Holiday Goodies

american-flag-picture.jpgamy_ephron_color.jpg I never understand how something becomes a day (or a month, for that matter -- November is National Pomegranate month.  April is Grilled Cheese Month.)  Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday suddenly became President’s Day?  And who picked the date of Memorial Day?     

But I think we should all declare June 12th to be Habeas Corpus Day. And I hope that we celebrate it forever.   

Habeas Corpus:  Writ requiring a person to be brought before judge or into court, esp. to investigate lawfulness of his restraint. 

SpicyNuts-1 2There’s lots of good news about these spicy nuts:

1. You can bring them to a party as a hostess gift and they will love them and not really compute how little effort went into making them.

2. You can make them way in advance, as much as two weeks. Just don’t do what I have been known to do and forget that you made them two weeks ago and go tearing around on the day of the party making them all over again.

3. Everybody likes them.

4. You can put them on a salad with dried cranberries and feta and everyone will think you are a genius. (Or break them up and put them on top of ginger ice cream—yum.)

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chocshortbread.jpgOne of my favorite treats to have during the holidays is one that I can enjoy with a hot cup of tea. These traditional Scottish shortbread finger biscuits are one of those favorites of mine. I come back to the same recipe year after year, but this time I decided to try something new. Going on a tip from a Scottish woman to use a portion of rice flour for a more tender cookie, I instead decided to use garbanzo bean flour.

I've been meaning to use garbanzo bean flour ever since I purchased a package some time ago. I had intended to use it for making Besan Ladoo, an Indian sweet made from gram flour, which is their name for garbanzo bean or chick pea flour. I haven't had the chance to make that sweet yet, but I took the opportunity to use the flour for the first time. It turned out to be a very good idea. I achieved a much more tender cookie than what I've made in the past. And to gild the lily a bit, I dipped a third of each finger in melted semisweet chocolate and then sprinkled it with chopped pistachios. I must say they turned out great.

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salmonpeas.jpg The “old timers” in Maine always eat salmon and peas for their fourth of July family feast. This tradition was started a long time ago when salmon still came “up river to spawn” and people still rushed in the Spring to plant their peas so they would have the first peas of the year, hopefully by the 4th, if the weather was good.  (I still have customers that plant their peas in the fall so they sprout when they are ready come Spring.)

The old tradition is to bake a center cut chunk of salmon at 350 degrees till it is less than moist, (so all the relatives like it) than nap it with a white sauce, better known as a béchamel sauce to which you add in chopped hard cooked eggs.  And peas, lot of peas cooked with butter, salt, pepper and a little water. The rule of thumb was to cook them till when you blew on a spoonful they wrinkled.

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jack-o-lanterns.jpg My sister thinks I’m a great cook. She thinks my chocolate chip cookies are perfect, my panini-grilled sandwiches are divine and my omelets, the best she’s ever had. My sister also thinks Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is a gourmet delicacy. 

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