Cornish hens, hasselback potatoes and apple pie--Charlie did make the pie. I knew he couldn't stay out of the kitchen!
If Thanksgiving is any kind of reliable harbinger, the Holiday Season 2017 is indeed promising. Thanksgiving 2017 will be marked in my diary as the Thanksgiving I discovered Kabocha squash and even made the entire Thanksgiving meal for Charlie and me--an unusual occurrence as I'm more or less the dishwasher and not the cook. When I do cook, it has to be special and an adventure bordering on scientific experiment and so it was this Thanksgiving.
Jane gave me a Kabocha squash Halloween week, just before she and Bob went off to Michigan for a holiday. She told me that Kabocha squash is delicious. I really didn't listen as I don't hold a lot of fondness for squash. I find it bland and with a texture that leaves much to be desired as it is either mushy or stringy or both. That squash, a little larger than an acorn squash, set on the kitchen counter for just about a month.
Then on Thanksgiving morning I impulsively decided to cook the squash instead of throwing it away. Part of the skin looked as if it might be developing some mold, but it was still firm so I moved forward. It's not the best of timing but tonight I read my October issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine and discovered that she had devoted two pages to Kabocha! Martha says: "Don't be intimidated by the thick green skins (somewhat similar to the challenges presented by cutting an acorn squash)--a heavy chefs knife will to the trick." She is right. The most difficult thing about preparing Kabocha is cutting it and removing the seeds--which I saved. I don't know if the squash I had was a hybrid or not, still I'll try a few of the seeds and order more for next spring from a reliable heirloom seed company.
I cut the Kabocha up, scraped the seeds off, and peeled the skin with a potato peeler. It was not fun. Then I put it in a steamer and cooked until it was done. When I put it in the serving dish I put a little butter over it and that was it--not salt and no pepper. The squash was a wonderful delicious surprise--Its texture is velvety smooth with a rich flavor that is a cross between pumpkin and sweet potato. It was so good that I've giving it as a present to friends for Christmas.
As for the cornish hens, I have always associated them with pretentious wealthy British people. Don't ask me why--perhaps the name "Cornish". Perhaps it's because I was raised in West Texas and don't know any better. Although I grew up eating quail now and again as a kid in the late 1950's and early 1960's, I never thought of that as being fancy because my mom prepared them. I never cooked a Cornish hen, but seeing them on display at the grocery store a few days before Thanksgiving I decided to purchase two of them. They are reasonably priced at $2.99 each and we found that one was enough for two meals. I followed instructions found online for cooking them: Chop up fresh rosemary, coarse pepper and salt. Melt butter. Squeeze a lemon over the hens. Put a slice of lemon in each cavity. Pour the melted rosemary seasoned butter over the hens. Put in oven at 450 for 20 minutes to brown along with Hasselback potatoes. Then turn heat down to 350 and cook for 40 minutes. Check with thermometer to ensure 165 degrees at the end.
We had fresh cranberry sauce, gravy and green beans with pumpkin and apple pie for dessert. A wonderful meal. I've had all kinds of Thanksgivings in my life, but this was one of the best. By the way Cornish hens are great! Better than chicken and better than turkey. But perhaps not better than quail.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
This year I think I'll wrap my plum tree in Christmas lights--something else I've never done--had outside Christmas decorations.
SPEAKING OF LIGHTS IN GARLAND
This Thursday is a special night in Garland. It's the night we turn on our holiday lights around the downtown square. If you didn't see them last year, you absolutely must this year. Downton Garland has the BEST the very BEST Christmas light display in all of the DFW area. Come and see for yourself! I know you will agree.
Christmas on the Square—Dec. 7
5:30 p.m., Downtown Square, Sixth and Main streets. Enjoy snow hills, photos with Santa, holiday foods, children’s crafts, pet adoptions and much more. As always, the attractions are free! Santa Claus will assist with the tree lighting at 7 p.m. and then spend the evening visiting with children about their holiday wishes. Garland ISD choirs will entertain the crowd with holiday classics beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Members of the Garland Fire Department will be stationed at the corner of Sixth and Main streets to collect new, unwrapped toys to be given to local children. After donating your gift, be sure to pick up some festival food and check out live ice carvings by James Pappas.
Parking for the event is free and will be available at the following locations: Central Library, Senior Center, First Baptist Church on Glenbrook and DART on Walnut St. For full event details including parking map, stage schedule and event map visit ChristmasOnTheSquare.com