Christmas – The Culinary Chase http://theculinarychase.com support local Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:47:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 holiday party food – part 2 http://theculinarychase.com/2016/12/holiday-party-food-part-2/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 16:13:05 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=13301 At this point, the rush of the holiday season is in full swing.  On my previous post, I suggested three, easy-to-make party food treats and the three I have chosen today are just as easy.  Chocolate is a crowd-pleaser and lovely to have on hand when your friends and family pop over.  Making your own […]

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At this point, the rush of the holiday season is in full swing.  On my previous post, I suggested three, easy-to-make party food treats and the three I have chosen today are just as easy.  Chocolate is a crowd-pleaser and lovely to have on hand when your friends and family pop over.  Making your own is easier than you may think.  Include your kids to help out when making Christmas bark and when your guest asks who made it they can gleefully say they helped.  The onion dip is a cinch to whip up and any leftover can be used as a spread in a sandwich, slathered on a hamburger, thinned out with milk to make a dressing, tossed with pasta.  Savoury palmiers are delicate bites and need little ingredients to enjoy.  This recipe uses my homemade spice rub but you can omit the rub and add fresh herbs such as thyme, sage or oregano and top with cheese.

Christmas bark – make and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long!).  Make a big batch and give to those who enjoy homemade gifts.

Onion dip – sure you can buy the commercial version but making your own allows you to control the ingredients and omit any additives commonly found in the dips you buy at the grocery store.

Savoury palmiers – flaky and light.  Make these ahead and pop into the oven before your friends arrive.

Well, folks, 2016 is almost over and I leave you with this little message:  the blessing of peace, the beauty of hope, the spirit of love, the comfort of faith.  May these be your gifts this holiday season.

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holiday party food http://theculinarychase.com/2016/12/holiday-party-food/ Tue, 13 Dec 2016 19:51:26 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=13282 Twelve days to Christmas! Yikes! Why is it with the best-laid plans things slip? I finally got around to making my first ever Christmas cracker snaps even though I had the materials 2-weeks ago.  They were a cinch to make and took half an hour to assemble.  I think the same goes with party food.  […]

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holiday-party-food-collageTwelve days to Christmas! Yikes! Why is it with the best-laid plans things slip? I finally got around to making my first ever Christmas cracker snaps even though I had the materials 2-weeks ago.  They were a cinch to make and took half an hour to assemble.  I think the same goes with party food.  We create lists of what we plan to make and yet as the date draws closer, it’s as if we never had a plan and we’re scrambling to pull it off.  Easy and simple to make, that’s my motto.  In the next few days, I’ll share some of my favourite party food with you.  Today’s post highlights the fun stuff – nibbles.

Polenta Treats – making your own polenta is easy but if you are pressed for time, buy commercial.  Assemble ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator before baking in the oven.  These treats take 10 minutes to cook!

Pork Belly Bites – this is one dish you can’t mess up.  Pork belly is where bacon comes from (bacon is the cured/smoked part) and is usually found in the meat section of your grocery store.  If not, ask your butcher.  These bites take all of 10 minutes to cook and dress up with honey and soy sauce.  Make this as your guests arrive, give them a toothpick and dig in!

Turkey Meatballs – an Asian-inspired finger food guaranteed to make your guests salivate.  Another party food to make ahead of the arrival of your guests.  Allow a few minutes for the meatballs to cool slightly before serving in lettuce cups – you don’t want your guests to burn their mouths.

greetings

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chocolate fudge http://theculinarychase.com/2016/11/chocolate-fudge/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:48:12 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=13256 I cannot recall the last time I made fudge.  It was a family favourite growing up and around the Christmas holidays, there was always some to be had.  My mom always had the pantry and freezer full of cooked goodies.  The laundry room became the storage area for fruit cake, plum puddings, cookies, squares not […]

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chcolate fudge - homemade holiday giftI cannot recall the last time I made fudge.  It was a family favourite growing up and around the Christmas holidays, there was always some to be had.  My mom always had the pantry and freezer full of cooked goodies.  The laundry room became the storage area for fruit cake, plum puddings, cookies, squares not to mention tins of Ganong chocolates.  It was an out-in-the-open treasure chest that as a kid I could not ignore (a few times caught with my hand in the cookie jar). 

