New Delivered Meals for 4 and Drop Off Catering For 10 & Beyond
Usually I’m on my yacht relaxing and eating fine foods during the summer, but because of this darn pandemic I’m in the kitchen trying to make ends meet. Somehow, we have kept our staff and our heads above water, but as you can imagine, caterers will be the last to open for no one is really doing big events these days.
So, we are reinventing ourselves. Take a look at both our “Grab & Go” menus which we have created, and have on hand, that 4 to 5 to enjoy at home…or even given as gifts to friends. Also take a look at our new more extensive PREPARED TO ORDER menu we have designed for 10 or more to be delivered right to your very own home.
Because our staff have health issues, we are extra, extra vigilant and careful to be safe at all times. Masks and constant washing of hands are a MUST at Bailey’s.
Do let us know if we can help in anyway to provide a home cooked meal for you and your family. And let me know if there is anything we can offer that will suit your culinary desires.
Take care – and above all – stay safe. With much love,
COMFORT DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR READY TO HEAT & EAT TEXT FOR A PRICE SHEET & TO PLACE AN ORDER (813) 928-2210
(Meals feed 4 to 5 comfortably, can be frozen and made for larger parties)
MOM’S MEATLOAF with TOMATO GRAVY
My mom created this meatloaf recipe and it is awesome, topped with thinly sliced onion, bacon and a luscious proprietary secret never to be divulged tomato gravy – just kidding, the recipe is on my website
CHICKEN POT PIE
Made with a homemade butter crust with loads of chicken and fresh vegetables
SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS
You can throw away your knife with these tender chops – lots of country gravy perfect to go along with rice or mashed potatoes
BOLOGNESE LASAGNA with BECHEMEL
Slow cooked beef Bolognese with chardonnay, layered with fresh pasta, béchamel and cheese, topped with our incredible marinara and more cheese
Chicken & Cognac braised Mushrooms tossed with pasta and a creamy sauce laced with fine sherry
ITALIAN PLUM TOMATO SAUCE & RICOTTA MEATBALLS
My mom taught me how to make the BEST tomato sauce and meatballs in the world. How’s that for hyperbole? No joke, you will love them…GUARANTEED!!! You’ll receive a quart of tomato sauce and a dozen ricotta meatballs. Perfect for a weeknight dinner of spaghetti and meatballs or as a meatball sub with fontina and parmesan cheeses during a ballgame
Make your favorite grilled cheese and cuddle up with a bowl of our homemade tomato soup – or as the cultured might say: bisque. Either way you say it, soup or bisque, you’ll say “umm, umm good”
SWEET SHALLOT VINIGRETTE
I created this dressing almost 20 years ago, and it is our most popular vinigrette by far. We receive RAVES about it every time it is tossed into a fresh garden salad. Perfect on any salad of your choice. We also have equally tasty Lemon Dijon and Cilantro Lime dressings as well. 8 ounces
HAND MADE POTSTICKERS
Chicken & Bok-Choy, Shrimp with Lemongrass & Ginger, Wild Mushroom Gruyere & Kale, Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage Brown Butter & Toasted Hazelnuts
PARMESAN BUTTER GARLIC SPREAD
We are known for our toasty garlic bread – perfect accompaniment for any of the above dishes. 8 ounces of pure heaven to spread on hoagie rolls, Cuban bread, croutons for soup, or any bread your lil’ o heart desires
Try grilling this pimento cheese with ham and sliced tomato for the best grilled cheese ever, or topped on a burger, or served on toasted Cuban bread with fried green tomatoes & bacon – or the perfect pre-dinner app for friends served with crispy crackers
BAKE AT HOME COOKIES
I’ve spent a lifetime eating homemade cookies and I think I’ve perfected the tastiest batch of cookies ever: TRIPLE CHOCOLATE LAVA is my favorite, DECADENT CHOCOLATE CHIP is a close second, and HONEY ROASTED PEANUT BUTTER with Honey Roasted Peanuts in every bite is, well, OMG delicious.
