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“Have a sangwich!”

This is a line my family uses, in jest, usually after a particularly large meal. We say it for a few reasons:

1. It’s funny.

2. No one in my family ever needs a “sangwich” or a saaaaandwich (if you must). There is always so much food around that the idea of more in whatever form, sandwich or otherwise, would be pushing the limits of space, time and elastic waistbands.

(For those of you out of the loop, “sangwich” is sort of Italian-American/New Jersey/New York dialect/accent-weirdness for “sandwich”).

But sometimes you need a sandwich, as they are surprisingly handy. And last week I was in Midtown (really) and there were sandwiches to be had. Specifically, the well-crafted Portuguese sandwiches at City Sandwich.

City Sandwich chef and owner Michael Guerrieri was born in Naples, raised in New York, and cooked in Lisbon. And now he’s back in New York bringing Midtown a selection of golden-toasted sandwiches with fusion fillings. He calls this blend of flavors “ItaLisboNyorker” which is kind of a mouthful. Sandwich pun intended.

Something I REALLY like about this place is that there is no mayo in the sandwiches. Guerrieri instead uses yogurt with olive oil (I’ll get back to this in a bit).

The Scene:
The interior is unassuming. It looks like the sandwich version of a Pinkberry with less bubble-style graphics. The menu options are posted on the walls of the long, narrow space. Tables line either side, and the counter is at the back, complemented by a beverage fridge (stocking GUS natural sodas) and a basket of Gourmet Basic’s Smart Fries.

The Grub:
We selected the following sandwiches from the wall-posted offerings:

The Todd (pictured above): A harmonious blend of smoked Portugese pancetta, seasonal lettuce (nice and dark green, none of that wilty iceburg stuff), and a tomato with actual flavor. The whole thing was accented by a healthy but not goopy drizzle of honey dijon yogurt sauce. A honey dijon yogurt sauce that I liked so much I replicated at home. There’s a (bonus) recipe below!

Next up was the Henrique. Sporting Portugese Alheira-Vinegar sausage, steamed collard greens, grilled onions, melted mozzarella, this sandwich is definitely a heavy weight. But not in a way that often induces regret in an “I just ate a brick” way. It is surprisingly light – perhaps because the bread is so delicate and crispy it could float away if it wasn’t weighted down by meaty accoutrements. I loved the combination of tangy vinegar sausage, sweet grilled onion and savory collard greens. The mozzarella could have been a touch saltier (yes, even with sausage).

The Experience: The Big Lebowski

While the atmosphere doesn’t count for much, the sandwiches are innovative, fresh and feature well-thought-out and balanced taste combinations. I enjoyed the fusion of Italian, Portuguese and New York styles and tastes. And I loved that Honey Dijon Yogurt Dressing. So much so that I recreated it and mixed it up with some Persian cucumbers and avocados for a tangy salad.

Here’s how to do it yourself:

What You Need:

For the Dressing:
makes 1/2 cup
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (NOT honey-dijon mustard)
2 teaspoons honey (I used a Acacia variety from Murray’s Cheese, but any honey that tastes good to you works)
A drizzle of olive oil

For the Salad:
1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
2 Persian cucumbers, diced

What To Do:
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and mix. Be sure to give it a taste and see if you would like more of any of the three main ingredients.

Place your chopped cucumber and avocado in a larger bowl. Add as much dressing as you would like (I added about 2 tablespoons of it) and mix until well coated. Serve with toasted bread or pita chips.

Note: This dressing is also good for dipping aforementioned bread/pita chips. This would be why I don’t have any dressing leftover.

And finally, say it with me now: SANGWICH! Have one.

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I cheated. It wasn’t a planned thing, it just kind of…happened. You know?

I’m talking about bread. What did you think I was talking about?

Based on the unfortunate results of previous efforts, I’d become a little downtrodden. I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I had such high expectations every time – “This one will be it!” I’d think. But invariably, I was disappointed.

I’m still talking about bread.

