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Welcome - Hope You Had a Happy Thanksgiving!
Table of Contents Volume #002
What’s New on Site Update
Soul Food Holiday Gift Giving Ideas -
Special to Newsletter
Feature Article: A Soulful Holiday - Season Eatings
Column: Spice Up Your Soul Food
Column: This Month’s Best Soul Food Recipes
Cassandra’s Cooking Tips
Soul Food Holiday Recipes for Chocolate Lovers - Special to Newsletter
Soul Food Care Package
Soul Food Blog
Coming In Next Issue: Break for Breakfast
Ask the Editor
Reader’s Poll Results
Link to Your Gift: New Trends in Soul Food Cooking
What’s New on Site Update -
Brand New Look at Soul Food News Center. A Must See!!
24/7 Dessert-Related Feeds and Freebies - Check it Out! And be sure to rate the website.
Chicken and Corn Bread Dressing recipe. A homemade recipe from three generations of southern cooks.
Event Menus - Designed for special events including birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and outdoor picnics.
Holiday Menus - Designed especially for the holiday season.
Soul Food Holiday Gift Giving Ideas - Special to Newsletter
Give someone a gift card to their favorite store along with their favorite soul food dessert. What a great combination. Deliver in a festive package.
Give someone a decorative ornament along with their favorite soul food dessert. Include a nice card in a festive packaging.
Give someone a special personalized soul food gift, a one-year subscription to Soul Food Lover’s Newsletter. See “Free Stuff” section for details.
Make sure the gifts you purchase are good quality and something that others will enjoy.
Soul Food Desserts
A Soulful Holiday - Season Eatings
When planning your special holiday meals, your menu should be more about what your family enjoy than what has been served in the past.
Although traditional dishes are usually served, a Soul Food Christmas meal vary from family to family but when it comes to desserts, the menu usually stays the same since desserts are a big part of the holiday menu.
Most families prepare two to four desserts and sometimes even more depending on the family and if guests are coming to dinner. Left over desserts (if any) are usually eaten during the week.
For this special time of year, cooks make their family’s favorite dessert which adds to the special celebration. So, its not uncommon to have four or more desserts on the table. My mom always made my father’s favorite, Egg Custard Pie, and my mom loved Sweet Potato Pie. So, those two desserts were a must on our table.
Popular holiday desserts with Christmas Dinner include Caramel Cake, Sweet Potato Pie, Egg Custard Pie, Pineapple Cake, Old-fashioned Pound Cake, Southern Pecan Pie, Chocolate Cake, and Chess Pie. These are just to name a few.
Many people bring in the new year by celebrating with family and friends. Usually appetizers are very appropriate for this type of gathering, however, if you want a large party celebration, add collard greens, seasoned green beans, or macaroni and cheese to your menu.
Or, if you want to stay in the party theme, you could add more appetizers such as pretzels, homemade dips with crackers and spicy party mix. You can mix and match for your own personal taste.
Many times, chicken and corn bread dressing is served again on New Year’s Day and again on the first day of the new year. You could change collard greens, for example to another vegetable, or add a different meat instead of ham.
Black-eyed peas have been said to bring prosperity during the coming year if eaten on New Year’s Day. As a youngster, I was told that for every black-eyed pea I ate , I would receive a dollar. I don’t really know how true that was, and I don’t really think anyone ever counted, but it was always fun watching people eat them on New Year’s Day.
My family started a tradition many years ago by having barbecue on New Year’s Day along with the a New Year’s Day meal. We would also alternate from black-eyed peas to Crowder peas for our dinner.
However you decide to celebrate this soulful holiday season, just remember to provide a menu that everyone will enjoy. Seasons’ Eatings!
Soul Food Holiday Menus
Famous Recipe Center
Spice Up Your Soul Food -Column - Cinnamon Spice - Cinnamon Facts and Uses
Cinnamon Spice is the dried bark of various laurel trees and is the most common baking spice. Cinnamon is also one of the world's oldest spices and was first used in China some 4,000 years ago for a number of ailments, including flu, diarrhea, chills, flu, rheumatism, arthritis and athlete's foot and arthritis. During that time, cinnamon was not used for flavoring, but for medicine.
Today, however, the sweet spicy flavor of Cinnamon enhances the taste of vegetables and fruits. Cinnamon is a perfect partner for chocolate; use it in any chocolate dessert or drink. It is also used to mellow the tartness of apple pie. Ground Cinnamon should not be added to boiling liquids; the liquid may become stringy and the Cinnamon will lose flavor.
Below is a quick and easy recipe using Cinnamon:
Sweet Potato and Apple Crumble
5 cups sweet potatoes or yams, thinly sliced
2 cups apples, thinly sliced
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ cup apple juice
4 tablespoons walnuts or pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degree. Lightly coat a 9 X 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the first three ingredients together and spoon into the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix syrup with cinnamon. Add apple juice and stir to blend. Pour evenly over sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle nut over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until apples and sweet potatoes are completely done. Yield: about 6 servings.
