As was previously announced I’m filling in for Tamara, our Doyenne of Digestibles, as guest food goddess for the next few weeks. So before I put on the frilly apron and the tiara, I just want to make a quick apology to Betty Cracker for today’s rain in central Florida. I washed and waxed my …
Bessy’s Cornbread Stuffing:
Bessy was a nurse that my Mother worked with when she first began her career as a Speech Language Pathologist. For my parents’ first Thanksgiving together my Mom reckoned she could handle the turkey, but needed a stuffing recipe and she got it from Bessy. We’ve been making it every since. This includes several Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners I did for friends while living in Scotland. The best part: it works just as well with a cornbread mix as it does with cornbread from scratch!
Enough cornbread from scratch to fill a 9X11 baking pan
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Crushed sage to taste
One large, sweet onion – chopped fine
Four large stalks of celery – chopped fine
2 Teaspoons of olive oil.
The giblets from a turkey or a large chicken – roasted and minced fine
Chicken stock to moisten the stuffing
Bake the cornbread. In a saute pan sweat off the onions in the olive oil. Roast and then mince the giblets. Crumble the cornbread in a big mixing bowl and add the sweated off onions, the finely chopped celery, and the finely minced roasted giblets. Add the kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and sage to taste. Mix thoroughly. Add just enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing and hold it together. Once everything is combined and seasoned to your taste, stuff the lamb roast. Or a turkey. Or a chicken. Or place it in a roasting dish and cook it separately, which is also good for anything that won’t fit into the piece of meat or poultry you’re stuffing.
We now come to dessert. Since Purim is this Wednesday and Thursday, I thought we’d go ecumenical here on our recipe exchange and make hamentashen. Hamentashen are triangular filled cookies that are eaten by Jews on Purim. The arch-villain of the Purim story as related in the Scroll of Esther is Hamen. And the story tells us he wore a triangular (tricorne) hat**. So the tradition developed that eating cookies in the shape of his head gear of choice was a fitting way to celebrate his defeat. This recipe is from the 1976 Alliance Sisterhood’s Cookbook and is the one from Mrs. Ida Wargon.
5 Cups of flour (it doesn’t specify, so use all purpose. I suppose if you have a gluten issue, use gluten free****)
1 ounce of yeast
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water
Place the yeast in a 1/2 cup of the warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 1 hour or until bubbly. Put flour and 1/2 a cup of sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Place the slightly beaten eggs*****, 1/4 cup of the oil, and the bubbly yeast mixture. Start kneading, adding the remaining cup of warm water as you knead. When the dough is well kneaded and smooth, cover and let stand in a warm place until it doubles in bulk. Then knead the dough again, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cover the dough and let it rise again. Punch the dough down and you’re ready to cut it out, shape it, and make the hamentashen.
Poppy Seed Filling Ingredients:
1 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup of ground nuts (it doesn’t specify, I’d go with walnuts)
Poppy Seed Filling Directions:
Wash the poppy seeds very thoroughly and boil for a short time. Drain dry. Grind them in a coffee or spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle and add the honey and the egg. Mix well, add the ground nuts, and incorporate everything thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the dough into 18 even portions. Knead each portion and roll it out to 1/8 inch thick. Roll them into rounds. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each round. Fold the edges over into the shape of a triangle (tri-corne hat) and pinch. Let them sit while the dough rises until double in bulk and then place them onto a greased cookie sheet. Brush with an egg glaze and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until light brown.
* Image found here.
**The Scroll of Esther does not indicate if Hamen was a very early member of the Tea Party.
*** Image found here.
**** I may try this and if I do, I’ll report back on the results.
***** I think this means you just rough them up a bit, but don’t break any limbs or rupture any vital organs…