You’ll recall that my first attempt at the Tartine bread making method had me putting the dough in my bathroom to rise in the hopes that the warmer temperature would hasten the process. No luck. My bathroom bread was flat as a Red Velvet Pancake.

On this second attempt I found myself standing over my leaven, contemplating it in distress, much as The Box regards me when I call him and say, “Hey, Dad! I just signed up for another triathlon!!!”

I thought, “What if…what if I just added a little sprinkle. Of yeast. To this here leaven.”

So I did. Just a little bit, not a whole package. And then I mixed up my dough and left it alone for 3 hours for the bulk fermentation.

When I say I left it alone, I literally left my apartment. I couldn’t stay there and wait for nothing to happen. So I went out and returned about 4 hours later. To my surprise and incredible glee (I let out a squeal which scared the dog), it had risen!

I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. I regrouped, and went through the other steps, resulting in a beautiful, risen, light, fluffy, flavorful, crusty on the outside, squishy on the inside (with nice holes to boot) loaf of bread.

I was beside myself with carbohydrate-related joy. My bread even crackled while cooling (something referred to as the Song of the Bread in Tartine).

I’m afraid this is only going to encourage me to keep cheating. With bread.

Now that I had this amazing puffed-up specimen, I had to decide what I was going to do with most of a loaf of flat-ish bread. So I made Peccorino and Herb Croutons with it!

What You Need:
A loaf (or most of a loaf) of stale bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup grated Peccorino cheese (you could also use Parmesan)
3 turns of freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped basil (dried basil actually works well in this case)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large Ziploc bag
*Optional: salt. Peccorino is a very salty cheese, so don’t over-salt these guys. Only use extra salt if you really feel like you need to.

What To Do:
Fire up the broiler of your oven and get out a cookie sheet.

Place the cubed bread in the plastic bag and throw everything else in there.

Shake, shake, shake, Senora!

Dump the contents of the bag onto the cookie sheet, and spread out all the little cubes. Toast for a few minutes on one side, then rotate the cubes (OVEN MITTS!!!) so that they brown evenly on all sides.

Eat them immediately in a salad, soup, or like popcorn!

And, yes, I’m still talking about bread.

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Does anyone have a count of how many times I have mentioned how much I love ricotta cheese? I think the obsession started when I visited Anfora Wine Bar for the first time and spread some of their signature perfectly whipped, salty-sweet version on a piece of airy toast. It was a testament to the benefits of homemade: so much more flavor! And so much room for innovation.

So I decided to make my own. Because my cholesterol was getting dangerously low, and I needed to have a steady stream of cheese-related fats in order to counteract that. I looked around and found a bunch of very helpful instructions on making ricotta cheese. I was assured it would be easy.

The first time I tried it, I failed miserably. I looked away for a second and the whole mixture on the stove top boiled over and made quite a mess. Which I should be used to by now. Take away lesson: Don’t boil your ricotta milk.

Anyway, I had MUCH success the second, third and fourth times. I have created a few different variations with instructions below. There is also a helpful video that shows the EXACT MOMENT of cheese formation. Are you all a-tingle? I bet you are.

Recipe 1: Ricotta Cheese whipped with Olive Oil and Truffle Salt

What You Need:
makes about 1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups whole milk (reduced fat just doesn’t work as well) + 2 Tbsp
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
Truffle salt to taste (you can use regular sea salt if you don’t have the fancy truffle variety)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Equipment:
Small pot
Candy thermometer (something that reads at least up to 180 degrees)
Cheesecloth
Colander
Slotted spoon

What To Do:
Cut enough cheesecloth to cover the bottom of your colander. 4-ply the cheesecloth to make sure no actual cheese escapes – just water!

Pour 2 cups of the whole milk, all of the buttermilk and all of the white vinegar into a small pot outfitted with a thermometer. Heat this over medium-low heat and babysit it. The babysitting involves you watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally so it doesn’t boil over.

