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December 31, 2012

New Year’s Appetizers

Our friends at Closet Cooking share 25 amazing appetizer recipes for New Year’s. Click on the image below for a link!

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image and recipes from closetcooking.com

Best Wishes for 2013

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December 30, 2012

Seared Steaks with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola

“In our humble opinion, steak is best topped with sweet caramelized onions and salty Gorgonzola cheese. We recommend seeking out good-quality Gorgonzola for the best flavor, but any will work. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed carrots. Click on the image below for a link to the recipe!”—eatingwell.com

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image and recipe courtesy of eatingwell.com

December 29, 2012

Orange-Cherry Champagne Cocktails

In China, citrus is given at the New Year as a sign of prosperity. In a champagne cocktail, sweet-tart oranges balance the flavors of the alcohol and other fruit. For a link to this Orange-Cherry Champagne Cocktail, click the image below!

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image and recipe courtesy of delish.com

December 28, 2012

Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres

Click on the image below for a link to some great appetizer ideas for your New Year’s Eve gathering!

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image and recipes from foodandwine.com

December 27, 2012

One-Dish Rosemary Chicken

Looking for an easy-to-prepare, nutritious meal for post holiday cooking? Click on the image below for a time saving chicken dish!

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recipe and image from myrecipes.com

December 25, 2012

Boxing Day Recipes

Looking for some great ways to use up those Christmas leftovers? Here are some ideas from the UK, as they celebrate Boxing Day. Click on the image below for a link to recipes!

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image and recipes courtesy of bbc.co.uk/food

December 24, 2012

Holiday Wishes

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Our Warmest Wishes for the Holiday Season! ~Melanie Hyatt & Jim Bazin

December 23, 2012

Christmas Cocktail: Poinsettia

A favorite Christmas cocktail!
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Poinsettia
food.com

3 ounces champagne, chilled
1 ounce triple sec
3 ounces cranberry juice, chilled

Pour into a fluted champagne glass.

Stir and serve.

Serves 1.

December 22, 2012

Pecan Lace Cookies

Baked thin and crisp then dipped in melted chocolate, these elegant cookies are ready in less than 20 minutes (plus a few minutes for cooling). Use a food processor to finely chop the pecans, which give these cookies their crunchy texture. For a link to the recipe, click on the image below.

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image and recipe from delish.com

December 21, 2012

Holiday Dinner Menu

This is a traditional holiday dinner sure to please every guest! For the link to the full menu, click on the image below!

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image and recipes courtesy of myrecipes.com

December 20, 2012

Cherry Pie

Enjoy this classic pie recipe over the holiday season!

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image: thatmorninggirl.com

Cherry Pie
northpole.com

2 cans (1 pound each) pitted tart red cherries (water packed)
2 1/2 Tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 drops red food coloring
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon butter

Pastry:
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 cups Crisco shortening (butter flavored is best)
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain cherries. Reserve 1/3 cup liquid into bowl.

Add tapioca, salt, almond extract, lemon juice and food coloring, then cherries and 1 cup sugar. Mix and let stand while making pastry.

Using a fork, combine flour, salt, sugar and Crisco until you have pea sized pieces.

In a small bowl mix egg yolk, milk and lemon juice. Beat well. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture. Form this into a ball and cut in half. Form each half into a ball and roll out into shape of pie pan. Cut one into strips for using crisscross pattern on the top of the pie.

Fit pastry into 9- inch pan and fill with cherries. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

December 19, 2012

Oyster Stew

Every Christmas Eve, we fix a sumptuous soup dinner, starring the elegant oyster. Yes, there’s cream and butter. The road to sumptuosity is paved with cream and butter. Come on! It’s Christmas!

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image from tasteofhome.com

Christmas Eve Oyster Stew
Karyl Bannister, Cook & Tell

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 pint shucked fresh oysters, drained (reserve the liquid)
2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 cups light cream or milk

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and saute the celery, bell pepper, and onion until the onion is limp and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the oysters, reduce the heat to low, and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until their edges curl.

Stir in the reserved oyster liquid, stock or broth, and salt and white pepper to taste and heat gently. Heat the cream or milk in a separate small saucepan, then add it to the oyster mixture.

Don’t expect the stew to be thick. We’re talking oysters and cream here, and we like it fashionably thin. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

December 18, 2012

Venison for Christmas

Having a friend who hunts is a wonderful thing. Just last week I was gifted a couple of beautiful wild venison tenderloins.

