Gingerbread creations a big hit with Palisade holiday celebrants

As I write this, I still have visions dancing in my head of whimsical and artistic gingerbread houses, a carrousel, village, church, gingerbread men ice fishing, trucks, radio station, historical buildings, even an outhouse and a fruit stand with hundreds of tiny fruits and vegetables.

All the entries were made of gingerbread and other edible things. The quality, charm and creativity brought exclamations of unbelief, awe and artistic appreciation by the hundreds of people who visited Palisade’s Gingerbread House Contest and Showcase on Saturday.

I found a great old recipe via the Internet and received permission to print it from Ellen Gutman Chenaux, keeper and proprietor of The Birchwood Inn in Maine. The recipe was from a retired Air Force general and previous owner of the inn, who now lives in Colorado Springs.

Christmas Morning Gingerbread Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick baking mix

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup unsulphured dark molasses

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix dry ingredients together until blended and the lumps in the Bisquick are reduced to a minimum. Add the eggs, molasses and milk and blend until the batter is smooth. Be careful not to over-mix.

Hints: Mixing’s easier by blending milk and molasses separately before adding to batter. If the batter is too thin, pancakes take longer to set up than a normal pancake. If the batter is too thick, the pancakes become very dark when fully cooked, but I personally like them on the dark side — they are not burned, they just look that way — it’s a matter of taste. You’re probably on the safe side if batter slightly thinner than normal.

Ginger-Lemon Sauce

1 1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice (bottled OK, Dixie uses fresh)

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 lemon rind, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, finely minced

Mix all ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring slowly to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes; careful not to boil over, (expands exponentially once it starts to boil; makes a bloody awful mess of the stove.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Serve with gingerbread pancakes.

 

Let’s move on from gingerbread.

The Burmeister clan will serve this soup at our traditional Christmas Eve soup/appetizers dinner compliments of Penny Stine, who, along with her Daily Sentinel compatriots Katherine Lopez, Cindy Whalen and Linda Simms, won People’s Choice and second place in the Group Category for their gingerbread Palisade produce stand.

Penny’s Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

2–3 chicken breasts/hind quarter pieces (or both)

2 quarts water

1 bunch spinach, chopped

3 jalapenos, sliced

1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

1–1 1/2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1–2 cups sliced mushrooms

Juice of 1 lime

1 or 2 cans coconut milk

1 heaping teaspoon curry

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1/2 pound fettucine or Phad Thai noodles (Penny uses fettucine. “I wouldn’t know a Phad Thai noodle if you hit me with a wet one,” she said. Note: Phad Thai noodles are rice noodles.)

Place chicken in big pot with the water, bring to boil, then simmer chicken until done; remove chicken, shred, keep stock. Strain any fat off top. Cook noodles in stock, remove with slotted spoon as soon as they’re done; let cool. Add mushrooms, jalapenos, cabbage, and spices and fish sauce to stock and bring to a boil. Add meat back and coconut milk, lime juice, cooked noodles, spinach and cilantro. Heat just until hot to keep spinach and noodle texture. Serve with won ton appetizers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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