I'm not near a good a cook as many of my friends. Nor am I creative in the kitchen. Friends of mine make homemade limoncello, toffee, breads, and shortbreads. I cannot. But. I know what I like. The tastes of the holidays, of fall and winter, are perhaps my favorites. (Ask me about this when the basil and tomatoes ripen...but for now...)
I did some baking last week - shocker, as last week was filled top to bottom with musical events and in between those, parties. Fun parties, too! A rainy Saturday afternoon pre-party time was just right for cooking up a bunch of pick-up bars.
Easy 7 Layer Bars
I took those to my book club event. Tasty. The event before that called for heavy hors d'oevres. My husband wanted White Trash Dip (which is really Buffalo Wing Dip) but someone else was bringing that. So we made his long-time favorite, Cheese Olivettes, aka Olive Balls.
People are very passionate about the olive balls. We made some last year that didn't turn out - because we attempted to use real butter and high-end cheese. Nope. Get the extra sharp giant block of yellow cheddar, and for best results, I daresay some margarine. You'll thank me later.
from "Under the Mulberry Tree", a recipe book published by Mulberry United Methodist Church in Macon, GA.
1/2 lb extra sharp cheddar chees
1/4 lb MARGARINE
Dash Worcestershire sauce
garlic salt to taste
1 1/2 C sifted all-purpose flour
1 bottle stuffed green olives (smallish)
Grate cheese and mix with soft MARGARINE. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and flour. Blend well. Roll bits of dough, press thin, and wrap a piece of the thin dough around an olive, rolling in palm of hand to completely encase olive. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Makes 40 plus (or not - whatever).
I went to a social for my handbell choir that featured a few nice, newish things I'd not had. Tea biscuits (found in your freezer section) with country ham (though my friend said she often used honey-baked as well) with a blackberry preserve/dijon mustard sauce. I believe she said 1 c. preserves to 3 tbsp mustard. Pretty AND delicious.
Our hostess had a lovely mid-centry decor and everything to drink - mimosas, hot mulled cider, coffee, and....an iced tea that was wonderful. What was in it, I asked? Oh, just half a jar of Knudson's apple-cranberry juice! And some sliced oranges and lemons. I can't find apple-cranberry juice on their web site but I'm pretty sure that's what she used.
I did get creative for a cocktail recipe. You know I love the bubbly. Cooking Light featured a quickie cranberry liqueur that you pour in champizzle for a cranberry "Kir Royale". YUMMO!
And finally, we are having a snow day today. No school, and for me, no final Christmas concert with my preschool kiddies - who've worked so hard!! I'm a little sad about it. But it was really pleasant this morning to pour, instead of milk, egg nog into my French toast batter....and to use the wonderful cinnamon chip bread one of my talented friends had given me, and to linger over coffee with my husband and children, watching our beloved new pet hop around under the Christmas tree.
(And yes, the coffee was, naturally, Christmas Traditions. I know they changed the name 15 years ago, and I don't care. I LOVE THAT STUFF.)