Hearty White Sandwich Bread

Hearty White Sandwich BreadThe Left Overs

I think it’s safe to say that we all have our favorites for Thanksgiving. For some it’s the sweet potatoes or the pecan pie. For others, it’s the stuffing or the turkey. For me, the best part comes afterwards. (Well, after the pie anyway.)

The most anticipated part of Thanksgiving in my world is the leftover turkey sandwich. And there is no question that I am an unapologetic turkey sandwich snob. My husband would prefer to have the entire meal over and over again. Not me. I want a turkey sandwich. (Okay. Let’s not get crazy. I still want some more pie.)

The Thanksgiving leftover sandwich is a thing of beauty. and has taken me years to perfect. Now, I am not saying there is a right way or a wrong way but there is my way.

Here’s how it stacks up:
You gotta start with good bread. The concept of good bread is always a hot debate in my family. There are those misguided souls that prefer super-fluffy white bread with questionable nutritional value, but excellent moisture content. Other, more enlightened sandwich veterans, prefer honey wheat for its nutty flavor and ability to stand up to the fillings. Then there are the black sheep who opt for the tortilla wrap or even the rogue croissant. I shudder…

Next come the condiments.
I am using the word condiments loosely here. Because for my turkey sandwich, the condiments consist of the following: Mayo, a very healthy smear of left over gravy, and a smidgen of cranberry sauce. (Now you see why I may want a more substantial piece of bread!) These three combine to provide a whole lot of flavor, and some much needed moisture—because the stuffing and the turkey get piled on top. (Yes. You read that right. Stuffing on bread. Just go with it…)

With that, you now have perfection on a plate.

Because of my sandwich psychosis, I usually make a couple of loaves of bread for the day after Thanksgiving. I always make Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread. But I have been known to compromise with the white bread lovers by making this Potato flour version as well.

Not only does this loaf of Hearty White Sandwich Bread make fantastic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it also works well with your leftover turkey.

Hearty White Sandwich Bread
Adapted from King Arthur Flours
This recipe works well in a bread machine. Read more…

Amy’s Sage Stuffing

Amy’s Sage Stuffing Traditionally Bad
I can’t speak for your family, but in my family there are holiday traditions that are sacred. And these cannot be messed with without serious repercussions. The rules are more strict for Christmas, but the other holidays still have their musts.

There must be Gam’s purple glasses on the table for Easter and, of course, a ham. There must be warm Gingies and Ebleskiver for Christmas. (There is no wiggle room for this one. Ebelskeiver in the Summer is a capital offense—though I have noticed a relaxing of the rules a smidge in recent years…) Thanksgiving is no different, though I do think it’s time for some thought and self-reflection on this one. Here’s why…

For my entire childhood, there were creamed onions on the dinner table for Thanksgiving. The only people who liked them were my grandfathers. And it baffles me to this day that they did. They smelled horrible as the onions bubbled in their sauce on the stove. And, the taste made me gag, Still does—even worse than red cabbage. (Seriously. I am gagging as I write this…) Of course there were always left overs, ’cause after my grandfathers had their serving, that was it. No one else went within five feet of ‘em.

Despite their position as the Thanksgiving pariah, the onions were still there year after year. My grandfathers have been gone for a while now, and I think it’s time that we consciously uncouple from the onions…as a public service. Who’s with me?

So, I asked a number of my friends if they had similar experiences with their Thanksgiving feast. I was pleased to know that my family wasn’t alone in it’s tradition weirdness. Not surprisingly, the one Thanksgiving side that avoided any bad press was the stuffing. I mean it makes sense. How can you go wrong with seasoned buttery bread goodness? And if you make your own not from a mix? Forgeddaboutit!

It’s got to be simple though. None of that newfangled stuffing. If you get funky with the stuffing, we might have problems…

Amy’s Sage Stuffing
Serves 6
This recipe for Amy’s Sage Stuffing tastes best with fresh sage, and is only as good as its ingredients. But it’s so good…
Read more…

Andouille Mac & Cheese

Andouille Mac & Cheese Gridiron Grindage

Over the weekend, the angels were singing, the flowers were in bloom, the stars aligned, and everything was right in the world…College Football returned!

