We have had such a glorious fall that it hardly seems like the holidays are just around the corner. Ralph put away the furniture from the front porch this past week because the first part of November we were sitting outside eating our lunch.
I told him I think it is time to take off the screen door and put it in the shed for the winter.
I always have big plans for everything I want to accomplish before Christmas, and I guess I think that if I start thinking about what I want to get done then in the natural scheme of things it will (get done). Then reality sets in and I start picking and choosing what I can actually do and it's a whole different ball game.
I don't care how much time you think you have and how much planning ahead you do, I always need an extra day or two.
Thanksgiving dinner has always been my favorite to cook. On Wednesday I make my pies and yeast rolls and start my dressing and turkey stock for the gravy. I have been brining my turkey for the past couple of years. If you haven't tried it, you should because it makes for a really moist bird. As usual, I'm getting a naturally raised bird from Smith & Smith Farms in Dayton.
They raised two varieties this year, Bourbon Reds and Bronze Breasted. The Bourbon Reds are a heritage breed and are slower to mature and more docile with the hens weighing 16-18 pounds and the toms 22-24 pounds.
The Bronze Breasted are a more commercial variety with wild turkey coloring and weigh in from 20-40 pounds. The biggest bad boy will be going to Charlie at Adele's for his Thanksgiving dinner.
I'm hoping for a more manageable weight of 28-30 pounds so there will be plenty of leftovers. Brenda Smith says that the more mature the turkey the better tasting so stay away from those young skinny ones.
Get a bigger bird and use the extra for sandwiches, soup and the next couple of recipes that I'm going to share with you.
This first recipe that I'm going to share will make one big or two smaller casseroles. You can eat one now and save the other for a night when you are pressed for time.
Or you can make my friend Vicki O'Shaughnessy's version that is a lot easier than mine and only uses one pan and is ready in about 40 minutes.
• 1 lb. spaghetti or linguine, cooked, rinsed and drained
• 2 cups leftover turkey, cut up
• 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in butter with a splash of white wine
• Cube of butter
• 1/2 cup flour with dash of nutmeg
• 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
• 3/4 cup milk and 3Ú4 cup white wine
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. white pepper
Melt 3-4 Tbsp. butter in small saucepan and add 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs mixed with 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1 Tbsp. fresh finely chopped parsley.
For sauce: Melt butter over medium heat, blend in flour, add wine, stock and remaining ingredients and heat stirring until thickened. Add chicken and mushrooms and stir in cooked pasta. Place in buttered shallow large casserole dish or two smaller ones. Sprinkle with topping and bake in preheated 375 oven, covered, for 40 minutes and uncovered for the last 15-20 minutes till top is golden brown. If frozen, thaw before baking.
V.O.'s Turkey Tetrazzini
• 4 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 medium onion
• 1Ú2 cup chopped celery
• 2 cups cooked turkey pieces
• 1 can cream of chicken soup
• 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
• 1 can sliced mushrooms
• 1Ú2 cup parmesan cheese
• 6 oz. uncooked vermicelli
• Salt and pepper to taste, paprika
In skillet, brown onion, celery and turkey in oil, layer vermicelli on top. Mix soup and broth together, add salt and pepper and pour over noodles. Top with mushrooms, cheese and paprika. Cover and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes.
This last recipe I'm going to share with you is so easy even a non-baker of bread won't have any trouble with it. Best of all, you make the dough the night before and can bake them before your turkey goes in the oven or while it cooling and being carved. You could also make them on Wednesday and just reheat them.
Sour Cream Yeast Rolls
• 1Ú4 cup butter
• 1Ú2 cup sour cream
• 1Ú4 cup sugar
• 1Ú2 tsp. salt
• 1 package yeast
• 1Ú4 cup warm water (105-115)
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1 egg beaten
• 2 cups flour
• 1 egg white slightly beaten with 2 tsp. of water added
Combine the first four ingredients and heat till butter is melted. I do mine about 1 minute in the microwave. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tsp. sugar and let stand 5 minutes, till yeast starts bubbling. In a large mixing bowl, mix sour cream mixture, yeast and egg.
Gradually add flour, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each portion to a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Cut each circle into 10 wedges; roll each wedge jellyroll style, beginning at wide end. Place on greased baking sheet, point side down.
Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Brush with beaten egg white and bake 375 for 12 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973 and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.