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by Mary Canovas
Spring is still nowhere in sight. Temperature normally hovers around freezing point at sundown
and will have dipped below zero by midnight. But surely a mere inclement weather won’t keep
you from throwing a party or having a get-together? There are many ways to keep you
and your friends feeling warm and glad they’ve dropped by. Here are some of those.
Candles have always made a great table decoration but when you add an over-sized glass bowl, water, flower petals and glass marbles, it makes your centerpiece shimmer in every direction due to the light of the candle reflecting off the bowl into the water.
500 gr. chicken livers
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot or 1 medium onion, minced
1/3 cup cognac or Madeira
1 cup heavy cream
(Optional) 1 tsp allspice (make you own recipe below)
1/2 tsp salt
Spanish explorers discovered the Allspice plant in Jamaica in the beginning of the 16th century. The English named it “Allspice”. It was said to have the aroma of several spices including cloves, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Few of us have allspice here in Spain so here´s a great substitute you can make with spices readily available. Allspice can be used on anything from meats, fish, cakes, salads….
Homemade allspice: Equal parts of finely ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and (optional) black pepper
Fried Nutty Brie Appetizers
Brie cut in wedges
1/3 cup walnuts, 1/3 cup almonds—finely chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
Sunflower oil (for frying)
French bread baguette brushed with olive oil and toasted in oven 10 minutes, cut into slices, lightly toasted in oven, Ritz crackers, apple wedges, grapes, raisins, nuts, jam
Native Americans were using ground corn thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World. European settlers learned how to use this flour and soon created recipes of their own similar to those in Europe. Cornbread has been called a “cornerstone” of Southern United States cuisine. It also makes heavenly breakfast muffins. There´s only one catch. They must be eaten straight out of the oven because they tend to dry out very quickly. Cornbread muffins are best served with lots of sweet creamy butter.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
New England Clam Chowder
There are all kinds of clam chowder. Passions run deep as to how it should be cooked. Some say only with tomatoes or tomatoes with milk, others say only milk and cream, and others like it clear. One true expert on New England, specifically Cape Cod, American author, Joseph Crosby Lincoln, once wrote: “A New England clam chowder, made as it should be, is a dish to preach about, to chant praises and sing hymns and burn incense before. To fight for, the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought for – or on – clam chowder; part of it at least, I am sure it was. It is as American as the Stars and Stripes, as patriotic as the national Anthem. It is `Yankee Doodle in a kettle´.”
1/4 cup cut-up bacon or lean salt pork
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans minced or whole clams, drained (reserve liquid)*
1 cup finely chopped potato
1 cup milk 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon salt, Dash of pepper * 2 cups chopped, shucked fresh clams, with liquid can be substituted.
Macaroni and Cheese
Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was the inventor of America´s beloved Macaroni and cheese? Early English colonists often boiled noodles, then added a cream sauce and a little cheese, but it wasn’t until Jefferson went to Paris in 1787 and brought home a pasta machine from Italy, that baked macaroni and cheese became known in America. However his innovation was to add American or English cheddar cheese, and then bake it to create the dish we know as Mac and Cheese.
Another President, Ronald Reagan, liked to celebrate his birthday by having his favorite dinner — macaroni and cheese. Here´s the original recipe they served the president from The White House Family Cookbook.
250 gr. macaroni
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a pinch of paprika
For more fabulous and doable stuff on entertaining, go to www.encasacontigo.com
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