Cookies come raw, frozen, in batches of 6, ready to bake and eat
Made To Order Meals Below
For 10 or More MADE-TO-ORDER Delivered To Your Door
Because these items are made to order and never frozen, we need a 2-day notice
CARTER’S NEW ENGLAND POT ROAST – During the restaurant days, my friend Cater Henderson always requested his pot roast with the veggies included…so he’s got it now. Tender slow braised beef with carrots, potatoes, and onions in a succulent gravy SLICED BEEF BRISKET – sliced with an incredible sauce
Sliced grilled tenderloin Steak roastbeef and Pepper sauce on wooden cutting board and Red wine on dark background
CARVED BEEF TENDERLOIN – Bailey’s is known for its tenderloin – no knife needed for this beef COGNAC BRAISED SHORTRIBS – Fall-apart tender in a succulent sauce you will want to bathe in BEEF BOURGUIGNON – A bottle of fine burgundy go in every batch JOHNNY MARZETTI (Beef, Macaroni & 3 Cheeses) SWEEDISH MEATBALLS served with Mashed Potatoes – also great served as cocktail hors d’oeuvre
BBQ BABY BACK RIBS – fall off the bone tender with Bailey’s BBQ sauce GUAVA CRUSTED PORK TENDERLOIN – great served with sweet potato casserole HOMEMADE ITALIAN SAUSAGE STUFFED SHELLS – a blend of 5 cheeses, mushrooms, and Italian sausage – Italy in every bite – packed with a quart of our marinara for extra saucing, the way I like it HOMEMADE ITALIAN SAUSAGE, PEPPERS & ONIONS SUB – this sub is loaded with sausage, peppers & onions, shredded Jack cheese on a hoagie roll wrapped in aluminum foil – perfect for heating in your oven for the best sandwich you might ever have
LEMON CHICKEN – served this lemony chicken dish to my sister Pamela and she wants it again and again CHICKEN & YELLOW RICE – U haven’t had chicken & yellow rice until you’ve had Bailey’s, served with fried plantains SUMMER THANKSGIVING DINNER – Thanksgiving is my favorite meal. Moist Turkey Breast, Gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and homemade Cranberry Applesauce – what better way to celebrate Summer than Thanksgiving in the summer SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN & GRAVY – The quintessential southern classic & we know how to make it CHICKEN MARSALA & MUSHROOMS – a full bottle of fine Marsala goes into the making of this dish INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN – marinated in Greek yogurt, curry, turmeric, garam masala, Thai basil and other herbs and spices – this is one tasty authentic Indian dish. Served with basmati rice CHICKEN PICCATA with LEMON CAPER SAUCE – a delicate balance of pungent fresh lemon and briny capers make this a perfect sauce for this piccata
JUMBO LUMP CRAB CAKES – 95% jumbo lump crab meat served with cocktail sauce and remoulade PAN SEARED GROUPER OR CHILLEN SEA BASS with Burre Blanc & Braised Spinach WES’S SHRIMP CREOLE with HERBED BASMATI RICE – the way my dad taught me SHRIMP FRIED RICE – a generous amount of Key West Pink shrimp tossed in this perfect medley of fresh veggies with an incredible Asian sauce we make with over 20 ingredients. It WOKS for me if it WOKS for you – can be made total vegetarian or with beef, pork or chicken
BAILEY’S TRADITIONAL MIXED FIELD GREENS – with Tomato, Vermont White Cheddar & Toasted Pecans 2020 SALAD – Bailey’s Kicked Up Version of The Famed 1905 Salad with Jalsberg, ham, salami, capicola OVEN ROASTED ASPARAGUS, HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, BLUE CHEESE, TOASTED WALNUTS – Fresh Lemon, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Drizzle THE EXTRODINAIRE – a delicate medley of butter lettuce, arugula, watercress, heirloom tomatoes, caramelized Asian pears, crispy goat cheese medallions, toasted walnuts with spiced pear lemon vinaigrette
GRUYERE SHALLOT CREAM SCALLOPED POTATOES – Utterly the best scalloped potato in the country MASHED POTATOES – just like my mom made – creamy and oh so delicious BAKED MAC & CHEESE – lots of cheeses make this an incredible side dish for any occasion SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE – topped with crispy brown sugar pecans HARRICOT VERTS & BROWN BUTTER – the hint of nutty brown butter make them jump off the plate CORN CASSEROLE – Eat this – it will make you feel better CHEESY HASH BROWN CASSEROLE – So cheesy, so delicious – you’ll go back for thirds SOUTHERN GREEN BEANS – slow cooked with country ham and bacon OVEN ROASTED VEGETABLES – a healthy favorite at all parties SOUTHERN COLLARD GREENS – ham & bacon make these collards sing
HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS – made with full fat Marburger Buttermilk – one doz sold frozen HOMEMADE BUTTERED DINNER ROLLS – these fresh baked yeast rolls will melt in your mouth HONEY BUTTER CORNBREAD – you are in for a real treat – my family requests this for every get together TENDER BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITS – the name says it all – what more could you ask for in a biscuit
NEW ENGLAND CORN CHOWDER – Mom was from Boston and she taught me how to make chowdah CHICKEN TORTILLA – oodles of chicken & vegetables, top with cheese, avocado, crispy tortillas POBLANO CORN CHOWDER with SHRIMP – so different than New England Chowder – even more flavorful with this Mexican flare – and loaded with Key West pink shrimp BLACK BEAN – smooth and black bean creamy topped with cilantro jalapeno sour cream
