I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but all minds are on Christmas, in our region, because of Saturday's big festival in Hammond celebrating the 25th anniversary of the classic 1983 movie "A Christmas Story."
The film is region claim-to-fame author and radio personality Jean Shepherd's homage to his childhood in Hammond during the holidays.
I'll be judging the first-ever "Christmas Story Festival Fudge Recipe Contest" on Saturday, so I wanted to share a reminder about the details.
But first, thank you to the more than 160 people who attended my Thanksgiving program with my parents at Hammond Public Library last Sunday.
And as promised, I want to ask for readers' help with a recipe request I have been asked about for the past 8 years I've been writing this column.
Since the Hammond Public Library's lobby features the original "grand clock" from the old Goldblatt's Department Store from Downtown Hammond featured in "A Christmas Story" (although, in the scene where Ralphie visits with Santa and the mean elf, the store is called Higby's Department Store), a number of guests mentioned they would love to have the recipe for "Goldblatt's Department Store's Cheesecake." It was made and sold there for decades. If anyone has this, please let me know.
As for the details for Saturday's fudge recipe contest:
* It's $10 per recipe to register on the day of the event and your unsliced prepared pan of fudge plus a copy of your recipe must be brought to the Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave., by no later than 1 p.m. for the 2 p.m. judging. You can enter in up to 2 categories.
* Old Fashioned Cooked Fudge
* Quick or Refrigerator Fudge" (which does not require to be cooked stove top to reach a certain heat temp to set, often made with marshmallows and chocolate chips)
* Best Flavored Fudge (Non-milk chocolate such as Butterscotch, White Chocolate, Strawberry, White/Dark Swirl, etc.)
* Best Favorite Ingredient Fudge (such as mint fudge with macadamia nuts, walnut fudge, fudge with raisins, etc.
* FYI: Call Karen Maravilla at (219) 512-4298.
My recipe today is as different from visions of cheesecake and fudge as possible.
But it's a special one.
It's the original exact recipe for the cooked red cabbage scene in "A Christmas Story," which Ralphie and his little brother Randy hated so much (it was served with meatloaf).
However, despite what kids might think, this is delicious!!!
Ralphie's Mom's Braised Red Cabbage
1 medium-size red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 bacon slices, diced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 apples, peeled and diced
3/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
* Toss together cabbage, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
* Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium high flame for 10 minutes or until just crisp.
* Add onion to bacon and saute another 5 minutes or until tender.
* Stir in cabbage mixture, apples, red wine, sugar and garlic to onion and bacon mixture in the pot. Cover and reduce heat to medium and simmer 30 to 35 minutes, adding a splash of water, if necessary.
* Makes 6 servings.
- - Recipe courtesy of Warner Bros. Studios