The thermometer will start to creep toward 160 degrees. This is the action zone. Your milk/buttermilk will start to separate and curdle. This is one of those rare occasions when curdling is a good thing. Stop stirring and let the milk completely separate and curdle. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curdled portion (this is your ricotta!) and place it on the cheesecloth that is sitting in the colander. Let it drain for about 10 minutes.

After draining, I transfer it to a container (like a tupperware container, as you can keep your chemistry experiment in the fridge for up to a week). With a fork or a whisk, add in your 2 Tbsp of milk, the olive oil and the truffle salt. Give it a good whipping.

I add this last extra step as ricotta can get a little dry from the draining. Especially if you leave it in the colander and forget about and say…oh start vacuuming your apartment or something. This makes it moist and flavorful.

Recipe 2: Ricotta Cheese whipped with Milk, Honey and Sea Salt

What You Need:
makes about 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups whole milk (reduced fat just doesn’t work as well) + 2 Tbsp
Juice from 1/2 a lemon, squeezed directly into the milk
Honey – a tablespoon or two
Sea Salt
Note: For this version I didn’t use any buttermilk. Works just fine!

Equipment:
Small pot
Candy thermometer (something that reads at least up to 180 degrees)
Cheesecloth
Colander
Slotted spoon

What To Do:
Cut enough cheesecloth to cover the bottom of your colander. 4-ply the cheesecloth to make sure no actual cheese escapes – just water!

Pour 2 cups of the whole milk and lemon juice into a small pot outfitted with a thermometer. Heat this over medium-low heat and babysit it. The babysitting involves you watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally so it doesn’t boil over.

The thermometer will start to creep toward 160 degrees. This is the action zone. Your milk will start to separate and curdle. Stop stirring and let the milk completely separate and curdle. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curdled portion and place it on the cheesecloth that is sitting in the colander. Let it drain for about 10 minutes.

After draining, I transfer it to a container. With a fork or a whisk, add in your 2 Tbsp of milk, honey and sea salt. Give it a good whipping.

Here is a video that demonstrates the heating and curdling process:

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Each passing day on the ol’ blog is a learning experience.  Originally, Elana and I had intended to treat the blog as a smorgasbord for all things food related; reviewing restaurants, posting recipes, and starring in videos – with the only common denominators  being enthusiasm and honesty.  There was not necessarily a real theme or concentration as to what we would feature.  You were just to trust our homegrown taste buds on various food related topics.

Much to our surprise, a decent amount of people actually read this thing.  Well, thanks for peepin’ the posts, peeps (hehe).  And, in order to take this blog to the next level, we feel it is appropriate to narrow the focus a bit.  An Italian focus.  I mean, that is the type of food we were raised on, experiment with most frequently, and eat too much of.

So what does this mean?  Well, like many things we do here on the blog, the focus will be an experiment of indefinite duration and potential debate.  But generally it will mean this: most of the restaurants we will review will be Italian or Italian influenced.  Our recipes and videos, will predominantly forward Italian dishes and ideas.  In fact, even the blog, is going to be written in Italian.  Comprende, amigo?

But lovers of food we are above all.  So we will still make occasional room for posts that are outside the scope.  However, according to my father (“The Box”) all foods (and generally everything else) on this planet are a derivation of some sort of Italian influence.  So, technically, even if our posts do, in fact, stray from the Boot’s roots, perhaps we are not straying at all… naw mean?  No?  Care to debate the topic with this man?

We didn’t think so.

Elana here (that was John above, if you hadn’t guessed). In keeping with this new focus, we are starting off with a very basic, Italian 101 recipe: bruschetta. I’ve talked a lot about brushcettas, but I’ve never offered you the simplest, most basic and potentially most satisfying combination: Tomato and Basil Bruschetta. Here it is:

What You Need:

Tomatoes (4 nice plum ones, or a basket of the cherry variety)
Extra virgin olive oil (as much as you like, but you really only need a drizzle or three)
Sea salt (to taste)
Fresh basil (chopped)
Loaf of Italian bread cut into slices

What To Do:
First, fire up your broiler. Place your bread slices on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place the cookie sheet with bread in the broiler and toast for about 1-2 minutes on each side (don’t forget to flip!). Make sure you keep an eye on the toasting process, because that broiler heats things up mighty fast, and I have pulled too many charred bread remains from its fire-y depths because I can’t seem to remember that I put them in there in the first place. But you are waaaaaay smarter. Let’s hope.

