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Volume 18   Number 45

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   > Article: Talking Turkey

   > Food Funnies: Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Tips

       T H A N K S G I V I N G   C O U N T D O W N :

    * Cherry-Pecan Stuffed Turkey
       
    * Dried Fruit Stuffing
       
    * Cheddar Corn Casserole
       
    * Best-Ever Potatoes
       
    * Strawberry and Feta Salad
       
    * Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
       
    * Roasted Parsnips with Thyme
       
    * Spiced Pumpkin Pie

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Turkey Broccoli Casserole

    Diabetic: Diabetic Chocolate Cake

    Low Fat: Mexican Macaroni and Cheese

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  This Week's Cooking Tips

    CARVING A WHOLE TURKEY:

 1. Cut band of skin holding drumsticks. Grasp end of drumstick.
    Place knife between drumstick/thigh and body of the turkey and
    cut through skin to joint. Remove entire leg by pulling out and
    back, using the point of the knife to disjoin it. Separate the
    thigh and drumstick at the joint.

 2. Insert fork in upper wing to steady turkey. Make a long
    horizontal cut above wing joint through to body frame. Wing
    may be disjointed from body, if desired.

 3. Slice straight down with an even stroke, beginning halfway up
    the breast. When knife reaches the cut above the wing joint,
    slice will fall free.

 4. Continue to slice breast meat, starting the cut at a higher
    point each time. To help make carving easier, use a straight
    and sharpened knife. More Cooking Tips

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  This Week's Culinary Quiz (Answer at the bottom of page)

   Historically, the Turkey graced the head of the Thanksgiving table
  or groaning board, but for the traditional New England holiday
  feast, which dish was always placed center stage?

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  Quote of the Week:

   "Most turkeys taste better the day after, my mother’s tasted
    better the day before."

    - Rita Rudner, comedian  

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

         November is: National Pepper Month
                      National Georgia Pecan Month
                      National Raisin Bread Month
                      National Peanut Butter Lovers' Month

        November 6 - National Nachos Day 
        November 7 - Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
        November 8 - National Harvey Wallbanger Day
        November 9 - National Scrapple Day 
        November 10 - National Vanilla Cupcake Day
        November 11 - National Sundae Day
        November 12 - National Pizza with the Works Day
        November 13 - National Indian Pudding Day

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    Talking Turkey
     by John Havel

  It's time to talk turkey. If you're cooking one for the first time
 this Thanksgiving or even if you've cooked one before, do you know
 if you're preparing it safely?

  Raw or undercooked meat and poultry may contain harmful bacteria,
 and therefore improper thawing, handling, cooking or storing of that
 Thanksgiving bird can put hosts and dinner guests at risk for food
 poisoning. Here is a top 10 list of common mistakes people make when
 preparing a holiday turkey.

 1. Buying fresh turkeys too early. If you want fresh, don't buy it
 more than 2 days prior to Thanksgiving. You can only keep a fresh
 turkey refrigerated 1 to 2 days before cooking. (However, a whole
 frozen turkey can be stored in your home freezer at 0 degrees for
 up to 1 year.) 

 2. Cross contamination. Don't put raw meat or poultry with raw
 vegetables. Although you may not intentionally have these items in
 contact, if it happens, there is high risk of cross contamination,
 that can spell food poisoning. Make sure to wash your hands and the
 food preparation surface thoroughly in-between preparing the turkey
 and a salad, for example.

 3. Thawing a frozen bird at room temperature. This can lead to a
 potentially unsafe turkey. As the turkey starts to defrost, bacteria
 will grow on the surface, multiplying to high levels that may not be
 destroyed during cooking. There are three proper ways to thaw; one is
 in the refrigerator, allowing 1 day for every 5 pounds of turkey. An
 8-pound bird would take 1 to 2 days to thaw. If you need a quicker
 way, use cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. The same
 8-pound bird would take about 4 to 6 hours to defrost this way. The
 third method is to microwave the turkey - if you can get it in there.
 Follow the manufacturer's directions and roast immediately after
 thawing.

 4. Partial cooking or prestuffing the night before. Do not partially
 cook a turkey, because interrupted cooking may increase bacterial
 growth. Do not prestuff, either, because that can also create a
 hotbed for organisms to multiply. In addition, the cavity of the bird
 insulates the stuffing and may prevent it from heating to the proper
 temperature. If you want a jump on Thanksgiving dinner, pre-mix the
 dry and wet stuffing ingredients (to prevent cross contamination) and
 store them in separate containers the night before.

