Before November is Over or Everyday Stuffing

I should say a little something about Thanksgiving.  I am late in telling you about Thanksgiving.  In real life, I am late because it is the night of the last day of November and as someone who firmly believes Christmas should not be decked out till December 1st  I must also let thanksgiving go at the end of November.  But in blog world I am possibly inexcusably late! A week before Thanksgiving the Los Angeles Times ran an article about food bloggers celebrating the holiday early in order to have the menu on their blog the day of.  What an interesting way reality is affected.  Here at the cultivated life we celebrated the day of and then waited for the turkey coma to wear off before letting you take a peek.

It was a beautiful day.  A second anniversary of Friendsgiving,  where we have all our orphaned in Los Angeles friends come over and we give thanks.  We look back on the crazy year, look at where every decision brought us and all life’s everyday miracles.  Every positive choice leads to more positivity in one’s life, the manifestation of which can be observed at such yearly occasions.  Far too few days are truly set aside to reflect.

This is a face I am thankful for.  There are many other faces around the world far and wide whose existence brings me endless joy.  I imagine them all around the table and hope they can feel the love from far away.

I am also thankful for stuffing.  And on this Thanksgiving I wondered why it is a once a year item!  I could and did eat this stuffing for days, while I thought of when to make it next.  And I realized, well it’s anyday!  Holiday or Thursday.  You don’t even need a Turkey.  In fact, there is no better way than to forget the bird entirely.

RED ONIONS WITH CRANBERRY SAUSAGE STUFFING

Inspired by Martha Stewart.  Based on Jean Lennon.

12 red onions, hollowed out with a spoon

6 c. cubed wheat bread, dried

1 c. chopped onion

1 lb. seasoned pork sausage
1 c. chopped onion, use the insides you hollowed out
2 c. chopped celery
1 c. fresh cranberries
2 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 tsp. dried sage or a few sprigs of fresh sage
1/4 tsp. dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
about 3/4 c. chicken stock (2 cans)
1 1/2 c. cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Preheat oven to 400.  Prepare the red onions.  You will want to cut the top off the onion and just the tiniest bit off the bottom so it sits level.  Use a spoon to hallow out the onions.  Arrange in a baking dish that fits them snuggly.  Cook sausage in a large skillet over moderate heat for about 10 mins.  Add the onion and celery and cook about 8 mins longer or until the sausage meat is no longer pink.  Put the bread in a large bowl and add the meat/vegetable mix WITH DRIPPINGS and mix.  (The drippings substitute for any other type of oil or butter and add incredible flavor.) Add the cranberries, parsley, dried/fresh herbs and pepper.  Moisten with chicken stock and mix well.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Mix 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère into stuffing.  Fill onions with stuffing.  Top onions with remaining cheese, you may have stuffing left over.  Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are crisp, brown and cheese has melted.
Note:  Our stuffing is made with the bread ends of the whole year before.  Whenever we have bread we can’t finish, I cube it and throw it in the freezer in a gallon zip lock bag.  One bag is all you need for this recipe.  A trick I learned from the incomparable Jean Lennon.  Come Thanksgiving time, I have plenty of cubed bread on hand and the mix of all the different breads makes for a hearty and delicious stuffing.
A good rule of thumb using dry versus fresh herbs, is 1 teaspoon dry herbs to 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.

I hope everyone had the most wonderful day, month and year so far as we head into the holidays.  Don’t worry I’ll tell you about that cake soon.  It’s worth the wait.  Till then enjoy the sunset.

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