BUTTERNUT SQUASH – a true hit made with granny smith apples and leaks
Stressed Spelled Backwards Is Desserts – Eat Dessert First
CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE with CHOCOLATE “OR” VANILLA BUTTERCREAM – The cake(s) I grew “out” on – oh, I mean the cakes I grew up on – 2, 4, or 6 layers, you decide. STRAWBERRY LUSH CAKE – yellow cake, layered with fresh strawberry couli, strawberries, and whipped cream – it is called LUSH because it is luscious SOUTHERN COCONUT LAYER CAKE – southern through-and-through, 7-minute icing and lots of coconut GOOEY CHOCOLATE CAKE – this will be a hit at any gathering, fancy or plebeian – topped with our homemade vanilla ice cream and you will feel all warm and gooey inside BANANA PUDDING – nothin’ extravagant here – just good down home eaten’ SALTED CARAMEL BROWNIES – chocolate brownie, topped with homemade caramel sauce, lightly dusted with Maldon Sea Salt – what’s not to love here EXTRA THICK PECAN PIE – I make them the way I like them – extra thick filling and toasted pecans 4 APPLE – APPLE CRISP OR COBBLER – this is country to the core – country good that is. Still not sure which I like more, butter crust or brown sugar oat crisp HOMEMADE ICE CREAM (More than Chocolate, Vanilla & Strawberry – you name it and we can make it) CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE – my definition of love: Oreo crust, chocolate cream filling, whipped cream INDIVIDUAL COCONUT CREAM PIE – we make individual butter crust tarts, load them up with lots of coconut cream filling, top with homemade whipped cream and toasted coconut – wonderful presentation PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE PIE with GANACHE BANANA CREAM PIE – this is the most decadent pie you will every eat: drizzled with homemade caramel and topped with whipped cream AUTHENTIC VIENNESE APPLE STRUDEL – so authentically good, you’ll think you were eating in Austria – best served with our homemade vanilla ice cream
My mom would make us Jiffy Corn Muffins at least once a week…and us kids always gobbled them up with sweet cream butter and Palmalito guava jelly. YUM!
Mom was from Boston so she liked a sweet cornbread – which is heresy here in the south where we like cornbread without sugar made in a bacon greased cast-iron skillet. My dad was from Christmas, Florida – so we got the best of both worlds, the deep south cooking as well as the northern influences from my mom with her chowders, New England boiled dinner with corned beef, and hearty stews.
I like cornbread every which way – sweet or not. And I make croutons from either if there are leftovers (which is not too often) – they really make a salad sing. Just cut the cornbread in one-inch cubes – place them on a baking sheet tossed with a bit of melted butter or extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper – bake in a 350 degree oven until nice and crispy. Sometime try a Panzanella salad made with cornbread croutons – they kick it up tremendously.
Of course, I cannot leave a simple thing like cornbread well enough alone…I’m always tinkering with a recipe. Wanting a more-moist cornbread, I added a can of creamed corn, which was good, but I kept tinkering. I added some diced jalapenos – good, but I kept tinkering – finally reaching perfection when I melted butter with honey and poured it all over the top. OMG!!! You’ve got to make this for your family and friends…perfect accompaniment for picnics, Sunday supper, BBQ’s, fried chicken & collards, church socials – you name it – and it will be a super hit.
3 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
3 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 can creamed corn
2 jalapenos finely diced including seeds
1/2 cup honey (I like orange blossom)
1 stick butter
Combine Jiffy mixes, eggs, milk, creamed corn, and jalapenos in large bowl and stir until combined – do not overmix. Let sit for 5 minutes. Pour into a greased 9” X 13” baking pan, and let sit a couple more minutes. I use a baking spray, but a vegetable oil will do fine.
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean…approximately 30 t0 40 minutes. Everyone’s oven is different so look at it in 30 minutes and rotate – continue to bake if necessary.
Melt butter with honey in microwave…stir to combine. When cornbread is done – remove from oven and poke with holes with a skewer. Pour melted honey butter over cornbread and let cool. This cornbread is good warm or room temperature.
One day I just want someone to look at me the way I look at these potatoes. For years now, people have been asking me for this recipe – they are the creamiest most delicious potato dish you will ever sink your teeth into.
Sometimes late at night, I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throats been cut – so I find myself wandering into the kitchen for a midnight rendezvous with theses cheesy creamy potatoes. 30 seconds in the microwave – and these potatoes make a delightful snack. If you can’t wait the 30 seconds, well, go ahead and eat them cold.
By the way, have you ever thought if we weren’t supposed to have a midnight snack – why is there a light in our fridge??? Darn good question to ponder.
