Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pralines, beans and corn fill holiday tables

You’ve got to be confident about what you’re bringing to the table when you carry little strips of paper with the recipe, because you know people will want it.
Martha Troxell spied me going back to sample her Presto Pralines at a holiday table. The crispy, pecan brown candy was baked into graham crackers. So good. So portable. Guess I wasn’t sneaky enough.
She and her husband, Bob, shared the story of how their daughter, Donna Oberle, was just a young little thing when this recipe won her an air conditioner in the Port Arthur News Cooking contest.
The family has been making it ever since, and they said I could share it with readers. When you see the Troxells, thank them.

Presto Pralines
20 to 24 graham crackers
1 cup (two sticks) butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup pecan pieces
Line a 15 by 10 inch by 1 inch jelly roll pan with whole graham crackers. Bring the butter and sugar to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; when bubbling has stopped, add the chopped pecans. Spoon evenly over the graham crackers. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

Solid salads
I’m grateful I work beside a health nut. Bonus: Callie Summerlin is as into trying new, international flavors as she is eating clean and healthy on a regular basis.
We were both invited to a covered dish and I put down that I was making a garbanzo bean salad.
She said she’d bring a quinoa salad.
Neither of us mentioned that corn, black beans and lime dressing would be featured players in both our creations.
So both salads looked pretty much alike next to each other on the table. It was like we each showed up wearing the same dress. I think I know who would win in a “who wore it best” vote between us.
But other guests seemed genuinely interested in both our salads. Hers was resplendent in quinoa, the South American super grain that, we pronounce KEEN wa, and cilantro.
Mine also featured cranberries, feta cheese and black olives.
I don’t know if she had an original recipe, but mine kept evolving because I wanted to carry it in my clear glass bowl with a cover. When everything I had imagined was in the bowl, it still looked a bit empty, so I kept adding more.
Don’t you love a good potluck party?

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