Cold-weather cookbook

TCD’s favorite recipes for the season

By - Nov 20th, 2010 04:00 am
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We here at ThirdCoast Digest are ecstatic over the upcoming holidays. Seasonal music is already pumping through the office and we may or may not have had cupcakes for lunch. In an effort to alleviate our insane and unabated love for the season and our deep devotion to equally unhealthy and delicious holiday food, we have compiled some of our staff’s favorite holiday dishes.

After all, it really is the most wonderful time of the year… to eat.


Enticing entrées and savory sides

Advertising Manager Curt Yorkey:  Sauerbraten


This recipe stems from my German roots. It requires a significant amount of time to prepare, so I typically make it between Thanksgiving and Christmas for an intimate groups of close friends and family. This isn’t a meal that a crowd would appreciate. The smaller the group the better. It definitely takes some planning but it is well worth it.


5 pound Chuck Roast
4 Tbs – Corn Oil
1 – medium sized onion peeled and minced
1 – stalk celery minced
1 – medium carrot minced
2/3c – beef stock
2/3c – red wine
3/4c – finely crushed gingerbread snap crumbs

2c – red wine vinegar
1c – red wine
3/4c – beef stock
2 – celery stalks with leaves roughly chopped
2 – carrots roughly chopped
1 – large onion peeled and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
6 whole allspice
2 whole clove

Place the beef is a large/ deep glass bowl. In a large saucepan combine the marinade ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, take off of heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour cool marinade over meat and submerge. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4-5 days, turning meat over 1-2 times each day.

Four hours before serving, take meat out of the marinade and reserve the marinade. Pat the roast dry with paper towel. In a large saucepan (Or dutch oven) heat to medium high and brown the chuck roast on all sides, turning often, about 30-45 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Saute the onion, celery and carrot in the fat left behind in the pan until tender, about 12 minutes. Return the roast to the pan. Strain in the reserved marinade liquid to the pot over the meat and vegetables. Throw away marinade vegetables. Add 2/3c beef stock and bring to boil over high heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cover tightly. Slowly simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The meat should tear easily with a fork when done.

Remove meat and keep warm. Puree the remaining liquid in a food processor or blender and strain back into the pan. Add the remaining red wine. Bring to a simmer and mix in the gingerbread crumbs, stirring often until the sauce thickens. This should only take 3-5 minutes. Slice and or shred meat onto a platter and ladle sauce over meat, saving a portion for the mashed potatoes or Spaetzle.


Co-owner/Distribution Manager Mehrdad Dalamie: Ghormeh Sabzi


This traditional Persian dish is always a favorite, and like most soups and stews, is even better the next day.

3 tbsp dried fenugreek
4 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
2cups finely chopped spinach or parsley
1cup finely chopped green onions
1 tsp tumeric
6 cups water or vegetable stock
1 ½ lbs lamb or beef sirloin
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1can beans

Rehydrate dried fenugreek, drain and saute in  oil with cilantro, spinach/parsley and green onions until it loses all liquid and gets to very dark green. Add turmeric, mix for 2 minutes and set aside.

Sear lamb or beef sirloin cut into 1 inch cubes in a large, hot pan with a little oil. Do small batches to avoid boiling the meat. Make sure the meat is browned on all sides and put aside. In a medium to large pot, bring 6 cups of water (or vegetable stock) and the fried greens to a slow boil. Add tomato paste and add the meat. Let simmer 1.5 hours or until the meat is almost tender. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste along with a can of your favorite beans about 5 to 10 minutes before meat is tender.

Serve over basmati rice. Great with cucumber, tomato and onion salad with a lime juice and olive oil vinaigrette.


Performing Arts writer Peggy Sue Dunigan: Chicken and Dill Soup


This comforting soup has been a Christmas Eve tradition in our family for years and can be made a day ahead of time. The amount of dill and chicken may be changed to suit your taste, and sometimes if a large amount of chicken is added it turns into a delicious chicken stew.

