Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

As the day is ending, I cannot but be thankful for family, extended family and all the blessings I have in my life. We spent our day with family in a small town in South Dakota, and the weather was frigid but fine, and family was warm and welcoming as always. Some of the family could not all be there at the same times, but came in and out as they were able. We missed those absent.

Cookie Selection
As I write blogs and work on my website, with everything food related, today was certainly what all the food work and research is all about. Recipes for foods and goodies of all kinds abound over the holidays. We get to try others' dishes and trade recipes, enjoying, indulging (and even overindulging). Children run around ecstatic with their new gifts and toys. The hustle and bustle of happiness is everywhere.

I have always been lucky to be a part of wonderful and loving families and extended families. Last night I invited 4 people to share in a little feast of appetizers and goodies. Most of the foods I made are not yet posted on my website, but will be soon. I made gougeres, for the very first time. If you have not tried them, they are a savory version of a cream puff, usually made with cheese in the batter. I made little Spanakopita, which are always a hit. I had a simple bean dip I have been making for just the longest time, and which my husband particularly loves. I made No-Knead Bread, and did my usual, slathering slices with pesto, then sprinkling generously with shredded Parmesan. I broil these until the cheese is melted. My sister-in-law is particularly fond of those. Little smokies wrapped in puff pastry dough are another treat my husband loves. Of course there was a plate of salami slices, an olive selection, cheese slices, and crackers. 

Then came the sweet treats. I have been making cookies up to just a couple of days ago, and set out a bit of all of the varieties. I have written here about most of them, and have been placing recipes on the website as I went. This pictured selection consisted of Bourbon Balls, Ginger Brandy Logs, Rolled Butter Cookies, Pistachio Tea Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Cherry Bon Bons, Gingerbread Cookies, Kifli, and Nutritious Delicious Fudge. The cookies all look so lovely set out this way.

Nutritious, Delicious Fudge
Nutritious, Delicious Fudge

makes one 13-x 9-inch pan

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
2 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped

Spoon the beans into an electric food processor and process until smooth. Add the cocoa, butter and vanilla and blend until well mixed and beans are totally pureed.

Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add the bean mixture. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a buttered 9 x 13-inch pan and refrigerate until set.

My little group enjoyed themselves immensely, I am thrilled to say, and we all ate and drank amid great laughter and conviviality, and still got to bed early enough to get an early start this morning. I hope all my readers have enjoyed this holiday as much as I, and if this holiday is not your holiday, I still pray all have enjoyed happiness and peace of family at this time of year.  Blessings to all. And to all a Good Night!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.