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November 25, 2009

Carnival of the Turkeys

Well, I have written and abandoned two posts now. Despite a surfeit of celtic blood, I hate being maudlin. So I will leave you with a recipe - one I'm not making this year, but which is probably the only constant (other than turkey and stuffing) at Thanksgiving dinners at Villa Cassandranita for over 25 years now.

Squash Casserole.

Even folks who hate squash like this recipe. I like a mix of flavors at a holiday meal. I've always thought that the Seven Sweets and Seven Sours was a great idea. Must be my German blood tempering the Celtic/English love of bland food.

Not me... I like to experience the full gamut of flavors! This recipe satisfies my love of spicy/hot dishes.

3-4 lbs mixed yellow and green (zuccini) squash
2 Med. onions, minced
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh parsley (freeze dried works well too)
1/2 t. thyme
6 T. butter
6 T. flour
3 C. milk
Generous dash salt
1 T. seasoned salt. I like Morton's Nature's Seasons. McCormacks has too much paprika in it.
Several dashes ground nutmeg. I like to grate fresh.
Dash Worcestershire sauce.
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/3 C shredded Swiss cheese (I use way more, but this is what the recipe says). I treat recipes as suggestions, not dictats.
Cayenne pepper
Buttered breadcrumbs (Question for the ages: how in the heck does one butter a breadcrumb??? Good grief: just use the Italian seasoned ones from the can and forget about the butter)

Cut squash into 1/3" slices. Halve each. Place in large saucepan with minced onion, bay leaves, parsley, thyme. Cover with boiling salted water and cook until just barely tender. Drain, remove parsley and bay leaves. Set aside for a moment.

Celebrate by pouring the cook a glass of wine.

While the squash was cooking, you were *supposed* to be making the cream sauce. Of course it's too late now. Maybe next time you'll read the entire recipe first instead of loafing around the kitchen drinking Liebfraumilch. In a 1 qt. saucepan, heat 6 T. butter, whisk in 6T flour, gradually add 3 C. milk and a dash of salt.

Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it thick b/c the squash will release a lot of water in the oven and that will thin the sauce down.

Celebrate w/another glass of wine.

To the white sauce, add seasoned salt, nutmeg, and Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat. Gradually blend in the beaten egg yolks (What? You mean you hadn't beaten the egg yolks either? Maybe you should put the wine away.)


Gradually blend in the *beaten* egg yolks by adding a small amount of the hot cream sauce to the beaten yolks in a small bowl. Whisk well, then add a bit more hot cream sauce and whisk thoroughly, then a bit more.

Have another glass of wine and pile the dishes in the sink for your spouse to do once everyone has left. When you have blended enough of the hot mixture in with the eggs, return all to saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Stir in 1 C. of Swiss cheese and add cayenne pepper to taste. I like a fair amount (two generous dashes) but taste and adjust.

Place layer of cooked squash in a large (9x12 is fine) buttered baking dish. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over and sprinkle with regular or seasoned salt. Alternate layers of squash and sauce until casserole is full. Don't stir too much - you want the squash slices to be intact. Mix remaining cheese with equal or greater amount of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over top. Add salt/pepper if desired or more grated Swiss. I like to top it all off with a scant layer of Parmesan or Asiago.

Bake at 350 degrees until top is bubbly and slightly browned. Even better the 2nd day - you may want to mix ingredients the day before and refrigerate until ready to cook. If you do this, increase cooking time slightly to adjust for dish being cold when it goes into the oven.

Posted by Cassandra at November 25, 2009 04:20 PM

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I don't beleive I have ever put that much work or wine into a dish sans the meat. It sounds good though.

Posted by: Pile On at November 25, 2009 07:18 PM

I'll try it out this weekend :o)
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Posted by: olga at November 25, 2009 09:20 PM

Carnival of the Turkeys and Pile On shows up.

Well, I guess. :)

Where've you been keeping yourself, Tex?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the members of the On household!

You too, Olga!!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 25, 2009 10:40 PM

I have been keeping myself out of trouble Don. I have this personality disorder where all my focus,interest and passion is directed at one thing at a time.

