Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thanksgiving time is here again!

We'll be doing Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday this year (Dave has to go into town for a play rehearsal on Monday). This year's Thanksgiving Menu will be as follows:
  1. homemade dill pickles

  2. turkey breast

  3. patychky

  4. pidpenky

  5. dressing

  6. mashed potatoes

  7. gravy

1. We have a water issue with our well, so we don't have a lot of fresh water - and one thing you need to make proper pickles is LOTS of water (for processing the mason jars). So I've been making super-small batch pickles (read: one jar) and only keeping them a maximum of one month. One jar's worth is easy enough to eat through in a month, so there's no waste. I tried dill pickles this time around, with a simple mix of sugar, vinegar and dill seed.

Remember to dehydrate your cucumber or onions or whatever you'll be pickling by coating them with a thin layer of salt and letting them sit overnight. I do this in the afternoon, and before bed, stir the pickle and add more salt. Drain and rinse and drain again before pickling. This is vital for getting a crisp pickle!

2. Just making dinner for Dave and I this year, so no need to go through the rigamarole of a whole turkey. If you're having a small gathering, I highly recommend getting just the breast (or legs, if you like dark meat) - it's much easier to cook than a whole bird. Just the right amount too, if you're having another meat like we are.

3. Hallelujah, it's another holiday! Time for patychky! Read my previous blog post with pics showing how to make this delicious incredibly awesomely delicious Ukrainian food! And my eternal thanks to mister anchovy for his recipe for a food I loved all my life, but didn't know how to make!

4. Mmmmmm...pidpenky. For the un-Ukrainian amongst you :D that's mushrooms in gravy. I made my own recipe for it based on several different ones I found online.

5. Inspired by my homemade dressing (aka stuffing) of last year, made with yummy Farmer John's Herbs stuffing spice mix, I thought I'd make my own again this year. Wasn't able to get hold of their spice mix this year, but I think I'll do a pretty good job on my own, based on their recipe.

My recipe will be:
  • about 1/4 loaf of bread. Use whole wheat AND white bread (to equal 1/4 loaf) - the different breads make it taste richer. Let it go stale overnight, and cut into 1" or smaller cubes.
  • 2 big potatoes, mashed. Don't add any milk or such to them, more liquid will be added later.
  • About 1/2 a large onion, and 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped. Fry this up ahead of time, so your dressing won't end up too al dente.
  • Put 2 tb butter or margarine and 3/4 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Nuke until hot, about 1 minute or so depending on your microwave. Add one oxo chicken broth packet/cube and stir 'til dissolved.
  • Sprinkle your herbs over the potatoes. I'd use about 1 tb of sage, crumbled - add more or less depending on your tastes. Add pepper and savory, if desired.
  • Add the water/butter/chicken cube mix. Mix should be nice and soft. Now mix in your bread cubes. Spoon into a greased oven-safe dish.
  • Pop it in your preheated 350 deg F oven for 1/2 hour (or till it reaches desired shade of goldeness on top), and you're done!
This will make enough servings for about 4 people.

6. Mashed potatoes. Yum!

7. It's funny, they even have an ad out now for Club House Gravy that shows a woman doing the same thing I do - making the CH gravy and adding turkey pan drippings to make the perfect gravy. Way easier than from scratch, and in my mind, just as good!

To get ready ahead of time, I made the patychky this morning, and fried up the onions and celery for the dressing. This will save me a lot of time tomorrow!

And, in a spare moment when I won't be cooking :) I hope to find a few minutes to reflect on this prayer I found by "Dear Abby", that's good for Thanksgiving or any time of year. I find it reminicient of the prayer of St. Francis:

O, heavenly Father: We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved,
May these rememberances stir us to service
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.

- Abigail Van Buren

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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