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These recipes are great for Christmas brunch

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When I was a little kid growing up in rural Illinois, most of our Christmases were covered in snow, sometimes lots of it. When I was six years old, Santa Claus brought me a sled, and the drifts were so high I couldn’t use it for a week or so. I’ve still got that sled; it’s a Flexible Flyer.
One Christmas in the mid-1950s, we had a really big ice storm, then a lot of snow on top of the ice. The electricity was out, and we had to cook in the fireplace. I thought it was great, having hot dogs for Christmas dinner. Mom wrapped potatoes in foil and baked them in the hot ashes, and we had smores for dessert! I loved it.
The meal I remember most at Christmas was brunch. Mom would put out all the food on warming trays, and we’d sort of “graze” from morning until afternoon. She’d make sausages, bacon, ham and Canadian bacon, plus homemade cinnamon rolls, biscuits and pecan sticky buns. Momo would make skillet-fried potatoes for me and scalloped oysters for my dad. There was always a fruit tray filled with the oranges, tangerines and grapefruit my grandpa Dillon ordered every year from somewhere sunny. And in case you needed something even sweeter, there were always cookies and tins of fudge all over the place. It was the only time of year Mom would make her chocolate coffee truffles, and if you knew where she hid them in the fridge, you could have one (or two.)
It was a lot of food for a small family, but little by little it disappeared, until by 3 p.m. the platters were empty. By then Dad and I were already wondering what was for dinner!
Merry Christmas from Susan’s Kitchen!

Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg. yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. milk, warmed slightly
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter or shortening
1 t. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
1 egg
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c. warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, and salt and stir together. Add egg, then flour, and mix well. Knead on floured board till smooth, then put in greased bowl, turn and cover. When it has risen double, punch down and press out into large rectangle on floured board. Mix together:
1/2 c. sugar (or more)
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
Raisins and chopped nuts  *optional
Brush melted butter on rectangle of dough, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. (You can use white or brown sugar.) Roll up dough from long end and pinch ends to seal.  Slice with very sharp knife (or dental floss) about one-inch wide. Put rolls in greased pan (or large muffin tins) and let rise 30-40 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, till golden brown. If getting too brown, cover with foil last few minutes. Makes 12-16. Ice, if desired, with glaze made with powdered sugar and milk.

Dad’s Scalloped Oysters
1/2 c. butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
1 c. saltine cracker crumbs
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce or Tabasco
Salt, pepper to taste
1 pint oysters
4 T. oyster liquor
2 T. cream
Sauté onions in butter till very tender. Mix bread and cracker crumbs and stir into butter. Add W-sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. In separate bowl, combine oyster liquor and cream. In shallow casserole, put a layer of 1/2 the crumbs/onion, then ? the oysters, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 1/2 the cream mixture.  Repeat layers, using almost all the remaining crumbs, then put the last of the crumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Serves 2-3.

Mom’s Chocolate-Coffee Truffles
1/2 c. butter
10 oz. milk chocolate
2 t. instant coffee
1/4 c. whipping cream
Grate 2 oz. chocolate (about 3/4 c. grated) onto wax paper and mix it with 1 1/2 t. instant coffee. Wrap up and put in refrigerator l hour. Put rest of chocolate in double boiler with whipping cream and heat over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted. Remove and cool slightly. Add butter all at once in small pieces and stir till melted. Mix thoroughly. Add 1/2 t. remaining instant coffee and blend till smooth and creamy. Put in freezer till chilled, at least 1 hour. Take out by 1/2 t. and roll in reserved grated chocolate and coffee. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes 2-3 dozen small truffle balls.