From the time I got home at about 10AM on Wednesday until the time we left for church last night, I essentially sequestered myself in the kitchen to cook for our big Christmas eve party. And let me tell you, it was good. We may be eating those hors d'ouvres for months... Anyway, if you've always wanted to experience Christmas with the Mangos and have never been invited, here are the recipes you need to know, presented Mango-style. CURED MEATS AND SAUSAGES
You'll need cured meats from Schulenburg, TX. We get sent those as a gift every year and I have no idea where we'd ge them from otherwise. You're on your own on this one. BUNKO BREAD
Second, and this is one of the longest standing traditional foods of the Christmas Eve party, the Bunko Bread. It sounds weird from the recipe, but try it -- I promise it's good. This recipe makes one Bunko bread, but we always make two and we decided last night that next year, we will make three.
What you need:
A frozen loaf of white bread dough, thawed
A small glass jar of slices of dried beef
A block of sharp cheddar cheese, more than 8 oz
Half a stick of butter
Garlic powder, about a teaspoon.
Cut the bread dough into 32 pieces. Also the cheese. Cut the slices of dried beef in half to make semicircles. Wrap each piece of cheese with a piece of dried beef. Wrap this with a piece of dough. Make sure to seal the ball up nicely. Rinse, repeat. Melt the butter and add the garlic powder. Dip the dough balls in the garlic butter to coat them and put them all in a bundt pan. Let it rise all day with a wet linen towel over top. Bake at 350 for about half an hour when it's ready. Enjoy. And really, make two. BECKY'S CLAM CHOWDER
This requires knowing Becky well enough to convince her to bring you chowder. All I know about its composition is that it seems to include both clams and chowder. It's good. RUM BALLS
These were a newcomer this year, primarily because my mother left me with a large bottle of Bacardi and instructions to figure out some way to get rid of it. So I made rum balls. Here's how:
1 1/4 c. Chocolate chips
1/3 c. sugar
3 T. light corn syrup
1/2 c. rum (or a little more...)
Just shy of an entire box of Nilla Wafers, pulverized in the food processor
1 c walnuts, given the Nilla Wafer treatment.
Pecans, if you want
Red and green "sanding" sugar. As if you're going to sand something with it.
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Take them off the water and add the sugar and corn syrup. Then the rum. Then the wafers/walnuts. You can just pour the liquid into the food processor if you want. I'd advise, however, not breathing the fumes that come out of the top hole if you go that route, especially if you need to drive somewhere later.
Add pecans, if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat.
Make balls. Roll them in the "sanding" sugar. Serve. The sooner the better, because after a few days, the rum wears off. BRIE AND MARMALADE IN PHYLLO
You can do one huge communal one, but I like to do little crab-rangoon-esque ones.
Prepare phyllo dough about 6 layers thick, oiling each layer before adding the next one. Once you get that done, cut the compound sheet into about 6 squares. Be sure you've oiled the edges well. Place a chunk of brie and a scoop of marmalade in the middle, and pinch up the corners. If you've oiled it properly, you should be able to make them stick. Bake at 350 for about 12-15 minutes, or until they're done.
Okay, Christmas morning festivities beckon. I'll be back with more later, especially recipes for Ancient and Traditional Cookies with Funny Names.