In Season November 2011

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Alanna Weissman

Pass the Bread
November 17 brings Homemade Bread Day. Try this recipe for Chunk o’ Cheese Bread from If your clan approves of the appetizer, consider adding it to your Thanksgiving feast.
•1¾ c. water •½ c. cornmeal •2 tsp. salt •½ c. molasses •2 Tbs. shortening •1¼-oz. active dry yeast •½ c. warm water (110°F) •1 c. whole wheat flour •3½ c. bread flour •1 lb. processed American cheese, cubed
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, stir together water, cornmeal and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the molasses and shortening. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let sit until creamy, about ten minutes. Add the cornmeal mixture and the whole wheat flour; blend well. Add the bread flour, ½ cup at a time and stirring well after each addition. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten. Place of the cheese cubes on the flattened dough and fold the dough up to enclose the cubes. Do this twice more, until all of the cheese is incorporated into the dough. You may have to let the dough rest for a few minutes between folding. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form each piece into a round. Place the rounds on lightly greased baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Up in the Sky
Looking for high-flying entertainment to amuse your kids? In honor of Aviation History Month, take a trip to an aviation museum. Learn to soar by partaking in the museum’s activities and browsing the exhibits after locating a museum near you at

Go Nuts
Peanut Butter Lovers Month is sure to delight those with a taste for the classic spread. Visit a Web site dedicated to the condiment at Hankering for an easy PB treat to make at home? Try making Peanut Butter Bars I, courtesy of
•1 c. butter, melted •2 c. graham cracker crumbs •2 c. confectioners’ sugar •1 c. peanut butter •1½ c. semisweet chocolate chips •4 Tbs. peanut butter
In a medium bowl, mix the butter, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan. In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the remaining peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour then cut into squares.

Turkey Time
In preparation for Thanksgiving, try some holiday projects from to decorate your house. A handful of the seasonal crafts include a Tissue Paper Turkey, Corn-Print Place Mats, Button Indian Corn Napkin Rings and Harvest Linens. Enlist the kids and they’ll be proud to show off their artistic creations come mealtime.

Spice is Nice
November 8 is Cook Something Bold Day. In honor of the occasion, whip up this inventive recipe for Jalapeño Cookies from
•2½ c. flour •1 tsp. baking soda •1 tsp. salt •1 tsp. cinnamon •1½ tsp. ground cayenne •¼ tsp. cumin •½ lb. butter, at room temperature •¾ c. packed brown sugar •¼ c. granulated sugar •1 pkg. (3.4 oz) Jello cheesecake flavored instant pudding •2 large eggs •1 tsp. lime extract (key lime recommended) •1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (about ¼ c.) •Cayenne to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the first six ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add instant pudding, mixing well. Add eggs and lime extract, mixing until well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Slowly add flour, mixing well. Using a standard ice cream scoop measuring 2 ounces, or by rounded spoonfuls, drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne (if desired). For 2-ounce cookies, bake for 16-18 minutes. For rounded tablespoon-sized cookies, bake 12-14 minutes. After removing from the oven, wait 1 minute and transfer from pan to cool.

A Day for Parfaits
Pay homage to National Parfait Day on November 25 with this sweet dish from
•3-4 c. assorted berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and/or raspberries) •2 Tbs. granulated white sugar, or to taste •½ c. (4 oz.) mascarpone cheese •½ c. heavy whipping cream •3 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar, or to taste •½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Cutting the strawberries into pieces if they are large, place all the berries in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Stir to combine and leave to macerate for about 30 minutes. In a bowl, beat the mascarpone, heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract with electric or hand mixer, or a wire whisk, until soft peaks form. Take four wine or parfait glasses and layer the berries with the cream. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, if desired. The parfaits can be made several hours before serving. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

This column appeared in the November 2011 issue.