Cooks Exchange

Count down is on to Thanksgiving

Twenty-four hours until Thanksgiving, and are you prepared?

Here are a few reminders to make this holiday easy-peasy.

Remember to place the thawed turkey in a pan and rub seasonings and butter all over the bird. Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. It will be ready to cook tomorrow morning.

Turkeys take about 3 to 4 1/2 hours to cook depending on the size. Heat the oven to 375 for 30 minutes and then lower to 325 degrees. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer placed in the thigh registers at least 165 degrees.

Dressing or stuffing, if you prefer, can be done today and baked tomorrow morning so it is hot and crispy on top. If using bread, make sure it is at least day-old. Dry bread works best. Of course, some of us also have a 13-by-9-inch pan of cornbread to go into the dressing. Others at least a pint of oysters.

Hopefully, vegetables and casseroles have already been prepared, so all that is left is the baking.

Today also is a good day to make a fruit or gelatin salad and pumpkin or cream pies. Have the children help set the table today, which is one less duty for tomorrow.

The more advance preparations that are done, the more enjoyable the holiday. I wish my readers a blessed holiday.

Pecans available

Nancy Hunt of Biloxi says Albert Lott has a bumper crop of pecans and satsumas.

“I buy pecans from him, but the last two years they have been scarce,” Hunt said. “He cracks the pecans for a fee. He lives off old Highway 67 on Blackwell Farm Road, near Traditions water tower. His number is 228-832-3187.”

Lott told me that he has nearly 1,000 pounds of pecans and the above number is the best way to reach him.

Candy booklet wanted

“I am looking for the name of a candy booklet by the late Bertha Sadowski, who had a bakery, taught cake-decorating classes at Biloxi High and taught candy classes,” a reader with the initials H.B. said. “She produced a cookbook and a candy booklet.

“Would anyone know the name of the candy booklet or where I might get one? Also, if someone has the booklet, would they be willing to share some of her candy recipes or any information on these recipes?” asked H.B.

Readers, do you have information about this booklet? If so, please let me know.

Time to start starters

Every year, I get requests for friendship bread and sourdough starters. These starters take time to ferment, so getting started right after Thanksgiving is a good idea.

I will share the Amish starter today and the fruit starter Nov. 30 and the bread recipe. The Amish starter is done with milk, flour and sugar. John Baugh of Ocean Springs sent me this recipe years ago. He said never to refrigerate starter.

Mail mixup

Some of you readers have written me and have had no response, dating back to August. The newsroom, where I used to pick up my mail, was undergoing renovations. Unfortunately, my mail was left in the mailroom and didn’t get to me until late last week.

I wondered why I wasn’t hearing from my letter writers, and now I know. Please forgive this mix-up. I do try to be as prompt as possible when replying or helping you with recipe requests.

Today, I will start trying to get caught up on the requests and shared recipes. I will start with the oldest first.

John Long of Wiggins shares a from-scratch banana pudding, which would be good for any holiday event.

Florida reader Betty Bailey of Bradenton shares a blueberry buckle coffee cake that she says, “is to die for.”

“Everybody loves this coffee cake,” Bailey said. “This lady was a longtime member of our church, and my husband and I worked in the kitchen with her and her husband doing dinners on Wednesday nights. She would bring this blueberry buckle coffee cake in the mornings while we were preparing a portion of the evening meal.

“She and her husband moved to Bradenton from New Hampshire, and they went back home every summer and picked gallons of blueberries. They are the best and small in size. She would freeze them and bring them to Florida,” Bailey said.

AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD

Starter:

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/4 cup sugar

Place in plastic container, stir with wooden spoon only. Allow to mature until a soft, spongy crust develops; then start the steps of the recipe.

Bread:

Day 1: Get starter.

Day 2: Stir with wooden spoon.

Days 3 and 4: Stir.

Day 5: Add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and 1 cup self-rising flour.

Days 6, 7 and 8: Do nothing.

Day 9: Stir with wooden spoon.

Day 10: Add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and 1 cup self-rising flour.

Take out 3 cups and put into three containers. These are your starters to give to friends and family.

To remaining mixture, add the following:

1 cup oil

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup self-rising flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1 cup chopped nuts

Mix well with mixer and pour into lightly greased loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees.

— Submitted by John Baugh

BANANA PUDDING

3-4 sliced bananas

4 cups scalded milk

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 egg yolks (save whites)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup melted butter

1 box vanilla wafers

Mix sugar, flour, yolks and milk. Cook until custard-like in double-boiler. Add vanilla and butter.

Layer bananas and cookies then pour pudding over.

Make meringue for topping.

Meringue:

In mixer, put 3 egg whites, 3-4 tablespoons sugar and sparingly put in cream of tartar in meringue (1/8-1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar) until meringue is right. Top pudding with meringue and brown.

— Submitted by John Long

BLUEBERRY BUCKLE COFFEE CAKE

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup margarine

Add 1 egg and 1/2 cup milk and mix in

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt and add to creamed mixture.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups blueberries.

Pour into a 10-inch square pan. Mix crumb topping and sprinkle on top.

CRUMB TOPPING

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons soft margarine

Blend until crumb-like texture. Sprinkle on cake. Bake at 375-degrees for 50-55 minutes.

— Submitted by Betty Bailey

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