- Cullman, Alabama

November 27, 2013

SOUTHERN STYLE: Something yummy for the holidays

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— For as long as I can remember I’ve clipped recipes from various newspapers. Since this column started running in The Cullman Times, I’ve become sort of obsessive about keeping them filed in order of type, occasion, and “Best Of” categories.

This is what I found in the “Best Of Thanksgiving” file. I hope there is something new, something traditional and something useful here for everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

Carrot Soufflé

This was chosen because of its rich orange color, and as a substitute for the more familiar sweet potato recipes.  

1 1/2 c. butter, plus more for baking dishes

3 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced


1 1/2 c. sugar

6 large eggs

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 T. baking powder

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly butter 8-10 ramekins or one 9x13 baking dish, or spray paper-liners and use a cupcake pan. Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

In food processor, add the sugar and eggs. Pulse to combine. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and butter: pulse until smooth. Add the carrots and pulse to combine. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dishes and bake until set, about one hour. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Cupcakes might cook a little faster — watch and test with a toothpick for doneness.

Harvest Rolls with

Herbed Butter

Just before baking your dinner roll dough or heat and serve rolls, brush tops with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seed, sesame seed or caraway seed, or divide seeds and use some of each for a varied appearance.

Bake as directed. Serve with Herbed Butter.

Herbed Butter

Combine half cup softened butter with half teaspoon parsley flakes, quarter teaspoon tarragon leaves and an eighth teaspoon thyme leaves. Stir with wooden spoon to combine. Serve over hot rolls.

Holiday Punch with

Spiced Almonds

Punch: Combine 1 gallon fresh apple cider, half gallon orange juice, 20 whole cloves, 20 whole allspice, and 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half, in an 8-quart pan.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. To serve, strain punch and float orange slices on top.

Almonds: Beat 1 large egg white until foamy. Add 3 cups whole almonds, tossing to coat. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon Season-All salt, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; toss with almonds to coat. Spread almonds on greased baking sheet in single layer. Bake in 250º oven for 1 hour. Cool slightly and break apart. Cool completely and store in airtight container. Makes a great gift!  

Pumpkin Pie Dip

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 c. powdered sugar

15-oz. can pumpkin pie filling

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Garnishes: ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add pie filling, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, beating well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serve with gingersnaps and apple or pear slices. Garnish with sprinkled cinnamon and halved cinnamon sticks, if desired. Prep time 5 minutes. Chill time, 8 hours.

Serving idea: Use hollowed out pumpkin halves to serve this dip. Makes 3 cups.


Gelatin Salad

Even people who don’t like cranberry sauce will like this tasty gelatin salad.

16-oz. can jellied cranberry sauce

16.5-oz. can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained

10 1/2-oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice

6 oz. package cherry gelatin

2 c. boiling water

1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the cranberry sauce. Cut the cherries into pieces and add them to the melted sauce. Stir in the pineapple with its juice. Remove mixture from heat. In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the gelatin. Add the gelatin mixture to the cranberry mixture and stir. Stir in the optional nuts. Pour into a 9x13 inch dish and chill until set.

Sweet Potato

Gingerbread with Maple Pecan Butter Sauce

2 1/2 c. plain flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 c. cooked mashed sweet potato

1/2 c. evaporated milk

1/4 c. dark molasses

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 recipe Maple Pecan Butter Sauce

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add sweet potato, milk, molasses, eggs and vanilla, beating to mix well. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture, beating until combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cut into 12 squares. Serve warm with Maple Pecan Butter Sauce. Makes 12 servings.

Maple Pecan Butter Sauce

1 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces

1/4 c. sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 T. vanilla

1 c. pecan pieces

In a medium saucepan, combine maple syrup, butter, sugar and egg over medium heat. Simmer mixture for 6 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Just before serving, stir in pecans. Serve warm. Makes about 2 cups.

Family Favorite

Baked Orange Cups

6 oranges

6 medium apples

18-20 oz. can crushed pineapple

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. chopped pecans

3 T. butter, melted

Cut oranges in half round. Use a sharp paring knife to cut out center of each orange, leaving a thin layer of orange inside each half. Reserve meat from oranges.

Peel and chop apples. Combine apples, orange meats, pineapple and sugar; cook together until very thick. Fill orange cups with mixture. Sprinkle top of each cup with pecans, then dot with butter. Place in baking pan lined with foil and add enough water to keep orange cups from burning or sticking. Bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes.

Spirited Cranberry

Apricot Sauce

1/2 c. thinly sliced dried apricots (about 3 ounces)

1/4 c. sherry or orange juice

3/4 c. water

2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. honey

12-oz. package fresh or frozen cranberries

Combine apricots and sherry in a small bowl; cover and let stand 8 hours. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Add apricot mixture, honey, and cranberries. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cover and chill. Yields 3 cups, serving size 2 tablespoons.

 Mango-Cranberry sauce

1 1/2 c. whole berry cranberry sauce

3 tangerines, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 medium mango, peeled and diced

1 c. diced fresh pineapple

1/4 c. finely chopped red onion

1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Yields 4 1/2 cups.

