Holiday Cooking…Fun times!!

[ 0 ] November 15, 2007 |

Holiday Cooking…Fun times!!

Holiday cooking is the best time of year. The food is so fresh and comforting! On the launch of my new website–Johnna Knows Good Food–I feel it most appropriate to start with recipes paying homage to the biggest food feast holiday, Turkey Day (i.e. Thanksgiving). Below you will find the BEST recipes for this magnificant occasion…and you may ask how do I know?? Well, Johnna Knows Good Food, and these recipes have been tried and true by those who have come thru my rest haven for food–my kitchen! Enjoy!

O-M-G! Oyster Stuffing

20 oysters, shucked, plus their liquor (see *Johnna’s Tip)3 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread, recipe follows 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced 2 celery stalks (with leaves), thinly sliced 2 teaspoons kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 2 tablespoon white dry vermouth

Put the oysters in a strainer over a medium bowl to catch their liquor. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oyster liquor. In a large bowl, combine the crumbled cornbread and oysters. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the bacon and cook for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the bacon, shallot, celery, salt, and season with pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the parsley, thyme, reserved oyster liquor, and vermouth and bring to a boil. Transfer the shallot-herb mixture to the cornbread and oysters and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Transfer the cornbread mixture to a buttered 1-quart gratin dish, dot with the remaining butter, and bake until browned and crusty, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
*Johnna’s Tip: Try to find already shucked oysters in their liquor (juice) in small plastic tubs at your local grocery store.

Cornbread for Stuffing: 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 1 large egg 1/2 cup whole milk 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus more for the brushing the pan

Butter a 3 1/4 x 5 3/4 x 2-inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and combine with the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and mix lightly with a rubber spatula until a thick batter is formed. Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Should make 1 small loaf of cornbread.

Kandy Yams

Bake 5 large yams until done (350 degree oven for an hour or until they are soft when squeezed) Peel yams and cross slice into mixing bowl
Add while mixing with electric mixer: ½ stick butter salt to taste 1 cup white sugar 2 whole raw eggs to make them fluff up in the oven enough milk to make them the consistency of thick mashed potatoes (not much)

Spoon into 9″ X 13″ X 2″ glass baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes Top with chopped fresh pecans, brown sugar, marshmellows(optional) Return to the oven to finish cooking 15-20 minutes Serve hot in dish used for baking

Collards: Something I Like!

2 – 3 medium smoked ham hocks or 2 pounds smoked pork neck bones
5 pounds of collards or several large bunches (If you can’t get them fresh, frozen will do.
2 teaspoon of salt

Take 2 or 3 smoked ham hocks and put them in a large (6 quart) pot of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and let it boil for about 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as it boils down. The idea is to boil the ham hocks until they begin to fall apart. You want the ham hocks to be falling apart before you add the collard greens.
Take the collard greens and separate the leaves (if fresh) . Now rinse each leaf individually under cold running water. After you rinse the collard greens thoroughly, stack several leaves on top of each other. Roll these leaves together. Then slice the leaves into thin strips using a cutting board and large knife. Rolling them together speeds up the process as you are slicking through several leaves at once.
Next, add your collard greens to the pot. Since this is a lot of collards, you will need to add them until the pot is full. Then allow them to wilt as they cook – then add more. Add you salt, cover and cook for thirty minutes on medium heat. Stir every few minutes to distribute the smoked meat taste evenly. Taste to confirm they are the tenderness you prefer. Serve with your favorite meat dish such as Turkey or fried chicken.
If you used frozen collards, simply pour them – frozen – right from the package to the pot.
If you use smoked neck bones, they usually don’t take as long to cook as ham hocks.

*Johnna’s tip: Add a little red pepper or hot sauce to spice things up. Muy Caliente!

Johnna’s Stuntastic (stunter+fantastic=stuntastic) Mac & Cheesy

1 lb. elbow macaroni noodles
1 stick of butter
1 package of Velvetta cheese (regular size)
1 can of evaporated milk
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
1 package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 eggs
*Johnna’s tip: garlic powder (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add macaroni noodles. Boil noodles until tender (a fork can go through the noodles). Drain noodles, do not rinse. Pour noodles into baking dish, add stick of butter, allowing stick of butter to melt while continually stirring the noodles in with the butter. Cut the Velvetta up into cubes and place in a large microwavable bowl. Add half of the can of evaporated milk to the Velvetta bowl and heat in microwave for 5-7 minutes. Add the Velvetta bowl to the noodles in the baking dish and stir in so the Velvetta and milk spread throughout the noodles. Stir half of the packaged shredded cheese. In a seperate bowl crack the 3 eggs and stir. Add the egg mixture to the baking dish. Season the noodles with the salt, pepper and *garlic powder(optional) to taste. Stir all ingredients in well in the baking dish. Add the remainder of the evaporated milk to the baking dish (do not stir, the milk will evaporate during the baking process). Bake for 35-45 minutes (until browning a little on the edges and milk looks evaporated). Add the remainder of the shredded cheese to the top of the macaroni and bake for about 10-15 minutes (until cheese is melted and brown on top). Serve immediately!

Whip It Good Mashed Potatoes

7-9 potatoes (can use white, yellow or red potatoes)
salt/pepper (to taste)
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter

Bring a pot of water with potatoes to a boil (water should cover the potatoes). Boil until potatoes are soft enough to put a fork straight through the potato. Turn off heat and drain out water. With a potato masher or a fork mash the potatoes down into the pot. Add the milk and stir into the potatoes until there is a thick creamy consistency in the potatoes. Add the butter, salt and pepper and stir. Sprinkle parseley flakes on top for decoration and slight flavor. Serve immediately or set stove on low to keep warm with lid on pot.

*Johnna’s Tip: Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese if you want a fun change in your mashed potatoes.

Sweeter Than a Plate of Candied Yams Potato Pie

4 large sweet potatoes
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 store-bought pie crust
1/2 cup milk

Boil the potatoes until tender. When you stick afork in them it should go in easy but you don’twant them to fall apart. Let the potatoes cool and then peel them.Put the potatoes in a large mixing bowl andmash them thoroughly with a potato masher.Melt the butter and pour it and the otheringredients in the bowl of potatoes. Stiruntil well mixed. Pour the potatoes mixtureinto the crust. Put into an oven preheated to 375 degrees.Cook for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpickinserted in the center comes out dry.Meringue topping(optional):
Blend confectionary sugar with egg whites.After the pie is almost done, spread the meringue thinly across the top. Continue baking until the meringue turns light brown. If you use the meiangue, you can add the egg yokesto the pie if you like.

*Johnna’s tip: Pop that whip cream bottle and comfort yourself with sweet potato pie and whip cream topping…SWEEEET!

Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., holiday cooking, Various Cooking Styles

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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