April 26, 2017

Everyday Gourmet (12/17/09)

Cook’s happy holiday

Dec. 17, 2009

By Kim Dannies

Imagine every family’s holiday cook calmly seated by the fire before dinnertime, relaxing, perhaps with a celebratory glass of bubbly — that’s my wish for Christmas. To achieve this lofty goal, plan a “do ahead meal,” starting with a big baked ham. Easy to prepare, ham satisfies a lot of hungry people and the leftovers jumpstart breakfast beautifully.

For do-ahead sides, whip up a spicy applesauce. A festive salad of reds and greens will help to make things bright. And don’t skimp on the decadent holiday potatoes — there is nothing finer than a nice bubbling potato casserole right out of the oven. This family treasure, compliments of Sally and Emma Mead of Hinesburg, has been a family tradition for decades. So cooks everywhere, please make my wish come true and enjoy a do-ahead holiday meal!

Mead Family Holiday Potatoes

One day ahead: Chop a large onion; sauté in 2 ounces of butter for 15 minutes. Peel and quarter-cut 4 pounds of red potatoes; boil for 25 minutes, then drain. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher. Add 1 can cream of celery soup, 2 cups lite sour cream, 8 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 5 minced garlic cloves and the sautéed onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour potato mixture into a 10-by-12-inch baking dish, cover and chill.

To serve: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle 3 cups of crushed corn flakes then drizzle all over with 1/3 cup of melted butter. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more. Serves 12 to 14.

Festive Salad

One day ahead: Clean, dry and de-stem 2 large bunches of Italian parsley leaves. Place in a festive serving bowl. Shave-slice 2 heads of radicchio lettuce into fine ribbons; shave-slice 2 medium bulbs of fennel (white part); slice 1 pint of grape tomatoes in half; ribbon-cut 2 large bunches of fresh basil. Gently add to bowl, cover and chill. In a jar, mix 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup of olive oil. To serve, shake up dressing; lightly toss small portions with the salad until mixed. Top with 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, 1 cup of pine nuts and freshly ground pepper. Serves 12 to 14.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.



  1. youngvt says:

    I am writing in response to Mr. Hoxworth’s article on transportation costs for the poor in Vermont. I would like to suggest further research on this topic before we simply just give another handout or tax credit. The poor, may, have a higher disproportionate burden on their transportation costs than the wealthier residents of Vermont; however, they also have a lower disproportionate burden on taxes and housing. Pick your evil.
    We can simply just give every poor Vermonter an energy efficient car, gas card, free tuition, renter’s rebate, etc.…but the only way out of poverty is through the combination of education, hard work, and discipline. Education and degrees are not handed out or purchased; a person has to EARN them. This seems to be the only way out of poverty—sorry, there are no shortcuts.
    If we continue this trend of enabling, our entire state will be a welfare state.

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