These scalloped potatoes will be a “go to” dish for every special occasion.
GRUYERE SHALLOT SCALLOPED POTATOES
4 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (note: you may use half sweet potatoes and half gold potatoes for an even richer potato dish
1 quart heavy cream
14 ounces fine gruyere cheese
3 shallots (peeled and finely diced)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
There is no need to peel the gold potatoes. However, if using sweet potatoes, you will need to peel. Slice potatoes thin – I use a mandolin
Place potatoes in boiling salted water (4 quarts water to 2 tablespoons salt), and boil until almost done but with a little bite to them. Do not cook them all the way – you are par cooking them. Drain and lay out on a baking sheet to cool
Put one-quart cream in heavy bottom pot, add diced shallots, salt and pepper – on medium heat, bring to a slight boil, turn down heat to medium low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes
Shred Gruyere cheese on a box grater – you will need 4 cups grated Gruyere cheese.
STEP FOUR – ASSEMBLING
Layer potatoes side-by-side in 9” X 12” baking dish until completely covered. You may over lap the potatoes slightly. Add 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese over the top of this first layer.
Continue for 3 layers in this fashion. Add final 4th layer of potatoes, pour shallot cream over top and around the sides – if necessary, move the potatoes around with a knife or fork to help the shallots and cream settle into the potato mixture.
Top with cheese panko mixture.
STEP FIVE – BAKING
Place a piece of parchment paper on top, and a piece of aluminum foil on top of the parchment paper – crimp to seal tightly. Place in pre-heated 350 oven and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an addition 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Let sit for 20 minutes before serving. This is important for the cream to settle into the potatoes – keeping them from being too soupy.
NOTE: You will notice I did not say cover with “tin” foil – there is no tin in aluminum foil.
Corn on the cob may be one of those delights that is truly a favorite in the summer. When I was growing up, my mom would boil a big pot of water, throw a little salt in the water and boil the fresh corn for exactly 11 minutes. She would put butter and salt on the table and we would “have-at-it.”
Later on in life, I learned from a number of corn farmers that corn should not cook for than 4 to 5 minutes max. I also found a better way to cook corn that boiling. You see, when you boil corn, much of the corn flavor leaches from the corn and stays in the water.
My fool proof method to cook corn for maximum flavor is to put each shucked and cleaned cob in a Pyrex dish (I use a 10” pie plate), add 2 tablespoons salted butter for each cob, and 1 tablespoon (total, even if you have multiple ears) of water.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the microwave for 4 minutes exactly. Yes, only 4 minutes. Let stand for 1 minute – then carefully remove the plastic wrap – again, be careful for a good bit of very hot steam will escape initially. Add salt to taste, and repeatedly dip in the melted butter after each bite. Spread on more soft butter if desired. It is that simple, and no great corn flavor will escape into that proverbial pot of boiling water.
Herbed Butter: Salted butter mixed with any fined chopped herb you like: parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, dill, mint – (mix and match to your desired taste) it is all good. Spread herbed butter on before cooked, and after. Of course, salt to taste, Chipotle Butter: 1 stick salted butter, add a tablespoon of minced chipotle in adobo sauce, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, spread on corn and grill. Top with more chipotle butter, finely chopped fresh cilantro, and sprinkle about a tablespoon of Cotija cheese on top, and a squeeze of fresh lime – WOW!!! Garlic, Butter, Mayo, Sriracha dusted with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese: 1 stick soft salted butter, 2 tablespoon Hellmann’s mayo, 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons sriracha powder – slather hot cooked cop with as much of this heavenly mixture as desired – sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Of course, creamed corn goes well with any southern dinner. With a sharp knife, remove the corn from 10 ears of corn – make sure you run the dull back edge of the knife down every cob after the corn is removed so you get all the starchy milky goodness from the cob. You should get about 6 to 7 cups of corn off of 10 ears – depending on the size of the cob.
Melt one to two stick(s) of butter (I like lots of butter) in a skillet on medium heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoon flour (respectively) – cook down until the flour has no flour taste – about 2 to 3 minutes. Add corn, stir, add 1 to 2 cup(s) heavy cream (or half and half) – bring to light simmer stirring constantly. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
One of our restaurant fans, Suzy Lopez, sent me a Facebook message yesterday asking if I would share our Broccoli-Cauliflower Mash recipe. We always share our recipes. It is a pet-peeve of mine when people refuse to share recipes. And by the way, this was the most requested side dish at Bailey’s restaurant. Even beat out our luscious buttery mashed potatoes.
