Entertaining and being entertained

Over the long (Thursday through Monday) King Turkey Day weekend, Hubby Bryan and I had the pleasure of hosting two members of the delegation from Cuero, Texas. Texan Laura and I chased turkeys together in 1998 as members of our respective cities’ turkey race teams, so we’re old friends, but her husband, Ronnie, was a newcomer to Minnesota. Between taking care of our various parade duties and the King Turkey Day festivities, Bryan and I showed them around our city. 

As much as we enjoy entertaining, one of the advantages of hosting Texans during KTD is that you don’t really have to cook for them. The delegation was invited to a number of hospitality events throughout the weekend, and we, as their hosts, got to tag along. At one such event, which featured delectable walleye cooked up by the Southwest Minnesota Club, this corn side dish rated raves from many of the diners. Paula Engesser and Megan Prins, who whipped it up as members of the hospitality crew, both said it was “super easy” to put together.

Slow Cooker Corn

In a slow cooker, combine four 16-ounce packages frozen corn, one 8-ounce package and one 3-ounce package (that’s 11 ounces in all) of cream cheese, ¼ cup butter, 3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 6 slices American cheese.

Cover and cook for 4 hours. (Megan and Paula didn’t specify, but I would assume this dish would be best cooked on the low setting of the slow cooker.)

 During some of their rare downtime, a few of the Texans were taken out to the local apple orchard, where they not only tasted some of the local apple varieties but also got in on the weekly pie fundraiser. Unfortunately, airline regulations and baggage charges made it difficult for them to take any of the wonderful apples back home.

But we have the advantage of direct access to a wide variety of eating and baking apples at this time of year. What’s you’re favorite way of utilizing the season’s apple bounty? Please consider sharing your recipes with your fellow readers.

To whet your appetite for more apple goodness, here’s a recipe featuring a classic combination: apples and caramel.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 1½ quart casserole.

Unwrap half the caramels in a 14-ounce bag and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Add ¼ cup whole milk. Microwave at 50 percent power for 2 minutes; remove and stir. Continue microwaving for 1-minute intervals, stirring between, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. Using a whisk, slowly stir in another 2¾ cups whole milk until smooth. Add 2½ cups cubed raisin swirl bread to caramel mixture.

In another bowl, beat 2 eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla and ¼ cup melted butter. Add to caramel mixture along with 2 cups peeled and diced apples and 1 cup raisins; stir until combined.

Pour mixture into prepared casserole and top with 1 cup slightly crushed granola.

Place the casserole inside a larger roasting pan. Place in oven and pour water into the roasting pan until it comes up about 1 inch on the sides of the casserole.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes or until pudding is set and top begins to brown. Cool for 20 minutes before serving; serve in bowls topped with vanilla ice cream.

 Lagniappe is updated on an almost daily basis at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/. To submit recipes, e-mail brickers@dglobe or send to Lagniappe, Daily Globe, Box 639, Worthington 56187.

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