Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Greetings 2015/16 . . . and a litany of festive recipe links

The Calm One, Dirac the Young Cat, and I, all wish you and yours a very happy holiday! Souped-up Garden will return in the New Year. Light a few candles, throw some red bows/tinsel about, and fill a vase with fragrant herbs which will also fill your home with a bracing scent especially if you remember to crush a few leaves and stems when passing.

Bay leaf branches & their flower buds, rosemary, ivy & their dark blue berries

Since Dirac has been too busy shopping for our presents to pose, here's a photo of him as a kitten.

Wonderful kitten grew up to be a wonderful cat

I'll be trying out some new menu ideas during my break from blogging, but until weekly posting resumes the following links to recipes suitable for winter festivities hopefully will add some cheer. Cuban Hot Chocolate, made by melting bittersweet chocolate, adding cream, and sloshing in some salted caramel sauce, is potent. In fact, it's amazing, sensual, and unctuous beyond belief. A demitasse cup is an elegant way of offering it to your guests as an after-dinner treat. 

Not a demitasse serving; this amount sufficed for lunch!

Date Walnut Bread is a nice addition to the holiday bread basket. A bit of salted caramel spread on a slice works very well.

It also makes a great cream cheese sandwich

Crespelle en Brodo is a gorgeous Italian recipe. A stack of crepes are layered with Parmesan/freshly ground black pepper and steeped in strong chicken broth. As a first course, it is splendid.

A truly elegant version of chicken noodle soup

Polish-style Borscht with Beef Dumplings (this old post has some corrupted photos but the instructions remain correct) boasts of a clear, ruby-coloured broth. This recipe which was given to me by my mum-in-law may be labour intensive, but it does make a delicious Christmas Eve supper.

The family tradition chez nous embraces HUGE dumplings

Burek, i.e., Balkan Spinach Cheese Pie, is made with dough first soaked in clarified butter and then stretched by hand until it resembles the thinest silk. Its finished texture is closer to strudel than filo.

Dusting with paprika complements the green nicely

Stirring in some halved radishes while briefly sauteing the aromatics when making Lettuce, Capers, and Garlic Braised in Olive oil would add flavour, but also colour befitting the season.

What? You don't keep a jar or two of capers in your cupboard chez vous

Lemon Curd Almond Shortbread is halfway between a cookie and a tartlet. Having a nice supply of homemade lemon curd better known as sunshine in a jar comes in handy...

Baking them in muffin tins gives them a tapered contour

. . . for instance, to fill a Quick Coffee Cake

Dusting with cinnamon sugar before baking gives a toffee crust that locks in moisture

Joyeuses fêtes!