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Holiday recipes abound in Libby

by Hope Nealson Western News
| November 20, 2007 11:00 PM

With the holidays right around the corner, families and friends will soon be gathering together to share their meals and make more memories.

Over the years, some recipes take hold and become must-haves, handed down from generation to generation, table to table.

Creamed corn, candied yams, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy: Those are some of the more common recipes.

But what about the not-so-common treats?

Nobody is suggesting we take away the classics, but how about Butternut Gratin with fresh rosemary to offer up along with that Green Bean Casserole?

A personal favorite, sharp cheeses and fresh rosemary bread crumbs top a savory filling of carmelized sqaush and onions.

This vegetarian dish compliments stuffing and turkey and is filling enough to be a main course anytime of the year. Its recipe follows.

While snooping around town, I found a few other recipes that will transform the average holiday table from ordinary to extra-ordinary.

Barbara Monheiser, owner of Beck's in Libby, said she cooks the strictly traditional dishes for the holidays, but noted one unique recipe her family has always used that combines fresh cranberries in place of the canned version.

"We used to eat it with our turkey," she said. "And I still do."

Her recipe for Cranberry Relish follows.

Star Phillips of Libby said that her most interesting Thanksgiving recipe has always been Prunes-n-Kraut.

Phillips said the recipe is her favorite and has been a tradition in her Midwestern German family ever since she can remember.

"We've been making it forever," she added. Her sidedish follows.

Karin Lind, a chef for 20 years at Black Angus, worked on a Norwegian fishing boat from 1995 to 2000.

She said they tried to reach shore for Thanksgiving, but sometimes they didn't, so she cooked up special dishes along with the standard fare for the international crew of 180.

"We made something for everybody," Lind said. "For the Norwegians and Danes, instead of mashed potatoes, I made potato dumplings. For the Mexicans - they love their flan - so we had to make it."

But the recipe beloved across the board was her Peachy Sweet Potato Bake, included below.

Peachy Sweet Potato Bake

By Karin Lind

1/2 c packed brown sugar

3 T flour

1/2 t nutmeg

2 T cold butter or margarine

1/2 c chopped pecans

4 17 oz cans cut up sweet potatoes, drained

2 16 oz cans sliced peaches, drained

1 to 1 1/2 c mini marshmallos

Combine sugar, flour and nutmeg. Cut in butter and pecans. Place sweet potatoes and peaches in a shallow 2 quart broiler pan or baking dish. Sprinkle pecan mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 35 min. Sprinkle with marshmallows and broil until golden brown.

See Recipes on Page 4

Recipes

Cont'd from page 1

Cranberry Relish

By Barbara Monheiser

1 bag of fresh cranberries, chopped coarsely in food processor

1 orange - skin included, quartered and chopped coarsely in food processor

2 T sweet pickle relish

2 T sugar

1/4 c chopped walnuts

Combine and serve with turkey.

Prunes-n-Kraut

By Star Phillips

1/2 lb prunes, chopped

1 c water

2 cans sauerkraut

1 ring of kielbasa, sliced

In a pan, steam the prunes and water until soft. Combine with sauerkraut and kielbasa in a crockpot on high for an hour. Don't drain - may be kept on low in crockpot.

Butternut Gratin

By Hope Nealson/Adapted from Bon Appetit

(cheese and bread can be found at Rosauers)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

4 cups thinly sliced sweet onions (about 1 pound)

3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup canned vegetable broth

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from Rosemary Olive Bread

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or white cheddar)

1 cup grated Garlic Jack cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 chopped fresh thyme or teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pre-roast the squash (halve lengthwise, remove seeds and bake for about 40 min). Let cool then peel and cube. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute until light golden, about 8 minutes. Add squash; saute 4 minutes. Sprinkle sugar, salt and pepper over vegetables; saute until onions and squash begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Spread vegetable mixture in prepared dish and pour broth over. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes or until bubbly and squash is done. (You may let this cool and cover refridgerated until next day - bring up to temerature in 350°F for 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, rosemary and thyme in medium bowl. Sprinkle over gratin. Bake uncovered until top is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.