Holiday Recipes from the Garden

 Kay Hinkle
Adams County Master Gardener

Recipes for holiday dinners and parties are often rooted in our families' ethnic or regional traditions. My New England holiday heritage always included home made cranberry sauce, rutabagas and creamed pearl onions.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes, in their many different forms, are the customary backgrounds for the more elegant vegetable dishes. Here are two potato recipes, which everyone in our family expects to be served at our holiday dinners. The Party Potato recipe is from my daughter-in-law Deb's mother Nancy Hanson. The Sweet Potato Puff was introduced to us by my daughter-in-law Wanda a few years ago.

Festive Party Potatoes

5# white potatoes
8 oz softened cream cheese
12 to 16 oz sour cream
3 T dried chives
1 to 2 garlic cloves, pressed
salt and pepper to taste
½ c grated cheddar cheese

While potatoes are boiling, blend the softened cream cheese and 12 oz. sour cream. Drain well and mash the potatoes. Add the cheese mixture, the chives, garlic, salt and pepper. If needed, add additional sour cream to achieve desired consistency. Butter a large casserole dish, and fill with potato mixture. Can be made the day ahead and refrigerated. If you do that, allow casserole and contents to come to room temperature before cooking. Dot top of casserole with butter and cook (covered) at 325 for 45 minutes to one hour. Check center to be sure it is heated through. Put grated cheddar cheese on top and bake an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese. Serves 10 to 12.

Sweet Potato Puff

3 c fresh cooked sweet potatoes
4 egg whites
¼ c sugar (scant)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T flour
½ tsp. salt


3 T flour
½ c brown sugar
2 T butter
½ c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Apply vegetable oil spray to a one and one-half quart casserole dish. Smooth together all ingredients and pour into casserole dish. This part can be done ahead and refrigerated. Make topping by combining all ingredients except pecans in small bowl with a pastry cutter (or fork). Stir in pecans and pour over potato mixture. Bake 30 minutes uncovered until golden brown. Serves 8.

If you are making both these dishes, the Festive Party Potatoes can be cooked at 350, so both can be done in one oven at the same time.

This dish adds great color to the holiday plate:

Carrots Elegante

1 # carrots, pared & thinly sliced
¼ c golden raisins
¼ c soft butter
1 T lemon juice
3 T honey
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ c sliced almonds

Cook carrots in boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain. While they cook, combine the raisins, softened butter, lemon juice, honey and ginger. Put carrots in one quart baking dish and stir the above mixture into them. Bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top before placing on table. Serves 4.

A traditional favorite bread at our house is:

Cranberry Sweet Potato Bread

1/3 c soft butter or margarine
2-½ c mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp. salt
¾ c lukewarm milk
2 eggs
1 envelope active dry yeast
¼ c lukewarm water
4 c all-purpose flour
¼ c cranberry orange relish
½ c finely chopped nuts
1 ½ c 10X sugar
¼ c cranberry orange relish

In bowl, mix butter, potatoes, sugar, salt, milk and eggs. Dissolve yeast in water and then stir into potato mixture. Stir in flour and beat until well blended. Brush top of dough lightly with oil, cover and let rise until double in a warm place, about 1 to 1-½ hours.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out dough to a 10 by 14-inch oblong. Spread relish and nuts on dough. Roll up dough, starting at the 14-inch side, like a jellyroll. Place dough seam side down with ends joining in a ring into a greased bundt pan.

Let rise in a warm place until double, about 40 to 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Unmold.

For glaze: Mix sugar with enough relish to make a thick mixture. Spoon glaze over hot bread and allow to drip over sides. Cool thoroughly before cutting into slices. Enjoy!

Here are two green bean recipes we enjoy.

Green Beans with Pears

3 medium Bartlett pears
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1 T lemon juice
1# cooked snap beans

Pare pears, halve and core; cut each half into three lengthwise slices. In a 10-inch skillet over moderately low heat, mix and heat butter, sugar and lemon juice. Add pears; cover tightly and steam, shaking skillet a few times, for about 3 minutes. Turn pears, cover again and repeat for another 3 minutes. Mix in cooked beans and gently reheat. Serves six.

Herbed Green Beans

1 ½ # fresh green beans
½ c finely chopped onion
2 T butter or margarine
3 T lemon juice
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt, optional
1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme, or ½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. paprika

In a saucepan, cover beans with water and cook until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt if desired, thyme and paprika. Drain beans; add herb butter and stir to coat. Serve immediately. Serves six.

Read other articles by Kay Hinkle