Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Par-Tay Recipes

Holiday Par-Tay

My pal {Karla} at Looking Towards Heaven's hosting a little shindig for all of us cooks to come swap our favorite holiday recipes. Y'all write yours up and go link up to {Karla}'s blog so you can share yours too, okay?

As for my offering, since I'm hosting the third stop on a progressive Christmas party this Saturday, I'm gonna tell you about the evening's menu first (all new recipes I haven't tried yet). And then I'm gonna share a few of my best, most favorite all-time appetizers and treats for this time of year.

Okay so first, Saturday night's menu at FriedOkra Manor:

The Beverage

Pomegranate Sangria by Chef Bobby Flay

The Hors D'Oeuvres

#1 Glazed Italian Sausage Bites

2 pounds of hot Italian sausage
1 chopped onion
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 to 2 cloves minced garlic
dash cinnamon (optional)

First, preheat your oven to 325° F.
Brown sausage using a large skillet, then drain and cut into small bite-sized pieces.
Next combine sausage, onion, applesauce, and brown sugar in a casserole dish.
Finish up by baking at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

#2 Winter Fruit Compote with Selection of Cheese
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
Show: Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello

1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
Dash gray sea salt
1 cup Granny Smith apples, diced 1/4-inch thick cubes
1 cup pears, 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 wedge sharp Cheddar
1 wedge Gorgonzola

In a 4-quart saucepan or pot bring the first 6 ingredients to a simmer. Stir slowly to dissolve the sugar in the liquid. Add the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and the cheese. When the liquid comes to a boil, adjust the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the fruit. Turn off the heat then stir in the lemon juice. With a slotted spoon remove the fruit to a bowl. Bring the remaining syrup to a simmer and reduce until lightly thickened or when the bubbles formed on the top become small. Remove the syrup for the heat and when it is cool pour it over the fruit. The compote can be held in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Serve the compote at room temperature with the cheese.

#3 Puff Pastry Pinwheels Stuffed with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pesto by Michael Chiarello.

Yes, yes they DO all sound good, don't they? I am so excited to get crackin' on these four good-lookin' recipes.

Now, let's talk Tried and True. Old Standards. Golden Spoonies. Shall we?

Leftover Ham Spread (A Ham Pate)

2 cups cooked ham
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. mayonnaise (I only use Helman's REAL Mayonnaise®, personally. But I'm a mayo snob like that.)
2 T. sour cream
2 T. artichoke relish
1 1/2 tsp. sugar (I use honey, though.)

Put all these ingredients into a food processor; process until smooth and serve chilled with crackers.

Hot Ham and Cheese Rolls

(This one's from the Garden Club Cookbook from my home town, circa 1986, which was illustrated by my long lost Junior High art teacher Ms. Jeanes. Oh how I LURV this cookbook. I'd say it's among my 5 favorites!)

2 pkgs. Pepperidge Farms Dinner Rolls (These were originally made on the little tearolls by Pepperidge Farms, but my friendly local Pepperidge Farms rep, whom I hassled unmercifully at the supermarket last year around Superbowl Time, says they stopped making those years ago and where have I been? So just get some GOOD dinner rolls that are in a rectangle shape and still all connected together. You'll see why in a minute. Just hold your horses, Gertie.)

8 oz. sliced Swiss cheese
8 oz. thin-sliced deli-ham
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 Tbs. grated fresh onion

Oh, y'all, my mouth is pawsitively watering.

Do not break the rolls apart. Instead, slice then ALL in half together through the center, separating the tops from the bottoms. One huge dinner roll, sliced open. Got me? Okay now, mix the butter and the next four ingredients together til they're all smooth and saucy. Kinda drizzle about 1/4 of that mixture over the bottom half of your giant roll and spread it around with a knife or a spreader or your clean finger if nobody's looking, then layer on the ham and cheese evenly over the whole thing. Next, put another 1/4 of the sauce on the inside of the giant top and spread. Plop the giant top atop the ham/cheese on the giant bottom and then pour the remaining sauce over the tops of all the rolls. Wrap in foil, sealing edges. Refridgerate overnight. Prior to serving, bake, still wrapped in foil, for 15 minutes at 350°. Remove from oven, unwrap and slice into individual rolls and serve warm.


