Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flavors of the Holiday Season

Christmas time is all about food, friends, family and more food. When I think of Christmas I think of "rich" foods - the exotic, seasonal, hard-to-come-by flavors which require a making of time. Seasonal fruits of citrus and nuts are usually on hand... mingling with friends like ginger, cranberry, and mushrooms (truffles!). Christmas is all about treats like cheeses and chocolates, cookies and cakes, cocktails and candy. A smoked turkey perhaps or roast beef or if you are Italian American (like me) it's not Christmas without fruits from the sea as well.

Here are some of my favorite holiday season recipes gathered from around the web.

Winter Greens
Spinach & Basil Salad with Tomatoes, Candied Walnuts & Warm Bacon Dressing

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Sherry Maple Vinaigrette

Savory Treats
Wild Mushroom and Cheese Soufflé

You had me at "puff pastry" - Pastry-Wrapped Brie with Caramelized Onions

Taglierini with White Truffles

I make this Hot Artichoke Dip recipe every Christmas Eve:
- 2 (13 3/4-ounce) cans artichoke hearts (drained & broken into smaller chunks)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup of (canned or fresh) jalepeno tomato relish
- 1 large garlic clove, mashed
- a few dashes of tobasco sauce
- a few cranks of fresh black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Scrape into a casserole dish, cover and bake for 40 minutes. Serve this savory dip warm with bagel chips, corn chips, crackers or bread. Enjoy!

Bake me Away...
Bake these Ginger Thins, and your house will smell like Christmas.

I will be baking THIS chocolate overload Buche de Noel on Christmas eve

How do you say, Croquembouche?

Finally (because I can't help myself) - Goodness, gracious, great bourbon balls of fire

Please let us know which flavors say Christmas to you.

Have a happy holiday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice!

We're excited for longer days ahead. Our Baltimore crew is under a couple feet of snow, and our Portland crew is being rained on as usual. We had a cold snap out West, but our hooptie houses have protected our carrots, beets, etc. pretty well. Hope you are all weathering the storms!