Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quickie cranberries destined to become holiday favorite

Here’s how to read “500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades & More:”
On a full stomach, with a grocery list at the ready and with a full stock of sticky notes to mark just about every page of things you’ll want to try.
A figgy cream pasta sauce with anchovies sounds crazy enough to work, and I’m certain the 30 or so vinaigrettes will improve my salad intake commitment. If I eat that well, I should treat myself to the mocha, minty, hazlenutty and liqueur-doused dessert toppings … maybe just over a banana instead of cake or ice cream.
George Geary will be helping several cooks through the holidays, with amazingly-easy recipes like these:

Cranberry Relish
Author’s note: This relish is made in a flash and is destined to be a holiday favorite.
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 pounds cranberries
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar and orange zest and juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in cranberries and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Espresso Rub
Author’s note: This rub adds an attractive dark look to the meat without a burnt taste.
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
In a bowl, blend together brown sugar, espresso powder, salt, hot pepper flakes, black pepper and allspice.

Pickle trays and beyond
The kids who used to stick black olives on their fingers from the mandatory holiday relish tray are grown. But the tray is still popular at my mother-in-law’s house. Vlasic Pickles for recipes like this one:
Dirty Pickle Vodka Martin1/2
Whether at a holiday work party or in the comfort of your own home, this tasty drink will bring the party to life
8 ounces Vodka
1/2 teaspoon dry Vermouth
2 Vlasic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears
1 tablespoon pickle juice from the jar
Add ice about halfway up a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, vermouth and pickle juice. Shake well, pour into 2 Martini glasses and garnish with a pickle spear in each glass.

Tim Tam triumph
With a name that sounds like it wants an accompanying dance, Tim Tam cookies are an Australian favorite that has Internet fan clubs. Pepperidge Farm brings them to American through March, and I suggest you grab some of these chocolate fudge biscuits. Here’s how PF spokespeople describe it: “Beneath a smooth layer of heavenly chocolate fudge, between two layers of crispy biscuits, a mouthwatering layer of chocolate crème awaits.”
The biscuits were like two continental shelves shifting to allow the cream to melt in my mouth. They are apparently named for a racehorse. Here’s the specs: Tim Tam Chocolate Crème and Caramel cookies are sold at major supermarkets, grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide. New Tim Tam Classic Dark cookies are sold exclusively in Target stores nationwide.

Funky Monkey has outdone itself with three new flavors of fruit that crunches. The freeze-dried fruits come in lunch-box packets sure to garner attention. Pink Pineapple, with guava, is my personal fave of the three with MangOJ (mango and orange juice) right behind. Applemon is apple and organic cinnamon. These things make your tongue tingle and they’re a healthy choice.

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