Tom and I hosted Thanksgiving this year, for his mother Audrey, her friend Mike, and our friend Kate. Tom and Mike were in charge of the turkey, although I won $5 by correctly guessing how long our dry-brined 16-lb. turkey would take to roast to completion (less than 2 hours and 50 minutes). Unfortunately, with a new oven and a new turkey pan, I didn't realize that nothing else would fit in the oven at the same time as the turkey until it was too late (curse this stupid small Viking oven). That left me high and dry for my Herb and Bacon Cornbread Stuffing, which is a critical part of my annual Thanksgiving menu, as stuffing is absolutely my favorite Thanksgiving food. (Confession: before I learned how to make stuffing myself, I used to get my year-round stuffing fix from Stove Top, which I still think is incredibly tasty. The first time I made the epicurious.com herb and bacon cornbread stuffing recipe, I used the seasoning mix from a box of Stove Top, and the results were great. You can no longer do this, since Stove Top is now "one step" and Kraft has already mixed the seasoning into the bread cubes.)
I had baked the cornbread the day before and assembled the stuffing on Thanksgiving morning, using a a pound and a half of Niman Ranch bacon (I usually use either Niman Ranch or Nueske's). But my cornbread was then all dressed up and ready for the Thanksgiving dance, with no room in the oven to bake. We briefly considered trying to cook the stuffing on the grill, but then we improvised by baking it in the oven at a higher temperature for a shorter time once the turkey was finished. Dinner was a little late, and the turkey was quite well rested, but the stuffing finally made it to the table. Mmmmm, moist, herby, bacony goodness!
I also made the Rustic Canyon Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake again, in a 9 by 13 inch rectangular pan, using about 5 cups total cranberries. I made some Maple Grape Nut ice cream to serve alongside the cake. (I love Grape Nuts but would never have thought of adding them to ice cream, except that when I was in law school, I discovered that Maple Grape Nut is actually a popular ice cream flavor in New England that you can find in restaurants and supermarkets.) I just used a sweet cream ice cream base (egg, sugar, cream, milk), and added some maple syrup and Grape Nuts.
- Herb and Bacon Cornbread Stuffing from epicurious.com.
- Cornbread from epicurious.com.
- "Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake" from the Los Angeles Times Culinary SOS Column, October 29, 2008.