Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving flavors part of a trend

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers. I hope you are eating well.
I shared McCormick’s Flavor Forecast pairing predictions earlier. There’s still time to incorporate them into your holiday meal. Here’s how I’ve been enjoying some of them, including vanilla and red food coloring:
Warm spices & pumpkin: I’ve taken tips to stir canned pumpkin into oatmeal and smoothies and add McCormick’s Pumpkin Pie spice right in. It gives you the holiday flavor without so many calories.
Ginger & molasses, baked into Amish Friendship bread. I substituted sugar for the rich, gooey molasses and it smelled so good a neighbor came and got a bite.
Nutmeg & Rum: Think eggnog truffles, or again, I’m trying McCormick imitation rum for a breakfast smoothie with banana.
Peppermint & chocolate: My grandmother always said peppermint soothes the stomach. I felt much better after mixing mint extract into Ghirardelli chocolate chips. I didn’t have a plan on what to put this mixture on, so I just enjoyed it from the spoon.

A timely gift:
My family quizzed me with culinary flash cards. Ghigo Press has three amazing calendars on coffee, spices and wine grapes and extremely helpful cards with artful photography on one side and history, tips and pairings on the other. I aced the spices test, but got tripped up by the beautiful photos. I’d never considered lemongrass from the extreme root close up or worked with such a well-lighted expanse of wasabi in green powder form. I love the spices best, but had most to learn from the grape shots. From Aglianico to Zinfandel, they all look different. I learned that my fave, merlot, is named from “merle,” French for “blackbird.” Foodies will love the calendars all year long and the cards for even longer.
An idea from the coffee cards is to make layered ice pops to stick into a martinia glass of crushed ice. A presentation like that will show a guest you care.

Juiced up
Next time, I may try a mint, purple onion and pomegranate salsa.
I’ve been looking forward to daily “shots” of Naturally Pomegranate drink from Agrolabs. We’ve been hearing for years how good this antioxidant is for you and this blend is a particularly delicious one that’s good in tea, straight up or in a cocktail. It comes in a 16-ounce bottle and it’s a good thing I’ve learned to read labels: the bottle is 16 servings.

Chicken soup season
Spoonful of Comfort is “made and sent with love to warm your heart.” This company is sending a pickle-jar sized package of soup, rolls and cookies to your door, which could be especially valuable as the nation focuses on flu. My mother, who has been making soup for decades, found the soup especially flavorful and appreciated the “chewy” wide noodles. I have to say, the yellow and white polkadot ribbons around the packages sure did perk up the delivery. The Florida company doesn’t use additives or preservatives.

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