Southwestern Holiday Cooking

Desert Lil's Delicacies - A DUSA Food Feature

It's that time of year again, and for those of us so inclined, another great opportunity to spend hours in the kitchen making traditional and newly discovered holiday delights. Then there are those of us who enjoy preparing the season's gustatory delights, yet don't plan on spending a major portion of the holidays over a hot stove.

With low desert temperatures becoming positively comfortable, I'd much rather be outside hiking, biking and camping instead of slaving for hours over complicated menu items, fancy sauces and greasy dishes, so let's keep the holiday menu simple and traditional.

If you have a ham, turkey or roast, there's no great mystery to baking it so it's tender and moist on serving. Most important is selection of the meat/cut in the first place. Then, follow any recipe book or even the on the packaging for baking.

Supplement your traditional main course with these simple, tasty recipes that will add a Southwestern flair to your holiday season.

Cranberry Salsa Santa Fe
Serves 8

  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/ small jalapeno, seeds removed, and finely diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 orange (wedges)
  • 1 Tbs Finely chopped fresh mint

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Start and stop the machine until contents are coarsely chopped. Let sit 1 hour before serving. Great with all fowl.

Yams with Yogurt-Salsa Verde
Serves 8

  • 8 medium yams (of uniform size and shape)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde with tomatillo, either home-made or store-bought
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt & pepper

Wash and scrub yams, then dry and rub with oil (optional). Polk with fork in 4 -5 places, then bake in conventional oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix yogurt (sour cream can be substituted), lime juice and salsa verde. Remove yams from oven, halve vertically, leaving attached on bottom side. Spoon sour cream sauce over each half, garnish with cilantro, and add salt & pepper to taste.

Pinyon Pine Nut Dressing
Serves 8

  • 1 loaf cornbread or packaged cubes
  • 8 Tbs butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 Tbs dried rubbed sage (or native sage leaves)
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup pinyon pine nuts, roasted
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Melt butter under low heat in a large frying pan, then add onion and celery and sauteed 5 minutes until soft. In a large bowl, crumble cornbread or add packaged cubes. Add pepper, rosemary, marjoram and pine nuts, then pour sauteed ingredients from frying pan. Sitr with a large spoon, slowly adding the broth until well mixed. Stuff fowl and bake, or place in a covered pan and bake one hour at 350 degrees.

Southwestern Spuds Serrano
Serves 8

  • 4 lbs Idaho potatoes
  • 1 lb parsnips, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 large serrano pepper (dried & chopped)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 Tbs fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Small amount milk
  • Salt & black pepper

Peel and quarter potatoes, then place with parsnips in large pan of boiling, salted water. Boil 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from stove and drain. Place cooked vegetables in large mixing bowl and mash thoroughly with potato masher. Add butter, serrano and sour cream/yogurt, then whip with electric mixer until smooth and creamy (add milk to reach proper consistency). Garnish with cilantro, add salt & pepper to taste, then serve.




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