New Castle News

December 22, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Side dishes can make your holiday meal special

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Are you still making those last-minute decisions about holiday meals?

At many tables, the star is usually the turkey. Or ham. Or maybe prime rib.

Admittedly, while my once-a-year turkey eating is enjoyable, I also look forward to side dishes — both creating and partaking.

Sometimes just dressing up those plain vegetables is an extra incentive to those with discriminating tastes.

There’s a variety of choices offered today.

The second squash casserole is not a diet option, for sure. But I remember having this on several occasions while dining with a friend and his family. Its sweetness almost sends this into the dessert category. Either way, it’s good stuff.

I’ve saved the best for last. Eating all those veggies should afford you a little sweet indulgence at the end of the meal. While browsing through a cookbook published by a women’s auxiliary in Florida, I discovered a recipe for key lime pie. I believe the best version of that dessert I have ever tasted was at the Farnsworth Tavern in Gettysburg. That’s a long way to travel for a piece of pie but the next time we visit there, you can be sure I’ll order a slice.

As a guest contributor, your recipes are welcome and encouraged at Culinary Conversation — a tasteful place to be.

Squash Casserole

Preheat oven to 350.

In a 13x9x2-inch baking dish, arrange a layer of zucchini slices over the bottom, topped with a layer of onions and then a layer of yellow squash. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese. Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs.

Bake, uncovered, until the casserole is bubbly, the bread crumbs are browned and a wooden pick inserted into the squash pieces meets no resistance, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Carrot Casserole

Preheat oven to 350.

Mash carrots; add other ingredients. Mix well. Place in 1 1/2 -qt. casserole. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350. Serves 8 to 10.

Scalloped Corn

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together, add milk last. Pour into greased casserole. Bake one hour. Test center with knife.

Note: This does not get watery.

Gooey Squash Casserole

Preheat oven to 325.

Peel squash, remove seeds and cut up. Cook in small amount of water a few minutes or until tender, mash. Add butter, salt, eggs, vanilla, sugar and coconut. Pour into a buttered pan, sprinkle with topping. Mix thoroughly the brown sugar, flour, chopped nuts, coconut and butter, sprinkle topping over squash in pan. Bake 45 to 60 minutes.

Key West Lime Pie

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat egg yolks lightly, then add the sweetened condensed milk to the yolks and beat again. Add lime juice and beat until smooth. Pour mixture into baked pastry shell or graham cracker crust; top with meringue. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until light golden in color.

For meringue, mix cornstarch, water, sugar ad salt over low heat until thick and clear. Cool thoroughly. Beat egg whites in separate bowl; gradually add sugar. Whip cooked and cooled cornstarch mixture into beaten egg whites until stiff peaks form.