Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar - December 2 – Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar - December 2 – Holiday Foods

This was originally posted on 12/2/2010.

These days and for many past, we stay home on Christmas Day and have an open house. I started making Christmas Chili about 20 years ago and never stopped. I do it in a slow-cooker and it is ready all day for whoever stops by. Sadly, I do not have a recipe, as I just put stuff in until it’s just right. This is the year I will try really hard to write it all down for prosperity.

As a child, we usually went to my aunt’s for Christmas Eve and somewhere else for Christmas Day. Food for children on Christmas is really actually superfluous; why eat when there are TOYS and COUSINS! So I remember nothing about actual food, except that ambrosia salad was always part of the deal. Grandma made it. My aunts made it. And now, my mother-in-law, Millie, makes it just for me at every family party. I looked through Millie’s recipe book she made us and didn’t find the ambrosia salad recipe. I’m guessing she just throws it together for me, but here is one from the internet that looks much the same.
Coconut Ambrosia Salad
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
3 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1 cup maraschino cherries

In a large bowl, combine the oranges, pineapple, whipped topping, coconut, marshmallows and milk. Mix together well and chill 1 hour before serving. Garnish with cherries.

One recipe that is here in her book, though, is for Italian Fig Cookies, which she features
at her Christmas party every year. We all love these cookies (adults, not children, which is just fine by me!)

Italian Fig Cookies
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup shortening
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
1 beaten egg
1 8-oz package (1 ½ cups) dried figs
¾ cup light raisins
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup hot water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash pepper
Confectioners’ Glaze

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and baking powder. Cut in shortening and butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in the milk and egg until all is moistened. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until easy to handle.

For filling, in a food processor bowl, process figs, raisins, and almonds until coarsely chopped. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ¼ cup sugar, hot water, cinnamon and pepper. Stir in the fruit mixture. Let filling stand until the dough is thoroughly chilled.

Roll each half of the dough into a 12-inch square. Cut each square into twelve 4x3 inch rectangles. Using a heaping tablespoon of filling for each rectangle, spread filling along one of the short sides of the rectangle. Roll up from that side. Place rolls, seam side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Curve each roll slightly. Snip outer edge of curve three times.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until done. Remove and cool. Spread with Confectioners’’ Glaze. Immediate sprinkle with decorative candies. Makes 24.

Confectioners’ Glaze: Combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Add enough milk (about 1 tablespoon) to make it spreadable.
Olives! Really, how in the world could I forget olives! Olives and ambrosia salad were ALWAYS at our Christmas parties. That is the only food sustinance that the children got. 10 olives (one for each finger) and a bowl of ambrosia salad. Thank you, Greta's Genealogy Blog, for reminding me.

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