It actually was created by my dad. When I was around 10 years old – my mom was visiting relatives in Boston (where she was from); and one night, us 3 kids were screaming for mac and cheese. This was way before they had such stuff in a blue box. Lo and behold, my dad wanted to accommodate his “chill-ren’s” but had no macaroni. He did however have American cheese and cauliflower. He secretly put the two together, with a bit of butter – and PERFECTO – cauliflower mash. He actually told us it was mac and cheese, and we couldn’t tell the difference. Honestly. I was 18 before I realized it…just kidding on that one.
During the restaurant years, I added broccoli – and it was an instant hit. It makes a super Thanksgiving side dish.
(Yields 16 – ½ cup orders)
1 ½ gallons water
3 tablespoons salt
1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound cauliflower florets
¼ pound butter
1 ½ pounds American cheese
Bring water and salt to a full rolling boil. Put the cauliflower and broccoli in the boiling water and bring back to a boil, cook for approximately 5 minutes or until it is fork tender. You do not want to cook it so long as to discolor the broccoli – you want to keep the bright green.
Drain completely. Do not rinse. Add butter to empty pot on very low heat. Add broccoli cauliflower and layer 8 slices of American cheese at a time and stir with a metal spoon. Repeat until all the American cheese is incorporated. You want the broccoli cauliflower to have small ½” inch bite texture but not pureed.
Keep small amounts in a sixth pan on steam table…only put amounts you will need for each lunch or dinner shift. It should not sit on steam table longer than a couple hours at a time. Reheat in pot on stove on low heat, do not bring to a boil.
Being a southern boy at heart and in truth, Pimento Cheese is part of my DNA. I love pimento cheese with crackers topped with sweet pickled red onions, on a burger, tea sandwiches, grilled on wheat bread with bacon and avocado, stuffed in jalapenos and wrapped in bacon – as you can tell by now – I love it!
Everyone has their favorite recipe. Admittedly, I keep tweaking it…I use to make mine straight up – but then I added jalapeno’s and was hooked. I now use three different peppers for it adds just the right amount of flavor and punch for my taste. Let your own palate dictate your recipe…mild or spicy, it is all good.
8 ounces grated Cracker Barrell Vermont white cheddar
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno’s (optional, or more to taste)
Put all ingredients in a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix until soft and completely combined. Use on anything you lil’ ole heart cry’s out for. Today, it is grilled. Try with avocado and bacon.
In my family, when pork was served, my mom always served it with homemade applesauce. So why not go the extra step and brine my pork roast in apple cider? I served this dish last Saturday night to guests with oven roasted root vegetables, and apple sauce and boy-ol-boy was it a hit.
Ask Kevin at Publix meat department on Neptune to prep you a 5 to 6 pound bone in pork loin making sure he cuts the rib bones so it is easier to slice. You want 7 to 8 bones. Kevin has been a friend for many years, he was a butcher at Whaley’s Market (I still shed a tear when I think of them), matter of fact, he is married to Linda Whaley. Tell him you want it like the one he did for me.
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cups kosher salt
2 cups water
8 bay leaves
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 quart unfiltered apple cider (not juice)
1 – 7 to 8 bone pork loin (5 to 6 pounds), ribs cut
Any root vegetable you like will do: parsnips, rutabaga, fennel, butternut squash are all good
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 cups beef stock
1 cup unfiltered apple cider (not juice)
Bring brown sugar, salt, bay leaves, coriander, peppercorns to a boil in 2 cups of water until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Let cool completely and combine with a quart of apple-cider. Put the liquid, pork loin in a 2.5 gallon Zip-Lock bag, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Let the roast sit out of the refrigerator for at least one hour to come to room temperature.
After it has marinated the appropriate time, remove the pork loin and pat dry with a paper towel. Liberally salt and pepper the complete pork loin and brown all sides in the same roasting pan you will be using to bake the loin – add a couple tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to sear off pork. You want a nice caramelization on all sides.
Place the seared loin in the middle of the roasting pan (fat side up) with the prepped root vegetables all around the roast, add beef stock and apple cider over the vegetables. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper directly on the vegetables.
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until the inside temperature reaches 145 to 150…approximately 60 to 90 minutes – start checking temp after 1 hour. Let stand for 30 minutes prior to slicing. You can serve thinly sliced without the bone, or thick sliced including the bone. Serve with pan juices and homemade applesauce.
Nothing beats homemade applesauce with pork. It’s easy to make…even easier than pie.
6 apples: 2 golden delicious, 2 gala, and 2 Macintosh (peeled and cut into 1” cubes)
¾ cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon (more or less depending on your taste)
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottom pot with a lid. Cover and cook on medium low until the apples are very soft. Leave it chunky or grind in a food processor. Served chilled, hot, or room temperature.
