My dear artist friend, Sheila Giolitti’s, cranberry tarts were delicious at an intimate Christmas luncheon I was privileged to attend yesterday. Try these festive two-bite desserts at home: the filling was basically homemade cranberry sauce–just use the recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries–with orange zest and spices–use ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves or whatever you liked–spooned into purchased and baked phyllo shells (buy them frozen; most brands are vegan, but check the ingredients). Flaked coconut was the perfect snowy topping.
Yesterday, I made “tweet,” I mean sweet little recycled bird ornaments for some friends who would be at a Xmas luncheon, and wanted to share my so-simple-it-is-embarrassing approach with you. You still have time before Christmas and they would make great gift tags too.
Nowadays, cardboard Kleenex boxes have the most beautiful patterns, so I purchase ones I love (even though they don’t show in the aluminum tissue box covers I put them in), and then save them once the last Kleenex is used.
Remembering I had some lovely ones in my paper drawer, I simply cut-out a bird template, traced it onto the inside (the non-patterned side) of the tissue boxes–flipping it over so that I had a front and a back–glued them together, weighted them to dry (next time I’ll try double-sided tape), trimmed any edges that didn’t match up, punched a hole near the neck, and knotted a piece of twine through the hole. Done! Everyone loved them, and they truly are charming.
The one depicted I gave to our host and hostess, Ken and Trish Pfeifer; Trish photographed it and sent it to me. You’ll notice that it’s little beak is solid gray. That was dumb luck! That particular Kleenex box had a band of solid color around the edge and I just happened to lay the template on the backside so that it lined up perfectly. But even if such things don’t happen, the results are still delightful.
Have a Happy DIY Holiday!
The simple focaccia dough recipe is only slightly adpated from one in a culinary magazine that I cut out years ago, but failed to credit. Sorry! My only change was to add a little bit of olive oil and to correct the number of ounces in the yeast package. The recipe calls for 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, but that is a 3/4 ounce package, not a 1/4 ounce package. Details, details!
3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
3/4 ounce (2 1/2 teaspoons) package fast-acting yeast (like Rapid Rise)
1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon sea salt + more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling
Red grapes, halved (in amount you choose to space about 1 inch apart)
Roasted acorn squash, cut in thin slices (enough to alternate with grapes)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Kale pesto (use your favorite or one of mine)–amounts may vary– brought to room temperature
Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy or about 5 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 teaspoons olive oil followed by flour and salt to form a soft dough. On a lightly floured work surface, knead dough with floured hands for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball, rub with remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and invert bowl over the top. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then, roll out dough into a 13 x 9 inch rectangle and transfer to baking pan, pressing gently into corners. Let dough rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange grape halves and acorn squash in an attractive design over the top, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake in center of oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool focaccia in pan on a metal rack. Dot with pesto, slice, and serve.
Since I published the “First Day of Christmas” post yesterday to allow a little grocery shopping time, I wanted to leave all you Blooming Platter supporters a cheerful post on Christmas, albeit one without a recipe, as I assume the menu is set and the cooking begun.
Have a lovely, healthy, tasty and “conscious” Christmas!
This recipe is a three-fer and may require a quick nip into the grocery store, so I wanted you to have a time to procure the ingredients before Christmas arrives because this little nosh packs big flavor and is exactly how my family prefers to eat on Christmas Day. Or you might even want to serve it tonight for Christmas Eve with your favorite beverage or imbibement.
Back in the day, my family loved a big feast. Now we nosh. But, regardless, this tri-level treat will be lovely alongside whatever else you serve.
My special Toasted Pumpkin Seeds don’t absolutely have to go on top, but I love nuts and seeds, so if a (wal)nut plus a (hazel) nut is good, a nut plus a seed is even better. Therefore, you can just put out a bowl of the seeds for nibbling, then stand back and watch them disappear.
Along those lines, any one of the three parts of this stacked appetizer has a multitude of uses, so let your imagination and the rest of your menu be your guide.
May you have exactly the kind of holiday you need!
I wanted to re-publish this recipe today, so that you could procure any of the few ingredients you don’t have on hand, as this tantalizing breakfast treat–like bread pudding for breakfast–with the healthful base of oatmeal needs to sit overnight.
It goes together in a snap, bakes up beautifully every time, and is a proven hit with men and non-vegans. Everyone in your house will wake up to the aroma of Christmas personified and your oven will do all the work while you enjoy your family around the tree.
It is supposed to chill down today through at least Christmas in much of the US that isn’t already frigid or frozen, so my Pumpkin Pie Espresso seemed the perfect way to start this morning, Christmas morning, or any winter morning!
(Please note: when you click on the link, it will take you to the recipe that I posted in 2011 with a cookbook giveaway but the giveaway is not a current offer. Sorry!)
Complex in flavor but not to prepare, a mound of golden and creamy, but healthy(!), spaghetti squash is crowned with the colors and flavors of the season in the form of dried cranberries and kale in this uniquely tasty recipe.
You could stop there, but why would you want to when you could spend just a tiny bit more time and push it right over the top with a sprinkling of crusty croutons!
In this recipe, the croutons are curried, but if those flavor notes seem discordant with you meal, by all means, choose another spice, but don’t deprive your friends and family of this mound of sweet-n-savory deliciousness.
Sorry, everyone, I almost missed the 5th Day of Christmas due to flight delays in Atlanta…errr. Tis the season!
But I am now safely at my family’s home in MS–after having to fly into a different town than originally scheduled, creating a longer drive for my family.
So, now, it’s almost midnight East Coast Time, and I have a mere 10 minutes before I turn into a pumpkin. Or maybe a sweet potato. This will be quick…or maybe not. The computer here is very sloooooow. Perhaps this is a sign that I need to slow down the pace a bit this week. Sound familiar?
Here goes: I adore sweet potatoes, but I was never a fan of those dessert-type dishes with brown sugar and all the rest. One Thanksgiving my sister and I came upon this recipe for Vegan Stuffed Savory Sweet Potatoes, which I easily veganized, and it quickly became a family favorite. These handsome spuds are just as appropriate for Christmas, and you may find that those who think they don’t enjoy holiday sweet potatoes, in fact do!
Published on One Green Planet, my recipe for spring rolls with a twist is perfect for the Christmas holidays.
Not Asian in flavor–except for the hint of anise–they are, however, a celebration of everything I love about fall and winter cooking and eating.
Kale, sweet potatoes, anise and sage combine in these cute little packages that could easily be served as an entree or an appetizer.