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Wichita Eagle Holiday Cookbook 2012 The Gift of Food

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 1:06 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 5:25 p.m.

First place

CHAMPAGNE MUSTARD

1/6 cup dry mustard

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2/3 cup good quality champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons corn starch

Thoroughly mix mustard and sugar in small bowl. In top of double boiler, whisk together eggs and vinegar. Add mustard mixture and whisk thoroughly. Put top of double boiler over boiling water. Water should not touch bottom of top pan. Whisk continuously. Taste while whisking and adjust to preferences by adding more mustard, or if too spicy, add water a tablespoon at a time, more vinegar and/or sugar. After 4 minutes, remove pan from boiling water, take ¼ cup or more of mustard mixture, place in bowl, add corn starch and whisk thoroughly, make sure no lumps remain. Add to mustard mixture and continue whisking for 4 to 6 minutes. When cooled, put in covered jars and refrigerate. Mustard will thicken as it cools.

I received this recipe from friends while visiting in Washington state. They served it on a ham sandwich, and it was unlike any prepared mustard I had eaten. The first time you may want to make this just as the recipe is written and then adjust to your personal taste when making it again. This can be put into small decorative jars and given to family, friends and neighbors as a holiday gift or a thank you. It is an unusual homemade food gift, and one many will appreciate.

Bobby Runyan-Buford, Wichita

Second place

PATE OF THE SOUTH: PIMIENTO CHEESE

Makes 1 quart.

1 jar (8 oz.) pimientos, diced and drained

½ bottle Durkee famous sauce

2 cups mayonnaise

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 lbs. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

In large bowl, add all ingredients, except cheese. Mix well. In bowl of mixer or food processor, combine mixture with grated cheese and beat on high until blended and has firm consistency. Do not over beat.

This keeps indefinitely in a sealed jar in the refrigerator, which makes it splendid for quick, last-minute hors d’oeuvres spread on crackers, fresh vegetables or finger sandwiches. I fill smaller attractive jars with secure-sealing lids, enhance the presentation with ribbon and tuck it into a basket or decorative dish with a sleeve of nice crackers. I include a note mentioning other serving ideas. Voila! A gift to go! Pimiento cheese has been lovingly dubbed “the paste that holds the South together.” It seems to find a niche at most every social event in some form.

Katherine Hoffman, Wichita

Third place

EXCELLENT MICROWAVE SWEET PICKLES

Makes 1 quart.

2 cups cucumber slices, unpeeled and thinly sliced

1 or 2 onions, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon mustard seed

½ cup vinegar

1 cup sugar or 1 cup sugar twin

Slice cucumbers and onions; put into large microwave dish. Mix salt, turmeric, mustard seed, vinegar and sugar. Pour mixture over cucumbers and onions. Microwave for 5 minutes on high. Remove, stir and put back into microwave for 5 more minutes. Stir well, put into containers and keep refrigerated.

I was organizing my recipes and found my mother’s handwritten recipe for sweet pickles. She had handwritten “excellent” above the heading. I have never in my life made pickles. But after seeing her message written above it, I decided to give it a go. I’m so happy I did. They truly were excellent. It was like having her back and sharing some of her homemade goodies.

Helen Marker, Wichita

EGGNOG BREAD

BREAD:

2¼ cups flour

¾ cup sugar

1 cup eggnog

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4½ teaspoons water

1 teaspoon rum extract

3½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

½ cup pistachios or slivered almonds, chopped

GLAZE:

½ cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons eggnog or half-and-half cream

½ teaspoon rum extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For bread, grease bottom of 9x5-inch pan. In large bowl, mix all ingredients, except nuts; beat 30 seconds with spoon. Stir in nuts. Pour into pan. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely.

In small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bread. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg and nuts.

To give as a gift, put the unglazed bread in plastic wrap and place in a holiday basket. Place the glaze in a decorative container and put extra pistachio nuts for the garnish in a separate holiday container or small decorative see-through bag. Include a premium container of ground nutmeg or, for the avid cook, buy whole nutmeg and enclose a small nutmeg grater. I sometimes make bread in smaller loaves and give with one or two other flavors of small bread loaves wrapped in colored plastic wrap and place them on a holiday plate.

Janie Colle, Hutchinson

INSTANT WASSAIL

Makes 3 cups.

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup instant tea

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup instant lemonade mix

2 cups instant cherry drink mix

Place ingredients in jar and tie with a pretty bow with the following instructions. To use: combine 2 to 3 teaspoons in ¾ cup of hot water and stir.

Kimberly Coffey, Wichita

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BISCOTTI

Makes about 30.

2 cups flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another bowl beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well. Stir in flour mixture to make stiff dough. Stir in nuts and chocolate chunks. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, using slightly wet hands to prevent sticking, shape dough into 2 flattened logs, 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Bake 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool 5 minutes. On cutting board, cut logs diagonally into ¾-inch slices. Arrange slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes more or until crisp. Keep in airtight containers for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.

Drizzle with white and chocolate almond bark for a fancier look. Package in a small tin bucket wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon.

