By Libby Hires
What’s Cooking in Bryan County
Just when you thought it was safe to read the newspaper, bam, I show up again! After a little sabbatical from writing, I have dusted off the old keyboard. I am resurrecting my cooking column for the merriment of readers and to share a few recipes along the way.
For the newcomers, please allow me to introduce myself. I grew up mostly in North Carolina, with my late teen years in South Carolina. I have been a Bryan Countian since the mid-80s. It became my “stomping grounds” while I was dating one of the high school coaches.
He coached basketball and baseball during the time when Richmond Hill didn’t even have football. In fact, Jimmy Hires came to The Hill when the school was K-12 and the games were played in “the old barn” (the old gym located at what is now the Community Education Complex). He coached at RHHS forever. I became employed by the school system as well and have enjoyed watching many of the young people in our community grow up now into adulthood…though I am still 29.
Jimmy and I married in 1987. We have two children, Kala and Jay, that grew up to become educators and coaches. They all have been the talk of my columns for the years. That’s what I do…I share my life and my recipes.
My column originated in the early 90s. Wow. I cannot believe it has been that long. I began it when my daughter was a toddler and I had to type it or handwrite it then fax it to the newspaper. In fact, who knows, maybe one day this column will be podcast and include video links online. We’ve come a long way, baby! What’s going on with my family now? My daughter Kala is married to James, who is also a teacher and coach. They have 2 young sons, Klace and Kade. Jay recently got married to Julia, also an educator. We are so excited to add Julia to our family and know that this is going to be a great adventure!
So, let’s get cooking y’all! In time for Jay and Julia’s wedding, let me share some recipes for some of my celebration favorites!
MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES
(Also known as Russian Teacakes, these cookies were one of the first cookies I learned how to make. Oh, I love these!)
Ingredients 1 cup butter, softened (do not use margarine) 1 ½ cup powdered sugar, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour ¾ cup finely chopped pecans ¼ teaspoon salt Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla.
Stir in flour, pecans, and salt until dough forms.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls then place onto an ungreased or parchment paper- lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown (bottom of cookie will be slightly golden). Remove from cookie sheet and place onto a cooling rack. Cool slightly. Place remaining powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll cookies into sugar then return to cooling rack. When completely cool, roll again in sugar. Store in an airtight container.
(This one yells “Happy Fall, y’all”, but is great for Christmas, too!) Ingredients 2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail 1 tablespoon grated orange rind 2 cups orange juice (no-pulp preferred) ½ cup sugar 5 cloves (whole) 1 quart ginger ale, chilled 1 small orange (optional) Directions: Combine first 5 ingredients into a large soup pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5- 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cloves and chill.
Pour mixture into punch bowl. Add ginger ale. For a garnish, slice orange into thin slices. Remove seeds. Float slices on top of punch mixture. Note: If serving later, keep refrigerated until ready to serve.