 5. Overstuffing the turkey. You'll either wind up with undercooked
 stuffing or an overcooked bird because you'll have to cook beyond the
 cooking time for the stuffing to reach a safe temperature.

 6. Cooking the turkey at low temperatures overnight. Cooking a turkey
 below an oven temperature of 325F is unsafe because temperatures
 lower than this may encourage bacteria to grow inside the turkey
 where temperatures could stay below the danger zone of 140F. 

 7. Cooking the turkey ahead of time and letting it sit in the
 refrigerator. Cooking a turkey ahead of time is all right, but
 leaving it whole in the refrigerator is not recommended because a
 cooked bird is just too big to cool quickly enough in a home
 refrigerator. The solution is to remove the stuffing if the turkey is
 stuffed, and to carve the turkey and store the slices in covered
 shallow pans in the refrigerator. When reheating the slices, reheat
 to 165F. 

 8. Forgetting the food thermometer. A food thermometer is a must.
 Temperature is the true indicator that the turkey is done. Time is
 just a gauge. The temperature is going to tell you it's ready. The
 turkey should reach an internal temperature of at least 180F.

  9. Predicting the exact time your turkey will be ready. Get over the
 notion that you can predict when the bird is going to be ready. If it
 is done too early, you can hold it in the oven at 140F.

  10. Leaving out the leftovers. People tend to think that once
 they've cooked the turkey, they can leave it out forever, and they
 cannot. Leftovers shouldn't be left on the table beyond 2 hours. When
 you're done with your meal, take the turkey off the bone, divide into
 portions so that it will cool, and refrigerate. Turkey will keep
 three to four days in the refrigerator. Use stuffing and gravy within
 one to two days.

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  The E-Cookbooks Library

     Find out why the E-Cookbooks Library is one
     of the greatest values on the internet!

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Tips
 

 9. To get turkey golden brown, use a high-grade shellac.

 8. Buy a wreath at K-Mart and tell everyone you made it yourself.

 7. Bite the head off of a live turkey.

 6. So nobody gets drowsy after dinner, liven up the stuffing with
    half a can of Folgers Crystals.

 5. Plan on cooking fifty-six 20-pound turkeys to feed 1,500
    female cons.

 4. Tired of turkey? Roast a raccoon.

 3. Decorate your turkey with pinecones -- how do I come up with
    this crap?

 2. Get the family as drunk as possible, as early as possible.

    ... and the #1 Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Tip ...

 1. No time to bake homemade pies? Well then, you're a horrible,
    horrible person.

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  Cherry-Pecan Stuffed Turkey
  ======================
    3/4 cup chopped onion
    3/4 cup butter
    3 tablespoons sweet Marsala, dry sherry, or chicken broth
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon paprika
    3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
    1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
    6 cups soft bread crumbs
    1-1/2 cups sliced celery
    1 cup dried tart cherries
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    1 10- to 12-pound turkey

  For stuffing, in a medium skillet, cook onion in butter until
 tender but not brown. Stir in the Marsala, sherry or broth; salt;
 paprika; thyme; and white pepper. Transfer the ingredients to a
 large bowl. Add bread crumbs, celery, cherries, and pecans; toss
 to mix well. Drizzle with the chicken broth; toss.

  Spoon some of the stuffing into the neck cavity of the turkey;
 fasten the neck skin with a skewer. Lightly spoon the remaining
 stuffing into the body cavity. Tie the drumsticks to the tail.
 Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting
 pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh muscle.

  Roast the turkey, uncovered, in a 325F oven for 3 to 3-3/4 hours
 or until the meat thermometer registers 180F to 185F (cut string
 between drumsticks when the bird is two-thirds done). Let roasted
 turkey stand, covered, 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

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  Dried Fruit Stuffing
  ===============
    9 cups 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces French bread cubes without crust
     (from about 12 ounces bread)
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    4 1/2 cups chopped onions
    2 cups chopped celery
    2 1/4 cups dry Sherry
    1 3/4 cups dried Mission figs (about 91/2 ounces), chopped
    1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries (about 6 ounces)
    1 1/4 cups dried apricots (about 6 ounces), chopped
    1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
    1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
    1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
    3 large eggs, beaten to blend

  Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place
 bread cubes in very large bowl. Melt butter in heavy large skillet
 over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery to skillet; saute
 until vegetables are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add
 Sherry, figs, cherries, apricots, sage, thyme and rosemary; cook
 until fruit is tender and liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 7
 minutes. Add to bread cubes; stir to blend. (Stuffing can be
 prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Add stock to
 stuffing; season with salt and pepper. Mix in beaten eggs.

  Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish. Cover and bake 30
 minutes. Uncover and bake until top begins to crisp, about 25
 minutes longer.

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  Cheddar Corn Casserole
  ====================
    1 stick butter, melted 
    1 large onion, chopped 
    1 small green bell pepper, chopped 
    1 small red bell pepper, chopped 
    3 eggs 
    1 cup sour cream 
    1 can (16 oz.) creamed corn 
    1/3 cup yellow cornmeal 
    1/4 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon pepper 
    1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

  In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium
 heat. Add onion and peppers and cook until softened, stirring
 occasionally. Remove from heat.

  Combine remaining 6 tablespoons butter, eggs, and sour cream in a
 large bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Mix in corn, cornmeal, salt
 and pepper. Stir in cheese and onion-pepper mixture.

  Turn into a 2-quart buttered baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350F
 oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until puffed and golden.

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  Best-Ever Potatoes
  ===============
    7 cups coarsely chopped small red potatoes
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
    1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
    2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

  In a large saucepan cook potatoes and chopped onion, covered,
 in a small amount of boiling water for 12 to 15 minutes or until
 tender; drain. Stir in sour cream, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar
 cheese, salt, and red pepper. Stir in chopped tomatoes. Spoon into
 a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 350F oven
 about 30 minutes or until heated through.

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  Strawberry and Feta Salad
  =====================
    1 cup slivered almonds
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon honey
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 head romaine lettuce, torn
    1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
    1 cup crumbled feta cheese

  In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring
 frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.

  In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic,
 honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown
 sugar, and vegetable oil.

  In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine
 lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with the dressing
 mixture, and toss to serve.

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  Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
  ========================
    2 pounds sweet potatoes (4 to 6 medium)
    1/3 cup pure maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup
    3 tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon-style mustard
    2 tablespoons cooking oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup cranberries

  Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1- to 1-1/2-inch chunks.
 In a large bowl combine the maple syrup, mustard, oil, salt, and
 pepper; add sweet potatoes and cranberries. Toss to coat. Transfer
 mixture to a 3-quart baking dish, spreading mixture evenly.

   Bake, uncovered, in a 400F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until
 potatoes are glazed and tender, stirring twice.

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  Roasted Parsnips with Thyme
  =======================
    2 pounds parsnips (5 to 6 medium) 
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
    1 1/2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar 
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
    1/2 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme

  Preheat the oven to 425F. Peel the parsnips and cut them into 2-inch 
 lengths. Quarter the thickest pieces, halve the medium ones, and
 leave the thinnest ones whole. You want all the pieces to be about
 the same size. Put the butter in a shallow baking dish large enough
 to hold the parsnips in a single layer and put the dish in the oven
 until the butter melts. Stir in the brown sugar and vinegar. Add the
 parsnips, salt, and pepper and stir to coat all the pieces evenly.
 Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the
 thyme. Continue to bake until the parsnips are browned and tender
 when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes longer.

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  Spiced Pumpkin Pie
  ================
    2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
    2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
    3 large eggs
    1 cup whipping cream
    1 purchased frozen 9-inch pie crust

  Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450F. Whisk first 8
 ingredients together in large bowl to blend. Whisk in pumpkin,
 molasses and eggs, then cream. Pour mixture into frozen crust.

  Place pie on preheated baking sheet in oven. Bake 10 minutes.
 Reduce heat to 325F and bake until sides puff and center is just
 set, about 40 minutes. Cool. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and
 refrigerate.) Serve at room temperature.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Chicken Pot Pie

  The huge chicken pie centerpiece is described in scintillating
 detail in many accounts of Thanksgiving feasts. The feast was a
 traditional English harvest festival that lasted three days.
 Governor William Bradford sent "four men fowling" after wild ducks
 and geese. We don't know if they ate turkey since "turkey" meant any
 kind of fowl. We do know they didn't eat pumpkin pie. They ate boiled
 pumpkin and made fried bread from corn. There was also no milk,
 cider, potatoes, or butter. There were no cattle for dairy products,
 and the newly discovered potato was thought to be poisonous. The rest
 of the menu was made up of fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried
 fruit, clams, venison, and plums. 

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