Chop up your tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Drizzle with a healthy dollop of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt to taste, and decorate with chopped, fresh basil. It really must be fresh. I can’t stress that enough.

Once your toasts are toasted, line them up on a nice platter and using a spoon, heap generous amount of the tomato mixture on top of the toast. Serve immediately. Bene?

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While our Christmas traditions have morphed over the years to accommodate people coming, going, growing, moving, coming back and getting pets, if I were to be woken up at the stroke of midnight by the Ghost of Christmas Past (who I prefer to think of as Jimminy Cricket from the Disney version) and travel back in time to see Iaciofano Christmases gone by, I would probably note that not much has changed.

However, even though most families have their own traditions, for my family these “traditions” seem more like repetitive quirks at Christmas time, verging on holiday-onset OCD.

What could squeak past as normal during other times of the year somehow becomes magnified and perhaps clinically diagnosable at Christmas.

Take, for example, The Box’s insistence on being the first to descend the stairs on Christmas morning to “check if Santa came,” while suited up in a baby blue terry cloth bathrobe and coppola hat. The rest of us have to wait at the top of the stairs until he gives the OK.

Or I could site the the note from Santa (and Rudolph – signed with a paw print) that my Dad leaves speared on a Christmas tree branch ever year. When we ignore it, which we always do, he exclaims loudly, “LOOK AT THIS, GUYS! A LETTER! FROM SANTA!” Huh. Who’d’ve guessed?

We also have constant disagreements about the proper way to decorate a Christmas tree. The Box hates the angel that graces the top and refers to it as “the turkey buzzard.” He was also wildly skeptical – and categorically alarmed – by my intention to spray paint a tree gold last year. I did it anyway and the result was magical. I recommend it.

Wrapping presents is yet another point of contention. I do all my Dad’s wrapping. Not because he asks me to, but because he dumps all his gifts in my old room with the assumption that I’ll do something about it. John has wrapping all figured out: most years, the gifts he gives are loosely wrapped in a paper towel held together by one meager piece of tape to which is attached a lined piece of paper – the card.

Somehow we all manage to sit down like civilized people (sort of) at the dinner table and eat with utensils – all the while shouting at Aunt Emily (so she can hear us) and peppering her with gin. The Christmas menu changes from year to year, as it’s more experimental than Thanksgiving, but here are a few consistent favorites:

Manicotti

What You Need:
For the crepes:
1 doz eggs
1 cup milk
12 scanty T flour
salt to taste
pepper to taste

For the filling:
3 lb ricotta cheese
1 T chopped parsley
1 egg
salt and pepper

For topping:
Marinara sauce – your own recipe!
1 lb mozzarella shredded to sprinkle on top of manicotti

What To Do:

For the crepes:
Beat all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Grease and heat a small skillet. Ladle mixture into the skillet, turning it quickly until the bottom of the skillet is covered with batter.  The crepe will be very thin and will cook quickly.  Flip it over for a few seconds (if you can do the flip in the air, you get bonus points).  Transfer to platter and stack.

For the filling:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and fill crepes using about 1 T of filling per crepe. Place in baking pan with the “fold” side of the crepe facing down. Pour marinara sauce over crepes and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cauliflower GratineeSilver Palate Cookbook

What You Need:
6 T unsalted butter
4 cloves of garlic minced
4 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto
florets of 1 large cauliflower cut into ¼ inch slices
2 T flour
1 ½ c heavy cream
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 ½ grated swiss cheese
½ c chopped parsley

What To Do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in the prosciutto and cook two more minutes.

Add the cauliflower and cook just until it begins to lose its crispness…3 minutes.

