Christmas in the Kitchen with Kimberly Whitman
CHRISTMAS WITH FAMILY
Kimberly says her parents taught her the importance of remembering the “reason for the season” at Christmas. As a family they would always attend the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Her brother and sister would always try to be the last ones to blow out their candle. On Christmas morning, Kimberly’s father would always read the Christmas story from the Bible before presents were opened. She says her dad still continues this tradition today. Christmas is a busy time, but Kimberly encourages families to do the same. “Take a moment to remember what the season is all about,” shares Kimberly. Whether you go to a church service or take time for prayer she believes it is important to remember Jesus through the holidays. Kimberly reminds her children each year that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. “They always sing Happy Birthday to Jesus at breakfast on Christmas morning,” shares Kimberly. On Christmas morning, Kimberly and her family open presents under the tree. Then they go over to her parents for a Christmas brunch. She loves the dishes that they prepare and the memories they make each year during the holidays.
Kimberly recalls when she was growing up her grandmother never hid beautiful items away when she came over. Instead, she learned from her grandmother the “no-nos” were to look at, but not to touch. She says, “It is important to use your beautiful things that have been passed down to you by family members. You should not hide them away in a cabinet.” You can make your guests feel special during the holidays or any time of the year by using your fine china.
Kimberly grew up in Dallas, Texas. Her mom had pretty dishes and linens and her friends would always borrow them for special occasions. Kimberly realized there was no place in town where you could rent pretty pieces for events. She told her mom that they should start charging people and so they did. Kimberly started a party rental business which she ran for 3 years. When she was 24, Kimberly had the opportunity to write her first book on entertaining. Then one day a friend of hers told her a Southern lifestyle magazine was looking for an entertaining expert. After a 9 month application process, Kimberly finally met with the editors and was offered the job. Today she represents the magazine on television and in the media. She also contributes to the magazine regularly. Kimberly says, “She is thankful to be able to make a profession out of something she is passionate about.”
Southern Living celebrates the holidays with their annual holiday book, Christmas Cookbook. The book is only $10 and is also a “flip book” that has Southern Living Year Round Celebrations on the reverse. The Southern Living team didn’t want the party to end after the holidays are over so they put together 12 spectacular menus and parties to throw throughout the year. As the Editor-at-Large for Southern Living, Kimberly contributes to the magazine, shares the message of the magazine, and contributes to special projects such decorating ideas and more.
When getting ready for your Christmas party, Kimberly says it is important to create a warm welcome for your guests by adding simple touches of greenery to your home.
• Decorate a Holiday Fireplace Mantel – The mantel is the easiest place to add holiday cheer. You can create a rustic chic look with just a few easy steps. (pg. 15)
HOLIDAY PARTY FOOD
Kimberly suggests the following ideas from the latest Southern Living cookbook to help you kick off your holiday gathering:
• Merry Berry Mocktail – Make the kids feel like a part of the festivities with this mint and berry “mocktail” which features raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The bright red color is ideal for Christmas. (p. 46)
· 5 fresh raspberries
· 4 fresh blueberries
· 2 fresh blackberries
· 1 1/2 Tbsp. light agave nectar
· 5 fresh mint leaves
· 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
· 1 cup crushed ice
· 2 Tbsp. chilled ginger ale
· Garnish: fresh raspberries
1. Muddle raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, agave nectar, mint leaves, and lime juice against sides of a cocktail shaker to release flavors. Stir in crushed ice and 6 tbsp. water. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (7 to 10 seconds). Strain into a chilled 16-oz. Glass, and top with ginger ale.
· Makes 1 serving
· Hands-on Time: 5 minutes
· Total: 5 Minutes
• Cranberry-Pecan Chutney – Kimberly says, “I love this because it is easy to make extra, put it in mason jars and give it out as party favors. It also makes a great holiday gift for neighbors and friends.” Serve up this colorful chutney in mason jars and give to guests as party favors or gifts. (p. 65)
· 1 cup apple cider (in a measuring cup, already measured)
· 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (in a measuring cup, already measured)
· 1/2 cup sugar (small glass prep bowl already measured)
· 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
· 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger
· 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (small glass prep bowl already measured)
· 1/2 tsp. whole cloves (small glass prep bowl already measured)
· 1.8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper (small glass prep bowl already measured)
· 1 (12 oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries (medium glass prep bowl already measured)
· 3/4 cup dried apricots, diced (small glass prep bowl already diced)
· 1/2 tsp. loosely packed orange zest (small glass prep bowl already measured)
· 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (small glass prep bowl already measured and chopped)
1. Bring the first 8 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove cloves with slotted spoon and discard.
2. Add cranberries; increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Boil stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or just until cranberry skins begin to split and mixture begins to thicken. Discard cinnamon stick and ginger. Stir in apricots and orange zest; remove from heat. Cool completely. Serve immediately, or chill up to 2 days. Stir in pecans just before serving.
