Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

It’s that time again – Thanksgiving. Time to start shopping for all of the great food you’re going to over-eat. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce or relish, sweet potatoes, salad, cake, cookies, pastries; the list goes on and on.

In our family, Thanksgiving was an all-day affair. When we lived in Brooklyn and then in Brentwood, NY, we’d all gather at Nana’s at 12:00 in the afternoon; and we wouldn’t leave the table until nearly 8:00 that night. Usually, Uncle Tommy was the first to push himself away from the table to get himself, aunt Fran and my cousins ready to go back to his house.

Anyway, we’d sit at the table at 12:00 or 1:00 pm and start with the antipasti. That included all of the traditional Italian cold cuts, sausage with mushrooms, caponata, olives, bread, etc. Next came the pasta with sauce, meatballs, sausage, braccioli, bread, etc.

After the pasta, we’d take a 30 minute intermission so uncle Tommy could carve the turkey and all of the women could start dishing out the rest of the food for the table. This main course usually had turkey, baked white and sweet potatoes, 2 bowls of vegetables, stuffing, salad and anything else Nana made that day.

After the main course, Nana brought out the fruit and nuts. After the fruit and nuts, out came the dessert with regular coffee and espresso. And, let’s not forget the vino!

Sometimes it seemed like the feast was never going to end.

The entire day consisted of the entire family at the dinner table talking, laughing and eating.

Nana’s stuffing was the best stuffing I’d ever had. Unfortunately, I never got her recipe, but I do have a stuffing recipe that I’ve used that has never let me down.

Preheat oer to 350 degrees

INGREDIENTS
2 cups finely chopped celery
1 small finely chopped onion
4 cups herb-seasoned stuffing croutons
3 cups cubed cornbread (trust me-it’s good!)
2 tsp. sage
2 tsp poultry seasoning
3 eggs – beaten
1 large container (14-16 oz) chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup melted butter (I use unsalted)

CONSTRUCTION:
Saute celery and onion in the butter until tender
In a large mixing bowl, combine herb-seasoned stuffing croutons, sage, onion and celery
Next, pour the beaten eggs and chicken broth (a little at a time) over the mixture.
Now, add the cornbread and gently fold it in, making sure all of it is moist (you may need to add more broth)

Pour mixture into a 9×13 greased pan (I usually do it with butter)
*NOTE: You can also use two 8×8 pans and bake them for 25-35 minutes
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Absent for a while

I realize that I’ve been absent in posting to this blog. Somehow life got in the way. 

I’d been so immersed with something that should not have taken so much of my energy. How I let that happen is beyond me, but it’s not going to happen again.

What would have been Jeffrey’s 60th birthday happened on August 30th and what was Nana’s second anniversary happened on September 18th. Both of these milestones were met with sadness and gratitude at the same time. 

On October 18th my mother will be 81 years young and I’m heading to St. Thomas to celebrate with her.  I know Nana and Jeffrey will be with us in spirit.

To properly celebrate a birthday, in addition to having loved-ones there, you need a good birthday cake. Not one of those factory-made ones that can be purchased in a grocery store; no, you need a real Italian cake.

Image

ITALIAN CANNOLI CAKE

INGREDIENTS: CAKE

  • 6 large eggs, separated into two separate bowls
    1 cup sugar divided into two separate bowls (1/2 cup in each bowl)
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons water
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

RICOTTA FILLING

  • 1-32 ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
    1-8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 cup small semisweet chocolate chips (Nestles or Toll House)
    1/3 cup semisweet chocolate shavings for on top of the cake

CAKE FROSTING

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    3 tablespoons whole milk
    1 and 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar – sifted
    3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    2 cups heavy or whipping cream (I prefer whipping cream)

PREPARATION: CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form
  • Gradually sprinkle in 1/2 cup sugar- continue beating until sugar completely dissolves and whites form peaks.
    In a separate large bowl, now at low speed, beat egg yolks, flour, baking powder, salt, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Now add 2 Tablespoons water until blended.
  • With rubber spatula, gently fold beaten egg whites into egg-yolk mixture, one-third at a time.
    Spoon batter into UNGREASED 10 inch by 3 inch spring-form pan.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden and top springs back when lightly touched.
    Invert cake in pan on wire rack; cool completely in pan.

CAKE LAYERS

  • Brush the cakes with orange liqueur or light rum.

FILLING

  • In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat ricotta, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup semisweet-chocolate chips.

FROSTING

  • In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat 3 tablespoons of softened butter, 3 tablespoons whole milk, 1 3/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.
  • If needed, add a little more milk (1 teaspoon at a time) until mixture has an easy spreading consistency.
  • In large bowl, now at medium speed, beat 2 cups heavy or whipping cream until stiff peaks form; fold confectioners’-sugar mixture into whipped cream.

ASSEMBLY

  • Once cooled – loosen cake from edge of pan; remove pan side. Loosen cake from pan bottom; remove pan bottom.
  • With serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers.
    Place bottom cake layer, cut-side up, on cake plate.
  • Brush orange-liqueur or rum on the bottom cut cake layer.
  • Spoon ricotta-cheese filling on center of cake layer.
  • Spread evenly filling out to edge of the cake.
  • Brush orange-liqueur or rum on the top cut cake layer.
  • Place top cake layer on top of the filling cut-side down.
  • Spread frosting over top and down side of cake.
  • Sprinkle shaved chocolate on top of the cake.
  • Refrigerate 2- 3 hours until cake is set.