At Left In Alabama, we're easing into the holiday week – and the end of year holiday season. Let's set politics aside for at least a little bit and talk about something that truly brings people together: FOOD. Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? We'd love to have you share.
Post the text of the recipe in the comments or – if it's online – just drop a link. Photos are welcome – as are family stories that go along with the recipe.
As Mooncat noted in her diary last week, the care and support we get from family and friends is a lot more important and lasting than the satisfaction we get from winning an election.
Let's talk FOOD campers!
I'll kick it off on the flip with some of my favorites and I so hope to read some of yours too….
Our vegetarian family doesn't do the turkey thing – even on Thanksgiving. Although we do have a guest turkey in the form of a painted turkey serving platter… But one of our favorite family special occasion recipes is a vegetarian pot pie that uses fake Morningstar Farms “chicken.” Even the carnivores in our family “gobble it up.”
This recipe is based on a recipe on the Morningstar Farms Web site (http://www.morningstarfarms.com/individual-chikn-pot-pies-with-puff-pastry-recipe.html). I changed it around a bit. It used puff pastry and I wanted a crust that was less fat and calorie-laden.
“Not” Chicken Pot Pie
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 1/3 cups chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup sliced green or red bell peppers
1 tablespoon (or to taste) Italian seasoning OR poultry seasoning
1 package MorningStar Farms® Meal Starters® Chik'n Strips
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1.Remove pie crust from fridge and let it warm up a bit so it will be ready to top the vegetable mixture.
2. In large saucepan cook onions, carrots and celery in butter until onion is tender. Stir in the vegetable broth, peppers and seasoning. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the “chicken” strips and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. (This lets some of the broth cook down. The “chicken” will soften and pull apart as it cooks as well. I like that texture better than the chewy pieces. If you want “chewy,” then add the chicken strips towards the end and cook them for only about 2 minutes.)
3. Stir cornstarch mix into vegetable mixture. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute to thicken the mixture. Turn off heat and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly.
4. Pour thickened mixture into 9-inch pie plate and top with pie crust. Press overhanging pastry firmly against top of the dish. Cut a few slits in top of pastry to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
And how about this totally sinful dessert? It's a recipe shared by Mooncat. I've served it at several family dinners at the cathouse and also taken it to parties. Each time, every single crumb gets eaten!
Black Russian Cake
Ingredients for Cake
1 package Devil's Food cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (3oz) package instant chocolate pudding
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup creme de cacao
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons strong coffee
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 Tablespoons creme de cacao
1. Combine all cake ingredients in large bowl.
2. Beat for 4 minutes until quite smooth.
3. Pour into greased Bundt or tube pan (there may be extra mix – make cupcakes with it!)
4. Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. While cake bakes, make the topping! Combine all ingredients in small bowl, mix well!
6. When the cake comes out of the oven, take a small skewer and poke holes in it (the cake is still in the pan). Pour about half the topping over it, co it runs into the holes.
7. When the cake is totally cool, turn it out onto a serving plate, punch more holes with the skewer, and carefully spoon the remaining topping over it.
Finally, a terrific side dish (or even light summer main dish when you're overrun with squash)…..
Penne With Zucchini & Basil
This recipe is based on a similar one in “Madhur Jaffery's World Vegetarian” cookbook.
* 3-4 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash (about 14 ounces) ( I think I used about 3 cups chopped)
* 5 TB olive oil
* 1 good sized onion (softball size?) – 5-6 oz, peeled and cut in to fine half-rings
* 1 cup vegetable stock (I used a broth cube in water)
* About 30 fresh basil leaves, torn in pieces
* 1 pound penne
* salt to taste (depends on how salty your broth is)
* fresh ground black pepper, to taste
* OPTIONAL: 4-6 TB freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
1. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then crosscut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place in a bowl, add 1t salt, toss, and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain thoroughly.
2. Put the oil in a large frying or saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes without browning, stirring occasionally. Add the squash and stir and cook for another 5-8 minutes or until soft.
3. Add the vegetable stock, stir once or twice, and turn off the heat. Stir in the basil leaves. Taste and add salt if needed. Leave in a warm sport or reheat while the pasta cooks.
4. Cook pasta, drain, and add to the squash mixture. (Either use a big serving bowl and pour it all together or dump the pasta in the frying pan). Season with black pepper and cheese (if desired). Serve immediately.
Here are a few of our favorites that are available as links to other Web sites:
Very easy homemade focaccia – we use this for homemade bread, pizza, etc. Almost foolproof!
Avocado Feta Salad (sounds icky, but is delicious)
Rosemary & Garlic Roasted Potatoes – I can't make enough of these for the family and usually mix in some onions & carrots too.
Ok y'all! Share some of your favorites in the comments, please. Meat, veggie, salad, dessert…. whatever!