Saturday, November 27, 2010

Enter the Holidays, and Kathryn's Cornbread Casserole

I've always resisted any indication of the holiday season while there are still leaves on the trees here in upstate New York, while warm breezes still blow, and before Halloween even arrives.  But now that Thanksgiving, what I consider to be the gateway holiday to the season, has come and gone, I'm eager to listen to Christmas carols on the radio, to begin to think about the perfect gift for someone, or try to remember where I packed away the lights and tree stand!  When he arrived Wednesday night, Russ brought me a beautiful pine wreath with a big red bow, and it is hanging on the door to my apartment.  So it begins.  Now, I can enthusiastically embrace what will unfold over the next four weeks.

As the gateway holiday, this Thanksgiving was a fine example.  Katie created a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and cooked up a storm.  She brined a 23-pound turkey, made her own whole-cranberry sauce, a cranberry walnut salad with blue cheese, a great mashed potato casserole from Cooks Country, and a pumpkin soup.  She also made a terrific artichoke dip.  She set a beautiful table.  This dinner was a combined effort, however.  Katie's mother-in-law Penny brought a pumpkin custard,  made the stuffing, and cooked up an abundance of gravy just before the meal was served.  Kathryn, Katie's dad's wife, made a delicious cornbread casserole and an incredible pumpkin spice cake from a recipe from Country Living Magazine.  My contributions were a green bean casserole with fresh mushrooms, a pumpkin pie (had to have it), and a mile-high chocolate cream pie for the genetically predisposed in my family.  Sydney made a huge apple-raisin crisp, and Russ brought an apple-cranberry pie, home-made and lovingly purchased from the deli across the street from his home in Union Springs.  In addition to all this, there was a table-full of appetizers including shrimp, cheese and crackers, and an Indian pastry, Samosas, that my son-in-law Bill loves.  Dinner was served on fine china that Bill's father, Richard, brought back from Japan, purchased during his tour-of-duty as a gift for his mother.  Katie broke out the Hofmann family silver, which made it all very special.

Poor Tom, though he was delicious!

 There were 13 of us for dinner, including Henry, who very happily sat in his high chair and spooned gravy over a Clementine that he had been carrying around all morning!  Five-week old Peter's meals are still quite simple, and next year he'll join us at the table. 

Henry with Aunt Tricia - who's having more fun?

The dessert table

I am very thankful that I am able to share such a holiday with my daughter and her expanded family, and that three of my five children were in the same place at the same time, though Meghan, her boyfriend Mark,  and  my son Joe were missed.  Katie loves to open her home to friends and relatives.  She's good at it, too, and I am proud to see the effort she puts into making a memorable experience for all her guests. 

Peter with Grandma Kathryn

In the spirit of sharing something really terrific, here is a simple, easy recipe for Kathryn's cornbread casserole.  You can find more complicated recipes that require a lot more work, but you can't find one more delicious than this one.  I encourage you to try this as a nice compliment to any holiday dinner you might be planning, or even for a bit of comfort food one weeknight during all the hustle and bustle.  Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Kathryn's Cornbread Casserole

1-can whole kernel corn drained
1-can creamed corn
8-oz sour cream
1 stick margarine, melted (or butter, if you prefer)
1-box Jiffy cornbread mix
Preheat oven to 350degrees.

Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9x13 (or equivalent capacity) baking  or casserole dish that has been greased or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 
Bake until browning begins on top, about half-an hour to thirty-five minutes.

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