix until it reaches spaghetti sauce consistency. If mix is too soupy, add more bread pieces.

Add all the remaining ingredients & mix well.

Pour mixture into a large roasting pan. Bake 1 hour until golden.

Serve hot with giblet gravy & hen meat on the side.

Finely chop hen giblets.
Simmer 3 cups chicken broth on stovetop. Add flour a little at a time, stirring constantly until a smooth, thin rue is formed. Add chopped giblets, blend well, and simmer.
Salt, pepper, and otherwise season to taste, can add one or two sliced boiled eggs to gravy if you want to be extra-Southern.
Yields: enough for a crowd of at least 10-15.

Eliot Loyd is Papa Loyd's namesake.
I see his spirit in that boy every day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hot Wheel Hacienda indeed...

... here's a bit about my latest venture.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I know, I know. I haven't posted since September, and now I'm like that boy that dumped you in middle school who was slobbering all over you one minute and snubbing you the next (Jerk.)
I suck.

But work was killing me and I had the Huge Event and Finn was having a rough time at school and we were worried and I would just come home and collapse in a heap from exhaustion and frustration. And the dog ate my homework. And I had car trouble. Satisfied?

Somewhere in between all that we all went to the beach with my parents, Hotwheel Hubs went back to school, I started up with the local roller derby team, Finn played a whole soccer season, we celebrated our 10th anniversary in NYC, I got swine flu, Finn evened out at school, and Halloween happened:

Samurai Jack & FinnBot
Eli was Samurai Jack and Finn was a Robot. Best. Halloween. EVAH!

That should catch you up with me, but I've missed YOU! I hope to catch up visiting your worlds and trying to catch up.

... AND I wanted to show an email my Dad just sent me... I couldn't believe it and have never been more thankful that I don't have a bayou running through my backyard.

From: Uncle Mike
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 7:31 AM
To: The Fam
Subject: Hog Gator

I thought you all would like to see the size of this gator. I would not want to be in any soccer field with a gator like this!
1000lb + GATOR Shot in Houma, La. The larger female got away but was seen crossing Field 4...




You know those Cajuns... putting him in the cooler to make some awesome gator soup. Many, many bowls.

Check out that pinky finger and those nails!

The craziest part is THE FEMALE GOT AWAY. Eeeek!!
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