Restaurant News & Reviews

Traditions in the making

Part 2 of our collection of local holiday recipes is just as enticing as last week’s Part 1.

From zesty spinach balls to a refreshing eggnog punch created by an ll-year-old cook, you’ll find festive recipes ideal for holiday parties, family dinners or a special breakfast.

We read through more than 50 recipes submitted by readers to offer the ones on these pages. Many are family dishes passed down through generations. We offer a hearty thanks to those readers who took the time to share their recipes with all of us.

—Dawn White


Darlene Daugherty, Grover Beach

Makes: 2 cakes

Preheat over to 350. Butter two 8-inch-square cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until well-combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add sour cream and mix thoroughly.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Batter will be stiff. Stir in the vanilla, lemon zest and cherry preserves.

Spread the batter in pans. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Bonnie Crawford, Arroyo Grande

This is a longtime Crawford family favorite and very easy to make.

Makes: 3 dozen

Melt margarine in sauce pan or microwave.

Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and coconut. Mix well. Shape rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Make indent in center of each cookie and place on cookie sheet.

Fill centers with melted chocolate.

Chill until firm.


Pat Moreno, Cambria

This is one of Pat Moreno’s longtime favorite holiday recipes and her family knows to expect it starting Thanksgiving week. She recently made it for the free community Thanksgiving dinner in Cambria that served 600 people.

“ I can honestly say I’ve never had anyone say they didn’t like it,” she said. “ It has that wonderful pumpkin pie consistency and taste with a nutty crust.”

Makes: 15- 20 servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9- by- 13- inch pan and then cover the bottom with wax paper cut to fit.( This makes cake easier to turn over after it’s baked.)

Mix together all ingredients except cake mix, walnuts and butter and pour mixture into wax paper- lined pan. Sprinkle yellow cake mix ( dry) on top of pumpkin mixture. Over this, sprinkle chopped nuts and then pour the melted butter over the entire pan.

Bake for 50- 60 minutes. When testing for doneness, note that cake will be moist due to pumpkin.

Cool cake and then flip over.

Peel off the wax paper, cut in squares and serve with whipped cream.


Jeanette Fowler, Pismo Beach

Jeanette recommends this chutney as a tasty way to incorporate dates into a festive holiday meal.

Makes: 2 pints

Combine all ingredients except almonds in 3-quart saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes or until pears are tender and mixture thickened. Cool to lukewarm and stir in almonds. Serve over roast beef or chicken, or serve cold spread over cream cheese as an appetizer.


Tyler Bleuher, San Luis Obispo

Eleven- year- old Tyler’s eggnog punch recipe is always a hit at the Bleuher family’s annual holiday parties. It’s a festive twist on traditional eggnog.

Makes: 24 6- ounce servings

Place ice cream in an extra large punch bowl with half of the eggnog. Using a potato masher, stir and mash mixture until the ice cream is melted. Stir in remaining eggnog and then slowly stir in cream soda. Garnish each glass with a candy cane. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon.


Suzanne Weidler, Paso Robles

A friend from Texas gave Suzanne this recipe, and it has been a popular dish at many holiday dinners ever since.


Mix all ingredients, except topping. Place in an ungreased 9-by-12-inch dish. Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees. In the meantime, mix all topping ingredients. Spread topping over potatoes. Bake 15 minutes.


Dian Robinson, San Luis Obispo

Dian’s mother made these maple bars when Dian was a child, and now Dian makes them for her own family every holiday season. One year she forgot to buy canned biscuits and had to drive all around the county on Christmas morning until she found an open convenience store so she could bake this annual treat.

Makes: 20 bars

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first four ingredients and spread evenly in an ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan.

Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and butter and set aside.

Separate biscuits. Roll each biscuit into a 4-inch circle.

Spoon 1 tablespooon of cream cheese filling mixture onto each biscuit. Roll up, folding sides in slightly. Place seam side down in prepared pan, creating two rows of 10.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool three minutes, then serve.


Eleanor Craveiro, San Luis Obispo

Makes: 8 servings

Heat all ingredients together in double boiler or in microwave oven until cheese is melted and ingredients are hot. Keep hot in fondue pot. Serve with corn chips.


Nola Johnson, Los Osos

Nola recommends her zucchini pancakes for a tasty dinner side dish or party nibble. Healthy and simple to make, they are a nice alternative to traditionally heavy holiday fare.

Makes: about 25 pancakes

Trim and coarsely shred zucchini. In a bowl, toss zucchini with salt. Place in colander and drain for at least 15 minutes. Discard liquid.

In a bowl, beat eggs and garlic. Stir in seasoned bread crumbs, cheese, onion and black pepper only until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Stir in zucchini just until combined.

For each pancake, spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter on a hot, lightly-oiled griddle or skillet and spread to 3-inch circle. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until pancake is golden brown. Keep pancake warm while cooking remaining pancakes. Serve with or without sour cream.


Roberta Thomas, Arroyo Grande

These festive- looking spinach balls are a healthy appetizer. Served with a spicy mustard sauce, they’re always popular at Christmas parties, says Roberta Thomas.

Makes: 65 spinach balls

Thaw spinach and drain all excess moisture. Place in medium bowl and blend in remaining ingredients. Shape into balls the size of walnuts. Freeze.

( Use within 2 months)

Before serving, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen balls on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake 10- 15 minutes or until hot. Drain on paper towels. Serve with wooden picks and Spicy Mustard Sauce.

For spicy mustard sauce:

Combine dry mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. In a small saucepan, combine mustard- vinegar mixture, sugar and yolk. Simmer over low heat until slightly thickened. Cover and store in refrigerator up to one month.

Serve at room temperature.

Makes 1- 1/ 3 cups.


Stacey Gregory, Pismo Beach

Makes: 18 cookies

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 18 pieces. Place a candy in the center of each piece of dough and form a ball, making sure the candy is completely covered. Place on nonstick baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes and then transfer to waxed paper or wire rack to cool.

Divide the frosting into 2 bowls. Tint the frosting with the food coloring. Place the frosting into separate resealable bags. Snip off a corner from each bag and drizzle the cookies with frosting.


Nancy Davis, Atascadero

This has been a Davis family favorite for years. Nancy Davis recommends it as a holiday gift, too.

Makes: 10-12 servings

Mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl with a fork.

Blend in the butter with a pastry cutter or use two table knives until butter is well-combined.

To the flour mixture, add:

Stir this mixture with spoon until mixed. It should be sticky but not firm.

Next, grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or round baking pan and scrape the dough into the bottom of the pan. Spread evenly but do not pack down.

For the topping, beat one egg, brush onto dough and sprinkle liberally with sugar and anise seeds.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

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