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...Just a Minute...

by Jacqueline Sewall Golden

Today, class, our discussion will be about Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate.  When you prepare it at home, do you open a small packet containing sugar, corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, sweet dairy whey, cocoa processed with alkali, nonfat milk, cellulose gum, salt, dipotassum phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum and the old favorite, artificial vanilla flavor, and empty these chemicals into hot water and, oh horrors, serve it to your children?  Or do you buy a square of Ibarra Mexican Chocolate, slowly melting then simmering it with milk in a double boiler, releasing a wealth of rich, tasty blends of cocoa, cinnamon and other yummy ingredients, then serving that to your children or guests on a frigid morning or evening?  Some grown-up cocoa lovers add a shot of dark rum and a splash each of Amaretto and Buttershots before sitting down and enjoying the brew.

     Im told you can do the same process with a large bar of Hersheys, non-nut, of course.  Wouldnt it be marvelous while out Christmas shopping this season, to be able to wander, tired and bemused, into a local coffee house and order this? 

 .......And now, a few household tips: 

  • You dont have to preheat your oven before slow-roasting a turkey or ham. 
  • A 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner wastes more than 40 percent of the energy.
  • A microwave uses about half the energy of a conventional oven.
  • A slow cooker fixes a meal for about 17 cents worth of electricity. 
  • A load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing them by hand.  Courtesy of California Energy Commission

So ends todays lesson.

    Jacquie's search for a dressing recipe spurred contributions by our generous readers and although we couldn't print all of them, we selected the following by Kitty Gross:

    I have used this recipe for more than 30 years. It is the way my Mom made turkey dressing and I'm certain the way her mother made it in the 1800's. We have about 20-25 people every Thanksgiving and everyone has always loved it.  Once I tried to have an oyster dressing and one year I tried a cornbread dressing and I was chastised by my family and friends.  They love the old-fashioned traditional taste.
    I do not measure ingredients and just eyeball all of it but with the list of ingredients you can adjust amounts to your family's taste and and size of the bird.
    You need cubed bread, store bought or homemade. Use the quantity suggested for the size turkey you are roasting.
    Cut up raw bacon into small pieces (about 1" pieces) I use one pound bacon for a 24 pound turkey.  Fry this up in a large frying pan or cook til crisp in the oven.  Pour off all but about 2T of the bacon fat and save the excess.  Drain the bacon and reserve.
    In the same frying pan (with the 2T bacon fat) add chopped onion and chopped celery. For a 24 pound bird I use 3 large onions and 1 bunch of celery.  Fry this until just soft.
    In a large bowl, mix the cubed bread, bacon, celery and onions.  To this mix add a generous amount of thyme, and rosemary, and a small touch of age. I use fresh herbs now because they are always available here but I have used dried as well.  Adjust the amount to your family's taste.  Set aside and let the flavors develop.  I often make this the day before and refrigerate it so the flavor is infused in all the bread. 
    When ready to stuff the bird, add chopped apples and raisins. For the 24 pound bird I use 3 chopped Granny Smith apples and 2 handfuls of dark raisins.  At this point, if you want a saltier taste, add salt and some of the saved bacon fat, melted.   If you prefer a very wet dressing, add some chicken stock at this time to moisten before putting the stuffing in the bird.  I find that the juices from the turkey itself moisten the dressing plenty while cooking so I don't add stock anymore.  I don't like mushy dressing. 
   If you can't fit all the dressing in the bird, moisten it with stock and put it in loaf pans (which have been lined with foil or sprayed with a Pam food release product) and bake it later.  I always put it in the oven after the bird comes out and by the time people are ready for second helpings, it is cooked through.  Good Luck!
    Kitty Gross, Crofton. Maryland



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