Stir in the flour and then the cream. Blend well. Season with cayenne and salt and pepper.  Heat to boiling and remove from heat.

Pour the cauliflower into a au gratin dish.  Top with cheese and parsley.  Bake until the top is lightly browned and bubbling – about 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Filet Mignonfrom the Silver Palate Cookbook

What You Need:
3-4 lbs of beef tenderloin
3 T Dijon mustard
1 1/2 T green peppercorns packed in water – drained
3 T coarsely ground green, white and pink peppercorns
8 fresh sage leaves
2 T butter – unsalted
salt to taste

What To Do:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Make a cut lengthwise down the center of the tenderloin through 2/3 of the thickness.  Spread the meat open and spread the mustard in a thin layer over the open tenderloin.

Scatter the green peppercorns evenly and press into the meat then sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the mixed peppercorn. Place the sage leaves in a row down the center.

Shape the tenderloin back to its original shape and tie with kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the meat with butter and press the remaining peppercorn blend onto the outside and sprinkle with salt. Place in a shallow roasting pan.

Roast meat for 45 minutes for rare. (10 minutes per 1 lb)
Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Finally, don’t forget the cookies!

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How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? John and I had the usual madness at Iaciofano HQ this year. I’ve recorded some highlights below: a few snippets of ridiculous conversations, some food photography and a recipe for Liver Pate in Cream Cheese Crust. The word “liver” may have just freaked some of you out. I happen to love it. And this recipe is amazing. It’s a great option for holiday parties as an hors d’oeuvre (some day I’m going to learn to spell that word without looking it up).

First, the antipasto:

Marmo to John: Can you please get your hands out of the olives?

The Box to Me (under his breath): Let’s get Aunt Emily a drink. Right now.

Aunt Emily to The Box: Did you put any Vermouth in this drink? You know, John, sometimes not enough is just as bad as too much.

Aunt Emily to John: You look like AC/DC (She thinks his hair is too long. I’m just impressed she knows who AC/DC is). Then to me: Elana, stop taking pictures of me, I’m going to break your camera!! To The Box: John, I love you, but you’re getting fat.

The Box to Aunt Emily (describing the wine): It’s BOW-JOO-LAY NOO-VOH!

Oh dear. Let’s interject a quick recipe into this madness.

Crust – What You Need:
8 ounces of cream cheese
8 ounces of unsalted butter
¼ c sour cream or heavy cream
1 ¼ t salt
2 ½ cups of flour.

Crust – What To Do:
Combine cream cheese and butter and add sour cream and salt and pulse then add the flour.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Pate – What You Need:
¾ pound of chicken livers cut into chunks
1/3 c madiera wine
5 T butter
2 slices of bacon drained and chopped
3 cloves of garlic crushed
2 large shallots minced
2 T cognac
¾ pound smoked ham ground
¾ pound ground pork
2 t. thyme
1 t dried basil
1 cup fresh parsley minced
2 large eggs beaten
2 T heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten with 1T milk for glaze

Pate – What To Do:
Soak chicken liver pieces in madiera wine for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Melt butter in fry pan and add liver pieces, bacon, garlic and shallots and cook until livers are cooked but still pink. Warm the cognac and add to livers.

Add ground ham, pork, thyme and basil.  Mix and cook over medium heat stirring frequently.  About 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add parsley, eggs and cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.

Roll out 1/3 of the dough into a rectangle about 1/8 in thick.  Trim edges so they are even.  Spread one third of the pate on one half of the pastry leaving 1” border.  Fold over and press edges with a fork and brush with egg/milk glaze. Repeat.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven on a lightly buttered baking sheet for 25 minutes.

Note: You can freeze these for up to 3 weeks.  Do not defrost before baking but add 10 minutes to the baking time.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

John: This should be cold (my dad and brother are drinking Strega, an Italian after dinner drink)

The Box: No, the cold kills the aroma and flavor.

John: Nope, it should be cold.

Marmo (from the other room): [sigh…]

Me: [asleep on the couch…or am I?]

John to The Box: Wanna go hit golf balls?

