Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Time of Rememberance and More Holiday Treats

Today marks the somber remembrance of JFK's death November 22, 1963.  There are many good reasons why Americans remember our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, so fondly. Throughout his life, as a young man in college, war hero, U.S. representative, senator, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and president, Kennedy fully embraced the American spirit and called on us to do the same.

It’s fitting that his first words to the nation, in his inaugural address as president, were “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

In  1940, the year young Kennedy graduated from college, the world was in the throes of World War II. He could have done anything, but he wanted nothing more than to fight for his country, ultimately earning the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for acts of heroism and, owing to related injuries, the Purple Heart.

As a U.S. senator he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Profiles in Courage in 1957. It is a volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators throughout the Senate's history.

Kennedy was in office a mere 1, 000 days and faced many challenges which included protecting America's sovereignty from outside influences, racism and his ongoing health issues. 

One particularly inspiring passage from the book reads, “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience — the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men — each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient — they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.”

Without a doubt, Kennedy supplied his own courage.


Pecan Pie Brie Bites
Cook's notes:It’s technically a dessert but totally passes as an “appetizer” too. It’s fall-flavored and ready in minutes. I’ve always added jam or preserves over bites of brie, but the upcoming fall season needed a little redo of this popular treat. Might I suggest doubling the recipe. They go fast! And so easy to put together.
You can’t see the brie very well but it’s hiding under there and it pairs so well with the sweet pecan pie topping. They’re baked just long enough for the sugary sweetness to melt down into the brie.
recipe from
  • 15 mini phyllo cups 
  • 1 brie wedge
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Arrange phllyo cups on cookie sheet.
  • Cut brie wedge into mini teaspoon-size bites. Place one brie bite in each phllyo cup.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Stir to combine and spoon topping onto phyllo cups.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cranberry Meatballs
Cook’s notes: These meatballs were previously posted November 19, 2013. But they were so good it's worth repeating for your  holiday table. 

Meatballs can be made with ground venison, ground chuck or hamburger. Using prepared meatballs from the frozen food section is a time saver. I found a 24 oz. bag of pure Angus beef meatballs and the sauce listed would be enough for 2- 24 oz. bags.
Meatball Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. meat
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/3-cup chili sauce
Meatball Directions:
  • Combine and shape into 54 1-inch balls.
  • Place meatballs on a lightly greased cookie sheet and cover with foil.
  • Bake 25 minutes, remove meatballs, drain on paper towels, cool. 
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 can (16 oz.) jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar chili sauce
  • ¼ cup marmalade
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TB. soy sauce
  • 2 TB. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Sauce Directions:
  • In a saucepan over medium low heat combine all ingredients.
  • Cook about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • In a large pot add meatballs, pour sauce over and simmer for an hour-it can be baked covered @325 degrees for an hour.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Side Dish  
recipe serves: 6
Cook's notes: This side dish is a perfect accompaniment to a holiday meal as an alternative to stuffing.  Adding roasted butternut squash to the salad is another option.

  • mixed greens
  • 1-1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Citrus Dressing:
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 TB. minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 TB.honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • In a blender combine all dressing ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, set aside
  • Cook wild rice in chicken broth for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Sauté garlic and chopped onions in 2 TB. olive oil for 6 minutes until onions are translucent. Reduce heat and continue to cook onions until slightly caramelized
  • Add pecans or walnuts to sauté pan and cook over medium heat until toasted - watch closely so they don't burn! 
  • In a serving bowl combine the cooked rice, onions/garlic, chopped parsley and dried cranberries. Add 1/3 cup of the citrus dressing to wild rice mixture. Continue adding dressing until just moistened. Refrigerate.
  • Server wild rice pilaf over mixed greens. 
  • Another option is to omit toasted nuts and add cashews with sliced water chestnuts and mushrooms instead.

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