For most of you, this is a non-event. For us at Piedmont Grocery, it’s kind of a big deal. For the next 4-5 months (depending on who makes the playoffs) the trash talking and marching song playing will provide a much needed distraction from our daily lives.

For those customers who have experienced the store in the Fall at 9 AM on Mondays, you will know what I mean. You never know which fight song you might hear. It could be Fight for California…though that’s pretty rare. And I make sure that Mighty Oregon gets it fair playtime. It’s a fun tradition—though there are a couple of songs that should be retired…USC’s Fight On for one.

The fun is not limited to the store. My family is pretty Cookoo for Cocoa Puffs about college football. In fact, we gathered at my sister’s over the weekend, dressed in our finest maroon and gold, to watch Dad’s Trojans play Alabama. (Well, some of us. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I almost broke out in hives.) And I, of course, was wearing my green.

No matter what color we were wearing, all of us agreed that the football food we ate was fantastic. I brought a mac n’ cheese recipe, Andouille Mac & Cheese, that I had been dying to try, and it was soooo good. Definitely not diet but perfect for a tailgate or game day buffet.

Andouille Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4
Read more…

Classic Beer Bread

Beer BreadBrewin’ Bread

I made chili over the weekend—mainly because I had what I needed on hand and I didn’t want to go to the store, and also because it was cold and rainy and a bowl of hot chili sounded satisfying.

Normally, a batch of chili would require corn bread, and I did make my favorite version. (See Sarah’s Sweet Cornbread Cake.) But, I also made something I haven’t had in decades: beer bread.

I was inspired by the smell of the beer that I added to the chili pot. Something about the hop-y aroma of the suds reminded me of the beer bread that I had once (yes, once) as a kid. So, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I searched for a recipe to make it.

The recipe I found couldn’t be more simple, and the resulting bread was tasty. It was also good the next morning as toast. If there had been anymore, I suspect that it would have made a great sandwich, too.

Because of what I had on hand, I used a Pale Ale for my beer bread, which definitely resulted in a stronger beer flavor. If you are looking for a milder taste, I would recommend using a lighter beer like a Corona or Budweiser—especially if you plan to add in some shredded cheddar and/or jalapenos. Crumbled bacon would be good too. You could really get creative with this—just in time for the Superbowl…

Classic Beer Bread
From King Arthur Flour
Yields one 9″ x 5″ loaf Read more…

Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf

Barley PilafFamily Favorites
We have our cookbook club dinner this weekend—with a twist. Normally, our dinners end with a discussion to decide which book we will cook from next month. Last time, my son threw out a great idea that is perfect for the holiday season. Instead of cooking from a book, he suggested that we all make our favorite family recipes. (Not bad for an 11 year old!) So that’s what we’re doing.

Between my sister and I, there are a number of options…but there are really only a handful of true family favorites that we all make. We did a little Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who gets to cook what.

Check out these earlier posts for a number of our family favorites like: Ebleskiver, Carrot Soufflé, Gam’s Gingie Cookies (Sweedish Ginger Cookies) and Hot Cheesy Things. All will be represented at this dinner. There is one more that my sister will prepare, and I am shocked that I haven’t written about it before—because it is such a Larson family tradition.

We have this Barley Pine Nut Pilaf every Christmas. In fact, it is so identifiable with Christmas Dinner that we (almost) never eat it during the rest of the year. The dish pairs well with any roasted meats or poultry as well as the Carrot Soufflé. The cookbook even suggests using it as a stuffing for game hens, though I have never tried it.

The recipe was originally published in the 1980 Edition of the Junior League of Palo Alto Private Collection Cookbook, which (as far as I know) is no longer in print. This is too bad because it has some great recipes. If you are lucky, you can find a few stray copies with a quick web search.

Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf
Serves 6 Read more…