Thansgiving: trial and errors, and hospitals

Thanksgiving was, more than years past, the most stressful time of my entire year.

First, trying to duplicate my MIL’s most wonderful dressing sodium free/low sodium was a success and a failure.  The success was in the form of a perfect outcome in appearance and texture; the failure was in the taste.  I had all the ingredients set at either low sodium or no sodium.  I made the rolls and cornbread from scratch so that I could eliminate all sodium from them.  I had the low sodium chicken broth and drippings from my unseasoned, roasted turkey.  The herbs, celery and onion, even a no sodium cream of mushroom soup (recipe calls for cream of chicken, but can’t find that low sodium).  Followed by my SIL’s instructions that it should resemble soupy oatmeal when all ingredients mixed together and baked til golden brown and slightly firm.    It came out beautifully as did the turkey.  Nice and moist……  Test run for Thanksgiving dinner was made about a week before the food fest with family on Black Friday.    See…

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Looked wonderful and smelled wonderful.  Taste? EPIC FAIL!!!  Even with herbs and poultry seasoning and broth, low sodium as it was, no flavor whatsoever.  In thinking over what could be done differently, I decided that the next pan of dressing to be made for Thanksgiving dinner would have low sodium breads that I would still make from scratch, the low sodium  chicken broth and regular cream of chicken soup.   Plus, more of the herbs, celery and onion because when you are cooking without salt, you need to increase the other seasonings.  By volume, the sodium in all the ingredients should still be low on a per serving basis.

Alas, the next batch wasn’t made as we never made it to the family dinner.  Old Rooster ended up in the  hospital night before Thanksgiving.  And that began a whole new set of problems that added to the stress of Thanksgiving 2012.  And not just because he was in the hospital (he’s fine and was only there 4 days), but because of what happened, healthwise, at the hospital….. But that’s a story for another post.

So, next attempt shall be postponed and prepared for Easter dinner.  No ham; either chicken or turkey will be roasted for that.

 

Experiments in the lab do go wrong…

I posted not too long ago about creating a dish out of what was available.  It was a kind of stir fry.  We’ve created variations of it depending on what was available.  So far the meat of choice has remained chicken.  However, the vegetables and seasoning vary.  We’ve used scallions in place of onions, added shredded carrot to the mix, and used a Mrs. Dash marinade (garlic and herb) along with the butter for the sauce.

One night we had a fail.  Well, Old Rooster liked it, but PhatHen didn’t.  Old Rooster likes jalapenos, a lot!!!  PhatHen likes them in moderation.  So, one night Old Rooster decides he’ll cook out new favorite dish.  He’s a good cook, learned at his mother’s knee.  It smelled so good; he used carrots, and scallions, and Mrs. Dash, and jalapenos.  Just like before.  Except….. got a little heavy handed on the jalapenos.  And he failed to remove the seeds.  Its the seeds that make the pepper so brutal; if you just want the flavoring and gentle “bite” of jalapeno, you remove the seeds.  After he plated it, he could tell by my expression from the first bite that it was far too hot for me.  I did my best to eat it.  After all, he has graciously eaten my failures.  But, as I told him, all I could taste was the jalapeno and every bite hurt.  My mouth was on fire.  Food should not hurt.  Food nourishes and pleases.

This will not stop us from using jalapenos or any other pepper.  We just got reminded that while the meal before with jalapeno was great, the next could be unpleasant.  Jalapenos and other peppers are not always the same.  The heat in each pepper varies from pepper to pepper.  So, again, use different seasonings and vegetables and herbs, just be aware that fresh items vary in their flavor, and you must constantly taste as you are cooking to measure what is needed and what is not.

Squash and tomato are on the list for next trial