Roasted Beet and Clementine Salad

Beautiful, jewel toned salad adds a different flavor to holiday side dishes.

12 fresh baby beets

1/2 c. canola oil, divided

1 egg white

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 c. hazelnuts

3 T. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. finely chopped shallots

1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. salt

4 lettuce leaves

2 Clementines, peeled and sectioned

4 tsp. finely chopped fennel

Place beets on a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Fold foil around beets and seal tightly. You can use a browning bag for this step instead of foil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400º for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine egg white and pepper; add hazelnuts and toss to coat. Transfer to a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring twice. Cool on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, shallots, thyme, and salt. Gradually whisk in remaining oil. Peel and thinly slice beets. Line four small salad bowls with lettuce; top with beet and Clementine slices. Sprinkle salads with fennel and hazelnuts; drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

3 bacon strips

1 1/4 lbs. fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed, quartered

1 large onion, chopped

2 T. water

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 T. balsamic vinegar

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoon drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté Brussels sprouts and onion in reserved drippings until crisp-tender. Add water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 4-5 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender. Stir in bacon and vinegar. Yield 12 servings.

Tarragon-Lemon Turkey Breast

1/4 c. minced fresh tarragon

2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

1 bone-in turkey breast, about 4 pounds

In a small dish, combine the first four ingredients. With your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from both sides of turkey breast. Spread half of the tarragon mixture over the meat under the skin. Smooth skin over meat and secure to underside of breast with wooden toothpicks. Spread remaining tarragon mixture over turkey skin.

Place turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered at 325º for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 170º. Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Remove and discard skin and toothpicks before carving. Yields 11 servings.

Orange Tarragon Gravy

Turkey drippings

1/4 c. plain flour

1/2 c. orange juice

1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules

3/4 tsp. minced fresh tarragon or 1/4 tsp. dried tarragon

1/8 tsp. white pepper

Pour drippings and loosen browned bits into a 2-cup measuring cup. Skim fat. Add enough water to the drippings to measure 1 1/2 cups.

In a small saucepan, combine flour and orange juice until smooth. Gradually stir in the drippings mixture. Stir in the bouillon, tarragon, and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Yield 2 cups.

Almond-Butter Stuffed Pears

Here’s something different for your holiday table!

2 c. unbleached whole almonds, toasted

1/4 tsp. salt

2 T. canola oil

2 c. pear juice

3 c. sweet white wine or sparkling white grape juice, divided

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in half

12 medium pears

Combine the almonds and salt in a food processor. Cover and process until almonds are finely chopped. Add oil; cover and process until blended. Set asked.

In a large saucepan, combine the pear juice, 1 cup wine, brown sugar, and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; remove vanilla bean. With a sharp knife, scrape the bean to remove the seeds; stir into the sauce. Discard bean. return to a boil; cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 50-55 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon.

Slice 1-inch off the top of each pear and set asked. Core pears, leaving bottoms intact. Fill with reserved almond mixture. Place pears in a shallow roasting pan; replace tops. Add remaining wine. Bake, uncovered, at 400º for 30-35 minutes or until pears are tender, basting occasionally. Serve with sauce. Yield 12 servings.

Sage Roasted Cornish Hens

2 Cornish game hens (20 to 24 ounces each)

12 fresh sage leaves

4 lemon wedges

6 whole green onions, trimmed, divided

1 T. olive oil

2 T. butter, melted

1 T. lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt

1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

6 small red potatoes, halved

Place hens in a greased roasting pan, breast side up. Gently lift skin from breasts and arrange sage leaves underneath the skin in a single layer. Place two lemon wedges and one green onion, cut up, into the center cavity of each hen. Tie legs of each hen together; turn wings under backs. In a small bowl, stir together oil, butter, lemon juice and garlic. Brush half of mixture over hens. Sprinkle the hens with salt and pepper.

Bake at 375º for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and remaining green onions to roasting pan. Brush hens with remaining butter mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear and potatoes are fork tender.

Remove hens to serving platter. Stir red potatoes and green onions to coat with pan drippings. Serve potatoes and onions with hens. Yields 2-4 servings.

Cranberry-Glazed Pork Roast

A festive holiday entrée substitute for ham or turkey.

3 large oranges

14-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

2 tsp. raspberry vinegar

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cornstarch

2 T. cold water

1 rolled boneless pork loin roast (3-4 pounds) trimmed

1 tsp. kosher salt

Grate peel of 1 orange, then juice all of the oranges. In a small saucepan, combine orange juice and peel. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until volume is reduced by half. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, cinnamon, allspice, vinegar and salt.

Combine cornstarch and water, mixing well. Add to the cranberry sauce mixture, then blend with the orange juice mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Let cool.

Rub roast with kosher salt. Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 60-80 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 16º. Brush cranberry mixture over roast during the last half hour of baking. Heat remaining cranberry mixture and serve with pork.

Note: I found the best zesting mandolin for use with these recipes calling for the zest of oranges or lemons at Bennett’s Home Store.