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What is Your Favorite Non-Foodie Thanksgiving Dish?

Our family tradition at Thanksgiving is that we always have Turkey, Dressing, O.S.cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, corn, sauerkraut with polish sausage, carrotts, and corn. Then, each person's favorite is added, if not already included: the original GBC, green lima beans, butter beans, cauliflower, broccoli, peas. Dessert is, you guessed it - Watergate salad (BTW the name came from the Watergate hotel menu item), pretzel salad, homemade pumpkin and apple pie (although we must admit the Costco or BJ's pies are even better), the occasional lemon meringue or custard pie, and whatever someone chocolate anyone wants to add. Sounds like a lot of food, and it is, but about 40 people eat their fill and take some home! When we were teens (and until the year my mom passed on) we went to the beach at O.C. Maryland for Thanksgiving. In a rented condo, there are very few cooking pots and utensils. We discovered the “Seal a Meal” thirty-five years ago, and started vacuum sealing most of the cooked veggies and frozen veggies in the bags. Easy to heat up all those bags in a huge soup pot of hot water!! The only thing we had to cook was the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes and rolls, GBC and sweet potato dish. My youngest daughter was married when my mom passed on 16 years ago, and we started having Thanksgiving at her home, along with her in-laws, as one big happy family – so no more beach. I always bring the bagged veggies. There is only one problem, I make my mom’s dressing recipe (stuffing in a pan), and my sister makes her variation of it. And each year, our respective daughters each say they want “my mom’s stuffing”, so the running joke from one of my sons-in-law is, “Are we having my mom’s dressing or your mom’s dressing or . . .” sort of a Thanksgiving who’s-on-first. When it’s my turn, I make sure to bake stuffing muffins for breakfast – everyone who’s there early, including my husband, 5 grandsons, two daughters, and two sons-in-law, eats them for breakfast. It holds us until we eat “early dinner” at 2:00 – about 40 of us including all the in-laws. Oh yes, I always make two turkeys and completely carve one (there’s lots of stealing turkey from the carving board by that time), place the meat in the “vacuum sealed bag” and keep it warm in the soup pot with the veggies. The first time my “ultra foodie” son-in-law saw me carve the whole breast off the bone and slice it, placing it in the bag (and on the platter) in one swoop, he was amaze-ed!! The other whole turkey looks great on the buffet, and we carve it as we need it. There’s plenty of meat for hot turkey sandwiches with leftover veggies on the side on Black Friday when we’re too tired from shopping to cook!! I have used the Big Easy oil-free turkey fryer this summer, and am thinking I can cook a 14 lb bird the day before in 90 minutes and carve it, bag it, and refrigerate it. Even easier, and less messy this year!! Although they won’t be able to steal pieces from me – a real tradition!! One year while at my niece’s home, she wouldn’t let anyone have a taste, and I heard about it for weeks!! Alas, our old Daisy Seal-A-Meal bit the dust after 35 years of use, but I replaced it with the newest version! Try it, you’ll be amazed.

Oct 22, 2008
dlme in Home Cooking

Easy, Elegant, Imperial Eggs (serves 3-4)

Sep 02, 2008
dlme in Recipes

Soft Shell Crabs.

My family owned the original O'brycki's Restaurant in Baltimore, so I know about crabs!
The best way to cook a soft crab is - gently - delicately - so here goes: after dressing the crabs, dredge in flour and shake off the excess. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat until hot, but not splattering. Place the crabs, shell side up, in the fat and lower the temperature to medium for 6 or 7 minutes. Depending on the number of crabs in the pan, you may need to adjust the flame so it's hot enough, but not too hot. Do not cover the pan, or the flour will steam and crabs will be soggy! Turn the crabs over gently and cook for 6 or 7 minutes more. Drain on paper towels, shell side up and the crabs will be tender crisp. Make the best soft crab sandwich with of course, white bread spread with Hellmann's Mayo, iceburg lettuce, and Eastern shore tomato! There's nothing better for a summer meal!

Aug 29, 2008
dlme in Home Cooking