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Holiday Food in Dallas: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Recipes for those who like to impress, but don't like spending a long time in the kitchen.
By Nancy Nichols |
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Holiday Food in Dallas: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

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I’m not much of a home cook anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from clipping recipes. Some of the ones in my file go way back to when Dotty Griffith was a food writer at the Dallas Morning News. She used to run recipes from local restaurants before there was internet or cell phones.

My mother’s cherished recipe card box. Photo by Nancy Nichols

I inherited this clipping obsession from my mother. When she passed, I kept her tin recipe card box. It’s full of family recipes and many DMN clips from Julie Bennell, the food editor at the paper for 25 years. She died in 1982. I used to whip up a version of her Pepper Steak Bordelaise when I was trying to impress a suitor. It must have been before men were attracted to tarragon.

Holiday food is usually sentimental. Everyone has a favorite dish or dessert they crave when December rolls around. I’d like to share a few I’ve collected fairly recently. Most of them are not holiday specific, but they come in handy for a party or a cold winter’s day. If we ever have one.


Cream Cheese Cookies by Mynetta Cockerell

Makes about 7 dozen cookies

1 cup Butter

1 3-ounce package Cream Cheese

1 c. Sugar

1 Egg Yolk

2 ½ c. All-purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Candied cherries or pecan halves

Cream butter and cream cheese. Slowly add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk. Add flour and vanilla and mix well. Chill dough for at least one hour. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheets. Gently press a cherry or pecan into each cookie. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Deviled Eggs from Sissy’s Southern Kitchen
Serves 10 to 12

12 eggs
7 tablespoons Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Colman’s dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
1 ounce caviar of choice or tobiko, for garnish (optional)
½ cup crème fraîche, for garnish (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Place the eggs in a large pot of cold, salted water. Turn burner to high heat, bring to a boil, and decrease heat to a simmer. Cook for exactly 9 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately shock the eggs in ice-cold water.

Peel the eggs under cold running water. Halve the eggs. Scoop the yolks into a food processor and blend until smooth. Trim a small slice of egg white off the bottom of each white so it will sit still and upright when plated.

Add all remaining ingredients, except the red curry paste, to the food processor. Blend until smooth. Do not over-blend or mixture will separate. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in red curry paste. The mix should be slightly salty to balance flavor with unseasoned egg white.

Spoon the yolk mixture into a pastry bag or a large Ziploc bag and cut opening in corner. Pipe mixture into each white and fill completely. Garnish with parsley, a small dollop of crème fraîche, and a tiny spoon of caviar.

Hibiscus Crab Dip
Serves 8 to 10

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
¾  tablespoon garlic, chopped
¼  cup flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese
½  cup Reggiano cheese, ground
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Marinade for Chicken
2 tablespoons Tabasco Green Jalapeño  Pepper Sauce
1½ tablespoons salt
12  ounces lump crabmeat
1 cup panko  breadcrumbs

Sauté butter and garlic until light in color. Add flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream, making sure to work out any lumps in the mix. Stir in the cream cheese, Reggiano cheese, lemon juice, chicken marinade, green Tabasco, and salt. Remove from heat. Fold in fresh crabmeat. Pour into baking dish and top with breadcrumbs. Heat under a broiler until golden brown and serve.

Uncle Joe’s Eggnog by Blythe Beck of Pink Magnolia

1 quart eggnog

1 pint vanilla bean ice cream

1 ½ cups Maker’s Mark bourbon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Freshly grated nutmeg

Blend all wet ingredients in blender. Pour into 8 to 10 mugs. Top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Potato Latkes and Applesauce by Tina Wasserman

“Latkes are traditionally served for Hanukkah because they are cooked in oil (to commemorate the vial of oil lasting for eight days), and freshly rendered goose fat was readily available. I serve them with homemade applesauce, alongside a brisket. Applesauce was the original topping for potato latkes in the early 1800s, when potatoes were popular.”


