November 15, 2010

Choosing Sides!

The Maine House prepares for Thanksgiving.....inspiring side dishes will compliment our cajun fried turkey and this year, we have selected two of our past favorites. Our corn pudding is easy to prepare and was actually the family recipe of Miss Vicki's back in Texas. She used to bring this to our church potluck dinners and everyone raved about this corn pudding.

The special ingredient? Sweetened Condensed Milk...it is the yummiest ever!! Estelle's loves to host the family Thanksgiving feast every year and we will be busy this week creating our table that will show those who are dearest to us, just how much we love them!

The spinach gratin is a little more trouble, but it is the most delectable you will find. Estelle's keeps this as her "go-to" upscale buffet side dish!

Estelle's Spinach Gratin
4 tablespoons  unsalted butter
4 cups chopped yellow onions 
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyere on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

Corn Pudding
2 eggs beaten
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2½ cups of canned corn, drained
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped red pepper

 Mix and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes....until it is SET and not jiggling. For a big Thanksgiving meal, I use 6 cans of corn, 3-4 eggs and 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, and just chop some red and green peppers for color.

"Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace,
the celebration of work and the simple life...
 a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons,
 the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year
 - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God."
~Ray Stannard Baker

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