Monday, November 06, 2006

Conversion and Controversy

So the in-laws were in town this weekend. As usual they were totally wonderful, Much good food was to be had and miraculously (and because we spent Sunday happily at home) J and I made a meal for his parents as opposed to them taking us out everywhere. Saturday consisted of an early dinner at the Crystal City Jaleo where we ordered the bacon wrapped dates, the stuffed peppers, beet salad, and the mother-in-law favorite - codfish fritters with aoili. The 'rents adored Jaleo and pronounced it one of the best meals they've ever had. While I'm sure Jaleo had great desserts, there's no way we would have skipped going to the Del Ray Dreamery (aka the Dairy Godmother) for dessert. Married boy loves this place and even after we eat a five course Indian meal, he will always ask if we want dessert at the dreamery. In a bit of splendiferous luck, they made an apple crisp fresh out fo the oven in a pyrex baking dish. With a scoop of maple walnut frozen custard, this was the most perfect fall dessert ever made.

Sunday, we invited friends over for brunch where the conversion of my MIL to the seductive charms of Barefoot Contessa began. From the Barefoot Contessa parties, I made a sour cream coffee cake (with vanilla yogurt instead of sour cream) and a smoked salmon fritatta. I supplemented these with a citrus salad of mandarin oranges, Valencia orange segments and grapefruit segments, a potato a roasted pepper fritatta, maple glased vegetarian sausage patties and maple glazed bacon. When my MIL saw the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and their lovely pictures, the deal was sealed, she was a Ina Gartenite.

What did stir up controversy was the subject of stuffing vs. dressing. Should stuffing be inside the bird or baked in a separate dish? I firmly belive that hte stuff needs to be inside to soak up all of the lovely turkey juices. And really, how many people have gotten sick on stuffing that came inside the bird? But others feel that there's never enough stuffing it it's inside the bird and the stuffing comeso ut to wet. Pluh-Ease! Didn't anyone see Paula Deens Thanksgiving special where she made a casserole full of jiggly, wet, GRAY oyster stuffing? So what are your thoughts? Stuffing or dressing?


Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

In all the years that my mom stuffed the turkey, none of us ever got sick from undercooked turkey or stuffing. And yes, I prefer stuffing over dressing, after all is is 'stuffed' inside the turkey, right? Dressing sounds more like a sauce of something.

I've not stuffed a turkey yet as we usually just get a turkey breast or do something unconventional for Thanksgiving. One year we made a Salmon topped with wild mushrooms and wrapped in phyllo dough. This year.....brined cornish game hens.

the other rebecca said...

Stuffing. Always stuffing.

To deal with the "never enough" issue, I roast extra stuffing in a foil packet to keep in moist and lovely.

ScottE. said...

We always did stuffing and then extra dressing on the side. Stuff the Bird!

All that's conceivable that I may not do stuffing/dressing this year...I don't know yet...we'll see.

SkippyMom said...

I laughed out loud at the Paula Dean crack - I too saw that episode and I have been making oyster stuffing/dressing for 20 years. I almost wretched. ICK.

Anyhoo - We too have never gotten sick on stuffing the bird with our oyster stuffing - we make it fresh and stuff the bird right before cooking - we also make enough to fill another casserole dish b/c we never have enough - I always eat what is in the bird, but no one ever complains [or notices] if it came in the casserole dish -

So my preference is IN the bird, but to accomodate everyone [with leftovers] some has to be made in a dish [with plenty of turkey stock added for flavor]

Just found your site - will be reading through tonight - great blog! Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!