Delicious food a part of the ‘Holy-Days’

Published 9:36 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

My pre-Christmas holidays haven’t been spent the way I’ve spent them in the past – I opted out.
Instead, I chose to spend holy-days on top of a prayer mountain. I focused on the true meaning of Christmas, making sure I kept Jesus in the proper place throughout the season. The light of our world has come – through the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
I was blessed to attend the Women’s Christmas Luncheon at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville – and traveled back again for an evening of music and song. Received were generous servings of spirit-filled fellowship alongside abundant, delicious food. Musicians with God-given talents sang glorious hymns. We welcomed profound truths that will serve us well in the New Year. The days were ones of worship – these holy-days.
Following lunch, a guest speaker in radio ministry, Carol Davis, delivered humor-infused words. But her powerful message on how to live in this world of darkness was clear – through the birth of Jesus Christ, the light of our world has come.
As Christians, we have a duty. We are to serve the Lord in three ways: we are to hold the light, carry the light, and share His light with others. Jesus said He is the light, and His followers will never walk in darkness. We have the light within each of us through the power of the Holy Spirit. The light emanates a joy that draws people to us. We are to hold and maintain the light which represents all truth, beauty, and goodness. It’s the calling of every Christian follower to carry and share the light of life wherever there is darkness. It’s a privilege to share the Gospel of Christ. Though we may have personal struggles, God redeemed our lives – taking us from the pit to a place of joy and peace.
While at The Cove, you meet other Christians and enjoy edifying fellowship gathered at round tables for 10. The chef-crafted, scrumptious meals are always memorable. The recipes selected today were Cove-inspired – the meals we shared.
The Christmas decorations didn’t fail to dazzle, either. Among them were a life-sized manger scene and a massive, stone, wood-burning fireplace decked out in all-natural decor. An abundance of nature’s splendor was hand-crafted in the form of awe-inspiring arrangements – truly worth beholding. A huge, grapevine cross hung on the dining room wall – everywhere your eyes landed, there was a splendid, natural arrangement at which to marvel.
But no marvel could compare or compete with what I was there for – replenishment of the Holy Spirit’s light within and full submission – to the authority of God. Oh God, how we need you. That’s how a marvel transforms to marvelous.
My prayer for you is that your Christmas will be a series of divine encounters – so you can share the light of the world that has come. The most loving thing you can do for people in your life is to tell them the truth. The good news of the Gospel is the greatest gift they will ever receive.
God’s love changes everything. May that love continue to change us.
4-5 lb. whole chicken
½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. chopped fresh sage
20 chopped cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. softened, salted butter
1 halved lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Run your fingers under the skin of the breast carefully to loosen it. Combine rosemary, sage, garlic, and soft butter. Spread the mixture up under the skin to cover most of the area. Spread olive oil over the entire exterior skin of the meat. Place lemon halves inside cavity of bird. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in a 350-degree oven in a deep roasting pan to catch any juices for about 2 hours or until done. Set the bird up on a lifter so juices may drain. After cooking, cut tender slices of breast and serve with cranberry sauce. I use the remaining meat to make baked chicken salad.

5 cups fresh cranberries
1 lb. red, seedless grapes
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
6 sprigs thyme
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss cranberries, grapes, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and thyme. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Stir mixture, and continue to roast for 10 additional minutes. Allow to cool and then serve. Can be refrigerated for 3 days.

Salted butter
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cubed, med. red onions
1 lb. cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
Salt and pepper
1 lb. torn Kale leaves
4 beaten large eggs
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 ¼ lb. cubed sourdough bread
½ stick melted butter
½ cup chopped parsley
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. red pepper and black peppers
In a 375-degree oven, in a butter-greased roasting pan, roast oil, onions, and sausage until browned. Season. Stir and add kale. Roast for 6 more minutes until kale wilts. Remove from oven. Set aside ¼ of mixture to use as a topping. In a mixer bowl, beat eggs and add chicken stock. Add the melted butter, cubed bread, parsley, thyme, and seasonings. Fold in ¾ of kale mixture. Transfer into a 9 x 13 butter-greased baking pan. Spread the reserved kale mixture over the top. Press it down into the pan mixture. Cover securely with foil. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes until browned. Allow to stand 10 minutes.

2 ½ lbs. peeled, cubed, russet potatoes
1 stick melted, salted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs sage
4 crushed cloves garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melted butter
In a large pot, boil potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt butter. Add milk and cream. Add rosemary, sage, and garlic. Bring to a slow simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Discard rosemary and sage. When potatoes are tender, drain well. Mash well. Fold in the cream mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. While hot, transfer to a butter greased, 2-inch deep, cast iron skillet. Brush top with melted butter. Take a spoon and swirl the top in a circular pattern. Broil for 10 minutes until top is brown and crusty.

2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ stick salted butter
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 lbs. cooked fresh or drained, canned beans
In a saucepan, combine mustard, sugar, butter, salt, vinegar, and lemon juice. Heat while stirring until all ingredients are blended. Keep hot until serving time. When ready to serve, pour over hot green beans before serving.

