Cooking with cornbread, cranberries, Oreo cookies

Cooking with cornbread, cranberries, Oreo cookies

December 14th, 2011 in Life Entertainment

Strawberries with small amounts of toppings can offer a healthier twist on holiday treats.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Good morning, good readers. I'm so full of Christmas cookies I could pop, and I'm also thinking food in other, less sugary contexts. And so are you. Today's requests are surely for holiday cooking, and they include Asiago cheese straws or cheese cookies, potato chips dipped in chocolate, tomato soup made with canned tomatoes, grilled cabbage like the Canyon Grill's, sweet potato chips like Food Works', where to buy really good homemade corn tortillas locally, and sweet potato biscuits.

Richard Cole wrote that "This may not be the Oreo recipe you wanted, but it works." The name just may say it all.

Oreo Cookie Freakout Casserole

1 (15-ounce) package Oreo cookies

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Hershey's chocolate syrup

1 quart coffee ice cream, softened (variation: use mint ice cream)

Butterscotch sundae sauce

1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened

1 (15-ounce) container Cool Whip

Grind cookies until crumbly; put a layer of cookie crumbs on the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish (about 1/3 of total, reserving more crumbs for later). Press crumbs firmly into pan.

Taking care to spread layers evenly, spread a layer of vanilla ice cream over cookie crumbs; top with a layer of chocolate syrup. Add a layer of coffee ice cream; top with a layer of butterscotch sauce over ice cream. Add a layer of cookie crumbs; spread layer of chocolate ice cream over crumbs, then another layer of cookie crumbs. Freeze for 1 hour. Cut in squares and serve with Cool Whip.

The next recipe is both an end in itself and a useful ingredient in homemade cornbread stuffing. Marge Pasch sent this cornbread that contains no flour, great for the increasing numbers of gluten-free dieters. You'll need to double or triple this recipe to have enough left over for the cornbread dressing.

Mary Lou's Cornbread

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon butter, bacon grease or vegetable oil

Heat oven to 400 F. Put a 6-inch diameter cast-iron skillet into the oven to get hot.

Stir together the cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. In another small bowl, lightly beat egg, then add buttermilk and whisk together. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir only to combine.

Drop butter, bacon grease or vegetable oil into hot skillet. Let melt and then add cornmeal batter. Bake for 20 minutes.

Thanks to you, Gerry Hall, for the authentic from-scratch cornbread dressing you provided for Jane Ann.

Cornbread Dressing

1 (10-inch) iron skillet pone of cornbread, crumbled

4 small hamburger buns, cubed and allowed to dry out

About 31/4 cups chicken stock

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

2 tablespoons dry minced onion or 1 large onion, chopped and sautéed in a little butter

1/2 cup pecans (optional)

Cooked and crumbled sausage (optional)

Combine cornbread and bun cubes; add stock. Stir in remaining ingredients and bake in a greased 9-inch casserole dish (use a larger dish if adding sausage) at 375 F for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.

I thought I'd never get interested in blogs, but I've got my eye on one discovered today, Nothing But Delicious (nothingbutdelicious.blogspot.com). It's the brainchild of former Chattanoogan Hannah Messenger, who is a blogger, photographer and food stylist. Her blog is about eating less and eating better, two good things for us this season. She's getting noticed by other cooking authorities as well. To give you a taste, here is her mom Cindy's traditional cranberry relish with a twist, along with some creative ways from Hannah for using that relish.

Cranberry Relish

1 bag fresh cranberries (10 or 16 ounces)

1 orange

1 Fuji apple

1 cup walnuts (Use baking walnuts and no chopping is necessary.)

11/4 cups white sugar

Slice orange (skin, pith and all) and apple into quarters. Remove any seeds or stems. Pulse 1 ingredient at a time, except for sugar, in food processor or blender until you have pieces the size of shelled pistachios. Mix everything together with sugar in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight before serving.

Use this relish in sandwich wraps, with crackers and sharp Cheddar cheese, and stir into batter when making muffins. Top oatmeal or buttered and toasted angel food cake with cranberry relish.

And finally, here is some fine kitchen philosophy that Hannah quoted from Food 52, reasons enough to cook, if you didn't already have plenty:

"If you cook, your family will eat dinner together. If you cook, you will naturally have a more sustainable household. If you cook, you'll set a lifelong example for your children. If you cook, you'll understand what goes into food and will eat more healthily. If you cook, you'll make your home an important place in your life. If you cook, you'll make others happy. If you cook, people will remember you."

These words have the ring of truth, and I'm off to try some relish in a new and exciting venue. Let us know if you have a favorite food blog as well. Until next week ...

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