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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Get Stuffed!

Thanksgiving dinner is coming and you can keep the turkey. It’s one of those meats that keep on giving long after dinner is over—heartburn, gas, a tryptophan stupor that can turn anyone into an instant zombie. Stuffing, on the other hand, is the pièce de résistance

I tend to go old-school on my stuffing additives. You know—bacon, onion—the usual things Grandma put in the bird. I have been known to sneak in some diced apples or a few of the bagged parts, like the heart and liver. But fruit & guts didn’t play well in Poughkeepsi, as the saying goes.
So, I decided to search online for unique things people use to stuff their turkey’s carcass.  The Ideas I found were most enlightening …and entertaining. Of course, I want to share some with you—just in case you’d like to jazz things up a bit this year, too.

  • For the health conscious: Lose the bread and use quinoa or bulgur instead. Your stuffing will probably taste strange, but you won’t need Metamucil for
    a month.
  • For Italian food lovers: Just slip in some mozzarella cheese and chopped pepperoni for instant “pizza” stuffing. If you’re adventurous, drench with tomato sauce instead of gravy.
  • For an Asian twist: Use sticky rice and throw in some lap cheung, egg seasoned with oyster sauce, shiitakes, soy sauce, sugar and Shaoxing wine. I have no idea what lap cheung or Shaoxing is, but anything with wine in it can’t be all bad. 
Speaking of which, if you’re going to add dried fruit to your stuffing, “Martha Stewart Living” suggests pre-soaking them in bourbon first. I like the way Martha thinks. 

  • For a Chicago flair: What could be better than White Castle hamburger stuffing? You tear up one slider into small pieces (hold the pickles—you just want the beef, bread, and onions) for every one pound of turkey. (Note: they don’t call themsliders” for nothing). Do the math. If you’re making a 16lb. bird…need I say more? Those Chicagoans know how to eat!

  • For the snackaholic:  Jettison the bread and substitute Corn Chips or Popcorn. Sounds easy but words of caution—you need to soak the corn chips first (can you say soggy, oily mush?) and be sure the corn is pre-popped before you stuff the bird. Exploding turkey is not conducive to a festive family gathering. The biggest advantage to these additives, however, is it allows you to eat dinner, snack and watch the game all at the same time. 

  • For those with a sweet tooth:  Why not try “Twinkling Turkey”, a cornbread and Twinkie-based stuffing. You use 6 muffins and 6 Twinkies, sans filling. Don’t panic, you get to use the creme filling later by combining it with one-quarter cup of honey and brushing the mixture unto the turkey skin. Kinda fun, huh? You end up with a sticky turkey that rots your teeth.

I’m gonna keep searching for more ideas, none of these quite work for me…although the Twinkies are tempting. But I hope this has inspired you to get stuffed with style                        on Thursday. Because, after all, what completes                                    a holiday dinner better than a gallon of 
                                 Pepto Bismol for dessert?


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