Bright Holiday Bites and Pottery to Match from Northern Clay Center

This post is sponsored by Northern Clay Center.

While the holiday season brings with it the hustle and bustle of shopping, gift wrapping, party planning, and hosting, the foodies and lovers of all things handmade delight in this time of year, for what better time to celebrate our favorite recipes and serving dishes? From the kitchens and cupboards of Northern Clay Center staff to the community of food worshipers and pottery collectors in cyberspace, we offer you a sampling of our favorite holiday food and pots. For recipes and other staff favorites, visit Northern Clay Center’s website at

Cranberry Salsa

Courtesy of the Northern Clay Center
Courtesy of Northern Clay Center

Tippy’s fresh Cranberry Salsa looking like a bowl of spicy winter in a dish by David Swenson on tiles by Forrest Lesch-Middelton.

Exactly 13 years ago, I found this recipe for cranberry salsa in the corner of a magazine ad. I wish I’d kept that page, rather than writing it down at the time, so you would believe me when I say it looked as if it wasn’t supposed to be found. The cracker ad was already overloaded with cracker ideas, and I often wonder if they stuck this misfit recipe in at the last moment to fill a tiny empty space. Truly, who eats salsa on crackers? (If you do, you should stop that right now.)

I make the salsa every year. If I forget about the salsa, someone strongly reminds me I had better make it. A friend apologized while requesting “my” recipe, treating it as if it were a temple secret available only to my inducted offspring. I didn’t have the heart to admit it came from a cracker ad circa 2002.

Pork and Kraut

Courtesy of the Northern Clay Center
Courtesy of Northern Clay Center

Amanda’s rendition of Grandma’s slow-cooker pork and sauerkraut, all cuddled up in a bowl by Andrew Avakian.

What does your family eat for a special holiday meal? Turkey? Sure. Ham? Yep. Turducken? If you’re feeling ambitious, go for it. My holiday meal always — ALWAYS — included pork and Grandma’s homemade sauerkraut. Jars of Grandma’s kraut are hoarded and guarded by the older members of my family like Gollum and his Precious, and the dish itself is pretty hard to come by outside of sanctioned celebrations.

I finally learned to make my own version and grow my own cabbage, but sadly, I don’t have the antique mandoline to slice it on; I just make do with my newfangled Benriner model.

German Chocolate Cake

Courtesy of the Northern Clay Center
Courtesy of Northern Clay Center

Sarah’s take on a single-serving German chocolate cake … perfectly sized in a 6-inch cake pan … shown here on a Jeff Oestreich dessert plate.

My favorite holiday recipe is for German chocolate cake, adapted from my Grandma Betty Jo’s old recipe card, which my father has refused to give to me … so I rely on an old photocopy.

Betty Jo is with me every time I bake. She passed away more than 15 years ago, but her spirit lives on every time I preheat my oven and reach for my measuring spoons. I like to think that if she were alive today, she’d enjoy selecting the perfect ceramic plate from the cabinet as much as she enjoyed baking.

My husband and I made the now famed cake the first New Year’s Eve we spent together. Now, it’s an annual tradition and a sweet little date night treat during the holiday season. When I think of German chocolate cake, I recall watching my grandma bake, eating this delicious cake made for me by my father, and now, I have fun memories of Mike + me + a little wine in the kitchen baking our way into the New Year.

For help choosing the perfect pot for your favorite holiday recipes, visit our gallery, shop online at, or call us at 612.339.8007.