some people call me the corny baker.

It's over. The boys are napping, the adults are watching the Cowboys rout the Jets, and the dogs are alternating between dreaming loudly (with barks and everything) and looking morose because the food's been put away.

And what about the food. It was as if our dinner came out of a futuristic meal generator on which someone had pressed the "Thanksgiving" button (and selected the "careless plating" option): everything was textbook-perfect, really quite remarkable, even the parts I was responsible for. The menu:


roast turkey + gravy
cornbread dressing with bacon and pecans
cranberry sauce
mashed potatoes
buttered corn
green bean casserole (the classic, with cream of mushroom soup and Durkee fried onions)
broccoli-rice casserole (a Paula Deen recipe made by Pitts)
broccoli salad (kind of a coleslaw idea, assembled by Pitts)

apple pie
pecan pie
pumpkin pie
chocolate silk pie


My contributions were based on the idea that I would cook the parts of Thanksgiving dinner that no one else likes to cook or likes to eat. That meant: cranberry sauce (detailed a couple posts ago) and stuffing (or dressing as some people like to call it).

The stuffing was going to be a recipe from John Folse's mammoth book, but when it finally came time to cook, it just seemed too complicated. So instead I ended up doing something that was probably equally complicated. First I made cornbread, and then I made stuffing with it. It wasn't actually hard, but I never ever bake, so this was slow, like learning a new piece of music. This recipe is doubled.


unkle markie's corn bread.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 can creamed corn or 1 can corn, undrained, pureed with 2 tbsp cream.
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten to blend
2 slices bacon, chopped

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Butter 8-inch square baking pan. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl to blend. Add creamed corn, bacon, butter and egg. Stir just until blended. Spoon batter into pan.

Bake until edges begin to pull away from pan sides and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.



corn bread dressing with bacon and pecans.

2 recipes Unkle Markie's Corn Bread above
2 strips bacon, cooked, and chopped
5 tablespoons butter
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped shallots
1 tbsp dried rubbed sage
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 large eggs, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut corn bread into 3/4-inch cubes. Place corn bread cubes on baking sheet and toast until dry, about 15 minutes. Cool and transfer to large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet or wok. Add bacon, onions, celery and shallots; sauté just until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in herbs and add to corn bread cubes in bowl. Mix in pecans.

Stir chicken broth into dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs. Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake in covered dish alongside turkey for 1 hour (at 350F). Uncover dressing and bake until top begins to crisp, 5-10 minutes longer.

Serves 12.

Both photos are pre-baking, first one is pre-chicken broth.

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