Holiday Goodies

bananamargaritaAs most people imbibe one, okay two margaritas in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I hope they take a moment to give thanks to Bing Crosby.

The crooner with the liquid voice loved Mexico, and he more than anyone else, was responsible for bringing the margarita north of the border and making it wildly popular in Hollywood during his heyday. Bing also had a soft spot for San Diego, which because of its proximity to Mexico, may be the most margarita-friendly city in the country. Our chicest mall, Fashion Valley, has a Bing Crosby's Restaurant and Piano Lounge, a modern-day supper club with live music, deep, cozy booths, and delicious cocktails.

So in honor of Bing, who also happens to have made my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, I'm making sweet and spicy banana margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.

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From the Huffington Post

easyappetizers.jpgWith the holidays near -- er, here -- holiday party season is in full swing. We're sure you've already labored over festive meals and decadent desserts to serve to your loved ones when entertaining at home. If you're still hosting, for New Year's Eve, perhaps, you deserve to take a break. Or at least appear to in front of your guests.

These awesome appetizers require almost no moment-of work or attention. Some need to be pulled out of the oven or gently reheated, but other than that, they're purely make-ahead. For the most part, they're easy too, requiring no more than a few hours of work a day or two before.

That means when you throw a finger food party, all you've really got to do is relax, dip your pita into some hummus, and toast to the new year with friends.

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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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elfcocktail.jpgIf you looking for something fun to serve for the holidays this year, you just found it. This is a quick and simple cocktail to shake up as guests arrive for the festivities. While I always enjoy wine with appetizers, a holiday inspired drink is the perfect way to get your party buzzing.

Serve these up and offer an old Irish toast, "May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends."

Happy Elf
Adapted from Coastal Living

1 ounce melon liqueur (such as Midori)
2 ounces citrus vodka (such as Absolut Citron)
1 ounce white cranberry juice
Maraschino cherries, for garnish

In an ice-filled shaker combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a spear of maraschino cherries.

 

applefritters.jpgHomemade, doughnuts and fritters are the absolute best. They far surpass any "donut" shop doughnuts. When I'm in the mood for doughnuts but don't have the patience to wait for dough to rise, I like to make fritters. They fulfill my craving as fast as I can fry them. Their crispy fried exterior and fluffy interior are what make them a favorite sweet treat for many people. A batch of fritters is very easy to put together and they are great for any occasion. But they make a special treat for Hanukkah, which is celebrated with fried foods like latkes and fritters.

The interesting thing about fritters is that you can find versions of them in many cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. Greeks have Loukoumades, which are balls of fried dough doused in honey syrup. The French have beignets. Italians have zeppole. In Spain and Latin America there are buñuelos. In India there are gulab jamun, balls soaked in spiced sugar syrup. In the United States you can find apple fritter rings, which look just like doughnuts. I'd like to think it possible that the original recipe for fritters made its way through all the different cultures, who then adapted it to their liking.

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