We Gather Together

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing" and the table is laden with the most delicious dishes. 

In this year when most would acknowledge that all is not well in our world, it is perhaps even more important than ever to gather with those you love, look without and within, and say "thank you". If your list looks anything like mine it might include: 

  • the blessing of "enough" which encompasses food, clothing, shelter, a job and transportation 
  • my dear people - family, friends, co-workers, students and readers of my blog - each one enriches my life
  • a fervent faith handed down through the generations and now embraced as my own

In recent days I have found myself looking up, simply grateful to be able to live my life under brilliant blue skies punctuated with fluffs of white. Nobody gets to do that forever and I'm glad I get to now. 

On our Thanksgiving table one of our 'must haves' is a traditional Sausage Cornbread Herb Stuffing. Simple ingredients make a delicious dish. A few fresh herbs are still available from the garden and will go into the stuffing this year. Sometimes by Thanksgiving they've already frozen and then I used dried herbs and that's fine, too. 
Sometimes I make Sourdough Cornbread and sometimes I mix it up from a box.

It has been many years since I actually tried stuffing it in a turkey. Its much more tasty baked in its own dish after the turkey comes out of the oven. 

1 pound sausage
1 onion, diced 
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage (1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
Sourdough biscuits work wonders, but any firm textured bread is fine. 
2 teaspoons diced fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 
1/4 cup roasted peppers (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups crumbled cornbread
5 cups biscuits or other firm bread, cubed in 1/2 inch squares 
2 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 ℉. In a large frying pan saute sausage until no longer pink. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Leave any grease in the pan. My homegrown sausage is quite lean so there usually isn't much. You may want to pour some off if there is more than a few tablespoons. 

Add butter and saute onions and celery until almost caramelized. Add fresh or dried herbs, salt and roasted peppers if using and stir briefly. Add 2 cups of cornbread crumbs and stir together.

 Place remaining bread in a large mixing bowl. Add sausage, sauteed mixture and stir together. Drizzle chicken broth over mixture while stirring lightly.

Place stuffing in a extra large casserole or 9 x 13 baking. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Also on the Thanksgiving table: 
Sourdough Butterflake Refrigerator Rolls
Click on title for link to recipe

And after Thanksgiving, I love to make this: 
Click here for recipe,

Sourdough Ginger Pear Bread with Walnuts

The delightful fruits of fall are as much a part of the changing season as the falling leaves and gray skies. We love apples, of course, but I've been guilty of neglecting the lovely pear. They too fill the baskets in the produce section at the grocery store this time of year and I've been pleased to see them quite reasonably priced. 

After eating one in my lunch every day for over a week, I began to contemplate other ways to use them. How about a sourdough quick bread? With ginger, since that spice often paired with the fruit? It sounded really good. Though I couldn't find a the right recipe (it had to include sourdough), it seemed like a good fit.

The bubbly fermenting sourdough adds magic to the bread. 
Indeed it was. By slightly adapting the excellent Sourdough Oatmeal-Apple Loaf a wonderful new bread was enjoyed. The addition of sourdough assures a lovely, moist loaf with just a hint of tang. It is the not-so-secret ingredient in outstanding quick breads. 

Ginger Pear Sourdough Bread with Walnuts
A printable is available at Tasty Kitchen

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses, optional
2 eggs
1 cup sourdough starter
2/3 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped pears (about 2)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350℉.
Cream together sugar, oil, molasses and eggs. Stir together dry ingredients. 

Mix alternately with sourdough (or do what I do in my stand mixer by adding dry ingredients and then mixing while pouring in the sourdough). Fold in pears. 

 Pour in a well-greased large loaf pan or two-three mini-pans and top with walnuts.  Bake large loaf for about 50 minutes and mini-loves for about 30 minutes. 

Yes! This is how autumn tastes.