November is a funny month at Casa Daisy. It’s the month right after Halloween, and right before Christmas, with El Dia de los Muertos thrown in, for good measure. The cold weather is still charming, as opposed to February, when we’ve all had our fill of it. It brings to mind big, bubbling pots of Sancocho, or Rabo Encendido, or Minestra Peruana; what I like to think of as real comfort food…and it always reminds me of cooking with my family in the kitchen, both as a little girl with Mami and Abuela, and now with my own children. I cherish memories of baking Pan de Agua, and serving it still hot from the oven to Erik, still in kindergarten, with butter and jelly, and a cup of hot chocolate or spiced milk, while cold November winds wailed outside the windows. I have a picture of Angela that always makes me smile…she is about two and a half years old, and she is rubbing wet adobo on a big Thanksgiving day turkey, which weighs almost as much as she does! Memories like those are the “glue” in family.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, you all have heard me talk of my Dad the firefighter, and his prowess in the kitchen. Well, Papi’s contribution to Thanksgiving Day dinner was his stuffing; we could not get enough of it. Mami ruled the bird, and made a delicious “pate” using the chopped giblets from the bird, rice, and seasonings, which she would then stuff into the skin from the neck of the turkey. She would then sew the ends closed with a needle and thread and set it to cook with the bird, and serve it sliced, as an hors d’oerve. In keeping with the tradition of family cooking together, I have always been a big proponent of cooking with my kids, and letting them be involved in the tasks in the kitchen. Angela loves to help with the adobo for the turkey, Marc can be counted on to put the ingredients for the stuffing together (Papi’s recipe has undergone a few “Daisifications” see the Cassava Stuffing recipe below), and David’s domain is dessert; he is always available to put the pumpkin pie together.
Of course, the best part of this is sitting down with your friends and family, at the end of this labor Daisy’s Family of love to enjoy they fruits of your collective efforts. The Patatas Bravas recipe is a nice alternative to the “weekday” mash potatoes, and the Cazuela easily steps in for the traditional pumpkin pie. I would encourage you to “invite” Daisy to your Thanksgiving Day table this year, and try some of these great dishes. As always, from my humble home, table, and family. to you and yours, I raise a glass in prayer and thanksgiving, and wish you all a very happy holiday.
Cassava Bread Stuffing with Dominican Longaniza
- 1 ½ pounds of longaniza, removed from casing (Italian ring sausage can be substituted)
- 1 large Spanish onion, medium chop
- 5 stalks of celery, medium chop
- 4 carrots, trimmed, peeled and medium chop
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounce cassava bread, broken into bite sized pieces
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Set the longaniza to saute in a large saute pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and stirring until lightly browned. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook over medium heat until wilted and transparent.
2. Finish crumbling the cassava into the saute pan, and stir to mix completely. Pour the chicken broth over the contents of the pan, and stir so that the cassava soaks up the broth.
3. Butter a baking dish with the butter, and transfer the contents of the pan to the prepared dish. Dot with any remaining butter. Check the seasoning (you won’t need much, if using longaniza, as it is highly seasoned). Cover with aluminum foil. Can be made ahead up to this point.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, uncover, and bake another 15-20 minutes or until golden and crisped on top.