1 cup water (or enough to
fill pot ½ inch)

2-inch cinnamon stick or

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Using an apple corer/slicer, core the apples and cut into eighths.

Cover the bottom of a 3-quart pot with ½ inch water. Place cinnamon stick and apples in the water. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until apples are very tender. (Cooking apples with their skins on makes the sauce a rosy color.)

Remove the cinnamon stick and strain the water from the pot into a bowl. Set aside.

Place the apples in the basket of a food mill on top of a 2-quart bowl. Following the manufacturer’s directions, use the medium disk and turn the handle to pass the apple through the disk, leaving the skins in the basket and the applesauce in the bowl below. If mixture looks too thick, add some of the reserved liquid and cool. Mixture will thicken when cold. If necessary, add sugar to taste.

Serve warm or chilled.

6–8 large, thin-skinned potatoes

(California Long Whites or

Yukon Gold)

3 eggs, beaten well

1 tablespoon salt

Grate the raw potatoes using the large grating disk on a processor or the largest holes on a grater. Place grated potato in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain.

Combine eggs, salt, pepper, and matzo meal in a 3-quart bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Change to the cutting blade on your processor. Add onions to the work bowl. Pulse on and off five times. Add ¼ of the grated potatoes to the onion and pulse on and off to make a coarse paste. Add to the egg mixture and stir to combine.

Add the drained potatoes to the bowl and mix thoroughly using a large spoon or your hands.

Heat a large frying pan or large skillet for 20 seconds. Add enough oil to cover the pan to a depth of ¼ inch and heat for an additional 20 seconds.

Drop mounds of potato mixture into the pan. Fry on both sides until golden. Drain fried latkes on a platter covered with crumpled paper towels. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Monica Greene’s Chili Con Carne
(serves 6)

Use beef round, cut into small cubes, rather than ground beef for a rich and
hearty chili.

Use a Dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet.

1  cup yellow onion, diced
2  cloves garlic, minced
2  tablespoons vegetable oil
2  pounds beef round, cut into1/2-inch cubes
1  cup beef broth
4  cups canned Roma tomatoes, drained and chopped
1  tablespoon salt
1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1  tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
3  tablespoons brown sugar
3  tablespoons chili powder
1  teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
1  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1  teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 1/2  teaspoons fresh ground pepper
2  teaspoons ground cumin
2  bay leaves
1  cup strong coffee
1  12-oz. can beer
2  cups cooked and drained kidney beans (substitute black beans or pinto beans, if you prefer)

Place the onions, garlic, and oil in skillet. Saut until soft. Add the beef cubes and sear. Once the meat is brown and seared on the outside, add the beef broth and heat for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the beer and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, partially covered. After 45 minutes, add the beans first, then pour in the beer while stirring the chili. Cook for 15 minutes.

Graham Dodd’s Jalapeno Cornbread

Bake in one large 15-inch cast-iron skillet and one smaller skillet; or divide between two medium skillets. Recipe can also be halved.

The corn pudding is made by pureeing fresh, raw kernels from 8-10 ears of corn. Add a touch of salt and cook over a double boiler until puree thickens, about 45 min.

For the cheese, use Veldhuizen Aged Redneck Cheddar [from Dublin, TX]. Fontina or Monterey Jack works well too.

1 ½ pounds butter, melted
3 cups sugar
12 eggs
3 cups corn pudding (see note)
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups grated Redneck Cheddar (see note)
3 cups flour
3 cups cornmeal
12 teaspoons baking powder
2 T salt
6 jalapeños, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Heat cast-iron skillets in oven while you put the recipe together.

In a bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, and eggs. Add corn pudding, buttermilk, and cheddar and whisk until combined. Stir in jalapenos.

In another bowl, sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together.

Fold flour mixture into egg mixture very gently. Do not over-mix.

Remove cast iron pans from oven. Grease with oil lightly and pour in the cornbread mixture.

Bake until skewer comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes for 15” pan, 30 minutes for the small.




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