Well, after my 35 minutes on the Wii Fit, a shower, and getting dressed, I stumbled down to the kitchen.
First, I got out a slice of homemade bread and toasted it. When it was a nice carmel color I slathered it with cranberry almond goat cheese. The cheese warms and gets a little gooey while the cranberries add a pleasant sweet sourness and the almonds retain their crunch for a delicious taste and texture combination.
After I had polished that off, I began the Thanksgiving Meal (TM) preparations. I began by cooking some sausage for breakfast casserole because we have to eat on Friday too! My Dad called while I was doing this and asked if I was making dressing. Sadly, I wasn’t, but it inspired me to use the leftover sausage grease and bits pan for the dressing.
So, after scooping the sausage onto papertowel and parchment to weep off any remaining hot grease, I got out a box of chicken stock (I know! How disappointing that it wasn’t homemade. Look, I *just* got the deep freeze a few weeks ago and hadn’t had the opportunity to roast a chicken yet ergo no homemade stock.) and used it to deglaze the leftover sausage and fat stickiness. Then I thought, “Aha!” I know, I’ll go ahead and sautee the onions, carrots, and celery in this delicious sausage fat/chicken stock reduction. Once they were nice and tender I set them aside in a mason jar waiting to become the deliciousness that is dressing.
And no, it is *not* savory bread pudding. It is dressing. No further comment.
Using the deglazed sausage pan, I then fried up some chopped bacon. While that was browning nicely (because bacon never misbehaves!) I began making the cranberry goodness. I say goodness for lack of a better term (Not because cranberries have some inherenet superiority to bacon. They don’t.) as I don’t make “jelly” and it isn’t a “salad” (Because, really, gross, who wants nuts and celery to mess up the orange, cinnamon, sugar, and cranberry concoction?) nor is it “relish”. Although relish probably comes closest because isn’t a relish any side condiment? Let’s check.
rel·ish (rlsh) n. 1. An appetite for something; a strong appreciation or liking: a relish for luxury. 2. a. Hearty enjoyment; zest. b. Something that lends pleasure or zest.3. a. A spicy or savory condiment or appetizer, such as chutney or olives.b. A condiment of chopped sweet pickle.
Okay, so it isn’t savory or spicy–although I’m going to add some jalepeno to some of it and serve it with cheese and crackers for snacks tomorrow–but I do like the “lends pleasure and zest” part which I think is true. I mean cranberries are zesty!
Back to the bacon, quick, before it burns! I removed the bacon to the papertowels to drain and poured most of the grease into a pyrex custard cup (wouldn’t it be a bacon grease cup now? I don’t think I’ve ever made custard with it. Pudding, yes. Custard, no. But most often I think it holds bacon grease.) but left some in the pan.
Pan back on the stove, I add chopped onion and a little bit of garlic and let it caramelize. Then I toss in 2 bags of frozen corn-yellow and white super sweet- and let that heat and brown. Next I pour in half a pint of cream adding a little salt and a lot of pepper. Once the mixture is nice bubbling I begin adding chunks of velveeta cheese. I toss in the remaining shredded extra sharp cheddar from the breakfast casserole. Once the cheeses have melted and the dish is beginning to coalese into something sinful. I toss in the pound of bacon crumbles. Yep. You read correctly-Cheesy Bacon Corn-is a pound of bacon, cheese, cream, and corn.
It was so good I wished there was someone home with me that I could turn to, tasting spoon in hand and say, “Wow. Taste this.”
But instead I poured the mixture into the casserole dish and put it into the ice box for reheating tomorrow. The next 24 hours will impart more magic to the dish as the bacon throws off its delicious smokey flavor and absorbs some of the creamy, cheesy moisture.
Looking at the sink of dishes and my favorite pan now coated in a thin layer of cheesy creamy sin I decide that a little bacon grease will prevent the onions I need to sautee for the green bean casserole from sticking and save me from figuring out if I can wash dishes in my bathtub. So, in goes some bacon grease, onion, and a spoonful of garlic.
Then the cranberries begin to bubble over. I used my littlest sauce pan but really should have used a bigger one. Now I have bits of burned cranberry on my stove. Gross. I quickly turn the temp on those off and discover that the onions have begun to brown.
Next, pour in a half pint of cream, lots of pepper, a little nutmeg, a little salt. Once that is at a low boil I add in the cream of mushroom soup. Whisking to combine the aroma is heaven. Once the creamy oniony sauce has married the cream of mushroom soup I toss in the 2 bags of frozen green beans. The mixture is thick because I know the green beans will toss off water as it bakes tomorrow. I’m okay with that. I don’t like soupy green bean casserole. I don’t like green bean casserole that has to be sliced to serve. I think I’ll have it just right.
As the beans warm I toss in half the large size can of fried onions. I let those sit for a minute and once I see bubbles on the edge of the pan I stir and stir. Then I turn the eye off and slide the mass of goo and fat and vegetable into my blue lidded casserole dish my mother gave me when I got my first apartment. It feels good to use this dish to make a family tradition that I will serve to my family on a day we give thanks for our blessings. Where was I? Oh, yes, the remaining onions get sprinkled over the top.
Then I decided a Kroger run would be necessary to procure more fried onions–I did use 2 bags of green beans after all! I also need to get garlic, or pimento, or jalepeno stuffed olives for the apres-dinner martinis. Truely, what a wonderful day! Cheese, crackers, and martinis for snack, followed by cola turkey, greenbean casserole, cheesy bacon corn, cranberry goodness, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle. AND THEN PIE!
Wholly cow, I love my life!
Upon this revelation I remembered that I still need to dry the homemade bread for the dressing and write out what I wanted to go on the salad.
At this point I’m thinking- lettuce, celery, carrots, thin sliced onion, dried cranberries…Dad is calling…running all over the house because he hung up on my cell and then called at home…he says we ought to get the flowers in water. I am confused. He says flowers were delivered at 1pm. I say, no. I go to the door and check. Yes! There are flowers on my front step! So, now I must go put them in water…
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!