Toasted Chili Nuts

2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 cups pecan halves

In a saucepan, combine butter, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion powder and cayenne. Heat and stir til butter melts. (You could certainly also just melt the butter in your microwave and add the other ingredients and stir together.) Spread nuts in a baking pan and toss with butter mixture. Bake in 350° oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Pecan Sandies (Cookies)

1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat butter with mixer on med-hi for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour, the sugar, vanilla and 1 Tbs. water. Beat until combined. Beat in remaining flour. Stir in pecans.

Shape into 1-inch balls or 2 1/4 inch crescents (that's the more traditional shape - me, I do the balls because they look like little snowballs when they're done). Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use parchment or Silpat® because I am into foolproofiness when I bake. I do not like do things twice, as a rule!) Bake in a 325° oven for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned (although how you will know they're lightly browned I cannot say). Cool on a wire rack and gently shake the cookies in a bag of powdered sugar to coat. Makes about 36 lovely cookies.

Happy Holiday Partyin', people.

Also, I feel this may be the appropriate time to plug a favorite blog of mine, 4 Reluctant Entertainers. If y'all are not terribly confident in your own planning, cooking or hosting skills, you're not alone. And this website, written by a wonderful Christian woman who recounts her experiences as a novice hostess who was sorta thrown into a world of entertainment but has embraced the art, champions it sweetly and elegantly, and Sandy shares her own heart and soul as she does it. If you'd love a gentle nudge and a few words of very very sage advice about throwing parties, hosting dinners or just mingling at home with a few of your close friends, all with confidence and panache, this website would be a very good place to start.


  1. Wow, girl! You outdid yourself on the sharing! It all sounds scrumptious, but I am about to die over those hot ham and cheese rolls. Good LORD.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the reluctant entertaining site. Looks great!

  2. Oh-my-goodness! What will I make first? Thanks for sharing. I'm about ready to take a little drive and pop in on your party!

  3. We used to make those hot ham and cheese rolls for special occasions but we used Hawaiian bread rolls. We left them all together and sliced them through the middle just the same. They are yummy too. Sounds like you have your hands full. Wish I was coming. I just made a batch of carmel cookie bars for a potluck at work tomorrow. I have the recipe posted on my blog, I posted it and several Christmas cookie recipes last Sunday.

  4. Oh Damn!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I just now remembered, the kids have eaten dinner, but I haven't!!!!!!!!!

    I hate when you get so busy that you forget to eat!!!!!!!!!

  5. I know why everyone wants your house to be on the Progressive Dinner list (circuit? I can't think of the right word, sheesh) Anyway, these appetizers sound really yummy. I love your word "golden spoonies"

  6. I think YOU should write a cookbook.
    And those glazed sausage bites sound delicious AND I'm going to make those ham rolls for supper tomorrow!

  7. When did you say you were having this,??? I'll be right over!!!

  8. Mmmm...those Glazed Sausage Bites sound like comfort on a frilly toothpick! Thanks for the link to the entertaining site--love her 10 Commandments!

  9. It's a Southern kinda party you're talkin' about...

    Always wondered about the chipped beef on toast... never experienced it. You know what they called it in the army... I won't repeat it. But the real name SOUNDS good, anyway... creamy anything on bread has GOT to be good.

  10. oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah.

    This all sounds heavenly!!

    I'm so glad you joined in; I wish I could be there in your kitchen to help you cook it all! THAT would be all sorts of fun!

    {Karla} ;0)

  11. ummmm have my mouth watering as well! yummo!

  12. Bookmarked this. I'll need it for New Year's Eve!

  13. That sounds incredible. A 5 hour drive wouldn't be an outrageous trip to taste your goodies would it? Hope you have a great time Saturday