For a list of specific soul food spices to use with dishes, visit:
Soul Food Spice List
This Month’s Best Soul Food Recipes
Potato Bacon Salad
2 pounds red potatoes, cooked and cut into chunks
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion. Sliced thinly
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, green pepper, red onion, and bacon; set aside. In a small bowl, blend mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, parsley, garlic powder, and oregano. Pour over potato mixture, tossing to coat well. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Yield: 5 to 6 servings.
Chicken Wings Gumbo Style
1-1/2 pounds Chicken wings
1 teaspoon of thyme
3 bacon slices, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of allspice, ground
2/3 cup of green bell pepper, chopped
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2/3 cup of celery, chopped
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
1 pound of ground beef
2/3 cup of lima beans
1 can of tomatoes, broken up(28oz)
2/3 cup of corn kernels
3/4 cup of chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon of salt
Remove and discard wing tips; reserve remaining wings. In large skillet, cook bacon until browned; remove with slotted spoon and reserve. Add chicken wings; brown on all sides and remove with slotted spoon. Add bell pepper and celery; sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add beef; cook, stirring to crumble, until browned. Drain off fat; add tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, allspice, cayenne and black peppers and chicken.
Simmer, covered, until chicken is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add lima beans and corn; simmer, covered, until chicken and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon and serve over steamed rice. Servings: 6
Lemon Buttermilk Pie
1/2 cup butter
1 - 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons flour
1 - 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pie shell, 9-inch
Cream the butter and sugar; add the egg yolks, beating after each addition. Beat in flour and buttermilk; add the lemon juice, lemon peel, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Beat the egg whites until stiff; fold into the filling.
Pour the filling into the pie shell; cook in center of a preheated 325° oven until the custard is set and slightly brown, about 1 hour. Serve with berries, fresh fruit, or dessert sauce.
Cassandra’s Cooking Tips
For a really successful baking experience--
· Always read your recipe all the way through before you start baking so that you will fully understand each step.
· Always preheat oven before starting to bake. Make sure the oven has been preheated for at least 10 minutes before placing food in to bake.
· Always use the best ingredients: Unsalted butter, pure vanilla and other extracts, fresh unsalted nuts, fresh eggs, good chocolate and spices that have not expired.
· Always allow eggs and butter to become room temperature before using. If butter is too cold or too warm it can change the temperature of the dough or batter and can alter the baking time.
· Make sure you have measuring spoons, cups, appropriate bowls, and cooking supplies in reach before you start cooking.
· Store cookbooks and recipes that you will use most often in front for easy access.
Click here for more cooking tips and bright ideas
Tips for Busy Cooks
Soul Food Holiday Recipes for Chocolate Lovers
If you LOVE Chocolate, these recipes have your name on them !!!
Chocolate Cluster Candy
1 (11-½ ounce) package milk chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup peanuts, salted or unsalted
1/3 cup raisins, optional
24 (1-¼ inch) foil candy liners
Over hot (not boiling) water, combine chocolate morsels and vegetable shortening; stir until morsels melt and mixture is smooth. Keep over low heat.
In a small bowl, combine marshmallows, peanuts and raisins. Fill candy liners halfway with nut mixture (about 1 teaspoonful); place on a cookie sheet. Spoon 2 teaspoonful melted chocolate on top of nut mixture; spread to seal completely. Chill until firm (about 30 minutes). Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Yield: 24 candies.
Chocolate Mousse Dessert
1 (6-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3 eggs, separated
¼ cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt (do not omit)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Melt chocolate over hot (not boiling) water; remove from heat. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add water; beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, combine egg whites and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in brown sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Gently fold in chocolate mixture. Chill in refrigerator several hours or until ready to serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Chocolate Bourbon Balls
1 (6-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons corn syrup
½ cup bourbon ( you can substitute orange juice instead of bourbon)
2 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts
Over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate morsels; remove from heat. Blend in corn syrup and bourbon. In a large bowl, combine vanilla wafers crumbs, confectioners’ sugar and nuts. Add chocolate mixture; mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes. Form into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Let season in a covered container for 48 hours. Yield: 4 -1/2 dozen 1-inch candies.
Melting Chocolate: Melt chocolate over a double boiler for a smooth texture. Even a small amount of moisture, can cause chocolate to become lumpy. If this should occur, add 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening for every 3 ounces of chocolate. Do not use butter to melt chocolate because it contains water.
Storing Chocolate: Chocolate should be stored at around 60 to 78 degree, with humidity at less than 50 percent. Keep chocolate in a cool, dry place. Chocolate can be refrigerated, but covered tightly so it won’t absorb odors. When cold, chocolate forms a different texture, hard and very brittle, so allow it to become room temperature before using.
These are excellent holiday recipes and easy to make.
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Coming In Next Issue - Break for Breakfast - Feature Article
Ask the Editor
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Editor & Soul Food Advisor
Cassandra Harrell is a Soul Food Advisor and recently owned a soul food restaurant and catering service. She taught cooking classes on preparing great soul food cuisine, and have served thousands during conventions and special events.