I made two pies today and I just noticed that a small hand has scooped up a bunch of the pumkin on what was a beautiful pie.

How have you been Don?

Posted by: Pile On at November 25, 2009 11:13 PM

Yeah, he made my day too, Don :)

Posted by: Cassandra at November 26, 2009 12:04 AM

I don't beleive I have ever put that much work or wine into a dish sans the meat.

I never worry about how much wine I put into the dish as long as she's happy doing the cooking.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: BillT at November 26, 2009 02:27 AM

*rolling eyes*

Happy Turkey day, Bill.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 26, 2009 08:28 AM

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. We noshed on the pecan pie last night, accompanied by a side of eggnog ice cream while watching 'Die Another Day.'


Posted by: Cricket at November 26, 2009 09:49 AM

Not that I am a wine snob or anything, but was that Liebfraumilch mit Predikat?

Inquiring minds, yanno.

Posted by: Cricket at November 26, 2009 09:50 AM

Dad always does the turkey and dressing. I always make a chocolate pie. Yesterday, I got to out to Patti's and see Carren & Chuck. Carren & Chuck both fell asleep on the couch, but when they got up, we made pies for Patti's Thanksgiving gathering today. I made a Chocolate Dream Whip pie, and then assisted Carren with her pumpkin & pecan pies, and helped Chuck with peeling, coring & slicing apples. I plan on heading out there again after the family dinner this afternoon.

As for what else is on the dinner menu? Mashed potatoes, of course. Corn, green beans & rolls. I think one of my sisters might be making mac & cheese, and one of my uncles is bringing a ham. I won't be going hungry today!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 26, 2009 10:31 AM

Sounds tasty. The highlight of my turkey day is always our family recipe for stuffing, based around crumbled sweet italian sausage and roasted chestnuts, along with the usual celery, onions, bread, and fresh herbs. Everyone fights over the stuffing before anything else.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow free-thinkers!

Posted by: a former european at November 26, 2009 03:31 PM

I made two stuffings this year - my regular recipe and oyster stuffing. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 26, 2009 04:58 PM

Stuffed, but not with stuffing!

Since you asked, Senor Pile Juan, all is pretty well today. I have taken a few well-deserved days off from the coal mine, turned my younger son's bedroom into a Texas Longhorn fan site (those burnt orange walls-sheesh) and have started painting the master bath (next project). Had a big dinner at home that couldn't be beat, and we're horsing around playing Wii Sports now.

Hope all are well today, wherever your are, and hope everyone has a nice holiday.

Vaya con Dios, friends.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 26, 2009 06:23 PM

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

(Cass -- I butter breadcrumbs by softening butter, spreading it on a plate, sprinkling the crumbs on it, stirring them about with a fork, and then scraping them off the plate with a rubber spatula. The casserole sounds delicious, but a bit too much for the two of us this weekend. I'll try it when we have more to feed.)

Posted by: htom at November 26, 2009 07:42 PM

Don, you are kidding about the longhorn bedroom right? Right?

Posted by: Pile On at November 26, 2009 08:19 PM

We have cornbread dressing every year with variations on it; sausage, chestnuts, roasted, etc.

The Engineer loves sweet and sour green beans and corn pudding. I don't make it with tomatoes, because that grosses out the younger CLUs and the Young Man.

Apple pie made with apple pie filling we canned last fall (the last of the jars).

Homemade cranberry sauce was also on the menu.

Posted by: Cricket at November 26, 2009 08:59 PM

Happy Thanksgiving, guys :)

And yes, Cricket. Mit Predikat. I'm not really wild about Liebfraumilch, though I can tolerate a sweet wine with turkey. Normally Vouvray is about as sweet as I like it. But when I was growing up we had Liebfraumilch at Thanksgiving (courtesy of Dad working with NATO a lot), so every few years I like to see it at the table.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 26, 2009 10:04 PM

You're probably tired of cooking, but try this when you've energy for it. My sister said it was "magnificient."

Potato-Pepper cake

Start with a Devil's Food Cake recipe (or 1-pound box of Devil's Food Cake).

