Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lena's Thanksgiving Recipe Collection-- A chat with Sloane Taylor

My friend Sloane Taylor wrote:

Tell those young pups the world deserves to know good recipes. They're hard to come by.

Sloane TaylorSweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell

Darn right. Even my mother admits she was dubious about the Roasted Asparagus and Leeks until she tried it. I'm tripling that recipe this year. I already have to triple most of the recipes in my collection, or everyone complains bitterly. The only one Dante and I alone will share in all likelihood is the Fauxtatoes Deluxe. That's a low-carb alternative to the mashed potatoes and Autumn Potato Gratin. I may even make the Gratin in a low-carb version, just so I don't feel deprived too much.

The worst irony of the story of the Roast Turkey with Sage Butter recipe is the same as the Snowball recipe. Everyone loved them so much, we put the recipes "in a safe place" and promptly lost them! I found most of my other recipes over the years, but those two I mentioned remained lost until just this year. Two years ago I designated a special binder for my holiday recipes and put sheet protectors inside. When I found one of my "specials" I dumped it in the sheet protectors to preserve it. I found the Snowballs recipe this past summer, and now finally the last-- Roast Turkey with Sage Butter. The collection of the best of the best is nearly complete.

There are a few Christmas recipes yet to fulfill, such as the Blonde Fruitcake my grandmother made. I have her recipe books, but I've not had the ability or energy to make all those fruitcakes to find which one it was. This year, I may give a few a try. One of them has got to be the one my grandmother and mother made in the fall and doused with good Kentucky bourbon or dark rum, wrapped in cheesecloth, shut in a tin, and hid in the linen closet until Christmas. Mom doesn't remember the recipe, except it came out of one of the cookbooks I inherited. (Frustrated scream)

My grandmother died when I was only twelve, so all her secret recipes were lost. My mother, bless her, is an unenthusiastic cook at best. All I have are the cookbooks and a few scribbled notes on the sides of some of the pages. Some of those notes helped me identify a few almost-lost recipes, like the Red Velvet Cake that is completely from scratch. There's a secret ingredient that elevates it from "chocolate caked dyed red" to a sublime confection. I took the cake decorating class with Red Velvet Cake and my White Chocolate Cake with Cherry Liqueur Filling in mind. Those have to be perfect layer cakes, or it's just not worth doing. I'm still scouring thrift stores for the right cake display tiers. (I will not pay those exorbitant rates for the things in kitchen stores! My last name is not Rockefeller!)



Sloane Taylor said...

Glad to hear you've found those amazing recipes, Lena. My mouth is watering for the Roasted Asparagus and Leeks, two of my favorite foods. Sage butter on the turkey has old Studs in a frenzy. lol. You know how he loves you're cooking.

Thanks for the plug! I appreciate it.

Bon Apetit,

Lena Austin said...

Sloane darling, you can have any recipe you desire from me. Ol' Studs is a doll.

The Asparagus and Leeks recipe will show up on this blog on the 10th, and the link to the Roast Turkey with Sage Butter will appear on the 21st.

This week will be mostly the appetizers and some sides. I put one recipe on this week that includes the best Giblet Pan gravy I've ever served. Next week is all sides, and on the 17th we feature a few desserts before sliding into the finale, toasting in the winter holiday season.

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