Our family serves it with open face cheese sandwiches toasted in the oven on crusty French bread, a fruit plate, and Christmas cookies for a light meal during a season where there is an overabundance of food to enjoy and taste. For those who desire more meat, it goes well with roasted tenderloin, sliced and served over the cheese sandwiches or on the side. Either way, the leftovers fight those winter chills and colds during late December and into January.

2 ½ pounds chicken breast (or more), 2 large split in half, most (but not all) skin removed
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 very large onions, chopped small and coarsely
6 cups chicken stock
6 ounces carrots, cut into rounds, about 1 ½ cups (baby cut carrots will work)
¾ pound baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely diced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. (scant) mace
3 generous tablespoons chopped fresh dill (no stems), more if you prefer

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Salt and pepper the chicken breast generously. Spread half the chopped onions on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken breasts in a single layer. Put the balance of the onions on top of the chicken. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Heat 1 cup of the chicken stock and pour into pan. (Add a ½ cup white wine to flavor the soup at this stage if desired.) Bake another 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to continue cooking by retained heat for another hour. Chicken may rest in the over for several hours. (These times are approximate, depending on amount of chicken, often I bake for 25-30 minutes.)

Remove bone and skin from the chicken and discard. Set chicken aside.

Strain the baked onions from the pan juices. Place drained onions in a large pot with the balance of the stock. Heat. Meanwhile, degrease pan juices (Pour the remnants from the baking pan) and add to pot along with all the other ingredients. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. When carrots and potatoes are almost fort tender, cut chicken into large cubes or pieces and add. Simmer for a bit to let the flavors meld, add salt or dill to taste. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Add large croutons on top if desired, along with a sprig of dill on the side, for presentation. Serves 6 to 8.



Dining Critic Mr. M.: Oyster Stuffing

In the Gulf South, particularly southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi coast line where fishing is a major way to earn a living, the stuffing of choice for the Thanksgiving-day bird contains oysters. Briny and delicious, canned oysters add a surprisingly firm and tasty note to holiday stuffing. Most of your guests will never guess what’s in it!

8-oz. can whole oysters – drained (but reserve the liquid) and chopped
2 cups herb-stuffing mix
2 cups cornbread stuffing mix
½ cup celery (two ribs), chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup hot chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine the oysters, stuffing mixes, celery and onion. Gradually add the reserved liquid from the oyster can and the broth, stirring to moisten all pieces. Place the stuffing in an ungreased, 2-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake 25 – 30 minutes, or until hot.

Recipe makes 8 servings, and enough to stuff a 5 – 8 pound turkey (double the recipe to stuff 14 – 16 pounds of poultry).


Sweet Treats


News Editor Patti Wenzel: Mexican Wedding Cakes



I can’t remember a Christmas without Mexican Wedding Cakes. I don’t know how “Mexican” or “Wedding” they are, but it was the first cookie my mom let me help make. After she mixed the dough, I was in charge of the rolling of little balls and watching through the oven window to make sure they didn’t get too brown. After a few moments of cooling, it was into the powdered sugar and a few into my mouth.

When I had my own children this was the first cookie they helped with and I’m sure my daughter will pass them on to her kids. If you have little hands in your holiday kitchen, Mexican Wedding Cakes are a perfect cookie to make a tradition.

1 cup softened unsalted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I suggest Penzey’s Double-strength extract)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter; add sugar gradually. Blend in salt, vanilla, flour and nuts (mixture will be very stiff). Pinch off small piece of dough; roll into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly browned. While still hot, roll in powdered sugar.

Makes about 5 dozen.


Editorial Intern Andy Hartman: Danish Kleiner Cookies



These cookies are great for the holidays. Kleiner are basically like a Danish donut. Homemade ones are usually crispier while store-bought cookies are softer and greasier. Frying the dough is a fun project for both kids and adults.

I remember helping my dad roll out and fry kleiner after kleiner – it was a veritable assembly line of deep-fried cookie awesomeness. They are a traditional holiday sweet from Denmark and, I assume, are very fattening. But what better time to indulge in wildly fattening cookies than the holidays? Come on, it’s only once a year.