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image courtesy of venisonworld.com

While it is hard to keep the thought of eating Santa’s reindeer out of mind this close to Christmas, it’s an exercise that’s well worth it. Preparing the meat was simple. If “like cures like” in homeopathy, why shouldn’t “like” ingredients exalt each other? Deer live in the forest and probably graze on all things woodland: wild apples, even pine needles, juniper, and bark if things get tough. So I created a marinade of forest flavors that worked beautifully with the venison, which included pine needles to tenderize the meat and a little crushed juniper berry, a touch of garlic, salt, pepper, oil, and apple cider syrup for caramelization. Place all into a baggie and rub it into the meat. Seal and let this rest overnight in the refrigerator.

The following day, be sure to pick out the pine needles and any large pieces of juniper (it’s powerful stuff, so do not use too much!). Pat the tenderloin dry and salt and pepper lightly. While I got great results on a char grill, my hunter friend swears by hearth cookery, and if you have the equipment to do so, I recommend it. Primal, yet warming and relaxing.

Cook venison rare, let it rest before slicing. Then serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and mushrooms, topping with any available jus. Add a side of orange and green vegetables or salad greens for a festive and seasonal repast.

If you have no source of wild game, you can still enjoy the big flavor of venison by stopping by Hussey’s General Store in Windsor, ME. They have a large selection of cuts available from a local fallow deer herd.

Be sure to choose a night that Santa is not trying to get down the chimney before committing to this fireside meal.  I think it’s safe to say that singeing Santa’s knickers would get you on the naughty list in a big hurry!

Season’s Greetings from Laura Cabot and the staff of Laura Cabot Catering

December 17, 2012

Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

This sweet-tart pomegranate molasses glaze is delicious combined with the citrusy sumac spice rub, and gives the roasted chicken a dark, ruby luster. Rub the chicken earlier in the day, or overnight, for the best flavor.

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Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze
eatingwell.com

1 Tablespoon ground sumac (see Tips)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 4-pound chicken
6 cups sliced cored fennel (2-3 large bulbs)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (see Note)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pomegranate seeds for garnish (see Tips)

Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine sumac and salt in a small bowl. Remove giblets from chicken (if included) and trim any excess skin; pat dry.

Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat and rub the spice mixture under the skin plus a little on the skin. Tuck the wings under and tie the legs together with kitchen string, if desired.

Combine fennel and onion in a large roasting pan and toss with oil to coat. Place the chicken, breast-side up, on the vegetables.

Combine pomegranate molasses, honey, and pepper in a small bowl. Transfer half the mixture to a small saucepan and set aside to serve with the chicken.

Roast the chicken and vegetables for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, stir the vegetables and cook for 20 minutes more. Turn the chicken over one more time (so it is breast-side up) and stir the vegetables again. Reduce oven temperature to 400°. Brush the chicken all over with the remaining pomegranate mixture, and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh without touching bone reaches 165°, 20 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the pomegranate glaze in the saucepan over low heat. Remove the string from the chicken, if necessary, and carve the chicken. Serve with the fennel and onion, drizzled with the warm glaze. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Serves 6.

Tips & Notes:

Make ahead tip: Rub the chicken with the spice mixture (Step 2), cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before roasting.

Tips: The tart red berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush add fruity, sour flavor to many regional dishes. Find ground sumac in Middle Eastern markets, specialty food shops and online at penzeys.com. Or use 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest in place of the sumac.

To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting through the skin but not into the interior of the fruit. Hold the fruit under water, break it apart and use your hands to gently separate the plump seeds (arils) from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. Seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Note: Pomegranate molasses has a bright, tangy flavor. (Don’t confuse it with grenadine syrup, which contains little or no pomegranate juice.) Find it in Middle Eastern markets and some large supermarkets near the vinegar or molasses. To make your own: Simmer 4 cups pomegranate juice, uncovered, in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 45 to 50 minutes. (Do not let the syrup reduce too much or it will darken and become very sticky.) Makes about 1/2 cup. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

December 16, 2012

Cranberry Chili Meatballs

“Using packaged meatballs helps save time in the kitchen and they are just as tasty as homemade. My friends look forward to enjoying these meatballs at our holiday gatherings and there are never any leftovers! The sauce is tangy yet sweet, and the festive color is perfect for any holiday party.”—tasteofhome.com

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Cranberry Chili Meatballs
tasteofhome.com

1 14-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
1 12-ounce bottle chili sauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package (32 ounces frozen) fully cooked homestyle meatballs

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the first six ingredients; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add meatballs; cook for 20-25 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Yields about 6 dozen.

December 15, 2012

Kahluaccino

Coffee lovers will love the addition of Kahlua to this drink; Frangelico adds a lovely hazelnut note. For a non-alcoholic option, omit alcohol and add almond extract.

