Month: December 2014

Luscious Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

In spite of my annual pledge not to binge from Thanksgiving through Christmas I’ve done what I do every year — eat, eat and then eat some more. Breads. Dips. Spiced nuts, crackers and chips. Not to mention the pies, tarts, cakes, cookies and trifles. How can I forget eggnog, Bloody Marys and poinsettia cocktails? By the time that New Year’s rolls around I need not only a diet but also detox! Tapped out on heavy holiday foods and hours spent in the kitchen, this New Year’s I’m opting out of the usual homemade sauerkraut, butter-drenched mashed potatoes and faux pork offering. Instead, on January 1 I’m serving Lemon-Garlic Shrimp. Even sticklers who insist on eating “lucky foods” on New Year’s Day can appreciate this dish. With it they get the color yellow or gold, signifying money or good fortune in the new year. Plus, they eat seafood, which somewhat satisfies the old custom of consuming fish on January 1. Tradition dictates that, because fish swim upstream, one should eat fish to ensure advancement in …

Ingredients for a Happy Holiday Feast

Right now I have a story running at Zester Daily and MSN about what it takes to throw a fantastic holiday party. After writing that piece, I started thinking about the ingredients that I keep on hand to ensure that, no matter who or when someone drops by, there will be something warm and tasty on the table to eat. Bread, eggs, milk and butter are givens. With these I can fry up French toast, egg-in-a-hole and egg sandwiches or make scrambled eggs and toast. I also like to keep the following items around, things that I dub the ingredients for a happy holiday feast. With them I can pull together a nice meal, one that looks as though I’ve spent hours hovering over a hot stove when, in fact, I’ve thrown the dish together in 30 minutes or less. PUFF PASTRY: Defrost a sheet or two of puff pastry and in 30 minutes I have everything from breakfast to dessert. I’ve used puff pastry to make a simple pizza— partially bake the pastry, remove …

The Favored Few: Cookbooks in Review

It’s that time of year again, time for my rundown of good books for food lovers and cooks. Among 2014’s recommendations are three sweets-oriented cookbooks, two boozy books, a tome dedicated to Nordic cuisine, another focused on preservation and one devoted to mushrooms. Capping off the list is a quirky and humorous general purpose cookbook. So, without further introduction, here are my favorites of 2014. 80 Cakes from around the World by Claire Clark (Absolute Press, 2014) Fans of baking, world travel and food histories will especially enjoy Claire Clark’s colorful dessert book. It includes traditional recipes for Irish barmbrack, Hungarian dobos torte and Dutch apple cake as well as modern takes on French croquembouche, American doughnuts and Polish beetroot cake. Historical accounts and photographs enliven every sweet. The Little Book of Scones by Liam D’Arcy and Grace Hall (Random House UK, 2014) Possessing the tagline “meet the 21st-century scone,” D’Arcy and Hall’s slender cookbook introduces readers to 30 contemporary scone creations. Basil and salt dip scone sticks and red velvet scone fancies are among …