J.D.'s Kitchen - November 2003
Cornish Game Hens with Grand Sauce Creamy Mashed Potatoes Turkey Gravy Broccoli Slaw Maple Apple Rings Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Well, wonder of wonders! I've survived another sleepless week of glorious Bluegrass madness during the IBMA gathering in Louisville, Kentucky! Several thousand of us from all over this nation and the world, gathered together there at the Galt House Hotel on the banks of the Ohio river, to once more renew old friendships, make a lot of new ones, and enjoy the music that we all love. And, oh the music! You went to sleep to it and woke up to it! (I've been home over a week as I write this month's column and I can still hear a phantom Bluegrass band playing in my mind when I go to bed every night!) This year the CBA was one of the co-sponsors of the Wednesday showcase where one of California's premier bluegrass bands, True Blue, played to over 800 people attending the brunch. And play to them they did! They tore 'em up! Those folks got a dose of real California Bluegrass that made believers out of 'em! We may be on the "left coast," but True Blue showed 'em that Bluegrass music is alive and well west of the Mississippi River! Nuff said about that. I sorely missed my dear friends Les and Dot Leverett there this year. Dot, you get well for us honey. I missed sitting and visiting with you two, while listening to Les' stories of his 35+ years of working as the photographer for the Grand Ole Opry. And, speaking of the Opry, what a thrill it was to see Sonny Osborne and Ricky Skaggs interrupt Del McCoury's acceptance speech (for IBMA Entertainer of the Year for the eighth time), to ask him to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry! The house literally exploded! What a magic night! Everybody yelled until we were literally hoarse! It was a moment in time that will live in all the memories for those of us who were fortunate enough to witness it. As far as I'm concerned Del McCoury is the rightful successor to Bill Monroe, to carry his music forward on the Opry. All I can say is what my good friend Sonny Osborne told me - "It's about time!" It was also good to see my friends Ralph and Carol Tribble there this year too. Ralph and I met when we were in high school in Stockton, California, that being in the middle of the last century. (I'm sure glad we can still talk about it!) Well, I could probably write six columns about all the "doins'" in Louisville this year, but I'll leave that to someone more qualified than my own self. This month is when we American celebrate my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! So, with that said, come on into the kitchen were its nice and cozy this morning. Pour yerself a big cup of Cowboy Coffee and we'll palaver, or as my friend David Ligon down in El Paso, Texas says, "make medicine," over some good Thanksgiving recipes! Last year at this time I shared some of my recipes that make enough for two people. A lot of you folks are in the same place in your lives as I am. All of our children are grown and moved away, and we just don't cook the big holiday meals we used to when our families were young. That, along with the fact that once you've passed your 60th birthday, your parents, as well as most of your aunts and uncles have "gone over Jordan" and you don't have the large family get togethers as you used to do. Hence, the recipes for two! I miss the large family gatherings of yesteryear, but I must admit cooking and clean up for two or even one is a whole lot easier! (Easy being the key word here!) Last November I featured a recipe for Cornish Game Hens with Apricot glaze along with stuffing. A lot of you folks fixed it and really loved it, so I thought I'd share one of my "special" recipes with you for Cornish Hens this Thanksgiving. (No, contrary to persistent rumors, Rick Cornish did NOT invent the Cornish Game Hen!) Cornish Game Hens with Grand Sauce 2 large Cornish Game Hens 2 TBSP melted Butter 2 cups Seasoned Stuffing Croutons 5 TBSP water Olive Oil Chicken broth Kosher Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper to taste Combine croutons with water and melted butter; stuff hens with it. Place hens on a rack in a roasting pan and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper to suit. Bake uncovered at 350 for one and one-half hours, basting occasionally with chicken broth. Grand Sauce 1/2 cube of Butter 4-oz. of Current Jelly 2 TBSP Ketchup 4 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce 1 1/2 TBSP Lemon juice 1 1/2 TBSP Brandy Mix all ingredients (except the brandy) together well. Simmer for half an hour, covered, stirring occasionally. Add the Brandy, ignite the alcohol fumes carefully with a match, and simmer for another 15 minutes. The grandest sauce ever! Serve on the side with the roasted hens. This sauce is also excellent over wild duck or goose. I've even served it with roast beef. Once you've fixed it, you're hooked for life! Everyone knows that you've just got to have some mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm surprised sometimes at how many folks don't know how to make really good mashed 'taters! There are so many things you can do to liven up an otherwise drab dish and here's one of the best recipes ever to make some really great smashed 'taters! Creamy Mashed Potatoes 4 or 5 large Potatoes (Russet, Yukon Gold, Red - your choice) 1/2 cup Half and Half 1 clove Garlic, minced 2 TBSP Sour Cream Kosher Salt Butter Fresh Ground Black Pepper Peel the potatoes, chunk 'em up in a medium saucepan, cover with water and boil until tender. Drain well. Mash 'em up with a masher. Add the cream, garlic, sour cream and 2 to 3 tablespoons butter. Mix with and electric mixer until nice and fluffy. Place in an ovenproof bowl and reheat if necessary. Salt and pepper to taste. Now there is how to fix real smashed 'taters that your family and friends will love! (Save the leftovers to make fried potato patties for breakfast.) When you cover a big mound of these with some good country gravy, son it don't get no better than this! I can "disappear" a "dog's bait" of these at every meal, given a chance. For you folks that are cooking up a Turkey for your holiday dinner, here's one of my favorite recipes for Turkey Gravy. I just purely love to fill a big plate with sliced turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes and cover it with some of this gravy! Now that's worth giving "Thanks" over! Turkey Gravy Turkey neck and giblets 2 stalks Celery, chopped 1 small Carrot, chopped 1 small Onion, chopped 1 Bay Leaf 5 cups Water 1/2 cup Flour Clean the giblets and chop to 1/2". Brown the neck and giblets in one-teaspoon olive oil. Add the water and the rest of the ingredients; bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hours. Strain and reserve the liquid. Discard the giblets and vegetables. When the turkey is done, pour drippings into a large cup; skim off the fat. Add enough broth to make 4 cups. (Add chicken broth or water if necessary.) Heat roasting pan over burner, pour in two cups of broth and scrape the "goodies" from the pan bottom with a spatula. Whisk 1/2 cup of flour into the remaining 2 cups of cooled broth until smooth. Add to the hot gravy in the pan, stirring constantly over high heat, cook until thickened to suit. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Right there is some gravy that you'd slap yer granny for! Just writing about it gives me a case of "the slobbers!" Hot biscuits slathered with this gravy are pure Manna from heaven! King Solomon never had it this good! When I was a little redneck, come the holiday dinners, momma always fixed a special salad that we ordinarily didn't get the rest of the year. She would always make a big fruit salad or one of those molded gelatin "nervous" salads. You know the kind I mean. When you touched it, it shook like a nervous cat on a hot tin roof! Then, when you tried to eat it, it just kinda "disappeared" when you got a mouthful. I never did like that kind and only ate<
Posted By:  Charlene Sims

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