The Confederate’s Cookbook

I am an unapologetic Confederate Yankee. That is to say, my heart is and will always be somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line, though my forebears fought for the Union and I am happy that “One Nation Under God” prevailed in the long term.

That’s a fine political stance, but it doesn’t help much as Thanksgiving approaches. Being somewhat rooted in butter, pork lard, bacon and mustard greens does not exactly mesh with my Union upbringing, even if my family in Iowa were also country folk. Nonetheless, this is the season to lay aside the silly politics of the nation and concentrate on some really useful information. Like my favorite holiday recipes, from bread to dessert.

 

Sixty-Minute Dinner Rolls

Yields 24 large dinner rolls.

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 packages of dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105F – 115F)
  • 5 – 6 cups all-purpose flour

In a small saucepan, stir milk, sugar, salt and butter together. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture, and using a dough hook, mix on low speed for about 1 minute. With the mixer still going, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl. Knead on low speed for about 2 more minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic – the dough will still be slightly sticky to the touch.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Cover the dough with a clean, dry dish towel, and let it rise in a warm place, free from draft, for about 15 minutes. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 24 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball, and place in a greased muffin pan. Using kitchen shears or a pizza cutter (a knife will also work), cut each ball in half, then in quarters, and replace in the muffin pan. Alternatively, you can simply shape the dough into 24 balls and set them into a greased 9 by 13 baking dish. If you make the full recipe you will only be able to fit around 12 rolls in the baking dish at a time). Cover the muffin pan with the dish towel, and let the dough rise for about 15 minutes.

Bake at 425ºF for 12 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks. Brush the tops with a little butter.

 

Broccoli Salad

  • 2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot “slivers”
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • Oil from bacon
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup ranch dressing

Mix all; refrigerate at least six hours.

 

Corn Pudding

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped, seeded poblano peppers
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups fresh white corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Havarti cheese
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and poblano peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the corn, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the cayenne, and cook, stirring, until just tender and starting to turn golden, 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Put half of the corn mixture in a food processor with a little of the custard and blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, sugar, thyme, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper until frothy. Add the pureed corn and whole corn mixtures and the cheese, crumbled bacon, and green onions and whisk to combine. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Tugboat Turnips

  • 2 large turnips
  • 6 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Peel and chop the turnips and carrots. Place in a medium size saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Gently cook until tender. Drain the rutabagas and carrots, add the butter and brown sugar. Mash with a potato masher. Adjust the taste with salt and sugar.

 

APPLE PIE BAKED IN APPLE

  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples (make sure they can stand on their own)
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • pie crust (homemade or pre-made)

 

Preheat oven to 375F. Cut off the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of each apple with a spoon or melon baller very carefully, as to not puncture the peel. If you’re a skilled interior apple excavator, salvage as much as you can so you can use it for the next step, or chop up additional apples for filling. Remove skin from remaining apple(s) and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will give you the additional filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking. Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If you prefer more or less cinnamon make adjustments as desired. Same goes for the sugar. Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples.

Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more texture/sweetness to the pie. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips. Place apples in an 8×8 pan. Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.

Makes 4 baked apple pies (in the apple).

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