Advent is a time of preparation, of expectaion, of looking forward. One way that many prepare is through food.
On Nov. 29, the Eastminster family gathered on Zoom to share Christmas food stories. Below is a video of Cindy Mackay making the Scottish shortbread she shares with the congregation every year and recipes that were shared.
Scottish Shortbread from Cindy Mackay (and her mother-in-law)
Many people at Eastminster have enjoyed this delicious shortbread that Cindy makes every year. Here is a copy of the original recipe:
Cheese Grits Casserole from Linda Hardenbergh
Hardenberg’s do a brunch on Christmas, after opening the gifts. This is one of Linda’s standard offerings and is often requested by her sons-in-law.
2 cups milk
1 cup water
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
4 ounces cooked ham, finely diced
Preheat oven to 350⁰. in a medium saucepan, bring milk and water to a boil over medium heat. Stir in grits. Bring to a boil again and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and add next 5 ingredients; stir until well blended. Stir in ham. Pour into a greased 1½ quart baking dish. Bake 30to 40 minutes or until top is set and lightly puffed. Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Brie en Croûte from Linda Hardenbergh
Linda found this recipe in “The Spirit of Christmas, Vol. 3” book in the early 90’s. It looks like Santa’s sack, and she thought her daughters would get a kick out of it. It turned out to be a great hit, and is requested each year for Christmas Eve.
1 pkg. (17.5 ounces) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to package directions
2 packages (4.5 ounces each) whole, round Brie cheese
1/4 cup apricot preserves, divided
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place one Brie in the center. Cover the top with 2 tablespoons preserves and 2 tablespoons pecans. Gather the edges of the dough over the cheese to resemble a bag. Tie top of “bag” with cotton twine. Repeat with remaining sheet of pastry, cheese, preserves, and pecans. Place each bundle on a lightly greased baking sheet and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400⁰. Brush the dough with egg yolk. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. (If pastry browns boo quickly, reduce temperature to 350⁰. ) Cool slightly and cut into wedges. May be served warm or at room temperature.
Lahmajoon (Armenian Meat Pie) from Sue Kalvonjian
These pies work well to make in advance for reheating after the family travels to Wisconsin for holidays.
1 lb. ground lamb
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. dry mint, crumbled
6 oz. can tomato paste
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups flour
1 pkg dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup melted margarine
Mix topping ingredients until well blended and refrigerate at least 2 hours (overnight is better).
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and melted margarine to flour, and knead (adding additional flour as needed) to make a soft dough. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Divide dough into 16 balls. Using rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6” circle. Place dough circles onto greased cookie sheets. Spread meat mixture on dough all the way to the edge. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Stack on top of one another to prevent drying out.
Whipped Cream Potatoes from Kristin Stroble
Kristin’s family makes these every year as a side with Christmas dinner.
1 pint whipping cream
1 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Boil potatoes in skin until done. Cool and pare. Grate potatoes into casserole dish. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper and dabs of butter. After all the potatoes are grated, pour container whipping cream over potatoes mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Before cooking, sprinkle grated cheese over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Tally Ho Tomato Pudding from Susan Smalley
This recipe was popular in Toledo while she was growing up. A side dish, it dates back to 19th century cookbooks, with roots in Southern, Midwestern and Shaker cooking traditions. Jeff Daniels wrote a musical ode to “Tomato Puddin’” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh6ax_HSjys).
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup tomato puree
¼ cup water
2 cups bread cubes, crusts removed
½ cup melted butter
Combine brown sugar, tomato puree, and water and cook 5 minutes. While tomato mixture is cooking, put bread cubes in casserole and pour butter over. Add tomato mixture. Bake 50 minutes in 325° F oven.
Rolled Christmas Cookies from Susan Smalley
This recipe was printed in the 1981 “Christmas Fare Recipes” flyer from Martha Dixon, long-time host of Lansing’s Channel 6 Copper Kettle cooking show. Her mother faithfully watched the show during the summers that they spent in Michigan. These were cookies that she made and decorated every Christmas. These are a cut-out version of the shortbread.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter, adding sugar in small amounts at a time, then add flour, milk and vanilla last. Turn out onto board and knead ½ minute. Roll out to ¼-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on greased (or parchment covered) cookie sheet at 350° F for 15-20 minutes. Watch closely; the cookies should be almost white when ready to remove from oven.
Beggars Pate´ from Susan Smalley
This recipe, published in the Lansing State Journal, is from Christopher Blunt, Beggar’s Banquet’s first chef.
3 Tbsp. bacon fat
1 apple, peeled & coarsely shopped
½ large Bermuda onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. shallots, chopped
1 lb. chicken livers
2 Tbsp. apple brandy
5 Tbsp. butter, softened
Saute apples, onions, garlic and shallots in 2 Tbsp. bacon fat until soft and mushy. In another pan, saute´ livers in 1 Tbsp. bacon fat until they have faintest tint of pink inside. Flame livers with apple brandy Mix with vegetables. Blend in blender in spall portions. Push through sieve to remove any sinewy material. Mixture should be very creamy. Cool to room temperature. Blend in butter, which must be very soft to mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Put into a smooth sided mold and refrigerate. If not used immediately, seal top with clarified butter and it will keep, refrigerated, for 2-3 weeks.
Festive Cranberry Sauce from Suzanne Hunt
She received this recipe from her Canadian friend.
4 cups cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 orange – chopped up fine with skin and all
1 cup raisins
1 cups chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Wash cranberries. put in big pot. Add all the other ingredients. Stir and bring to boil.
Turn down heat and simmer 15 minutes.