The Box: Yeah, right now.

Marmo: Anyone want more turkey?

The Box: I don’t want to see another turkey until November 2011.

Me to the Box: Can you stop clearing your throat every 5 seconds? You sound like a drippy faucet.

The Box: I liked you better when you were sleeping.

John to the Box: I think you’d like this Belgian beer called Leffe Blonde.

The Box: I don’t like Belgian beer. Every one I’ve tried is bitter.

John: No, you’d like this one.

The Box: Wanna go hit balls?

John: Yup. [then:] Hey, don’t change that channel, the Jets are coming on!

Me: There’s a Jets game today?

John: In EIGHT MINUTES!

The Box to Me: Elana, do you really need to buy a road bike? I mean, is there anything you’re going to use that for besides training and racing?

Me: Hey, Dad, is there anything you use those golf clubs for other than golfing? Seems like such a waste…

Marmo to the group: You people haven’t moved for hours!!

Me: You got a problem with that?

Marmo: Who’s been taking bites out of these chocolates?!

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving. We have a lot of great stuff planned for this month (for example, tomorrow is all about Hot Dogs! And then there’s going to be a fantastic pizza feature, AND a giveaway). The suggestion box is always open, and we are happy to listen to any you might have.

By the way, it was me taking bites out of the chocolates…

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We had a request from one of our readers about Chestnut Stuffing. Look at that – people asking us for advice! I nearly fell off my chair. Anyway, I felt I couldn’t turn down such an honest request. In additional to inquiring about our Chestnut Stuffing recipe, the reader wanted to know the best way to roast chestnuts, having had some bad experiences in that arena.

Well, let me tell you this: I can relate to that last part. One word that describes my chestnut roasting experiences: ouch. However, fear not, dear reader! I have done some research. Asked around and what not, and then performed my own experiments here in the Laboratorio Semi Moderno.

By the way, the Laboratorio is looking somewhat worse for wear, so if any of you would like to come over and clean it for me….just sayin’…

OK, back to chestnuts! Before you put them in anything, they need to be roasted.

Here is how you do that:

Take the chestnuts (however many you want to use) and cut a long “x” or  slit in their shells with a very sharp knife. The longer the cut, the better because even after they are roasted and the shells peel back around the incision, they are dang hard to remove. I would show you the cuts on my right thumb, but no one wants to see that. Take a look at the above photo on the far left. Notice how long the incision in the shell is. Aim for something like this.

Fire up your oven to 400 degrees and place the chestnuts (cut side up) in a large skillet or roasting pan. Something with sides because you’re going to put some water in the bottom, just a little so that the chestnuts don’t burn.

Put this entire arrangement in the oven (the nuts, water and pan) and let it roast for about 25 minutes. You will notice the shells start to peel away from the nut inside.

Take them out of the oven and (PLEASE) let them cool before you start to peel off the skins. If they come out of their shells in pieces, that’s OK because you’re just going to chop them up to put in the stuffing anyway.

And now for that stuffing. I use Martha Stewart’s recipe. But I have to admit that I really like to add BACON to it. So, that’s my addition to this recipe. Here it is:

What You Need:

This recipe serves 10-12

2 loaves good-quality white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 20 cups)
Roasted chestnuts, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
4 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1 bunch celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 4 cups)
8 pieces cooked bacon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
5 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper

What To Do:

Spread bread cubes in single layers on baking sheets. Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, overnight. You could also use pre-dried bread cubes. Look for those in the Thanksgiving section of your supermarket.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sage; cook 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup stock; cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl. Add remaining 4 1/2 cups stock, the chestnuts, bread, salt, parsley and cooked bacon; season with pepper. Toss to combine. If not stuffing turkey, transfer to a buttered 17-by-12-inch baking dish. Cover; bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake until hot and golden brown, 30 minutes more.

* Many thanks to Martha Stewart Living for the recipe. You can check out the original recipe here. I also used their photo (upper right), and give them full credit for that lovely photo. The other two are mine.

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