J.D.'s Kitchen - December 2003
 
Deluxe French Toast Cornbread Dressing Apricot Glazed Smoked Turkey Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Well folks, here it is December, the last month of the year already! It's hard to believe that the Y-2K scare is almost four years behind us! I wonder if those folks that laid in 10 years of supplies are still using 'em. Who knows? Well, its late fall here on Bluegrass Acres as I write this for you all. We've had our first snowfall already. Momma nature has her palette and brush out and every day she paints the forest a different shade of vibrant colors! The forest critters are busy gathering and hiding all the acorns, nuts, etc., that they can find. I've still got some firewood to split and stack in the woodshed. Like my cowboy partner Pat Russell always says, "If it ain't one thing it's seven!" (More like ten around here!) The wind has those big, black rain clouds racing over the mountain this morning and before the day's too old it's gonna come a frog-strangler here on the mountain. I've got a BIG fire going in my fireplace this morning with a big pot of Cowboy Coffee sitting here, a-keeping nice and hot, so come on in here by the fire. Pour yourself a cup of Cowboy rocket fuel and we'll make medicine over some good holiday recipes. When I was a young'un we always had houseguests during the holidays. It was usually aunts or uncles along with my cousins. Come Christmas morning momma would fix a good breakfast early in the morning to hold us over until we had the BIG Turkey dinner late in the day. She usually fixed ham or bacon and eggs, along with hotcakes or toast. (One of my momma's breakfasts was a feast in itself!) She never had this recipe, but I'm sure she would've fixed it if she had. This is a wonderful breakfast to fix for company during the holidays. What I like most about it is you mix it up the night before and simply pop it in the oven the next morning! Trying to fix breakfast for a crowd when you're half asleep isn't one of my favorite things! A dish of fruit cocktail really compliments this dish. Deluxe French Toast 8 slices, French Sourdough bread, crust removed, cubed 2-8 oz. packages of Cream Cheese, cubed 1 dozen Eggs 2 cups Milk Cinnamon to taste 1/3 cup Maple syrup Put half of the bread into a greased 9" X 13" baking dish. Placed cubed cream cheese on top of bread layer; cover with the rest of the bread. Beat eggs well, mix in the Milk and syrup and pour over the bread and cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator over night. To cook: remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle good with cinnamon. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Serve with butter, real Maple Syrup and orange slices. Now there is a real holiday breakfast! A big hot bowl of grits goes good with this too! You've just got to try this one folks, because I know you'll place this recipe in your "special breakfast" catalogue. What would the holidays be without a big roasted turkey and dressing? Certainly not what we've become accustomed to as Americans! Here are two of my favorite recipes for the holidays. First let's start with the recipe for dressing. Momma always called it "dressing" as opposed to "stuffing." Mom never stuffed the turkey because a stuffed bird takes longer to cook. She always cooked her "dressing" separately in a big dish. About a week or so before, mom would bake up a big skillet of cornbread and let it set out and get stale and hard. She said that's the secret to give the finished dressing "body." Never use fresh cornbread. It just doesn't work! Cornbread Dressing 5 1/2 cups stale Cornbread, crumbled 1 1/2 cups cubed Toast 1 cup coarsely chopped Pecans 1/4 cup chopped Parsley 2 tsp. Salt 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper 1/4 tsp. dried Thyme 8 TBSP (one stick) unsalted Butter 1 cup each: chopped Green Pepper and Celery 3/4-cup Chicken Stock 2 Eggs, beaten 2 hard boiled Eggs, coarsely chopped Mix cornbread, toast, pecans, parsley and seasonings. Melt half the butter and cook peppers and celery until wilted; add to bread mix. Mix in the hard cooked eggs, then fold in the raw eggs. Melt remaining butter with chicken stock and moisten the dressing. Place in a greased dish and bake, covered at 350 for 45 minutes. Serves 8. If your family hasn't had Cornbread Dressing before, they'll want you to fix this one from now on! It makes good sandwiches too! Slater two pieces of bread with Miracle Whip, lay on a big slab of cold dressing, pepper it good and son it don't get no better than this! Redneck heaven! Now to the main part of the meal, namely the roasted turkey! It took me many years to learn that to cook a turkey right you don't just plop it into a pan, throw it in the oven and have it come out right. Actually, the best way to cook a turkey is on a rotisserie, but most of us ain't got such a thing, so let me explain how to cook one correctly so it doesn't come out dry as a mouthful of cotton! Use a roasting pan with a rack. Tie the legs together, but with butter, salt and pepper. Place the bird breast-down on the rack; cover lightly with foil and roast one hour at 325. Turn on one side, baste, cover with foil and cook another 45 minutes. Turn on opposite side and repeat. Remove the foil, turn breast side up and baste with Apricot Glaze. Continue cooking for 45 minutes to one hour. Baste with glaze two or three times. When done, cover and allow to set for 20 minutes before carving. When cooked this way the juices are distributed evenly in the meat and it makes for a succulent, moist turkey, even when good and done. Here's how to cook up your holiday turkey and it's as easy as falling off a peeled foot log over ol' Piney Creek! Apricot Glazed Smoked Turkey 1 jar Apricot Preserves 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke 1 tsp. Fresh Ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground Ginger Combine ingredients and heat over low heat. Stir to combine well. Use to baste the turkey during the last hour of cooking. Baste two or three times. This will cook up a turkey that'll look like one of those pictures in your cookbook, and it'll taste even better than it looks! The whole secret is in the roasting process, so take the time to do it right! Well folks, that concludes another year's worth of the Ol' Bluegrass Kitchen. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. Who would've thought 17-1/2 years ago when I first started writing this column that come a new century I'd still be doing it? I certainly appreciate all the wonderful words of appreciation and encouragement that you folks have expressed over the years. For that I thank you, for without you folks none of this would be possible. Our association is the biggest and best there is and it is due to the commitment of our members. For that I thank you! Please remember to keep our servicemen and women in your prayers. God bless America and may he grant us all peace and health. Yer friend, J.D. Rhynes
 
Posted By:  Charlene Sims



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