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The Holiday Table : Christmas in America: The Changeable Feast

December 17, 1992|WILLIAM WOYS WEAVER | Weaver is the author of a forthcoming book on regional Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. and

Add remaining 4 tablespoons brown sugar and cayenne and mix well. Stir in remaining 1 cup cranberries. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until cranberries are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot or cold. (Dish can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. If desired, reheat over low heat 10 to 12 minutes.) Makes 12 servings.

Each serving contains about:

87 calories; 378 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 17 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram protein.

This well-seasoned Pennsylvania Dutch dish is a welcome change from plain turnips. It can be reheated after the turkey is done; cover the turkey and keep it warm while the casserole cooks.



1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs

2 cups low-fat or nonfat milk

1 cup low-fat sour cream

3 large turnips or 1 small rutabaga, peeled and grated

2 large potatoes, peeled and grated

1 1/2 cups chopped green onions, including green tops

1/4 cup minced parsley or chervil

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Spread 1 cup bread crumbs on baking sheet and toast at 375 degrees until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Lightly oil shallow 3-quart baking dish and dust with remaining 1/4 cup untoasted bread crumbs. Whisk together low-fat milk and sour cream in large bowl. Add turnips and potatoes. Mix in green onions, parsley, salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish and smooth top. Scatter toasted bread crumbs over top. Bake on center rack at 375 degrees until vegetables are tender and top is golden brown, about 1 hour. (Casserole can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat, covered, at 350 degrees 10 to 15 minutes.) Makes 12 servings.

Each serving contains about:

124 calories; 406 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 21 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein.

Spelt flavored with saffron is one of the cornerstones of classic Pennsylvania Dutch cookery. This whole-grain dish may be served either hot or cold. Spelt, a variety of wheat, is available in most natural-food stores.



1 tablespoon salt

2 cups spelt groats or wheat berries, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 large sweet red peppers, seeded and chopped

1 cup chopped green onions

6 tablespoons minced shallots

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

6 tablespoons garlic-flavored vinegar

2 tablespoons sunflower or other vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup minced Italian parsley

Bring 1 quart water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in large saucepan. Add spelt groats and saffron and boil 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 1 hour if using spelt, or about 45 minutes if using wheat berries. (Do not stir or remove lid.) Add corn and cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes longer.

Place spelt mixture in large bowl. Add red peppers, green onions, shallots and cumin. Stir thoroughly and make well in center. Whisk together vinegar and remaining 2 teaspoons salt in small bowl. Whisk in oil and pepper. Pour vinegar mixture into well and stir from bottom. Garnish with parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 12 servings.

Each serving contains about:

179 calories; 360 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein.

Note : Garlic-flavored vinegar can be found in specialty food shops. To make your own, place 2 cloves peeled garlic in 1 cup red- or white-wine vinegar and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Discard garlic cloves.

Even meatless mincemeat pies can be deceptively rich in fats. This version gets its body from tapioca flour (found in health food stores and Asian markets) rather than from the fat in coconut milk, and the crust is omitted so the filling stands on its own as a compote. Coconut milk is high in fat, but the coconut water found in the center of a coconut is not. Pierce the coconut shell with an ice pick and drain the liquid into a bowl.



1 small fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced

1 large mango, peeled, pitted and diced

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut

2 tablespoons peeled, minced ginger root

2 tablespoons Amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 cup coconut water (from 2 coconuts)

Combine pineapple, mango, raisins, sugar, coconut, ginger root, liqueur, lime zest, nutmeg and cayenne in large bowl. Dissolve tapioca flour in coconut water in small bowl and combine with fruit mixture.

Transfer mixture to 2-quart baking dish and smooth top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 15 minutes longer. Serve cold or hot. (Mincemeat can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. If desired, reheat in covered casserole at 350 degrees 10 minutes.) Makes 10 cups.

Each serving contains about:

95 calories; 14 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 22 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram protein.

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