“Confession: my favorite part of the holiday season is the food,” laughs senior Sara Kaplan. A lot of Pace students would agree that food is central to holiday celebrations. It’s not necessarily the amount of food, but rather the excellent quality, the tradition associated with holiday meals, and the people gathered around the table that makes the meal. Cheesy as it may sound, food can bring people together. One of Sara’s favorite meals is the “classic” Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Senior Jenna Mitchell shared her own family’s New Year’s tradition. She said, “my mom makes this really rich chocolate Kahlua cheesecake with a hardened chocolate topping. It’s SO GOOD.”
Here are some favorite holiday recipes:
Hanukkah Winner: Latkes
- 2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup peanut oil for frying
Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.
In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together.
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Serve hot!
Christmas Winner: Christmas Morning Casserole
- 5 slices of white bread
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheese
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 lb. sausage
- 2 cups milk
- Salt & pepper to taste
Cook and drain sausage. Place bread slices in the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Pour sausage over bread evenly. Except for cheese, mix all remaining ingredients well and pour over sausage and bread. Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 or 40 minutes.
Put together the night before and place in the refrigerator, covered. Bake Christmas morning. Serves 6.
Kwanzaa Winner: Fried Okra
1 pound okra, stems removed
1/2 cup cornmeal
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cut the okra into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a colander. Rinse under cold water and allow to drain only slightly.
Place the cornmeal into a sealable zip top bag. Add the okra and shake to coat thoroughly.
Add enough vegetable oil to a cast iron or stainless steel skillet in order to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Place over medium heat and heat until the oil reaches 370 degrees F. Add the okra all at once and fry until golden brown on 1 side, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Do not disturb until the bottom is golden brown. Turn the okra with a spatula and do not disturb until the majority of the other side is golden brown as well, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Now stir occasionally until all of the okra is golden on all sides, approximately another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the okra from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula to a cooling rack set over a newspaper-lined sheet pan. Season, to taste, with salt and allow to cool for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.
New Year’s Winner: Brie en Croute
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (package comes with 2 sheets)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 small (8-ounce) wheel Brie
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam
- 2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold (place remaining sheet in freezer for later use). Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute nuts in butter until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Place nuts on top of Brie and spread jam on top of nuts. Gently roll pastry with a rolling pin to increase the size of the sheet 1 to 2 inches in each direction. Brush both sides of the sheet with beaten egg. Center the wheel of Brie on top of the pastry sheet. Bring all four corners of the sheet together above Brie and twist slightly to form a “bundle.” Tie gathered pastry with kitchen/cooking string (tie string in the form of a bow), arranging pastry until you are satisfied with the “bundle” shape. Place “bundle” on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Serve with top-quality crackers.
By Grace Butler, Online Editor ’12
Photo: Grace Butler