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tbs cream
½ cup butter
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs and sugar. Add cream and melted butter, then add enough flour to make stiff enough to roll out like cookies. Roll doough 1/16″ thick and cut in 3″ diamond shapes – make 1″ slit in center. Peel off one diamond shape, use thumbs to widen the slit, and fold top corner into slit, then roll edges toward center.  Deep fry in oil at 360 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes until both sides are golden and let  cool on paper towel. Coat with powered sugar. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container – they taste even better after a few days


Editorial Intern Caitlin Penzey-Moog:  Grandma Moog’s Gingersnaps


These are the best gingersnaps ever. In an airtight container, gingersnaps are crispy–left out, they’re chewy. Try some both ways. Gingersnaps are also the best dunking cookies. Kids love to help make them–rolling the dense, fragrant dough into balls, coating them in sugar, and then watching the cookies magically flatten out during baking. It’s almost as much fun as eating them. A very traditional (and easy) recipe.

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses – either regular or unsulphured
1 tsp. ginger, powdered
1 tsp. cinnamon, powdered
1/2 tsp. cloves, powdered
1/3 cup granulated white sugar (to roll dough in)

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg, molasses, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cloves. Add the flour mixture in two parts, blending well. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1 ½” balls for large cookies – smaller are fine too. Roll the balls thoroughly in sugar, place on ungreased cookie trays. The cookies spread out during baking, so don’t crowd them. Bake 15 minutes. Cool for a minute, then remove from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for crispy cookies, or in a regular cookie jar for chewy cookies.

Makes 40-60 cookies


Resident Yarn-Spinner Stella Cretek : Stella’s Poverty Pie


It’s a tradition for Stella to make pecan pies, perhaps two or three, for the holiday. She says it makes her nuts, all that purchasing stuff, measuring and mixing, baking and hoping the pate brise crust is just right.

The big shock came when Stella hit the store to start gathering nuts. Like an urban squirrel she scuttled to the vast array at Metro Mart. For the past few Holiday dinners, it’s been balls out for Stella, for no one in her tribe likes pecan pies with just a few pecans floating around on the top. Hold it. One 12 oz. bag of pecan pieces has escalated to $9.99! So right away you’ve got almost $10 invested in a pie! The same sized bag of walnut pieces is $5.99, so Stella’s family will get pecans mixed with walnuts. This will help defray the cost, but frankly, she thinks each 9” deep dish delight is worth twenty to twenty-five bucks, not including the energy costs for baking the things.

Stella is on a diet anyway, and well, 1/4 c. pecans = 170 cals, with 160 fat calories further tipping the scales. She’s not even giving readers her recipe this year.

Okay you win. Here’s Stella’s Deluxe Pecan Pie recipe:

One frozen pie crust for 9” deep dish pie
2 eggs beaten
1 c. dark Karo corn syrup
Skip the salt
1 tsp. vanilla
I c. sugar
2 tbs. melted butter, unsalted
2 c. broken up pecans (or use half walnuts to save a buck or two)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix eggs, syrup, vanilla, sugar and butter, then add pecans and pour into unbaked shell. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 30 to 35 minutes more. Cool. Slather with whip cream and buy your panties two sizes larger.

P.S. some cooks like a tbsp. of blackstrap molasses thrown in for good measure.


Visual Arts writer Valerie J. Christell: Glögg

This recipe was brought from Sweden by my great grandfather (on my father’s side) in the 1890’s.  For as long as I can remember, friends and family have looked forward to imbibing this brew during the holidays.  Talk about warming one’s cockles!

In one quart of water, add:

1 dozen shelled cardamom seeds
1 dozen whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
1 teas. ground ginger
1 teas. ground nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced/peel included

Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain.

Add above liquid to 1 gallon of wine: ½ port and ½ burgundy. Add 1 cup of raisins and heat gently. Serve hot with a few raisins and blanched almonds.

*Cover photo by Dnak courtesy of Flickr.

0 thoughts on “Cold-weather cookbook: TCD’s favorite recipes for the season”

  1. Anonymous says:

    everything sounds so delicious. I can’t wait to try some of these, well, one I have already 🙂

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