Sage Roasted Turkey J.D.’s Bread Pudding Flaming Cranberry Jubilee Tom and Jerry Mix Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Here’s a little poem that always reminds me of how my mother used to cook. Come this time of the Holiday season, she was busy fixing treats and it seemed that she rarely ever used a measuring cup or spoons. Casual Cook, By R.G. Hobday I like the casual kind of cook Who never seems to read a book, Who measures things by dab and dash, A pinch, a handful or a splash, Who seasons to taste and bakes ‘til done And makes the whole thing look like fun! I keep this little poem in my "Column Binder" along with an index of all the recipes that have been featured here in the "Bluegrass Kitchen" for the last 16 years. It always brings back good memories when I read it, and I hope it will do the same for you folks. Well, I’m just about over my latest case of "Festival lag." For you folks that didn’t make it to the Veteran’s Day Festival in Woodland, Calif. on November 8, 9 and 10, you missed one heck of a good time! There was a board meeting on Sunday following the festival that lasted until about 9:30 p.m. Being totally worn out, I crawled into my trailer and conked out until 5 a.m., then headed up the hill, arriving here by 8:30. Boy, was I glad to get back here to Bluegrass Acres! Well, it’s the 14th of November as I write this. It is a chilly, windy fall morning and the Oak and Maple leaves fill the air as Mother Nature strips the leaves and blows them over the lawn I just raked yesterday. She probably figures, "what the heck, he’s retired and he needs the exercise!" Not that kind I don’t! (My leaf blower works just fine!) I got up at 4:00 this morning and made a big pot of Cowboy Coffee, so come on into the kitchen where I’ve got the stove all fired up; pour yourself a cup of coffee and we’ll palaver over some holiday vittles! Naturally you’ve just got to have a roasted turkey for Christmas dinner. American holidays just aren’t the same without one! Not to mention the grand American tradition of leftover turkey recipes that you get to enjoy (?) for days to come! Call me crazy, but I have always enjoyed leftover turkey and the different ways to fix it. I’m sure that you’ve all heard the saying that "less is more." Well, here’s a simple recipe that proves that saying and then some. This is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to roast a turkey that you’ll ever use. The whole secret here is to use fresh Sage. Sage Roasted Turkey 1 15 lb. Turkey 1 large bunch of fresh Sage 4 TBSP melted Butter Fresh ground pepper Kosher salt to taste 2 cups Chicken broth Rinse and dry sage sprigs. Prepare turkey for roasting; wash well and pat dry. Loosen skin on breast and thighs. Place 12 to 14 Sage leaves under the skin on the breast and thighs. Place the rest of the Sage in the neck and body cavities. Skewer and tie the turkey and rub all over with melted butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Place the turkey breast down in a large roasting pan. Pour the broth into the pan and bake at 375º for 2 hours. Turn the turkey over, open the body cavity and roast for 2 more hours, watching the color closely. When the turkey is browned to suit, cover with foil and roast until done. Let the turkey rest for fifteen minutes before carving. Use the "pot liquor" to make gravy. This makes some of the best tasting roast turkey you’ll ever wrap a lip around! Just thinking about it gives me a case of the slobbers! I cook my turkeys in my big wood-fired meat cooker over a deep bed of Oak and Manzanita coals, so they have a nice smoky flavor that compliments the Sage. I cooked my neighbor’s Thanksgiving turkey, a 32 pounder; three or four years ago and he said that by noon the next day it was all gone! His family and friends said they’d never tasted turkey that good! Well, we all know about the usual dishes that are served along with the Holiday turkey; candied yams, smashed taters, sweet pears in cream sauce, green beans with chopped ham, gravy, etc. But! What we all look forward to the most is the Holiday Dessert! Yeah, dessert, the main course of the meal as far as I’m concerned. You can have the finest roast turkey or ham, wonderful, fluffy mashed potatoes, gravy that you’d slap your granny for and the lightest, tastiest yeast rolls this side of heaven, but if the dessert sucks, that’s all that is remembered! Here’s what you’ll hear the following year when you call one of your pickin’ buddies and invite him for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner: "Hey, Bruce (Johnson), this is J.D. What you got planned for Thanksgiving dinner this year?" Bruce: "Actually I hadn’t thought about it yet, why?" Me: "You’re welcome to bring yourself and your fiddle on down here to Bluegrass Acres and have some more of that dead turkey that I’m gonna scorch up in my ol’ meat cooker!" Bruce: "Uh, well, I don’t really know J.D." Me: "Well, when I talked to you a couple weeks ago you said you hadn’t made plans of any kind!" Bruce: "Well, I haven’t yet." Me: "Well, what’s the plan here? Wanna come down and eat with us?" Bruce: "I don’t know. I was kind of disappointed last year." Me: "Disappointed? In what?" Bruce: "You know we’ve always been honest with each other, and to be honest, J.D. that dessert you fixed last year came out horrible! I only ate some to be gracious!" Me: "Bruce, is was supposed to be horrible! That’s why they call it ‘Horrible Pudding’!" Actually, I’ve never made any "Horrible Pudding" and don’t know if such a thing even exists. I’m sure it has at one time or another. But you folks get my drift I’m sure. A meal is like a Bluegrass concert. The only song you remember is the last one. That’s why they save their best for last. I call it "Bluegrass Dessert." Well here’s a couple of Bluegrass desserts you can serve your dinner guests this year and you won’t have to call and invite them back next year, they’ll call you! (I never have to call Bruce to invite him, he just shows up here, invited or not!) Here’s a bread pudding recipe that I threw together one cold winter day a couple years ago. It came out pretty good, so I wrote it down. J.D.’s Bread Pudding 8 slices French bread, cubed 1/2 cup Raisins 1 12-oz can Evaporated milk 3 large Eggs, beaten 4 TBSP melted Butter 3/4 cup Brown Sugar 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg 1/2 cup Pine Nuts, toasted Heat a dry skillet over high heat. Pour in the pine nuts. Shake and turn until browned lightly, remove from pan and cool. Mix all ingredients except bread, nuts and raisins together. Put the bread, raisins and pine nuts in a large bowl and mix well. Pour the liquid over the bread mixture. Pour into a greased baking dish. Place baking dish into a larger pan and pour one inch of boiling water into the larger pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 350º. Serve this with a big dollop of whipped cream on top; dusted with some fresh ground Nutmeg and you have a dessert that you’ll remember forever! As grand as that recipe was, here’s one that makes for a spectacular presentation at the meal’s end. Especially if you turn the lights down real low and come toting a tray of Flaming Cranberry Jubilee to the table. As my ol’ pard Sonny Hammond used to say, "This one’ll make you the King Boss!" Flaming Cranberry Jubilee 2 cups, whole fresh or frozen Cranberries 1 8-oz jar Plum jam 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon 1 quart Vanilla Ice Cream Lemon extract or Brandy Sugar Cubes Take a saucepan and simmer the berries and jam gently for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. To serve: Fill a serving dish with ice cream. Ladle the berry mixture over the ice cream. Top with a sugar cube that’s been saturated with Brandy or Lemon extract. Light the cube immediately. The flame lasts for several minutes. Serve while flaming. Folks, these are impressive! It’s best to have two people assemble this dessert just before serving. One person doing the ice cr

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