Never-before-seen Thanksgiving side dish

The food star of Thanksgiving is the turkey, but what guests remember best are the side dishes. This side dish is a staple of our friend’s Terry and Joy every Thanksgiving. They named it Norfolk Ruth’s Cauliflower after Terry’s mother who was the best cook in Stanton County Nebraska in the 1960-70’s. It is unusual but quite tasty. Maybe it was Ruth’s way of getting everyone at the table to eat their vegetables?

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
1 serving of homemade white sauce (like the one on the side of the cornstarch box)
1 small jar of drained and sliced green olives with pimento
1 cup of cornflakes, crushedDirections:
Steam the head of cauliflower until it is al dente. Don’t overcook it because after the toppings are in place, it is to be baked in the oven.
Make the white sauce according to the directions on the cornstarch box.
Drain and slice the olives.
Put the cornflakes in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to crush to small pieces.

Place the al dente cauliflower in a oven proof bowl or dish, leaving a 2-inch clearance on the side of the baking dish.
Sprinkle the green olives atop the cauliflower, then pour the white sauce atop.
Sprinkle the crushed cornflakes over the cauliflower.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the cornflake topping has browned. Serves 6-8 people.

Happy Thanksiving Ruth!
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Fried Green Tomatoes

We had a hail storm in July that hit our garden, wiping out the cucumbers and bruising the rest of the garden plants. That storm delayed the fruits of our garden so we were so surprised at the mother lode of tomatoes, albeit unripened tomatoes. I have never made fried green tomatoes, so this opportunity could not be passed without giving it a freshman try.

I am not from the South where these are a common staple. The movie from 1991 Fried Green Tomatoes comes to mind, which was on the CMT channel last night. My favorite line in the movie is when Kathy Bates rams the vehicle of two young girls who steal her parking spot at the Piggly Wiggly: “We’re younger and faster” the girls taunt and KB’s character replies “I’m older and have more insurance” I’ll have to sit down and watch it from beginning to end again.

After scouring a few cookbooks I found a recipe in the Mount Vernon (yes George Washington’s estate) cookbook cooked in bacon drippings, but then I went to the internet and found Paula Deen’s Fried Green Tomatoes with Vidalia Onion recipe. The YouTube video of Paula making this dish was a good tutorial as well. Usually this dish is made in July or early August with the first of the fruits on the vine. With the second snow storm of the seasoning whirling outside, this was a flashback to the feeling of summer.

I altered Paula’s recipe by adding a cornmeal dusting. So the breading went in this order: buttermilk, seasoned flour, buttermilk, then cornmeal.

I have such a fear of frying so I put the oil in a deep pot so if the oil splattered it would be far away from me and my skin. It didn’t take very long to crisp up, like 2 minutes each side.

The fried green tomatoes were good enough alone. The Vidalia onion relish was a little too much for me, sorry Paula 😦

Au revoir Josette

Our original inspiration to gather, cook and learn from each other, came from our French friend Josette. At a young 85 years of age, she left for milder weather and sea level altitude on the east coast. We made promises to meet again in the spring 2012.

We got together this past week to celebrate our bratwurst and sauerkraut creations and to say farewell to Josette.

We sampled the bratwurst and sauerkraut. The taste test results were as follows:

Two members found the bratwurst to not be fatty enough and too mild. My husband who has eaten his fair share of brats in his life thought they were just right.

Two members’ sauerkraut results were foul, two turned out fabulous and two members found that they were not fans of sauerkraut anyway! I canned my sauerkraut yielding four quarts from four cabbages.

The homemade pretzels and mustard were a hit (see post of October 31,2011). We had a scrumptious apple strudel for dessert  and of course lots of beer and wine.

Cheers to Autumn and to the end of another cooking endeavor. Au Revoir Josette! Until we meet again.