Each changing season begins its own blessings, purpose, and beauty. My husband Larry and I have learned much this year since his mother has been diagnosed with the precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. We had to prepare her for the next phase of her life in assisted living. We are the generation of children who are sandwiched between octogenarians. This is a hard time for many of us as we watch our parents age.
We were sorting through memorabilia and came across a cookbook, written by the wives of men serving in the military many years prior. Sixty-plus years later, we are still at war, both men and women are fighting for freedom, the economy is in question and the holidays are around the corner.
The following recipes, written by these military wives years ago, may add a bit of cheer and ideas for some of your holiday gifts. They are simple and easy to make with your children, or get a group of people together and have some fun. Local craft stores have clear and decorated bags, or you may have tins saved from previous years to use to hold the candy. Design your own greeting cards, add the recipe and attach to make a unique personalized gift.
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter
1 pound raw peanuts (almonds or cashews)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cook sugar, syrup, butter, salt until sugar dissolves. Add peanuts and cook until they turn a light brown color, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add baking soda quickly. Spread the mixture on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. When hard, crack with the handle of a knife. Store in an airtight container until ready to package and enjoy.
Rocky Road Candy
One 6-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
One 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups salted peanuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Melt chocolate pieces, chocolate and butter in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Mix in the sugar, salt, and vanilla to the egg mixture. Pour the chocolate mixture into this bowl. Add peanuts and marshmallows. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Chill until firm. Store in a refrigerator; remove just before serving. This recipe makes about four dozen pieces of candy.
1 pound butter
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 large chocolate bar (milk or dark)
2 two-ounce packages sliced almonds
Melt the butter, then add sugar and cook together until 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Chop almonds very fine and put into a strainer, shake over waxed paper and save the almond dust. Add chopped almonds to the butter/sugar mixture and heat until reaching 300 degrees, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into a lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Let the mixture cool. Melt the chocolate bar, spread over semi-cooled candy. Sprinkle the almond dust over toffee mixture. Let the entire pan cool 4-8 hours. Break into chunks.
Chop the almonds before starting to cook the candy, so you can devote your time and attention to the cooking. Always use low heat. This recipe takes about one hour cooking time. Do not let the candy mixture set more than 15 minutes before pouring on the chocolate. During the cooking process, the temperature on the candy thermometer will fluctuate up and down before reaching its final point.
Carmel Candy Corn
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups butter or margarine
1/2 cup white syrup (Karo syrup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 quarts popped corn (about 6 bags of microwaved popcorn)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Bring the sugars, butter/margarine and syrup to a boil. Remove mixture from the heat and add baking soda. Pour liquid gently over the popped corn and stir. Place the popped corn and buttery mixture onto lined cookie sheets. Bake in the oven for one hour, stirring twice during the baking process. Cool, scoop up and enjoy. Keep tightly covered to store.
1 cup vegetable oil or butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds or pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, sugar, oil and zucchini. Add dry ingredients, mix until blended, add vanilla and nuts. Pour mixture into a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Store in the freezer/refrigerator until ready to eat or give as gifts.
2 cups self-rising flour
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Mix all ingredients and spoon into the greased muffin tins. Wet your fingertips with water and smooth tops slightly. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
ECO Batter Bread
1-1/4 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 package dry yeast
2 tablespoons soft margarine or butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 375 dgrees. Pour warm water into a large warm mixing bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add margarine/butter, sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour. Beat 300 vigorous strokes by hand (me, two minutes using my mixer). Scrape sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Blend in the remaining flour with a spoon until smooth. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place (free from draft), until doubled in bulk (about 30 minutes). Stir batter down by beating about 25 strokes (no mixer for this part). Spread evenly into a greased 8-inch-by-5-inch-by-3-inch loaf pan. Smooth the loaf top by applying flour to your hands and pat down. Cover; let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Bake for 45 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Prior to baking, I sprayed some butter-flavored Pam to the top of this loaf and sprinkled some Italian spices. Serve warm with butter and jam.
Somewhere in time, family and friends tasted morsels such as these. We have our favorite recipes and memories to share, so pass them on. A few simple rules to take into consideration, when menu planning for the holidays:
• Serve a Dry Rose with hors d’oeuvres. A good rose combines the fresh acidity and light body of white wines with a fruity character of reds. This wine is a compliment to all types of hors d’oeuvres.
• A white wine like Sauvignon Blanc made in stainless steel vats rather than oak barrels, are best paired with dishes you squeeze lemons or limes on. The citrus acidity heightens flavors in everything from smoked to grilled dishes.
• Alcohol accentuates the oils that make spicy food hot. Look for wines that are low in alcohol, like a dry Riesling, which has a touch of sweetness and helps counter the spiciness.
• Rich red meats need to have the tannic richness of reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah to bring out their flavors.
• In the preparation of whiter meats (chicken or pork), pair the wine to the sauces. Think of pork chops in a delicate white wine sauce instead of a hearty red sauce.
• Earthy wines like Pinot Noir (especially from Burgundy) and Nebbiolo make great partners with wild game and mushroom dishes.
• When you serve dessert, pair your wine that is less sweet than your faire, i.e. roasted pairs with a light sparkling wine.
May your home be filled with a bountiful abundance of love, great memories, cherished family and friends. Let there be peace in our world, so military personnel serving our country can return home safely. From our hearth to yours—Happy Thanksgiving!
Carole Truesdale, a Ramona resident with a strong business background, has worked in marketing, sales and event planning in the corporate environment. She attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to learn the wine industry when she lived and worked on California’s Central Coast. She loves to experiment with food—pairing with wine and sharing this knowledge with others. She considers herself a “foodie,” a term used today for people who love cooking.