A Christmas Kitchen Tradition
Every family has its holiday traditions. For instance, I like to serve butternut squash soup and homemade bread for dinner the night before Thanksgiving. I used to serve a table full of family favorites on Thanksgiving Day, but found the array of food to be overwhelming, both to cook and consume! So one year I decided to stagger the favorite food thing out, both pre- and post-Thanksgiving, and my family loved the idea! That way, everyone could enjoy their favorite dishes to the utmost, instead of a taste here and there during the feast.
One New Year’s Eve when our children came home, I started a new tradition, an “Hors d’oeuvres Competition.” Sounds silly, right? But my family really got into the competitive cooking thing—our new son-in-law too! Each person finds a recipe for an interesting appetizer, or brainstorms their own recipe, whips up the dish in the kitchen, and presents their entry at the dining room table. Each dish must pass muster during the family taste test. Only one contestant is named the winner. Last year, I won with an appetizer ominously known as “Devils On Horseback.” What? When you get a load of the ingredients in this dish, you will soon understand why.
Devils on horseback are comprised of a pitted prune or date stuffed with cheese (stilton, blue cheese, gorgonzola or cream cheese), and a dollop of fig jam (or whatever kind you like), then wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven. (Angels on horseback, a heavenly variation, features bacon-wrapped oysters). Here’s how I made last year’s winning appetizer!
Devils on Horseback
- Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water. Let soak at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook bacon in oven about half way through, usually 15 minutes. Remove from oven and leave bacon to drain on paper towels.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a wire rack.
- 24 pitted prunes
- 12 slices of bacon cut in half
- ½ cup Gorgonzola cheese (or cream cheese)
- Fig jam (or whatever your favorite is)
Halve the pitted prunes lengthwise. Place a dollop of fig jam and crumbles of cheese (or cream cheese) inside. Wrap a slice (in this case ½ slice) of bacon around the prune and secure with a toothpick.
Place prunes on baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until bacon is exactly to your liking.
Trust me, the combination of sweet and savory on the tongue is absolutely delicious! This Christmas, if you decide to incorporate competitive cooking into your family fun, add an extra incentive for the winner, like a small kitchen utensil or decorative serving spoons, or a small appliance. Blessings in the kitchen!
Linda Kozar, is a successful author of over 16 books, speaker, and radio host of Chat Noir Mystery & Suspense and Network Coordinator for the Along Came A Writer Network on BlogTalk Radio. Founder, former president, and current board member of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she was the recipient of ACFW’s Mentor of the Year award 2007. She is currently a PR Director for the Christian Authors Network and is a member of Chi Libris, ACFW, RWA, AWSA, and CAN. Linda and her husband of 28 years, Michael live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, wonderful son-in-law and their spunky Jack Russell Terrier, Gypsy.