While I don’t cook as many sweets as mom did, never had her sweet tooth, I do like to have some on hand.  Fudge was, like most good recipes, a mistake.  An American invention in the 1880’s, fudge was the result of bungled caramels.  How sweet it is!  Dress up fudge by adding marshmallows, dried cranberries, salted nuts, mint, nutella, crushed candy cane, orange zest, maltesers, coconut – you get the picture.  This makes a lovely gift to share at your next book club soirée, to a friendly neighbour, favourite teacher or for a relative who no longer bakes.

2 cups white sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of whole milk or heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 5″ x 9″ loaf pan. Combine sugar, milk, chocolate chips and honey in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until chocolate has melted. Increase heat to bring mixture to a gentle boil. Do not stir. Let the gentle bubbles do its thing otherwise the stirring will result in a grainy texture. Cook until candy thermometer reaches 235f. To check whether fudge is ready, use a metal spoon to drizzle a little fudge in a cup of ice water. If it forms a soft, pliable ball, then it’s done.  Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting (overnight is best but if you can’t wait…).  Cut into slices or squares.  Store in airtight container in fridge for up to one week.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Another way to check whether fudge is ready is to note when larger bubbles become smaller; do the test above.  Enjoy!

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linguine with clams (linguine alle vongole) http://theculinarychase.com/2015/12/linguine-with-clams-linguine-con-le-vongole/ Fri, 18 Dec 2015 20:12:24 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=11846 This is a busy time of the year with most of us running around doing last minute errands in preparation for the holidays.  When I’m short for time, pasta is my savior and the time it takes to cook it I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes!  Toss in some clams and […]

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linguine with clamsThis is a busy time of the year with most of us running around doing last minute errands in preparation for the holidays.  When I’m short for time, pasta is my savior and the time it takes to cook it I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes!  Toss in some clams and you’re experiencing a Venetian staple that started off as peasant food.  Clams have roughly the same protein and fat content as chicken but contain more vitamins and minerals.  Serve this delicious and light dinner with a side of salad, sit back, and relax.

Well folks, 2015 has been an interesting year for me and my husband.  I hope all who stop by to take a peak at my blog are reflecting on the year and that you take a moment or two to reach out to family and friends with a warm embrace.

Xmas 1Serves 2
1/2 lb. linguine
1 lb. little neck clams
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)
oven dried cherry tomato halves, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup
handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Cook linguine according to packet instructions.  Or check out how to cook perfect pasta every time.

While the pasta is cooking, in large sauté pan over moderately high heat, add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When butter has melted add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, oven dried tomatoes, and some of the parsley (leave some for garnish). Simmer, covered, until clams open about 7 to 8 minutes – discard any that do not open.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain linguine and add to pan. Toss until linguine is mixed well with clam mixture. Add, if necessary, some of reserved cooking water to keep from becoming too dry. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley, and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Substitute fresh clams with bottled or canned clams if fresh is not available.  Enjoy!

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hot cocoa mix – a cinch to make! http://theculinarychase.com/2015/12/hot-cocoa-mix/ Sat, 05 Dec 2015 20:29:58 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=11767 Ah, the annual holiday gift giving is upon us.  Our brains go into overdrive thinking of things to buy and our bank accounts take a beating.  I sometimes think we’re much too over-the-top with our purchases; the needs vs. wants dilemma.  In the past few years I’ve adopted gift giving from the heart which means […]

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hot cocoa mixAh, the annual holiday gift giving is upon us.  Our brains go into overdrive thinking of things to buy and our bank accounts take a beating.  I sometimes think we’re much too over-the-top with our purchases; the needs vs. wants dilemma.  In the past few years I’ve adopted gift giving from the heart which means homemade.  For the kid in us, making your own cocoa mix is not only a cinch to prepare, you also get the added benefit of knowing what’s inside.  This hot chocolate recipe is so good you’ll wonder why you hadn’t made it before.

Looking for other DIY gifts to give?  Chocolate is always a crowd-pleaser so why not give Christmas Bark…it’s easy to make and so delicious.  Chocolate Date Balls for your vegan friends or wrap up a container of Homemade Granola to give to those who enjoy breakfast.  For other DIY homemade ideas, visit here.