OVER MY EARLY MORNING THANKSGIVING BREAKFAST OF: fresh made crusty cast-iron skillet corned beef hash with butter sautéed root vegetables of onion, carrots, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, sweet and Yukon gold potatoes, cabbage, topped with two eggs fried in bacon grease drizzled with homemade hollandaise sauce, two slices of Applewood smoked bacon, three “wall-to-wall” blueberry
pancakes made with Marburger Farm buttermilk, spread with fine room temperature Danish Lurpak butter, drizzled with warm 100% Vermont maple syrup, a toasted buttered Wolfermans English Muffin with homemade raspberry preserves and Stilton cheese, a bite or two of sweet mouth cleansing cantaloupe, a half of ruby-red grapefruit bruleed with Turbinado sugar, a bowl of Honey Nuts & Oats cereal with half-and-half, topped with fresh strawberries and bananas and a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt, tall glasses of fresh squeezed navel orange juice and freezer cold Dakin Chocolate milk, and a fresh out-of-the-oven buttermilk biscuit loaded with sliced country ham with a ramekin of red-eye gravy for dipping, while perusing the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I offer these Thanksgiving musings and recipes.
A NOTE ABOUT THANKSGIVING
Epicurus wrote that you “should first look for someone to eat and drink with, before looking for something to eat and drink.” Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to be with one another and share the day. If you find that you are alone this Thanksgiving, don’t be – give me a call (813) 928-2210, or shoot me an email (RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com), and we can dine together at my table, there is always room for one more. Really.
If you are alone, I encourage you to reach out, if not to me – someone. Try to put embarrassment behind you. I would consider it a gift. And for those of you who know of someone who is alone this Thanksgiving, let this note be a catalyst for you to reach out to them. Get them in the kitchen helping to chop – it will be great fun. I guarantee if you do – it will be the best Thanksgiving ever.
My wish, my hope, my prayer, is that you enjoy every single minute of the day. Start out by watching the Macy’s Day Parade as you cook. That’s what I do every year.
GROWING UP, Thanksgiving was always a special time for me, and my family. My mom would bake a dozen or more homemade pumpkin pies and bring them to neighbors and friends. To this day, just the sight of a pumpkin pie conjures up many a fond memory in my minds-eye of mom’s giving spirit, and of the many warm comfort foods of the season.
My mom would start on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving preparing all the luscious food for our family feast. She would even go so far as to set the dining room table with her lovely china, silver, fancy tablecloth and cloth napkins, and special gold rim water goblets. Her dining room table always looked so beautifully set.
To this day the “Flossie” tradition continues, for it is always fun to show up on a friend’s doorstop with a fresh baked pie…pumpkin, pecan, or apple. To my friends Mark and Susan Merrill (you can see Susan on our Limoncello cake video in this blog), I sometimes bring two pies, pumpkin and sweet potato which is Mark’s favorite.
Mark and I vehemently argued one year about the best way to eat the two pies – cold or room temperature. Mark finally agreed with me that pumpkin should always be eaten cold, and sweet potato at room temperature.
Many want a dollop of whipped cream to top their pumpkin pie – while I prefer mine naked. My friend and Bailey’s GM Barry Engh and his son Luke wouldn’t think of eating a slice of pumpkin pie without adorning the top with a spray of Redi-Whip…yuk!
If you do want whipped cream folks, please make it yourself…1 cup of heavy cream, 1 teaspoon high quality real vanilla extract, and a ¼ cup of sugar…whisk by hand or beat with an electric mixer until whipped, and you’ll have a wonderful topping for your pie – not from a can.
CREATING A MOIST AND DELICIOUS TURKEY
While my brother Byron sister Pamela and I were fast asleep my mom and dad would get up very early on Thanksgiving morning to prepare the turkey for our dinner. It always seemed like a big production. They were chopping the celery, onions, and parsley for the stuffing, buttering the turkey inside and out, and stuffing the turkey.
My parents would do it old school, after stuffing the turkey (both ends) they would put the heel end of a loaf of bread at the ends of the stuffed bird to keep the stuffing from popping out and getting dry. I must admit, I loved that crusty piece of bread when the turkey was done. Then they would get this long needle with lots of heavy thread, and sew it up like they were surgeons. Place it in a huge turkey roaster, and 6 to 8 hours later – beautiful turkey and stuffing. Then the gravy had to be made. My version of turkey prep is much, more simple.
TO-STUFF-OR-NOT-TO-STUFF – THAT IS THE QUESTION
Admittedly, dressing does taste better if it is cooked inside the turkey. However, the turkey is much more moist and cooks faster if you bake the dressing separately – so my recommendation is to cook them both separate. But whatever floats your boat is fine with me.
After the turkey is thawed, take the giblets and necks out of the inside cavity and rinse the bird in cold tap water inside and out…dry with a paper towel.
