Tis the season for Congressional eating

If you’ve ever wondered what Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) likes to eat during the holidays, the mystery is over — it’s cranberry bread. Or maybe you’re looking to substitute your regular holiday pecan pie for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) famous chocolate nut pie. Read on for a sampling of lawmakers’ all-star holiday recipes, including Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-Neb.) heart attack-worthy potato casserole, Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) pineapple squares and Rep. Grace Napolitano’s (D-Calif.) guacamole.

Rep. Grace Napolitano’s Guacamole

Ingredients:
10 avocados (Haas or Calavo), firm but not soft (if hard, place in a paper bag until thumb pressure dents the surface.)
4 fresh, solid, medium-sized tomatoes, diced in ¼-inch segments
2 bunches of green onions, sliced almost wafer-thin
Garlic salt, added to taste
2 large, fresh jalapeño peppers, scored lengthwise about 1/8-inch and then minced.

Directions:
Place tomatoes, onions, garlic salt and peppers in a large bowl before beginning on the avocados. (Start with a small amount of peppers, and then add to taste.) Cut avocados all around and then separate halves by twisting. Using the knife, hit the seed to separate it from the meat of the avocado. Carefully score lengthwise and then score vertically. With a large spoon, scoop the avocados into a large bowl until all 10 are done. Fold — do not mash — the tomatoes, onions, garlic salt and jalapeños with a large wooden spatula or spoon, turning the bowl until well-mixed. Add salt and pepper as desired.

 

Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Chocolate Nut Pie

Ingredients:
½ cup margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
¾ cup chocolate chips
Unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Directions:
Mix in the order given. Pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the middle is set.

 

Sen. John Kerry’s Massachusetts Cranberry Bread

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup chopped Massachusetts
cranberries
½ cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Grease and flour a loaf pan. Cream the butter or margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer. Stir in the cranberries, water and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together and stir in with the batter. Add the chopped walnuts to the mixture and pour in the loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Test with a toothpick.

 

Sen. Ben Nelson’s Potato Casserole

Ingredients for filling:
2 lbs. frozen hash brown potatoes
½ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup cream of potato soup or cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream with chives
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
½ cup celery, chopped

Ingredients for toppings:
2 cups crushed potato chips
½ cup melted butter

Directions:
Defrost potatoes. Combine melted butter, salt, pepper, soup and sour cream. Mix hash browns with onion, celery and cheese. Mix in soup mixture. Pour into greased 9-by-12” casserole dish. Mix butter and chips. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. This dish can be frozen and heated before serving.

 

Rep. Darrell Issa’s Pineapple Squares

Ingredients for filling:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup sugar
One 20 oz. can (or 2½ cups) crushed pineapple in syrup (Pineapple in natural syrup may be used. Increase sugar for filling to ¾ cup.)
¾ cup water
1 beaten egg yolk

Ingredients for dough:
1 cake of yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup butter
3 beaten egg yolks

Ingredients for frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:
For the filling, combine cornstarch and sugar. Add crushed pineapple and cook on low heat until smooth, thick and clear, about five to 10 minutes. Add one beaten egg yolk, mix well, and set aside to cool.
For the dough, dissolve the cake of yeast and sugar in the milk. Set aside to proof in a warm place. Sift flour and cut in butter as in making a pie crust until it looks like little peas. Add milk mixture to egg yolks. Combine with flour and butter mixture. Divide the dough in two parts. Roll out to fit at 12-by-14” or 10-by-15” greased jellyroll pan. Place one layer of dough in the jellyroll pan. Spread with pineapple filling and cover with the other half of the dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until lightly golden brown.
For the frosting, mix powdered sugar and milk. Frost while squares are still warm. Sprinkle with chopped nuts while frosting is moist so that they can stick.