Town Talk Features

Staff Holiday Recipes

This time of year is always warmer and more memorable when lively meals bring loved ones together. Festive flavors and enticing aromas mingle with the cheerful sentiments of the season, making the experience richer. As you gather around a holiday table with the important people in your life, share these tried-and-true recipe traditions from T&S staff members!

green beans with bacon-balsamic vinaigrette
from office manager Kathy Cowhey
This is a simple but very flavorful side dish that has been part of our family holiday dinners since I was a kid. It goes well with turkey, ham, chicken or just about any other main dish.

2 lbs. fresh green beans
2 bacon slices
¼ c minced shallots
3 T coarsely chopped almonds
2 T brown sugar
¼ c white balsamic vinegar

Cook beans in boiling water for two minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside. Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from skillet, crumble and set aside. Add shallots to bacon fat in skillet and saute one minute. Add almonds and saute for another minute. Remove and allow to cool. Add sugar and vinegar and stir until sugar dissolves, then add bacon. Pour vinaigrette over beans and toss gently to coat.

beer batter bread
from graphic designer Cydney Moore
I enjoy making this recipe during winter months because it goes well with holiday dinners and warm things in bowls—chili and homemade soup, to be exact! If you’re feeling adventurous, use a seasonal craft beer to add extra holiday flavor to the bread. It’s delicious straight from the oven with butter.

3 c all-purpose flour
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
½ c sugar
12 oz. beer

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pour into buttered loaf pan. Brush the top with ¼ c melted butter. Let sit for a few minutes for maximum rising. Bake for one hour until browned. Store the loaf wrapped in aluminum foil.

butterflied, dry-brined roast turkey
from staff writer Stephanie Wallace
My mom started using this Alton Brown recipe when she took over cooking Christmas dinner from my grandmother. She was a little nervous about roasting a whole turkey and thought cutting it apart and flattening it—a process known as ‘spatchcocking’—might make it more manageable!

13- to 14-lb. whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
3 ½ T kosher salt
1 ½ t rubbed sage
1 ½ t dried thyme
1 ¼ t whole black peppercorns
½ t whole allspice berries

Four days before serving, place salt, sage, thyme, peppercorns and allspice in a spice grinder or food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Set turkey, breast-side down, on a large cutting board with the tail closest to you. Use an electric knife or heavy-duty kitchen shears to cut up one end of the backbone.

Turn the bird around and cut back down the other side of the spine. Discard any fat pockets and excess skin found inside. Turn the turkey breasts side up and use the heel of your hand to press down on both until you hear a crack and the bird has flattened slightly. Rub seasoned salt on both sides of the turkey. Place it on a parchment-lined, half sheet pan, breast side up with legs parallel to the long side of the pan. Store uncovered in the refrigerator for four days.

Remove turkey from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for one hour. Place the turkey in a 425° oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and roast an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 155° in the thickest part of the breast. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

from creative director Julie Streiler
My family clipped this cookie recipe from a 1959 holiday magazine, and we’ve been making it every year since for our annual Christmas cookie bake—going on four generations now!

1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 ½ c powdered sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar
¼ t salt
¾ c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400º. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Combine dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts, and roll dough into 2-inch balls. Bake eight to 10 minutes on ungreased baking sheet, then roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm. Cool and roll in sugar a second time before serving.