Melt 2 sticks of butter. Butter inside both cavities and outside the bird, and liberally salt (kosher) and pepper (freshly cracked) covering the entire turkey.
Pre-heat oven to 325
Today, most people don’t have a turkey roaster (neither do I), so using a large deep dark pan with a rack is the best. I strongly urge you to use a dark coated pan as opposed to an aluminum pan, for the darker the pan, the darker the gravy will end up being.
In the bottom of the roasting pan, place an array of root vegetables, 4 peeled carrots, 2 medium onions, 5 stocks celery, and 2 bay leaves. These vegetables will help make the gravy taste extra delicious. You can place the turkey directly on the vegetables or on the rack with the vegetables underneath…I put the rack on top of the vegetables, and the turkey on the rack.
Do not buy a turkey with a “pop-up” that shows you when the turkey is done…I think it takes longer than it should to pop up thus drying the turkey out. Use a meat thermometer that you can find in every grocery store. Place the thermometer in the thigh (but not touching the bone) before you put it in the oven.
Place the turkey in the preheated oven lightly tented with aluminum foil (notice I didn’t say tin foil – there is no “tin” in aluminum foil). You are tenting to keep the turkey from browning too quickly. You will be removing the foil when the turkey gets to 130 degrees or about an hour before it is done to enable it to brown.
There is no need to baste the turkey – YEA!!! – just place it in the oven, and forget it. (My mom would tell me that it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition but it’s ok this one time.) Once the turkey hits 160 degrees – take it out of the oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Poultry temperature should be 165 degrees when done – but a turkey will continue to cook another 5 degrees or so once out of the oven – so if you take it out at 165 – it will move up to 170 or higher and potentially dry out your bird.
EASY GREAT TASTING (non-giblet) GRAVY
Strain all the vegetables from the pan capturing the juices. Put all the pan juices back into the pan including the fat drippings from the turkey. Place on top of the stove and add a cup of all-purpose flour. NOTE: how much flour you add is in direct collation to the amount of fat you have – you should have equal amounts of fat and flour – so you will have to judge for yourself.
Put the stove on medium high, and immediately whisk in the flour with the juices. Keep whisking until combined. Add chicken stock to get the gravy to the consistency you desire. NOTE: You can used canned chicken stock (I like Swanson’s) or you can make your own cheater stock by throwing canned chicken stock into a pot with the turkey neck and giblets, onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, salt, and pepper) bring to a boil on high heat and let simmer on low heat for an hour or so. Using the canned stock with the vegetables and turkey innards will make an even better stock for your gravy. Strain out the vegetables and use for gravy and if you have some leftover – it is a perfect stock for the dressing as well.
I never make giblet gravy – I don’t like it…wouldn’t eat it if the Queen served it to me. And I think I am in the majority there…so discard the giblets.
If you want more gravy keep adding a touch of butter, flour, and stock whisking the entire time. You want to make sure you cook the flour taste out so make sure the gravy comes to a boil while whisking. It is important to salt and pepper your gravy. Be careful with the salt however – always taste before you add extra salt for you have salted your turkey, and the stock has been salted as well – so taste before you salt the final product.
If you need to, and you like a smooth gravy, strain before serving.
BAILEY’S CORNBREAD DRESSING
We served this dressing at Bailey’s Restaurant every time we served pork or poultry – and it was always a huge hit.
1 package Pepperidge Farm Herbed Dressing
2 packages Pepperidge Farm Corn Bread Dressing
1 large onion diced
4 carrots peeled and diced
4 celery stocks with the leaves (diced)
1 pound of salted butter (yes, a pound)
1 cup chopped parsley
1 ½ cups Craisins
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 ½ cups homemade cranberry apple sauce (recipe below)
Chicken stock (enough to moisten)
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot melt the butter, add onion, celery, carrots and cook down until tender. Add the dressing mixture, and the remaining ingredients, moisten with homemade or canned chicken stock. Remember, it will dry out a bit, so use enough stock. Start with a quart. Salt and pepper to taste – I like fresh cracked pepper.
Place dressing in buttered casserole dish and bake (covered with aluminum foil) in a preheated oven at 350 for 30 minutes, and 15 minutes uncovered (if you desire a crusty top).
My niece Brittany requests a jar of this cranberry applesauce every Thanksgiving. You want to prepare each sauce separately, cool and combine the two sauces into a heavenly sauce perfect for any occasion – but especially on your Thanksgiving table.
1 pound package Ocean Spray whole cranberries
Prepare the as the package directs
2 apples each McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Gala
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Peel, core and chop the apples. Place all the above ingredients in a sauce pan with a lid. Cook on top of the stove on medium low temperature until the apples are soft. Cool and combine with cool cranberry sauce – best served chilled.