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Kahluaccino

delish.com

3/4 cup nonfat milk
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup Kahlua, or Frangelico
3 cups ice
4 teaspoons sugar
Shaved chocolate, for garnish

Combine milk and coffee in a blender. Add Kahlua (or Frangelico), ice and sugar. Puree until frothy. Divide among 4 glasses and garnish with shaved chocolate. Non-alcoholic variation: Omit the alcohol and add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

Serves 4.

December 14, 2012

Luscious Banana Cream Pie

“Banana cream pie might not seem like a typical holiday dessert, but it has been a staple on my in-laws’ holiday table for generations. It was my father-in-law’s favorite as a boy, so his mother would make it each year, and it took hold as the preferred dessert of his children and grandchildren. That’s the beauty of family traditions: They are as special and individual as the family itself.

This pie honors that delightful custom with a fresh twist. Although rich, fragrant and decadent, it is significantly lightened up from the usual recipe. The filling is a creamy vanilla pudding made with low-fat milk and enriched with egg yolks, and it is layered over fresh sliced bananas in a graham cracker crumb crust (made with a touch of butter). A dollop of real whipped cream on top is all that’s needed to ensure this dessert reigns for generations to come.”—Ellie Krieger, usaweekend contributing editor and registered dietitian

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Luscious Banana Cream Pie
Ellie Krieger, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite

Cooking spray
14 graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon water
1½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 Tablespoons boiling water
1/3 cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups low-fat milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups ¼-inch-thick banana slices (3 medium bananas)
¼ cup well-chilled heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

To make the crust, process the graham crackers until finely ground. Add the butter and water and process until the crumbs clump together. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pie plate and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the gelatin in a small bowl; add the boiling water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/3 cup of sugar and the flour. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the milk and egg yolks together.

Add the egg-and-milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk so the flour and sugar dissolve. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Stir in the vanilla and gelatin slurry. Set aside to cool slightly.

Arrange the sliced bananas on the crust and pour the pudding on top. Refrigerate until the pudding has set, about 3 hours.

Whip the cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. When it is about halfway to soft peaks, add the remaining ½ teaspoon sugar, then continue whipping until it barely holds a soft peak. Put the whipped cream in a plastic bag; snip the corner off the bag and pipe the whipped cream in a decorative pattern around the pie. The pie will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Yields 8 servings.

December 13, 2012

Mainely Fish

This is an easy, quick fish recipe that makes a beautiful presentation.

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Mainely Fish
allrecipes.com

6 (3-ounce) haddock fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
5 Tablespoons capers
8 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Center each piece of fish on an individual piece of aluminum foil (large enough to enclose the fish when folded). Sprinkle each piece of fish with salt and pepper. Divide the sliced tomatoes, onion, red and yellow peppers between the 6 pieces of fish, and place on top of the filets. Sprinkle evenly with the capers and parsley. Then drizzle each fillet with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.

Fold and seal the foil into a packet and place on a baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each packet to provide heat circulation. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Let rest for 5 minutes and unwrap. One packet per person.

Serves 6.

December 12, 2012

Fog Bar & Cafe

We’d just come from the movies. Hungry, yes. And thirsty. We rolled into FOG, the new hang in Rockland, the intention being to get a quick drink before a meal elsewhere. Long story short, we were seduced into staying right there. Plate after small plate emerged, wafting goodness, and we’re still raving three days later.

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Owned by Ashley’s parents, but the love-child of Ashley Seelig and Josh Cardoso, FOG seems destined to be the new “best place to meet” on the Main Street. The lofty atmosphere and big spaces offer the perfect foil for the old black and white movies or anime digitally projected on the back wall. Especially fun at Christmas time! Christmas in CT, anyone? Ashley is clearly in charge, here there and everywhere making sure all is running smoothly and, indeed, the staff seems very well schooled. Josh is a beer genius with 8 interesting beers on tap, both from Maine and imported. Friendly and knowledgeable, everyone on staff appears to be having fun.

Chef Nick Krunkkala, who we’ve seen before at Rock City, is turning out inspired food, although not every dish is fully evolved. They are well on their way with French and Southern inspired comfort food offerings that speak to solid kitchen technique and modern interpretations. I noticed a perfect potato carre (large square dice) on their vegetable plate along with beautifully ribboned vegetables. The cheesy grits were creamy. The shaved salad was generous and fresh, and the duck wings were nicely sticky and flavored with an interesting tamarind sauce. Fried green tomatoes with candied bacon could have benefited from more lacquering on the bacon for more flavor and crunch. The rabbit rolls, the most anticipated, yet my least favorite item, needed a more appropriate, sharper sauce. Maybe mustard? I do like that they are bringing in unusual items and exalting the flavors of simple ingredients.

I can tell that time will be kind to this endeavor. There is so much enthusiasm and talent on tap, they can only get better and better. And we are lucky to have such an interesting and delicious new place to go in Rockland. Cheers!