Sandra Sowder has owned and operated The Freight House Restaurant in Hartselle for nearly four years. The Freight House, on Railroad Street, is the second restaurant she had owned. During the years her employees have become family and some family have become employees. This is largely owed to their love of food, she said.
“Historically meal time has been the gathering time for the day for the immediate family. Time for everybody to get together around the table,” Sowder said.
Sometimes in such a fast-paced world it is not always possible to get together with the family each day for a meal. That is why it is important to take the time, especially during the holidays, to slow down, and fellowship with loved ones over a meal, she said.
Anethia Simmons, “one of the family,” has worked at The Freight House as a cook and baker since it opened. Simmons took Sowder’s daughter, Arlee Sowder, 20, as an apprentice within the last year to help refine her talents as a baker.
Since Arlee started baking, she has learned the restaurant’s signature cake desserts such as Coconut Cake, Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing and Fudge Drizzle, Strawberry, and some seasonal favorites such as Red Velvet, Carrot Cake and German Chocolate Cake, Sowder said.
Simmons and Arlee are now featuring a Pumpkin Cheesecake at the restaurant that is sure to satisfy the Thanksgiving appetite. The seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake is the perfect ending to a meal at The Freight House or for taking to a holiday event to share. A piece of cake is certainly a great way to slow down and enjoy the flavor of family and holidays, Sowder said.
Below Sowder offers up The Freight House’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe. Also below, for holiday mealtime enjoyment, are Martha Stewart’s Butternut Squash Soup recipes from marthastewart.com and directions for “How to Cook a Turkey” from All Recipes at allrecipes.com.
By The Freight House Restaurant & Catering
1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick softened butter
Mix together and press in a 9-inch springform pan
24 ounces cream cheese
1 ½ cup sugar
15-ounce can of pumpkin
¼ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat till well mixed. Add pumpkin, eggs, sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well. Add flour and vanilla; mix till smooth. Pour in crust. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Let set to cool and remove from pan and refrigerate until chilled.
How to Cook a Turkey
To prepare the turkey for roasting in the oven, first remove the giblets (and save for gravy or stuffing). Next, rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
If stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey. Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only).
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point toward the body, and should not touch the bone.
Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.
For 10 to 18 pounds, unstuffed, roast for 3 to 3½ hours, and stuffed 3¾ to 4½ hours; 18 to 22 pounds, unstuffed for 3½ to 4 hours, stuffed, 4½ to 5 hours; 22 to 24 pounds, unstuffed 4 to 4½ hours, stuffed, 5 to 5½ hours; and 24 to 29 pounds unstuffed for 4½ to 5 hours, stuffed 5½ to 6¼ hours.
Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but helps promote even browning.
The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure the thermometer is not touching the bone. If turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F.
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.
Turkey Tip: Rack ‘em Up — Turkeys cook best if hot air is allowed to circulate underneath and all around them. Setting the turkey on a roasting rack is key. The fat drips down and can be collected in the roasting pan. The rack lets the air circulate and also keeps the bird from soaking in its own fat.
Butternut Squash Soup
Serve cups of butternut squash soup with orange spiced cashews.(serves 6)
3 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
10 whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 spanish onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
Pinch of cayenne pepper
6 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small (about 1¾ pounds each) butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded, and flesh cut into 1-inch pieces
Orange Spiced Cashews, for garnish
Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from orange in long strips; reserve flesh for another use. Make a bouquet garni by wrapping zest, ginger, coriander and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth; tie kitchen twine around top of bundle.
In a medium stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and starts to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add bouquet garni; cook 2 minutes more. Add stock; bring to a boil.
Add sweet potato and squash to pot; return to a gentle simmer, and partially cover. Cook until vegetables are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
In a blender, puree soup in batches, being careful not to fill more than halfway. Pour soup into a clean pot; cook over medium heat until just heated through. Serve garnished with nuts, if desired.
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