First let me say thank you for the prayers for my sweet Grayzilla. She's at home resting with her mama and daddy. She woke up once to tell the Amazon thank you for being such a good mommy and taking such good care of her. She is such a remarkable little girl! Can you tell I adore her?
Now...where was I? Oh yeah!
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
tending to business
There are certain things I expect to be on the dinner table Christmas Eve. For some the star may be the ham or turkey...for me it's the dressing. There are also certain things if it's your turn to cook that I don't want jacked with and that would be the dressing. Don't go all fancy/schmancy on me and start adding things. I don't want oysters, no parsley-sage-rosemary-and-thyme folderol (although I'll get back to sage in just a sec), or anything exotic. The only punching up good dressing needs is giblet gravy and then only a splash...if it's good dressing. I don't know about the rest of the country, but where I come from it's cornbread dressing. Stuffing is the verb for the activity that comes when it's ready to eat....i.e.: "I'm stuffing it in as fast as I can so's I can go get seconds afore it's all gone!". I don't hold with stuffing the South Pole end of a bird with my hands...'course it does make a pretty picture...nor does the idea of eating out of the S.P. end hold any sway over me either, but to each their own. Live and let live I always say, BUT if you ever got a taste of my dressing...I bet a dollar to a donut, I could turn you into a cornbread convert in a New York minute!
I don't talk about my cooking skills very often 'cause frankly I don't have any, but there are four...no wait...make that five things my family asks for. One is whipped potatoes (psst...think Pet milk); two, banana split cake (not the kind with a graham cracker crust); three, deviled eggs (first thing we learn to make down here at the Texas Pole); four, Texas chocolate sheet cake ( legendary and required learning for every Texas girl) and five...my dressing. These are the things I'm asked to bring every time there is a big family gathering and I happily oblige...proud that they even ask.
I've told the girls I'd be happy to share my secret ingredients, but so far....no takers. I'll tell y'all though 'cause I know you're so good at keeping secrets.
All good little Southern girls know the main ingredient is good cornbread, but that's not what makes the difference. What makes all the difference (in my sage opinion) is excellent sage. Never...ever...never be chinchy on the sage, either in price or in the amount you use. Most recipes will call for a tablespoon or two and to that I say hogwash! Might as well go ahead and stuff it in the S.P end 'cause I ain't gonna eat it. People...I want mine green there's so much sage and from the looks of the empty pan after a meal...the family agrees! No boiled eggs...no celery...just plenty of onion, black pepper and sage! Notice I didn't say salt? There's a reason for that too.
I never add salt. Because we always have a ham, I use good, canned chicken stock diluted with water plus a little secret BAM. Depending on the amount of water added, I throw 2-3 Wyler's chicken bouillon cubes into the boiling broth. Somehow, someway this adds just the right amount of saltiness to the dressing and kicks the chicken-y taste up front where it ought to be. Mix it all up and man alive...the smell from the kitchen is heaven on earth.
I know the great debate of dressing vs. stuffing will continue as long as there are kitchens and aprons, but from where I'll be sitting come this Friday evening long about 5PM...there just ain't no contest....
Dressing wins with a one, two punch!
Just so all you stuffing lovers out there don't stop liking me...here's a little dressing you will love me for!
(Photo courtesy of FotoFabulous. Can you believe that name...perfect! I'm telling y'all...I can't make this stuff up!)
Eight ways to Sunday
Seven secret Santas
This chick a-crafting
Two naughty lists
And a snow-clad lady at W&T's