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Apple, Onion, Celery and Herb Stuffing

8 cups (¾-inch-diced) white bread cubes, crusts removed
4 tablespoons ½ stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 ½ cups medium-diced celery
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup medium or dry sherry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
7 extra-large eggs
2½ cups heavy cream
1¼ cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, lightly packed (6 ounces with rind), divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions, celery, and apple and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the sherry, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock, and 1½ cups of the Gruyère in a very large bowl. Stir in the bread and the vegetable mixture and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard. Pour into a 9 × 13 × 2-inch oven-to-table baking dish. Sprinkle with the ½ cup of Gruyère and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot.
Make Ahead:
Assemble early in the day, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake just before serving

Fall for Me

With the children back in school, the card parties have started back up. I like to volunteer for the hosting in October. Fall always brings on the urge to bake and I was contemplating making a great spread of comfortable favorites. The children and Steve loved my baked Italian casseroles. Steve had come home from Europe with some new interests in Italian food and I tried every new recipe that caught my eye in my magazines. A casserole might seem a little heavy for the afternoon but if paired with the right alcohol might be just the thing to serve.

I’d started my own little compilation of recipes in a binder for safekeeping. The ones with the most stains were the favorites. After reading a magazine, I carefully cut out the recipes that I wanted to try, bought the ingredients and took a quiet afternoon creating a new dish. I have begun to really like cooking although I will never get used to hearing “what’s for dinner” from everyone as soon as they enter the house. I wonder if other mothers disdain that phrase as much as I do and have thought up the same clever replies that I hear in my head. That might be a great discussion point for the card party. I know some of my girlfriends would never own up to not loving their lives in the suburbs but every moment is not as wonderful as the movies make it out to be. Or maybe it’s just me.

I have been thinking lately that maybe I should start writing down some of my thoughts. Not that I could ever be a writer or anything like that, but it might be good to get some of these dark thoughts out of me. Maybe I could balance my good thoughts on cooking with my less than bright thoughts about living in this glass bowl known as the suburbs. This will put a whole new meaning to creative cooking.