Jennifer Schmitz, Wichita

SAVORY MARINATED MUSHROOMS

3 1-pint jars

3 lbs. assorted edible fresh and/or reconstituted dry mushrooms, such as cultivated white button, crimini, baby portabella, enoki, oyster, porcini or chanterelle

3 cups Chablis or Pinot Grigio white wine

1½ cups white wine vinegar

1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 garlic cloves, peeled

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons whole tri-color or black peppercorns

2 fresh lemon peels, divided into at least 3 pieces each

6 (3 to 4-inches long) fresh thyme sprigs

3 fresh or dried bay leaves

Sterilize jars and tight-fitting lids. Combine all liquids and seasonings in a large non-reactive pot and bring to boil. Trim mushroom stems and wipe caps clean with dry or slightly damp paper towels. Don’t use bruised or discolored pieces. Reduce boiling marinade to medium heat and add mushrooms. Simmer gently 3 to 4 minutes. Remove solids from pot, using a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the liquid back into pot. Divide mushrooms and all other seasonings equally into the 3 sterilized jars. Fill jars with hot marinade, pressing gently to make sure mushrooms are covered. If more liquid is needed, top off with vinegar. Secure lids and store in a cool, dark place for up to four months. Refrigerate after opening.

To reconstitute dried mushrooms, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. As soon as they are soft, drain them completely and let them rest on layer of dry paper towels until adding them to hot marinade.

To prepare as a gift, place a circle or square of seasonally patterned fabric over the lid, secure with raffia or decorative ribbon, and attach serving suggestions. Adding a complementary bottle of wine could make the gift even more special. Serving suggestions: Marinated mushrooms can be a light, tasty appetizer when served with warm, crusty bread and a glass of cold, dry white wine. Use them as a side dish or pack some to perk up a brown-bag lunch of cold meats or leftovers.

Pam Johnson Taverner, Wichita

JOLLY JARS SNACK MIX

3 cups cinnamon toast cereal

2 cups chocolate bear-shaped graham snacks

2 cups peanuts

1½ cups red and green candy-coated chocolate pieces

In large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Pour into jars with lids. Tie with ribbon and attach recipe. Perfect gift.

Pat Bryant, Wichita

GRANNY’S BEAN SOUP

½ cup dried red beans

½ cup dried navy beans

½ cup dried pinto Beans

½ cup dried lima beans

½ cup dried kidney beans

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules or 2 beef bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon dried garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

Place beans in quart jar in order listed above. Place spices in small resealable bag. Close bag; remove all air. Fold and place spice bag on top of beans. Cover jar tightly with lid. Decorate with fabric and ribbons to complete gift jar. Attach following cooking directions:

4 to 5 cups water

1 cup ham, chopped

Remove seasoning bag and put aside. Wash beans and place in large pan or Dutch oven. Bring water to boil and add to bean mixture. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add ham. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours.

Sheila Webb, Wichita

TOMORROW’S LUNCH FOR FIVE FRIENDS

5 large Mason jars

1 lime

1 small bottle ranch dressing

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

1 carton grape tomatoes

1 small can black olives, sliced

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

5 grilled or baked chicken breasts, chopped

1 pkg. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 pkgs. romaine lettuce, chopped

2½ cups tortilla chips, crushed

5 small plastic sandwich bags

Assorted colors and textures of ribbons

Wash, rinse and dry jars. Squeeze lime and ranch dressing into small bowl. Add cilantro and jalapeno and mix. Add 3 tablespoons of dressing to each jar. Divide next seven ingredients by five and layer into each jar. Attach each lid. Divide crushed chips into five bags. Tie ribbons around neck of each jar while attaching bag of chips and a plastic fork. Include a note with instructions to refrigerate, mix well and enjoy lunch tomorrow on you. Delivery to your friends must be prompt.

Jackie Williams, Wichita

CRANBERRY CHEESE TOPPER

Makes 7 to 8 jars.

8 half-pint jars

2 cups cider vinegar

1 box (1.75 oz.) powdered pectin

¼ cup water

2½ cups green bell pepper, chopped

½ cup jalapeno, chopped

1½ cups fresh cranberries, chopped

1½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped

7½ cups sugar

Sterilize jars according to standard canning instructions. Combine vinegar, pectin and water in 6-quart or larger pan. Bring to boil and add bell pepper, jalapeno, cranberries and pecans. Stir constantly over medium-high heat and bring to full-rolling boil; one that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute. Add sugar. Stir constantly and bring again to full-rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Top with lids and bands. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Cool and label jars.

This is especially good served over Brie cheese but can be paired with just about any cheese. It has a beautiful red color and looks festive for the holidays. Imagine getting a gift basket with a jar of this, a round of Brie, some crackers and a bottle of wine.

Peg Bowman, Wichita

We put out the call for edible gift-appropriate homemade items such as jams or jellies, salsas, condiments, etc. Take a look for gift ideas perfect for the holidays and honoring the favorite people in your life.

Bobby Runyan-Buford of Wichita won first place in this category with a recipe for Champagne Mustard.

Please scroll down to see winning recipes and more.

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