EVANSVILLE, Ind. – We asked Evansville’s cooks, chefs and restaurant owners to contribute a unique Christmas dish their family loves.
Here are five you’ll enjoy trying:
- a sumptuously creamy and golden corn pudding with rosemary
- real oyster stew with just the slightest tingle of heat from Tabasco sauce and cayenne
- a traditional Ecuadorian “stuffing” (you can totally eat it out of a bowl) made with chicken, dried fruit and sweet wine
- an easy-to-make no-cook egg nog-like drink with Miami Cuban roots
- vegan “cheese” ball with almonds and sundried tomatoes for your vegan “charcuterie” platter
Creamed Corn with Rosemary and Turmeric
Lindsay Cargill (former line cook at Café Arazu and manager at Heady’s Pizza)
Makes 4 quarts
3 cups onion, small dice
1/4 (1 stick) pound butter
3 quarts roasted fresh corn cut off the cob*
1 1/2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
1 cup cornmeal (fine grain)
6 cups heavy cream
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon pepper
1. in a pot, sweat the onions in the butter until translucent.
2. Add the corn and rosemary and cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and turmeric, stirring constantly, and stir in the cornmeal until mixed well. Add the cream and cook on low heat until the corn is softened and the cornmeal grit is gone
4. Season with salt and pepper, remember it to a little creamier than you want to serve it because it will be reheated. Spread in a shallow pan to cool, then pack to store in an appropriate container.
5. Reheat in the oven or in the microwave. If in the microwave, you may add a little extra cream.
*Roast the corn however you like. It can be cooked in the oven in the shucks, or on a grill
More food news
Commander’s Grill Oyster Stew
Mike Reeder, owner of Commander’s Grill in Boonville
1 1/2 pints shucked oysters (liquor drained and reserved)
1 cup oyster liquor
1 cup water
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp tabasco sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1. Combine oyster liquor with 1 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the oysters and simmer until their edges just begin to curl, about 2 minutes. Strain oysters through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl. Reserve oysters and cooking liquid separately. Stir constantly about 3 minutes, making sure to not color the roux. Reduce heat to medium, add celery, garlic, onions, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and tabasco. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until onions and celery are very soft, about 25 minutes.
3. Stir in milk, cream, and reserved oysters with their cooking liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until just hot, about 5 minutes. Serve.
Relleno Navideño (Ecuadorian Christmas Pudding)
Wendy de Baquerizo (former prep cook at Café Arazu)
1 cup raisins
1 cup pitted prunes
3 cups sweet red wine
1 bread roll, torn
1 sleeve sweeter crackers
1 cup milk
2 large chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
6 tablespoons butter
1 red onion diced – about 2 cups
1 small green pepper, minced
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 teaspoon ground achiote (orange spice mixture found in Mexican markets)
2 tablespoons each minced cilantro and fresh parsley
¼ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced green olives
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 boiled eggs, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a bowl, soak the raisins and prunes in the wine for 1 hour.
2. In a separate bowl, soak the torn roll and crackers in the milk
3. In a large pot, poach the chicken breasts in the broth with the onion, garlic and sprig of parsley until cooked through, about 15 – 20 minutes. Shred. Strain and reserve broth.
4. In a wide skillet melt the butter and add the red onion, green pepper, garlic, achiote, cilantro and parsley. Fry over medium-high heat until reduced and concentrated, about 15 minutes, stirring often.
5. Add the raisin mixture, the bread mixture, and the brown sugar to the pan and begin cooking and stirring. The mixture will thicken. Add chicken broth or red wine to keep the texture smooth and stirrable as necessary.
6. Add and pepper to taste. Stir in the shredded chicken, green olives, walnuts and chopped egg. Continue to cook until everything is hot and flavors are blended. Serve garnished with more green olives and a sprinkle of parsley.
Crema de Vie from Tia Marta
Danielle Siciliano-Hodge (owner, Siciliano Subs)
Makes roughly 2 quarts
2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups water
1 cinnamon stick
12 egg yolks*
2 cans condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ liter (about 2 cups) rum
½ can evaporated milk
1. Make a syrup with the sugar, water and cinnamon stick (by bringing it to a boil on the stovetop, stirring to dissolve the sugar). Cool
2. Mix the egg yolks with the condensed milk and vanilla, then mix in the syrup.
3. Strain mixture 2-3 times.
4. Add evaporated milk and rum. Store in the refrigerator.
* If you’d like to pasteurize the eggs before using them, place them in a pan of water and bring the temperature to 140 degrees. Hold for 3 minutes. This will sterilize the eggs without cooking them.
Tomato Almond “Cheese” Ball for Vegan Charcuterie Board
Susannah Dickman (certified Food for Life instructor)
Makes 6 Servings
2 cups almonds soaked overnight in water
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil, reconstituted in a bowl of boiled water for 5-10 minutes, patted dry)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chickpea miso
1 ½ tablespoon natural ketchup
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped raw or toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds for coating
1– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives for coating
1 pinch sea salt for coating
1. Rinse and drain the almonds. Put in a food processor, pulse the almonds until crumbly. Add the remaining ingredients (excluding the ingredients for the coating) and process until the mixture becomes sticky and forms a mound on the blade. If the mixture isn’t coming together, add a teaspoon or two of water, as the almonds may be dry. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Mix the coating ingredients on a sheet of parchment paper. Form the cheese mixture into a ball with your hands (you can lightly oil your hands to make it easier),
3. Gently roll around the parchment paper to pick up the coating. Return to the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to use. Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
4. Serve on a vegan charcuterie platter.
Dickman’s rules for a good charcuterie board should have a variety of flavors, textures and colors — you want to choose one to three each of the following:
- A dip or a spread: hummus, bean dip, vegan spinach artichoke dip.
- Crunchy veggies: baby carrots, celery, red and green peppers, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber.
- Crispy crackers: whole wheat crackers, pita chips, Mary’s Gone Crackers, baguette thinly sliced.
- Soft cheeses: vegan cheese ball.
- Something salty: olives, pickles.
- Something sweet: grapes, raspberries, dried cranberries, strawberries, pears, orange slices, dates.
- Something tangy and spicy: pepperoncini, sliced jalapenos.