Category Archives: Seasonal

Celebrating the MLK Jr. Holiday with the Core Ensemble

We love our beautiful new “Ain’t I a Woman!” actress Christy Hall!

Christy-contract-2

Christy and the Ensemble are re-creating those great African American ladies with insight, dignity and grace:

Ladies

Fannie Lou Hamer, Clemetine Hunter, Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston

Following our local programming in Florida, we’ll bring the show to venues in New York, Virginia, Oklahoma, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana, California, Colorado, Oregon and North Dakota (brrr….).

The artists are looking forward to their time on the road – over the years there have been some incredible artistic and culinary adventures. In 2013, our travels took us to Pochahontas, Arkansas, home of the Eddie Mae Herron Center, www.herroncenter.org,  a museum and cultural center celebrating 200 years of African American History in Randolph County, AR. The ensemble was treated to a fabulous lunch including a remarkable Chicken Pot Pie. Wanda Hogue was gracious enough to share the recipe with Percussionist Michael Parola. Here’s a suggestion for your MLK Jr. Holiday dinner:

Wanda Hogue’s Chicken Pot Pie 

easy-chicken-pot-pie1-300x225

1/3 cup butter

¼ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

¼ cup flour

½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

½ tsp. celery salt

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup light cream

3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 large can drained mixed vegetables

Crust:

3 cups flour

1 ½ tsp salt

3 tsp vinegar

1 1/8 cup Crisco

¾ cup milk

Directions: In a medium saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add onions and celery and cook a few minutes. Blend in ¼ cup flour, salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and celery salt. Add chicken stock and stir slowly over low heat until thickened. Remove from heat. Add chicken and vegetables. Mix crust: flour, salt, shortening, then add milk and vinegar. Put half into a 13 x 9 pan, add chicken mixture, top with remaining pastry. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

Just imagine: CREAM and BUTTER! No wonder it’s good!

 

 

 

An Amazing Season Comes to a Close

Ju Young Lee

Ju Young Lee

Kevin Melendez

Kevin Melendez

Another fall season of Core Ensemble touring has come to a close. We celebrated diversity and multiculturalism  from Florida to California,  from Minnesota to Texas, and just about everywhere in between. A  fine season, with much to be grateful for!

We’re grateful for wonderful new personnel.  Our cellist , JY Lee, is a delight –  a charming colleague and a musician of consummate artistry! Actor/Singer Kevin Melendez, featured in the  “Los Valientes”,  Hispanic Heritage tour, brought an amazing  intensity to his portrayals of Diego Rivera, Archbishop Romero, and Joaquin Murietta. Audiences loved him!

We’re grateful to all our presenters around the country, but especially to those of longstanding: Marty Wheeler Burnett at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Karen Burdette at Tennessee Tech, Kelly Thomas at Georgia Regents University, and Ellie Meyer at San Jacinto College in Houston. We love working with you!

We’re grateful for our supporters – private individuals who have stepped up to the plate during these difficult times of reduced funding for the arts. As it turns out we have been “entertaining angels unawares” for some time!

We’re grateful to be alive and well in sunny South Florida for the holidays – the most beautiful time of year hereabouts!  The garden is in and the holidays are in full swing. Here’s the Pecan Pie recipe I made for Thanksgiving Dinner. I used the recipe on the bottle of Karo Dark Corn Syrup, with a couple of innovations: instead of white sugar I use brown sugar. Along with the tsp. of vanilla, I put in a tsp. of Myers Dark Rum.  This recipe goes together fast – 5 minutes prep time! So good I may make it again for Christmas dinner!


Pecan Pie

  • 1 cup Karo Dark Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Myers Dark Rum
  • 1 ½ cups pecans
  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell

Stir the first 5 ingredients thoroughly.  Mix in pecans. Pour into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 – 70 minutes Cool for 2 hours. Store the pie in the refrigerator. Serve with whipped cream.

Another highpoint of the season – a Christmas Cookie Extravaganza that I hosted with some of my friends – the dearest people and BEST BAKERS in South Florida.

Cookie Elves

Cookie Elves

…and a quick visual resume of our fabulous cookies and voluptuous eggnog:

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

One of my favorites from the cookie event is from a blog called The Novice Chef. What sets it apart, I think, is the almond extract:

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 24 Cookies

I used a 2” biscuit cutter

Ingredients:

4 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Zest of one large lemon, grated

2 T. lemon juice

1 t. almond extract

3 T. chopped rosemary

Additional flour to knead

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add zest, juice, almond extract, and rosemary. On medium-low speed mix in flour until just incorporated. Flour a work surface. Transfer dough –  it will be very soft – to work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding up to 1 cup of flour a little at a time to create a soft dough that stays together. Roll out the dough and cut with biscuit cutter or other shape of your choice. Bake at 325 for 20 – 25 minutes.

A DELIGHTFUL HOLIDAY SEASON TO ALL

FROM THE CORE ENSEMBLE!!!