Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Redux from 2008

My family and I had a fairly low-key Thanksgiving this year.  No orgy of cooking, no triple-figure totals at the supermarket having nothing to do with any one expensive item, no feelings of wanting to throw up afterwards because I'm too damn full.  No excess!  And it still feels like we had too much.

Just looking at my Thanksgiving posts from before the first Obama administration makes my stomach hurt.  It's a little embarrassing.  But there's still leftover dressing / stuffing.  What to do with it?  I tried to figure out some use four years ago with this stuffed mushroom recipe:

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Stuffing-Dressed (or Dressing-Stuffed) Mushrooms (originally posted November 30, 2008)

I am the last person in my family to get through his or her Thanksgiving leftovers. The food was good, at least, and the turkey was delicious if I do say so myself. We didn't eat much, and we did not have all the leftovers we figured we would. Thank God for that!

It's quite easy to find recipes for leftover turkey, leftover vegetables, leftover cranberry sauce, etc. But one thing that is almost impossible to find recipes for is stuffing, aka dressing, which I will use interchangeably.* This staple of many a Thanksgiving meal reared its delicious head in two forms this year, as my grandmother's traditional dressing and my sister's father-in-law's sausage dressing with butter. But Google either "stuffing as ingredient" or "dressing as ingredient" and the only thing you get is 10,000 pages of recipes for dressing and stuffing.

So how the hell do you use it as anything other than stuffing!?!?

One commenter on one Thanksgiving website had a solution. She noted that she uses hers to stuff mushrooms. It's so simple! Just take mushroom caps, stuff them with dressing, and bake them. I baked mine at 350°F for half an hour and that was all. The stuffing is crispier on the top, even if you stick a little piece of cheese in the middle. Fried onions on top are also a good addition. And unless it's a rather big mushroom cap, you need to pop the whole thing in your mouth. Just make sure it cools down a little bit first.

* I'm sorry I keep going back and forth between "stuffing" and "dressing". I have always called it both and used them interchangeably. Technically, it's my Nana's dressing, because it never goes into a turkey - in fact, that is anathema to my family, stuffing a bird with anything. But we also ate so much Stove Top growing up that I've become used to calling it stuffing. I'm not even sure what we call it locally - dressing is more traditionally Southern, and stuffing is more traditionally Northern. And of course, Maryland, being smack dab in the middle, seems to call it both. Native Marylanders specifically, what do you call your dressing/stuffing?

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I still call it both, natch.  And I didn't even make any this year (Mom did that).  Fortunately while shopping this year I didn't run into any of the irritation at Wegman's or Giant or (had it been here in 2008) Harris Teeter that I did four years ago.  I still hhhhaaaatttteeee shopping on the day before Thanksgiving - the Black Wednesday of supermarket shopping, so to speak.

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I should not be allowed into Wegman's, like, ever (originally published November 25, 2008)

I just got my inner geek on with that Doctor Who thing [NB: link added November 23, 2012, which is Doctor Who's 49th birthday, I might add]. Now my inner bitch wants some time, too.

Wegman's is wonderful - absolutely wonderful. Except during the week of Thanksgiving. Then it's a zoo. I was reminded of that the hard way when I went there Sunday to buy the last few things I needed for Thanksgiving. Some cilantro here, some oranges there, a bit of lemon juice (Emeril's Funky Turkey again - the family loves it, only I double the recipe and replace Emeril's Essence with Old Bay). And no, I found out there are no Jellybabies at Wegman's (hat tip Meg) [NB: Wegman's of Hunt Valley now sells Jelly Babies.  Don't know about Abingdon or Columbia yet].

My GOD, those people are so SLOW to move! There seems to be two types of people who go shopping at Wegman's the fourth week of November: the ones who cannot be bothered to move very fast, and the ones who cannot be bothered to move at all. Perhaps many of those in the former category (as I found myself in) would move were it not for those people in the latter category who just stand there deciding whether or not they really need the $4 a pound navel oranges, or the $3.19 a pound navel oranges (really, what's the difference?). JESUS, PEOPLE, MOVE!!!

Coincidentally, this is also why I should not be allowed to drive, as I find myself cutting people off in the aisles at Wegman's, muttering under my breath about how some people don't know that I cannot walk through them! Actually, you would be surprised that I'm not an aggressive driver, despite my six years and seven months in California and my propensity to speed up when those people who race toward the end of merge lanes in order to cut everybody off try to get in front of me. (Only one has gotten over in the last year, ha!, and I've been around the Beltway a lot this year, as you've read.)

Now I am mindful when I'm shopping. I try my best to move my cart and my butt out of everybody's way when I'm shopping. If I have to stop in a high-traffic area, I pull over so others can get by me. I don't just stand there blocking everybody. Just imagine if someone did that on 695. "Uh, dude, stop the car right here in the middle of the lane. I need to look at the map again. Dude, is this Parkville or Pikesville?" AAAAAAAAAARGH! Just f*cking pull over or move, people! Gawd, this isn't rocket science!!!

Shopping really does bring out the worst in me. I guess the recession is good in that it has forced me to limit my supermarket visits to once a week. Otherwise I'd have a stroke right there in the produce section. Really, I need to take up yoga or something.

End of rant :)

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Well, almost.  At least she's not eatin' like this anymore.

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Anything can be fried if you put your mind to it. (originally published November 26, 2008)

Commenter Joshua C just reminded me of the disturbing joys of fried stuffing, as he found my site while searching for a post about it. With that in mind, here's one of my favorite pics of the holiday (Thanksgiving, not Chrismukkwanzakah) season.

Rock on, Miss Paula. Rock on.