¼ cup lukewarm water (100-110-degrees)
1 pkg. active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1 cup warmed, whole milk
1 stick melted, salted butter
2 beaten, room-temp eggs
¼ cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus
2 tsp. salt
Melted butter
Lightly grease a mixer bowl with butter. Combine yeast with warm water. Allow to stand 10 minutes or until foamy. Add a pinch of sugar. Add milk, melted butter, beaten eggs, and sugar. Mix with beater attachment. Change beater to a dough hook attached. Add the flour and salt. Mix at low speed for a few minutes or until a ball forms. Transfer dough to a bowl. Wrap in plastic and allow to stand in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into halves. Roll out just a bit and then slice into wedges. Cover again with plastic and allow 30 minutes to double. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven, touching one another, in a well-greased 9 x 13 baking dish for 20 or more minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter. Can be baked a day before and stored at room temp.

1 pkg. (14 oz.) macaroon cookies
½ cup bourbon
½ cup water
1 ½ Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
4 beaten egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
4 beaten egg whites
½ pint whipped, whipping cream
In a bowl, soak macaroons in bourbon until all is absorbed. Line bottom of a lightly greased 4-cup glass dish with macaroons. In another bowl, add water. Add gelatin to water and allow to stand 10 minutes. In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add gelatin, milk, and sugar. Mix well. Transfer to a saucepan and cook over low heat while stirring continuously until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. In a mixer bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the hot mixture. Pour into the dish lined with macaroons. Refrigerate overnight. Pipe whipped cream around the edges of the dish. You can also make in individual glass dessert molds and refrigerate.

4-41/2 lb. beef tenderloin
½ cup Wesson oil
½ cup Burgundy wine
3 Tbsp. chopped onion
3 minced cloves garlic
1 ½ tsp. salt
6 drops of hot sauce
In a bowl, combine oil, wine, onion, garlic, salt, and hot sauce. Marinate meat in refrigerator for 3 hours. When ready to cook, remove meat from sauce and place in a shallow pan. Cook in a 450-degree oven for 15 minutes while brushing with marinade. Reduce oven temp to 350-degrees and baste again with marinade. Continue to cook for 35 additional minutes for medium-rare. Serve with a gravy of fresh, small, and whole mushrooms.

4 6oz. salmon fillets
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 minced cloves garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. drained, rinsed capers
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
3 tsp. softened salted butter
Lemon slices
Dry salmon fillets. Salt and pepper. In a bowl, add flour. Dredge salmon fillets in flour. Shake off any excess. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Cook salmon for 1 minute on each side on medium to high heat. Reduce heat and cook 1 additional minute. Add garlic, wine, lemon juice, capers, and parsley. Simmer on low-medium heat for 6 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Remove skillet from heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Garnish with sliced lemon. Drizzle with dill sauce over salmon and serve warm.

2 cups sour cream
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. snipped green onions or chives
¾ cup chopped, drained cucumbers
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine sour cream, dill, and green onions or chives. Coarsely chop cucumbers. Salt and pepper. Drain well. Add seasoned cucumbers to the sour cream mixture. Add any additional seasoning if needed. Chill before serving.

¾ cup grated Swiss cheese
¾ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 ½ cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp. salted butter
4 crushed cloves garlic
Dash of nutmeg
6 peeled, thinly sliced med. Idaho potatoes
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine cheeses and set aside. In a saucepan, combine cream, butter, garlic, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or until cream has thickened and reduced to 2 cups. In a butter-greased casserole, layer 1/3 of thinly sliced potatoes in bottom. Make sure to slice thinly. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/3 of combined cheese. Repeat this order 2 additional times: potatoes, salt and pepper, and cheese. Before baking, dot with butter. Pour cream mixture over all, making sure potatoes are covered with cream. Cover tightly in foil, and bake in a 300-degree oven for 1 hour. Place under broiler for a few minutes to toast edges of potatoes.

3 slices bacon
½ cup vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 thinly sliced onion
2 lbs. freshly cooked or drained, canned beans
In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Drain well and crumble. Add vinegar and sugar to bacon drippings. Place separated onion rings into the skillet. Add beans or drained beans to the drippings. Cover tightly and simmer for 25 minutes. When ready to serve, scatter the toasted bacon over the beans.

1 pkg. yeast
1/8 cup lukewarm water
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 ½ Tbsp. melted Crisco shortening
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Melted butter
In a mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, melted shortening, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add 2 cups of flour and mix with a dough hook. Add additional 1 ¼ cups of flour and continue until well kneaded. Transfer to a butter-greased bowl. Place in a warm place, cover with towel, and allow 2 hours to rise. Knead again on a lightly floured surface. Roll out and cut into rolls. Place on a butter-greased baking sheet and allow 1 hour to rise. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until done and browned. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

2 beaten eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup cocoa
½ cup Wesson vegetable oil
1 cup room temp black coffee
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ lb. softened salted butter
¼ cup Crisco shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
3 heaping tsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add flour soda, powder, and salt while alternating with oil, coffee, milk, and extract. Mix well. This is a dark, chocolate cake. Batter will be thin. Bake in a 350-degree oven in 2 well-greased and floured round cake pans for 30-35 minutes. Don’t overbake. For the icing, in a mixer bowl, beat butter, shortening, sugar, flour, whole milk, extract, and salt at high speed for 10 minutes or until smooth. Spread between layers, top and sides of cake.