OVEN ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
This has become a “must have” on my table at Thanksgiving. And it is the easiest dish ever to prepare. Cut an acorn squash in half or even in quarters. Take out inside pulp. Liberally brush with melted butter (or extra virgin olive oil), salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown and soft when forked. If you want a bit darker color to the squash – place under the broiler for a minute or two. Good served hot, warm, or room temperature.
You will love every single bite of this delicious corn
casserole, and it is a perfect side dish at Thanksgiving.
1 medium onion diced
½ stick salted butter
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 can creamed corn
¼ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion in melted butter until translucent. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion with the remaining ingredients and stir until well blended. Pour into buttered casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
MOM’S PUMPKIN PIE
Most everyone says that their mom makes the best…whatever. I’m no different. I make it to this day and it is a smash hit every time served.
This makes 2 – 10” pies – make one for dinner and give one away to some unsuspecting family who always serves a Publix pie.
1 – 32 ounce can Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 – 15 ounce can Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
5 room temperature eggs, beaten
5 cups whole milk, room temperature
For the filling, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir with large wooden spoon until well blended. You can use a store-bought pie shell, but if you are going this far, go all the way and make the crust too – it is simple!
Place equal amounts of filling in the 2 unbaked pie shells – do not overfill.
Bake on the bottom rack in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for exactly 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake on middle shelf for 45 minutes to an hour – or until a butter knife comes out clean when put in the center of the pie.
This makes 2 – 10” pie shells
2 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold salted butter (cubed)
8 tablespoons ice cold water
For the pie crust, put the flour, salt and cubed butter in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times or until the flour and butter is blended to a cornmeal consistency. Add the ice water and pulse another 6 to 12 times until it forms a ball. Divide in 2 even balls of pastry – wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Know too that if you chilled longer than 30 minutes – it will be very difficult to roll. Roll one crust at a time on a lightly floured cool surface. Fold in half and place in pie shell – flute the edges. If you are having problems, call me on my cell (813) 928-2210 – really, call me – anytime. Really.
My friend Laurie Garrett was the inspiration for this incredibly delicious corn casserole. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I added sautéed onions which set it off perfectly.
This casserole is the absolutely perfect side dish for so many entrees. It goes swell (that’s a 50’s word), with pan seared red snapper. Tremendous with any kind of pork, beef or chicken, and of course, is a must on the Sunday dinner table as a side dish that will be a hit with everyone present.
Often times, I will make it in a 9”x13” rectangle pan, and once baked and cooled will cut out round or square medallions with a biscuit cutter making a super presentation…transporting a regular side dish to an elegant one for any fancy occasion.
I’ve offered various variations below. Whichever way you decide make this wonderful dish – it will be a recipe you will keep in your culinary repertoire for years to come.
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 medium onion
½ stick melted butter
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can creamed corn
¼ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in butter until the onions are translucent. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Pour into buttered 9’ x 13” casserole dish and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until light golden brown. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
While my preferred way to serve corn casserole is the simple method above – I have tried literally dozens of variations. You can add sautéed spinach or cooked collard greens (about a cup per recipe), tomatoes and fresh basil, or even substitute a can of drained black eyed peas for the whole corn kernels.
Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite side dishes to prepare for my family and friends at Thanksgiving, or any time of year for that matter. And you will absolutely love this version, which was created by my friend Grace Borgeson. Of course, I’ve added a few of my own touches.
• 1 ½ pounds baby Brussels Sprouts
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
• 1 large Apple (Pink Lady, Gala, McIntosh – even Granny Smith will do if you like a little more tartness) – leaving peel on, chop in small to medium chunks
• 5 slices Applewood smoked bacon (including bacon fat renderings from the pan)
• 1 medium sweet onion diced small
• 1 tablespoon salted butter
• 2 tablespoons fine balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons 100% Vermont Maple Syrup
• Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper (to taste)
Pre-heat Oven to 425 degrees
After rinsing and drying your Brussels Sprouts, cut in half and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Place in pre-heated oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. See various pictures.
On medium heat, fry bacon in your favorite skillet (mine is cast iron) until it is nice and crispy, and let drain on paper towels. Toss in butter to the frying pan, add the onion and apple, stirring to get the crispy bacon bits from the bottom of the skillet to blend in with the onions and apple chunks…cook until the onion is translucent.
Combine the bacon, onion and apple mixture with the oven roasted Brussels Sprouts. Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary – drizzle with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature. It’s all good.
Prepare Brussels Sprouts as in step one including the baking. “OR” fry the halved Brussels Sprouts in vegetable oil pre-heated to 360 degrees until crispy.
Served with Lemon Sage Aioli for dipping – recipe below.
Combine and mix well:
• 1 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
• 3 leaves fresh sage finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon lemon zest
• ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper