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Tis the season to focus on food

Dale Shrull
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

‘Twas 11 days before Christmas and all through the town,

not a spoon was found stirring, and all were feeling down.

All the aprons were hung by the oven with care, but they would soon be worn to create holiday dishes with flair.



The relatives were coming and no food had been cooked,

we must get things ready because all the restaurants are booked!



Ah, yes, the holidays. They mean many things to us. Decorations, presents, holiday spirit and cheer, but we all know that this time of year also means things for the belly. Good food is as large a part of the holidays as anything.

This is the time of the year when diets are tossed out like yesterday’s salmon. It’s time to eat, and eat well and often.

The New Year will be the time for resolutions and diets. Now is the time to focus on food.

Here are a few favorite recipes from some Post Independent staffers.

Recipe from Kay Vasilakis

My mother always made this salad for the holidays, and our family loved it. I have switched some of the ingredients, but the basic recipe remains the same and my family loves it, too. The flavors blend well with turkey and ham.

Waldorf Salad

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

3/4 C. pecans, finely chopped

3/4 C. dates, finely chopped

3 red Delicious apples, chopped

15 maraschino cherries, drained and halved

1 1/2 C. mini marshmallows

1 1/4 C. Miracle Whip

6 whole maraschino cherries, drained, for garnish

Combine first six ingredients and blend carefully in decorative bowl. Add the whole cherries on top for garnish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Recipe from Stina Sieg

This recipe is from The New James Beard cookbook, published in 1981. My mom ” who can be a pretty adventurous cook in her own right ” thought it was too sweet, so she added the cranberries. She still doesn’t know what possessed her to do it, but it’s lovely.

Cranberry Chews

Base

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

Topping

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 scant tsp baking powder

1 bag of fresh cranberries

1) Mix base ingredients until crumbly. Pat into 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes and remove.

2) Chop ingredients together for topping in a food processor. Spread mixture evenly over prepared crumb crust. Return to oven, bake until light brown, 40-50 minutes. Cool, cut into bars.

Recipe from Dale Shrull

I hate fruitcake, but I love banana bread. I’ve long been the beau who provides the BB during the holidays.

I actually have a couple of BB recipes that I like.

This recipe is pretty standard ” we’re not taking about creating a cure for the common cold or anything.

It’s banana bread. I deviate in two places from the recipe. I love bananas and nuts, so the bananier (is that a word?) and the nuttier, the better.

Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

a dash or two of salt (who knows why)

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs beaten senseless

2 2/3 overripe bananas (this is about 1/3 more than the recipe calls for)

I’ve never been a conformist.

For nut lovers it’s time to get nutty. Combine at least a cup of two or three different nuts: Pieces or slivers of walnuts, pecans, almond, macadamia nuts or even pistachios. It’s way nutty.

Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan; combine flour, baking soda, salt and nuts; blend butter and brown sugar; stir in the eggs and mashed bananas; combine all the ingredients and pour into pan.

Bake 60-65 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Let it cool and dig in.

Recipe from Kelley Cox

In a family of semi-picky eaters, this is the one veggie dish that EVERYONE likes.

My Mom’s Baked Corn

1 can corn ” partially drained

1 can creamed corn

1 box corn muffin mix

3 beaten eggs

1/2 chopped onion

1 stick butter ” melted

2 cups grated cheese

Mix all ” saving one cup of cheese for the topping.

Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees in 12×9 greased baking dish.

Cool slightly, cut into portions and serve.

Recipe from Charlie Wertheim

Sadly, a lot of people wouldn’t touch a yam with a 10-foot candy cane. They probably never tasted this soup. If the yams are peeled, it’s elegant enough to sip from a silver spoon with pinky extended. But to take full advantage of the nutritional benefits, leave the skins on. To reduce fat, replace the heavy cream with some skim milk thickened with nonfat milk powder. Despite the soup’s name, the vegetables used aren’t technically yams, but the orange sweet potatoes known (incorrectly) as yams in the United States.

Elegant Yam Soup

3 cups vegetable stock

5 large yams (about 2 pounds), peeled and diced

3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream

3 tablespoons butter

cayenne, salt, pepper

Combine the vegetable stock and yams in a medium-size saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes.

In batches, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth, and return it to the saucepan. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat through.

Serve piping hot with a pat of butter on each serving.


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