Family recipes are a central part of the holiday season. Often passed down from generation to generation, they evoke memories of gatherings from the past and the beloved family members that were present.
These living heirlooms are as delicious as they are sentimental. Three Longmont community members have been kind enough to share their own recipes and talk about why they look forward to preparing them at this time of year.
Scott Cook, CEO Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce
“I’m a terrible cook, despite my last name,” confessed Scott Cook the CEO of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce. Cook has deep roots living and working in Longmont. Born here, he began his career at the Longmont Chamber of Commerce as a part-time receptionist. He’s since served as the events coordinator and then was promoted to CEO in 2017.
Cook’s pick for a recipe is Baked Alaska Pie, a dessert his mother cooks every Christmas. The recipe was originally submitted to a Junior League Cookbook by his grandmother — D. Blackwell Brown, Jane Churchill — years ago and part of his family tradition for as long as he could remember.
1 1/3 cup of crushed chocolate wafers
4 Tbsp of margarine, melted
½ gallon of peppermint ice cream
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff
6 Tbsp of sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Combine chocolate wafer crumbs with the margarine and press into a ten-inch glass pie plate. Bake at 350F for five minutes and then cool. Cut ice cream in pieces and fit it into a pie shell.
Put into freezer while making meringue of four egg whites beaten stiff with six tablespoons of sugar and one fourth a teaspoon of cream of tartar. Smooth the ice cream and push down in the pie shell until it is solid.
Spread meringue well over the edge. Put a piece of pie over a board. Place the pie on the board and brown meringue in a preheated 500F oven.
Serve immediately with chocolate sauce or put in a freezer until it’s ready to be served.
Yield: Eight portions.
Sean Gafner, Longmont Chef and Restaurateur
Residents living in or near Longmont during the last decade have likely eaten at one of Sean Gafner’s restaurants — The Roost, Swaylo’s Tiki Bar or Jefe’s Tacos and Tequila. Delicious, creative cuisine is inspired by Gafner’s love of good tastes and a good time. He shared a recipe for ceviche, which is both festive and healthier than other holiday dishes.
“I was raised on a farm in a mostly Hispanic area of California, so Hispanic food is my soul food. Cooking in California for 18 years, my favorite thing to prepare is seafood,” said Gafner as he explained his recipe choice. This dish uses acid, rather than heat to “cook” its main protein.
2 1/2 lbs. of wild Pacific snapper (IQF Rock Cod) cut into ½” cubes
1 ¼ lbs. of shrimp, deveined, tails removed and cut in half
¼ quart of fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ white onion
1 ¼ red bell pepper, finely diced
1 ¼ green bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup pickled vegetable mix, chopped in the food processor
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ Tbsp minced, fresh garlic
1 Tbsp kosher salt, add more to taste
¼ quart pico de gallo
Combine uncooked snapper, shrimp and lime juice. Cover with plastic wrap to minimize air between the mixture and the plastic. Refrigerate 12 hours before checking doneness and stir if needed. After checking, let sit for at least 6 more hours or until completely denatured, then add the remaining ingredients and transfer to a serving container.
Until serving, cover tightly with plastic wrap so that no air can touch the main dish. Serve with fresh tostadas and garnish with orchid (it’s edible) for a festive, tropical holiday effect.
Yield: 10 servings, the recipe can be scaled to serve more or fewer guests. It may also be served with guacamole in the center.
Kimberlee McKee, Longmont Downtown Development Authority
During the last decade, Longmont’s Main Street area has seen significant development, particularly in the southern section. One of the largest supporters of this has been Kimberlee McKee, executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority.
During the holidays, McKee gets a break from her work and spends time in the kitchen. When her kitchen time is limited, she has a simple, easy dish she loves to make for family and guests: the iconic Hershey’s Kiss pretzel.
Equal part dessert and snack food, McKee said “When my kids were young, they would peel the foil off all the kisses I was going to use, while watching holiday movies. Great memories from this time of year.”
One bag of Hershey’s kisses. McKee uses a mix of dark and milk chocolate.
Small pretzels, can be traditional shape or square, grid pretzels
One bag of plain M&Ms
Line a cookie sheet with pretzels. Top each with a Hershey's kiss and add to a preheated oven until it is just melted. Remove from the oven, top with one plain M&M, and enjoy.