Recipes and Stories

6 January 2018: Fish Fillets Baked with Orange, Ginger, and Sherry

January 6, 2018

Tags: Christmas Entertaining, Christmastide, Holiday Cooking, Epiphany, Feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night, Fish, Baked Fish, Grouper, Sea Trout, Sea Bass, Fish, Fish Fillets

Fish Baked with Orange, Lemon, Ginger, and Sherry and finished with a butter sauce made from the cooking juices
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the visit of the Wise Men to the Christ Child. It marks the end of the twelve days of Christmastide and, since the wise men arrived bearing gifts, is in some traditions the day that presents are exchanged.

Where Christmas day is considered the first of those twelve days, the Eve of Epiphany (January 5) is when “Twelfth Night,” the last hurrah of Christmas, is celebrated, but where the twelve days begin on the day following December 25, the twelfth day is actually feast of the Epiphany.

Since I didn’t grow up in either tradition, we’ve sort of made up our own in our house, and will celebrate our Twelfth Night this evening. (more…)

19 December 2017: Christmas Breakfast

December 19, 2017

Tags: Classic American Cooking, Christmas Breakfast, Christmas Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Strata, Ham, Mushrooms, Christmas Strata with Ham and Mushrooms, Holiday Cooking

Christmas Strata with Ham and Mushrooms
When I was growing up, Christmas day always began (well, after plundering a roomful of Santa loot) with a traditional Southern breakfast: grits, eggs, my granddaddy’s perfectly seasoned pork sausage, country ham with red-eye gravy, homemade biscuits, usually with fruitcake, ambrosia, and sometimes drinking custard added in.

Nowadays, unless we have friends drop by, there are just two of us here on Christmas morning: Our children and grandchildren live three states away; my parents and siblings are four hours away. And one of us is a church musician with a command performance at Christmas Day Mass. We rarely have the luxury of time and leisure for a breakfast like that.

And, to be completely honest, the last thing I want to do on Christmas morning is stand in the kitchen monitoring a grits pot, hot oven, and panful of sausage patties. (more…)

29 November 2017: Holiday Entertaining 101—Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloins

November 29, 2017

Tags: Christmas Entertaining, Holiday Cooking, Pork, Pork Tenderloins, Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloins

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin is impressive and yet easy enough for novice or occasional cooks.
As the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers disappear from our refrigerators and pantries, it suddenly seems that what’s left of the year is hurtling away as if it has been greased by turkey fat. Not only is the daylight rapidly dwindling to what has been called “the crowning of the year,” we’re ushering in our biggest—and longest—season of feasting.

Unfortunately, for all too many, it’s also the most frantic. People who never entertain suddenly start knocking themselves out to do so—dusting off the dining table, digging out holiday china, polishing Grandma’s silver. Folks who never bake and cook will actually open cookbooks, pore over cooking magazines, and tie on aprons they’ve not worn since last December. (more…)

19 December 2016: Simple Holiday Entertaining

December 20, 2016

Tags: Christmas Entertaining, Eggs, Holiday Cooking, Soft-scrambled Eggs, Classic French Cooking

Soft-Scrambled Eggs, or to put a French spin on it, Oeufs Brouillés aux Fine Herbes, are a perfect dish for intimate, impromptu entertaining.
Big Christmas parties can be a lot of fun, with their crowds of folks filled with holiday cheer (never mind that it came from a bottle), festive decorations, and endless arrays of rich, fancy party food.

But they do require a certain amount of planning and work. And as we come into the last stretch before Christmas, if you’ve not already planned one, it’s a little late to start now. That does not, however, mean that it’s too late to do anything at all.

There’s no perfect-host rule mandating that the only way to entertain your friends at the holidays is in herds. (more…)