For the next four days, I will be chipping away at my cooking list so that when Thanksgiving rolls around, I won't be spending the day according to that old military adage:
So today, before I go out to cruise Publix and BJs to soak up the holiday mood and to fill up my cart with holiday food, I will bake the cornbread I will be using for the oyster and sausage dressing. Now is the time I make a small confession: I use a box of Jiffy mix. All I do is add some black pepper to the mix, but otherwise, I make the Jiffy according to the directions on the back of the box.
You can make your favorite recipe or buy cornbread at the local bakery, but keep in mind that not all cornbreads are created equal. My favorite homemade cornbread is a sour cream cornbread, very rich with brown sugar and melted butter in the batter. Delicious on its own, but too moist and too sweet for the dressing.
Remember this bread? The Thanksgiving bread that I baked in the bread machine a few weeks ago? Very useful for the oyster and sausage dressing. Already seasoned, containing bits of onion, and baked up into a hearty texture that contrasts nicely with the cornbread.
I bake the cornbread in an 8 inch square pan, and when I cut it into 1/2 inch cubes, it yields about 5 cups. You want about the same amount of the Thanksgiving bread also cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place the bread into two separate 9 x 13 pans.
Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees. Put the pans of bread cubes in the oven to dry out. This will not take more than a few minutes for the cornbread, so watch carefully. The Thanksgiving bread will take a few minutes more. When they're both done, and the cubes are cool, combine them into one pan, cover and hold at room temperature until ready to use.
Oyyyyyyy .... so I did my food shopping, and wore myself out. There will be no further cooking today, folks. Watching the remake of "Total Recall" and missing Arnold. Wanting to unwind before Monday morning.
Got the Big Bird in the fridge, resting until Thursday morning when I will start by ripping out his spine and cracking his breastbone.
Got Grade B maple syrup, the real stuff, for the cranberry sauce, and the sweet potatoes and pineapple for the pie that isn't a pie. Broccoli in the freezer, Brussel sprouts in the other fridge, tiny potatoes on the counter. It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving.