Food: Cooking traditional menus during the holidays

Sometimes it's good to take a holiday break and plan meals for variety so the traditional menus seem more special.

Lamb Marinade

I like to get the advice from experts in their field. Today I am presenting you with a marinade recipe from Tom, one of the very friendly and helpful butchers at Raley's. He suggests this for grilling or roasting. I think it would be especially good for shish-kebob using hunks of marinated lamb, alternating with salad tomatoes, onion quarters, bell pepper chunks and mushroom caps. Lamb shish-kebobs are best still sizzling hot, so have everything else ready so these beauties can be served immediately. A boned roast, marinated, then stuffed and tied, would also be a very tasty entree. Use at least 2 pounds of large cubes of lamb. If using wooden skewers, soak in water at least 20 minutes first, and I suggest you thread two skewers for each, so they are easier to turn for broiling or grilling. Do not overcook lamb as it is best slightly pink.

1-1/2 cups salad oil with some olive oil

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons dry mustard

2-1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons dry parsley flakes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients and marinate lamb for several hours or overnight. Alternate meat with veggies.

Pork Tamales

Over the decades since I came to live in San Diego from upstate New York, and then my years here in Carson City, I have sampled many tamales. None can compare with homemade tamales. Good tamales are not really hard to make, but they do take time and practice. Each family has its own preferences, and many variations exist, some savory and some sweet. I have had pork, beef, chicken, shrimp and apple/nut with brown sugar. Once you have the method down, fillings and spices are up to you. Tamales may be tied with husk strips or cord.

1/2 pound dried corn husks

2 tablespoons oil or lard

2 medium onions, diced

4 cups diced or shredded cooked lean pork

2 small canned jalapeno chilies

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

3 tablespoons chopped ripe olives

1-1/3 cups enchilada sauce

1-1/3 cups lard, slightly softened

4 cups Masa Harina (dehydrated corn flour)

2 teaspoons salt

2-2/3 cups warm broth

3 ounces mole powder

1-1/2 cups beef broth

Wash corn husks thoroughly and soak for three hours or overnight. Keep moist until stuffed. Saute onions in oil, mix with pork, diced jalapenos, raisins, olives and enchilada sauce. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Beat lard until very fluffy. This is an important step to making the masa dough. Blend in masa flour, salt and enough broth to hold dough together, cover with a cloth and keep cool until used. Use about 2 tablespoons of dough, spread masa on the middle of a corn husk with broad side towards you forming a rectangle to the right edge. Place a tablespoon of filing in the center, then fold the right side to the middle and bring the left over so the masa meets. Fold the bottom up and the top down. Place seam down in a steamer on a rack over boiling water, stacked so steam can rise around them. Cook with the lid on for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Plum Pudding (Makes about 5-1/2 pounds)

Here is a very special recipe that goes back in my family several generations. Steamed puddings were common in the 19th century and well into the beginning of the 20th century in the USA. It was easier then to have a steaming pot on the back of the wood stove when the cooks spent most of the day preparing food for their hard working families. Though this takes considerable preparation and time to steam, the puddings will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. I know my mother kept some for almost a year and it tasted as good on the last slice as the first.

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dry bread crumbs

1 cup kidney suet ground fine

2 cups chopped apples

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 box seeded raisins (the sticky ones)

1/2 box seedless raisins

1/2 cup apple juice

1/2 box currants

1/2 pound mixed candied peel

1/4 pound chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 pound chopped pitted dates

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Mix first four ingredients together in a very large bowl. Sift flour with baking powder and seasonings. Blend all together in the bowl, mixing very thoroughly. In greased and floured molds of your choice, place mixture almost to the top. If you do not have a mold with a tight lid, cover with foil and tie with cords to prevent steam from entering the containers. Bread or meatloaf pans work well. Steam in a covered container raised on racks above the simmering water about 1 hour for average sized loaf pans. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding. Cool completely and wrap in plastic and over that in foil. Refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, slice what you wish and steam just until hot over simmering water. Serve with the following sauce or hard sauce, which is the old traditional way. Rum flavoring may be substituted.

Whipped Cream Sauce

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg, beaten*

1 cup heavy whipping cream

rum or whiskey (optional)

Cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in egg and fold in whipped cream with rum for flavor.

*Egg substitute probably will work satisfactorily.

Need a recipe? Have a cooking question? E-mail or write Ada Roelke, The Nevada Appeal, 200 Bath St., Carson City 89702.


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