• Caramelized Apples and Onions – This dish can be made the day before for quicker preparation during the busy holiday season. (p. 54) They can be served over your favorite cracker or toast. “I always make extra because my husband loves these mixed in with the scrambled eggs the next morning,” shares Kimberly.
· 3 Tbsp. butter
· 4 cups diced sweet onions
· 2 cups diced granny smith apples
· 1/4 tsp. salt
· 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions, and sauté 10 minutes or until golden. Stir in apples; sauté 10 minutes or until caramel colored. Remove from head; stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper.
RISE AND SHINE CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST
Put a fresh spin on some classic dishes for a memorable Christmas breakfast with family and friends. Kimberly says you can start prepping your dishes the day before to eliminate stress.
• Carrot Cake Pancakes with Mascarpone Cream – Finely grate the carrots by hand with the small holes of a box grater. If you use a food processor the carrots will be too wet. Make the pancakes dense and less tender. (p. 22)
Makes: about 24 pancakes Hands-on: 40 minutes Total: 50 min, including cream toping
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda 2 cups finely grated carrots (about 1 lb)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
1 tsp. table salt 1/3 cup chopped golden raisins
2 cups buttermilk Mascarpone Cream
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar Garnish: carrot curls
¼ cup butter, melted
1. Stir together first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and next 4 ingredients in another bowl. Gradually stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in carrots and next 2 ingredients.
2. Pour about ¼ cup batter for each pancake onto a hot, buttered griddle or large nonstick skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked. Turn and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until done. Place a single layer on a baking sheet, and keep warm in 200 degree oven up to 30 minutes. Serve with Mascarpone Cream.
Note: When using a griddle, heat it to 350 degrees.
Makes: about 2 ½ cups Hands on: 10 min. Total: 10 min.
1 (8 oz.) container mascarpone cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream
1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl just until blended. Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
• Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche – Spread cheese to the crust to prevent custard from seeping out while the quiche bakes. (p. 38)
Makes: 10 servings Hands on: 1 hour, 5 min Total: 3 hours, 45 min
6 thick bacon slices 6 very large eggs
2 ¼ cups milk Vegetable cooking spray
2 tbsp. butter 2 ½ cups half-and-half
½ cup uncooked stone ground grits 1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided 1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon; drain and crumble. Transfer 2 tsp. bacon drippings into a saucepan.
2. Bring drippings, milk, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper; cook, whisking constantly, 15 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1 egg; spread in a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until set and browned. Sprinkle remaining 1 ½ cups cheese over warm grits, spreading to edges. Let stand 15 minutes.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Combine half-and-half, cream, onions and remaining 5 eggs, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. Pour over grits; sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until lightly browned and just set. Let stand 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of quiche; remove sides of pan.
• Sweet Potato Soldiers – You can prepare these (as directed through Step 2) up to 3 days before you need them. (p. 34)
Makes: 6 servings Hands on: 40 min. Total: 1 hour, 15 min.
2 lb. small fingerling sweet potatoes (about ¼ cup honey
6 [7-x 1 ½ inch] potatoes) unpeeled 2 tbsp. dark rum or bourbon
½ cup fresh orange juice ½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ cup butter 1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar Sea Salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork. Arrange in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan, and bake 25 to 35 minutes or until just tender. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely (about 30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, bring orange juice and next 5 ingredients to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Peel sweet potatoes, and cut crosswise into 1 ½ inch pieces, discarding ends.
4. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; cook over medium heat 1 minute or until butter begins to brown. Carefully add sweet potatoes, cut sides down, and cook 5 minutes. (Do not stir; move skillet across burner to promote even browning).
5. Pour orange juice mixture over potatoes, and cook 10 minutes or until glaze is slightly thickened. Transfer potatoes, seared sides up, to a serving platter; pour glaze over potatoes, and sprinkle with salt.