Add: 1 cup grated raw potato

1 tsp. or more, to taste, cayenne pepper

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup dark cocoa

1/4 tsp. or less salt, mixed with potato (to keep it from browning).

It's surprisingly good.

Posted by: Grim at November 26, 2009 11:27 PM

Nope, absolutely pravda! He's a big Longhorns fan since Vince Young played there. He's only 12; my son, not Vince Young :D. He alternately wears this ratty Longhorns hoody or a Bengals hoody to school everyday.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 26, 2009 11:37 PM

Did he watch the game tonight, Don? Think McCoy really deserves the Heisman this year. Winningest college quarterback ever, and counting, right? I'm a UT fan, if you couldn't tell. Most of my uncles and both of my sisters are UT alum...

The dressing my dad makes (I've never made it myself, just helped, since Dad does it every year) consists of cornbread, toast, sausage, ground beef, turkey drippings, and I'm not sure what else (eggs? celery?). I never ate it as a kid, but it's pretty good...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 27, 2009 01:57 AM

I had a boyfriend who is German; he loved the Mosel and Rhenish wines. I only got as close as sniffing them. Sometimes I could get a sense of what he was talking about with regard to 'dry' versus 'sweet' wines by smelling them. I did like the art on the labels though, especially the Schwartzkatze and Liebfraumilch. They reminded me of those medieval prayer books and Book of Hours.

The Feast was a success. We now have ham and turkey sufficient for casseroles, sandwiches, soups and appetizers. The ham bone will be used for stock for legumes, and the turkey carcass for stock to can the leftover turkey.

The Engineer loves his PA Dutch roots.

Posted by: Cricket at November 27, 2009 01:08 PM

Yeah, Miss Ladybut he watched until he dozed off. He likes Colt McCoy. That was a highlight-reel game; not a lot of scintillating defense, but a lot of entertaining plays.

I see McCoy and Teebow facing off on Jan 10 in the Big One.

Miss Cricket, we like Ars Vitis Reisling (has pretty bottles) with our turkey. Served cool, it's just a little sweet and smooth.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 27, 2009 02:26 PM

Don, you realize that Texas' colors are also the original Tampa Bay Buc's colors.....or so says MH (Steeler fan). He also adds how refreshing it is for the father of a Bungle's fan to *come out* like that.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 27, 2009 09:17 PM

...you realize that Texas' colors are also the original Tampa Bay Buc's colors...

So, the colors ran?

Posted by: BillT at November 28, 2009 08:30 AM

"So, the colors ran?"

Well, something had to for the Buc's back then, Lord knows they didn't have anyone on the team that could -- and no Doug Williams running for his life doesn't count.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 28, 2009 07:58 PM

'Miss Ladybut?'

Someone had too much Riesling...

Posted by: Cricket at November 28, 2009 08:17 PM

I didn't even notice, and I read that comment previously ;-) I suppose it can be forgiven, since his kid has the good sense to be a Texas fan...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 28, 2009 08:50 PM


Just noticed that myself.

Sorry about that, Miss Ladybug!

My son was in real quandry in the bowl game between Texas and Ohio State last year.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 29, 2009 10:15 AM

Apology accepted ;-)

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 29, 2009 12:23 PM

Celts are maudlin?

Posted by: I Call BS at November 30, 2009 12:02 AM

Celts are maudlin but the Mauldins are Sassenach.

Posted by: BillT at November 30, 2009 06:02 AM

Don, you realize that Texas' colors are also the original Tampa Bay Buc's colors.....or so says MH (Steeler fan).

DL, please congratulate your husband on his obvious fine taste and class. Clearly he is an intelligent and wise man, and NOT just for marrying you! ;)

Posted by: MikeD at November 30, 2009 10:28 AM

Sounds yummy! Hope your Thanksgiving was a great one!

Posted by: JihadGene at November 30, 2009 10:43 AM

//Celts are maudlin but the Mauldins are Sassenach.//

I guess now we know what you're hiding under your kilt, Braveheart!

Posted by: I Call BS at December 1, 2009 11:48 AM