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NOVEMBER COOKING WITH CHARACTERS

CBS Soap Recipes by Dani

Cajun Thanksgiving

Light up the grill this Thanksgiving! For those who aren’t afraid or maybe even crave change, I have created a Cajun Thanksgiving menu. To pair this menu off with the soaps in the spirit of this section and the meaning of the holiday, I dedicate this menu to the cast and crew of Guiding Light who started out their year giving to victims of Katrina and have continued to give all across the country to families and communities in need. Good job, guys, and I will remember to raise my glass high with cheer and thanks for the good work you have done, on and off the show.

Whether you are a ham family or the inevitable turkey family or you plan to prepare both (as my family will be doing), this menu has you covered.

Turkey

As I mentioned, we are going to cook our turkey on the grill. If you don’t want to use the grill and have a convection oven, that will work great, too. If you don’t have either or don’t prefer to use either, little will be lost if you simply roast your turkey.

Pull out the bag of “stuff” on the inside. Throw away if you do not use or set aside for later use. I will tell you that I do not have any recipes that include the innards of the turkey as I do not eat any kind of organs.

Slice two apples and two oranges into quarters. Open one can of pineapple rings. Place all fruit mentioned inside turkey. Include the juice from the pineapple rings. If you have a large to extra large turkey, feel free to use 3 or 4 apples and oranges and two cans of pineapple. You want your turkey to be ample with fresh fruit.

Melt one stick of butter and pour over turkey. Place on grill, medium heat.

While turkey is beginning to cook, mix 3 tablespoons of Hot Shots (this is a dry pepper mix by McCormick’s, you can find on your spice aisle), three tablespoons regular Old Bay seasoning, and two tablespoons Old bay Blackening rub. Using fresh lemon, gently squeeze juice into dry mixture until it makes a paste that can be spread.

Rub turkey exterior down with your Cajun paste. If you really like flavor or your seasoning seems to be cooking away, mix the dry ingredients together again but DO NOT add the lemon juice. Sprinkle additional coating on as needed during the cooking process.

Before adding spice rub, I would pour another melted stick of butter over your turkey.

Depending on size, turkey will take a few hours to make. Also for extra juicy taste, make a foil packet with smoke chips and apple juice to place in the bottom of the grill during cooking.

This turkey will delight many senses. Sweet and tangy with a little bit of spicy and smoky kick.

Ham

No matter what kind of ham you use for the holidays, you can make this recipe. I have known of people who have used the canned hams due to expense or those who used the glazed hams, and everything in between except for a country ham (country ham is the salted cured ham).

To prepare your ham for baking, place in a foil-lined roaster. In a sauce pan, reduce one jar of apricot preserves to liquid form. Do this on very low heat continuously stirring slowly until it is the right consistency. Pour over ham and bake. During the baking process, baste with the liquefied residue that has cooked off. Also you can have another jar on hand in case you prefer a fruitier coating. Due to the sugar in the preserves, a nice crust will form on your ham.

While ham is baking, thaw 2-3 sheets of puff pastry. If you are using a smaller ham, only count on two. If your ham is on the large side, thaw three. When ham is 10-15 minutes from being done, remove and place one - two whole sheets of puff pastry over ham’s top and sides. The bottom touching the pan should be the only surface area not covered. With your other sheet of puff pastry, use a seasonal or all occasion cookie cutter (the metal kind) to cut out shapes. Place shapes decoratively on top of your covered ham.

Bake until puff pastry is crispy and golden brown.

I would have some extra apricot preserves reduced and set aside to drizzle over ham before or after carving.

Fried Sweet Potatoes

Begin with fresh sweet potatoes cleaned and thinly sliced. In a skillet or electric skillet pan, fry in vegetable oil. A deep fryer or fry daddy can be used as well.

Once fried you can serve with a dip or shake chips in cinnamon sugar and bake for 7-10 minutes.

You can use both if you really love sweets. Have a variety of dip options. Caramel, marshmallow fluff (found on the peanut butter aisle) or any kind of yogurt-based fruit dip.

Dirty Rice

Make brown rice as instructed on the package. Some people prefer minute rice, some people prefer to start from scratch and use raw rice, either one is acceptable.

In the water, boil a lemon spice packet made with one half lemon and two tablespoons of Old Bay or seafood seasoning (Old Bay is preferred) wrapped in a clean, thin dishcloth or cheesecloth.

When rice is cooked, add (for every eight cups of rice cooked):

½ pound of browned sausage, ½ cup of diced or chopped celery, 3 oz can of chipotle peppers, ½ cup diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon black pepper and salt, ½ can of tomato sauce, 3 oz. of corn, about ¼ cup chopped onion , and one cup of chopped okra.

Mix and warm just before serving. This is a great dish that can be made in advance and warmed in the microwave.

Buttermilk Dill Mashed Potatoes

Bring potatoes with skins on to a rolling boil. Let boil until potato is tender to the touch. Remove from heat and mash , leaving the skin on.

In a mixing bowl, whip one stick of butter, 1 cup of buttermilk, salt & pepper to taste, and ¼ cup dill weed. Warm to evaporate any excess milk.

Creamed Green Beans

In a large pot, add frozen or fresh green beans. If you use fresh, steam cook before creaming. With green beans, brown ¼ lb of country/salted ham and ½ cup sliced sweet onion. Leave ham grease in pot for flavor. Just before serving, stir in 2 cups of heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste. A heavy black pepper flavor complements this dish. The above quantities are based on 2 lb. beginning portions.

Deep Fried Brussels Sprouts

Using frozen petite Brussels sprouts, dip in buttermilk then dry flour mix.

In a large disposable baggie, mix two cups of flour, 2 tablespoons corn starch, ¾ cup corn meal, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of hot shots (see description above) or ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon Season All.

Coat Brussels sprouts with mix and deep fry.

Garnish/sprinkle with paprika and serve with lemon, pepper tarter.

Lemon Pepper Tarter

One cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons dill relish, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon sugar, and a pinch of crushed red peppers. Mix and chill for at least one hour before serving. Garnish with crushed red peppers and lemon zest.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

AS ALWAYS, IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT AMOUNTS, VARIATIONS, OR SUBSTITUTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT thevelvetchef@yahoo.com

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