Some of our staff members have agreed to share their favorite holiday recipes with our readers. Take a read through… these recipes say as much about the writers as the food involved. Perhaps that’s why they say, “You are what you eat.”

Michael Timm’s Award Winning Apple Pie

At Riverwest Currents, Michael has always been prized for his carefully-researched investigative pieces. He still writes for us occasionally, but not nearly as often as we like, since he has started editing the Bay View Compass. He tells us he “actually won an award from my college alumni association for the best dessert with this recipe, inherited from my mom except for all those choice words. The prize was a small clock.”

Crust (double) 8” or 9” pie
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening (mix oil and butter by dead reckoning)
1/4 cup milk
Combine in bowl (if you use butter, bust the heck out of it with a wooden spoon or fork until it’s dough. This can be a philosophical experience of becoming.)
Make into 2 balls, roll out using wax paper on both sides.
If dough breaks or sticks, a few choice words may help release the tension. Then, repeat, probably adding flour liberally until there is probably flour all over the kitchen.

Filling 5 or 6 pared, skinned Gala apples
2/3 cup sugar (or more, preferably brown)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (can substitute flour by dead reckoning)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (go ahead and add more)
1 tablespoon butter

At some point, you will have to maneuver one of the pie crusts to become the pie bottom inside your 8” or 9” pie plate. This usually consists of some more choice words. I have learned to flip the crust in one swift, decisive motion usually aided by a cutting board or something somewhat rigid supporting the bottom of the pie crust. Depending on how sticky the dough is, you may need to cheat a bit and reconstruct the crust and slide it up against the sides of the pie plate. No worries.

Vince Bushell’s Holiday Libations

Our publisher is a firm believer in having a relaxing holiday season.
Take one 8-ounce crystal glass.
Add four cubes of frozen distilled water.
Carefully measure one ounce of your favorite distilled alcoholic beverage. (This year you might try Rehorst, the new vodka distilled in Riverwest.)
Add beverage to ice cubes in glass.
Carefully measure another ounce. Add to glass.
Repeat as desired.

Charlesetta Thompson’s Favorite Family Recipes

Our Harambee Connection contributor shares two of her favorite recipes. The pie recipe was passed down from her step-father’s mother; the salad recipe was a gift from a friend, several years ago. Charlesetta serves both to her friends and family at Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day.

Mama Mary’s Sweet Potato Pie
Approx. 2 cups of fresh cooked sweet potatoes or yams
(boiled or baked)
2 cups of sugar, a bit more if necessary (taste before adding more)
3/4 stick of butter
1 teasp. of cinnamon, a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla flavor
3 large eggs
3/4 cup of evaporated milk
Mix all ingredients well and pour into an uncooked pie shell.
Bake at 325 degrees for approx. 45 min. to an hour or until filling is firm and crust is golden brown.

Black-eyed Pea Salad
3 cans of black-eyed peas rinsed & drained
1 can of whole kernel corn drained
1 cup of chopped green, red, yellow & orange bell peppers mixed
½ cup of chopped celery
½ cup of chopped red onions
½ cup of chopped scallions (green tops included)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
Salt, pepper & Italian seasoning to taste Marinate over night or at least 2 hours in Italian Dressing
Serve over a bed of mixed salad greens.
Garnish with cherry or plum tomatoes and pickled okra.
Note: other varieties of tomatoes can be chopped and substituted

Jean Scherwenka’s Cranberry Relish

If you listen to National Public Radio, you have no doubt heard about Susan Stamberg’s mother-in-law’s famous cranberry relish recipe. Jean Scherwenka, our Oakland Avenue reporter, believes Susan’s mother-in-law must have gotten it from her mother-inlaw, Barb Brown.

Mom’s Thanksgiving Horseradish Cranberry Dish
Grind together:
2 cups cranberries
1 small onion
Mix in:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish
Refrigerate and serve cold. May also be frozen for post-Thanksgiving special meals.

Tess Reiss’s Neighborhood Commerce Recipes
Anyone who knows RWC Ad Rep Tess knows she’s a strong supporter of buying locally. She shared some recipes using local ingredients. The sound great… even the Herring Tacos.

Outpost’s Yam Berry Bake
4 lbs. yams
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. honey (or less)
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. butter
2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
Cook yams until tender. Peel and mash.
Combine with remaining ingredients.
Bake in large greased casserole dish at 350 for 35 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Ma Baensch Herring Salsa
1 24 oz. jar Ma Baensch Marinated Herring in Wine Sauce, drained.
Discard sauce, reserve onions, and cut tidbits in 1/4.
1 c. peeled & diced Spanish onion1 seeded, cored, and minced jalapeno chili, optional
Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed with pulp & seeds removed
Reserved onion
1 c. cleaned, seeded, cored & diced red bell pepper
1 c. fresh cilantro, minced
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently. Place Herring Salsa in a resealable container and refrigerate.

Cold Fish Tacos
Serve Ma Baensch Herring Salsa in soft flour tortillas garnished with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and Monterey jack cheese.

Cold Appetizer
Serve Ma Baensch Herring Salsa in a small bowl, garnished with fresh cilantro and served with a side of sour cream and corn tortilla chips.

Serve as a Salad
Arrange lettuce leaves on a chilled plate and surround with tomato wedges and cucumber slices. Spoon on Ma Baensch Herring Salsa and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Riverwest Currents online edition – December, 2006