Saturday, November 19, 2011

Corn and Onion Casserole

It seems you hate it or you love it; Traditional Thanksgiving dressing that is.   Shawn doesn't do stuffing.  I do. And we both do Corn and Onion casserole.  My corn and onion casserole is the alternative for those of you who don't care for stuffing, and for those of you who do then make room on your plate for this because you're going to love it as much as we do and it may just make it to your list of 'must have' dishes for Thanksgiving. 

My Mom and my brother David make the best stuffing, completely homemade from Stove Top in my fam!    I've never made stuffing myself, as I figure "why should I?" when they make it so well, but several years back I decided to try something different that would still compliment the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
  This recipe comes from The American Country Inn and Bed & Breakfast Cookbook Volume 1,  one of my all time favorite cookbooks.  I have both the 1st and 2nd volumes of this book and have turned to them for good recipes on a regular basis for about 15 years.  There are hundreds of tried and true recipes in each book and I don't recall one that I didn't like.  The recipes are mainly brunch and breakfast dishes but there is really something for everyone.   My chicken pot pie recipe was adapted from one I found in this same book. 

 I found it on Amazon in case you all want to order one.  The only downfall to this book is that the recipes are categorized by the Bed & Breakfast Inns that supplied them, rather than under categories like Soup, Sandwiches, etc.  However there is an index and you can turn to that to look up recipes or look up recipes by main ingredients.  The other downfall, for some, might be that there are no photographs of the food.  That doesn't really bother me because I enjoy reading each of the recipes and based on the ingredients it calls for, I can usually tell if it's something our family would like.  Anyway, here are links to both Cookbook volumes, I and II. 


  The first year I served this at Thanksgiving it became one of our 'Thanksgiving isn't the same without Corn and Onion Casserole" dishes.  It's now on the menu every year. 

BONUS:  this is easy peasy to prepare.

Corn and Onion Casserole
(makes about 8-10 servings)

2-3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (I use a yellow onion as I like the sweet taste of them with the corn)

1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (dried is fine if you don't have fresh)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups corn muffin mix (one box of Jiffy)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 15-16 oz can creamed corn
3-4 dashes hot sauce

1 cup (or more if you're a cheese-o-holic like me) shredded cheddar cheese

First you chop up a nice, large yellow onion (the bigger the better).
In a skillet combine this with about 3 tblsp butter and saute' until the onions are translucent and limp...I even caramelize mine a little allowing them to get golden brown which requires a little longer cooking time...but well worth it.

While your onion is cooking get out another bowl and combine the sour cream, parsley, salt and cheese (remember to reserve a cup of cheese for the top).

In another bowl combine the corn muffin mix, creamed corn and hot sauce.

Stir to blend thoroughly 

Give your onion mixture a little stir.

Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan and pour your corn mixture into it, spreading evenly.  

By now your onion is probably finished cooking so add that to the sour cream mixture.  It's okay to add it while it's hot.  

Stir the mixture until blended and drop it in spoonfuls over the cornbread mixture and then spread it out as evenly as you can.  Top it with more cheddar cheese and bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese begins to brown.

You're good to go!

I made this last week with fresh green beans seasoned with bacon and Shawn made the main dish, Fried Chicken.  I am a huge fan of any kind of potatoes, but honestly I can say that this is just as good served alongside Southern fried chicken as is a big fat spoon full of mashed potatoes.

Try it and tell me if you don't love it...or do!  I hope you do!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Table Setting w/ Black Turkey Plates

Black isn't a color you see mixed with traditonal Autumn colors very often but in the case of these turkey transferware plates by 
W. R. Midwinter I think they beckon to be used with amber, brown, gold, and shades of orange or red.   So that's just what I did.

I received so many compliments on the raffia I used in THIS tablescape, that I decided it would be nice to add some under these plates as well.  I did use placemats, however I flipped them over because they are beaded which I felt did not work with the plates...however the felted backs are black and provided an anchor for the plates to really stand out against.

I created a simple centerpiece that runs the length of the table by winding a garland of Fall leaves around several pillar candles.  I tucked a few berries in here and there and interspersed throughout with tealight candles in red glass holders.  This was cheap...about $5 for the garland, and honestly you could  gather real leaves and it would, in my opinion, be even prettier, and cheaper.  
I couldn't talk any of my kids into sneaking into the neighbors yard to cut down some of their branches full of turned leaves or I'd have made the centerpiece from them.  Better luck next time.  
(Ok...I didn't really try to talk my kids into doing that...I admit the thought did cross my mind...).

 I love these little pumpkin side plates.  They work well with most of my Fall dishes.  I used them last week in my purple and sage tablescape.  These were found at Ross for $2.25 a piece. 

These napkin rings are on clearance at Walmart right now for $2 per set of four.  They're plastique, made to look like tooled leather.  

I draped a 14' long needlepoint runner across the table so it hangs almost to the floor on either side.  I love the rich color and texture this adds.  

 I love these rich colors!

What dishes do you use for Thanksgiving?  Do you have a set just for that special dinner or a set just for Fall? 
I have sold lots of sets of salad plates this year that my customers will use with their existing china.  I have two customers who have sea green / Robins Egg blue plates and they each added brown transferware salad plates.  The blue green with brown is a pretty combination.

A couple of posts back I shared the history of English turkey themed wares and showed you all this platter, which is the mate to my plates.  

For those of you interested in the history of Midwinter:

W.R. Midwinter was founded by William Robinson (my maiden name!) Midwinter at Bournes Bank, Burslem in 1910.  The business expanded so quickly that by 1914 they relocated to the larger Albion Works, also in Burslem.  

( In the Staffordshire heyday there were over 2000 bottle kilns in use.  Above, 3 of the remaining 47 bottle kilns in the Potteries District )

William Midwinter served in the Royal Navy during the First World War and left the care of the business to his wife.  The company continued to grow throughout the 1920's and 30's and incorporated as W. R. Midwinter Ltd in 1932.  At that time, the firm acquired neighboring Hadderidge Pottery and continued production throughout the Second World War, though at a much reduced rate.  Following the end of the war, W. R. Midwinter's son, William Roy joined the business and assumed complete control in the late 1950's. Under the management of William Roy, Midwinter became one of the leading producers of domestic earthenware.  Midwinter made other acquisitions in 1964; A. J. Wilkinson Ltd. and Newport Pottery Co. Ltd.   Only a few short years later the Midwinter potteries were struggling financially and were taken over by J & G Meakin (relatives of Johnson Brothers), and by 1970 Meakin was taken over by Wedgwood.  

Midwinter was much less known for the transfer printed wares that I am so fond of, but more for art deco shapes and styles.  Some of their memorable patterns were produced by in-house designers Jessie Tate and Hugh Casson, who's French scene drawings on those wares are now so highly sought.  

Roy Midwinter remained on staff through the Wedgwood days until 1981 and then became a designer associated with Federated Potteries Ltd.  He died in 1990.

Peat, A., Midwinter - a collector's guide. (Cameron & Hollis, 1992).
Jenkins, S. Midwinter Pottery- A revolution in British Tableware. (Richard Dennis, 1997)


Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.
Konrad von Gesner