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60%), finely chopped
3 tablespoons powdered milk
pinch of sea salt

In a bowl mix ingredients. Store in a jar.  For a single serving, heat 1 cup of milk then add 3 tablespoons of the cocoa mix. Stir until combined.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Stir with a candy cane to add a bit of peppermint or top whipped cream. Enjoy!

hot cocoa mix - a cinch to make!
 
For the kid in us, making your own cocoa mix is not only a cinch to prepare, you also get the added benefit of knowing what’s inside the mix. This hot chocolate recipe is so good you’ll wonder why you hadn’t made it before.
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60%), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons powdered milk
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix ingredients. Store in a jar.
  2. For a single serving, heat 1 cup of milk then add 3 tablespoons of the cocoa mix. Stir until combined.
Notes
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Stir with a candy cane to add a bit of peppermint or top whipped cream. Enjoy!

 

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Merry Christmas! http://theculinarychase.com/2014/12/merry-christmas/ Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:48:07 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=9236   Bye for now folks.  Enjoy the holiday season and I hope to see you back to visit my blog in 2015.   xo TweetFacebookLinkedInTumblrStumbleDiggDelicious

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 Merry Christmas

Bye for now folks.  Enjoy the holiday season and I hope to see you back to visit my blog in 2015.   xo

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Mincemeat Tarts http://theculinarychase.com/2014/12/mincemeat-tarts/ Wed, 17 Dec 2014 23:52:23 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=9213 Everyone has their traditional list of sweets to enjoy over the Christmas season.  Mine is loosely based on the Victorian era with some tried and tested recipes that have been handed down to me.  Mince pie originally contained minced meat (usually a combination of chopped meats), suet (beef fat), dried fruits, and spices.  Mom used […]

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mincemeat tartsEveryone has their traditional list of sweets to enjoy over the Christmas season.  Mine is loosely based on the Victorian era with some tried and tested recipes that have been handed down to me.  Mince pie originally contained minced meat (usually a combination of chopped meats), suet (beef fat), dried fruits, and spices.  Mom used to make her own mincemeat.  It seems odd that something with meat could taste sweet.  These days, one can easily find commercial jars of mincemeat, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find any with meat in it.  As far back as the 16th century, mince pies were considered part of a traditional British Christmas.  Rich, sticky, fruited filling all wrapped up in pastry.  So how does something like mincemeat from the 16th century still find its way in modern society?  Tradition, dear reader.  Each generation passes on recipes and we all have our cherished favorites.  As my son and daughter, now in their own homes, eat their way through the Christmas season, I wonder what traditions they will carry on.

Makes 12
1 jar of mincemeat
pie crust dough (homemade or purchased)

Preheat oven to 375f. Roll out pastry to 1/4-inch thick.  Use a 3 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out 12 circles.  If you have a star cookie cutter, cut out 12 for the tart tops.  Gently place rounds into a muffin tin and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Remove from fridge and fill each shell with mincemeat.  Place stars on top.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.  Remove from oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: My mincemeat tarts are a cinch to make and are the perfect size to munch on.  As much as I like homemade, buying a commercial jar of mincemeat saves time and money. When removing the tarts from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pastry to make sure they didn’t stick to the muffin tin.  The tarts will keep well for up to 7 days if in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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Christmas Bark http://theculinarychase.com/2014/12/christmas-bark/ Fri, 05 Dec 2014 21:17:42 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=9076 If you make your own candies then I applaud you for your dedication and patience.  Years ago, a friend of my mom’s would stop by to drop off her annual Christmas gift of handmade candy.  Mrs. Scarborough would spend hours on her candies and they looked so delicate and professional.  She would tenderly explain to […]

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Christmas BarkIf you make your own candies then I applaud you for your dedication and patience.  Years ago, a friend of my mom’s would stop by to drop off her annual Christmas gift of handmade candy.  Mrs. Scarborough would spend hours on her candies and they looked so delicate and professional.  She would tenderly explain to mom what each one was and any that might have given her grief in the making.  My siblings and I would eye the candy and savour each mouthful…there weren’t that many to go around but boy were they delicious! I like candy/desserts that don’t require much finesse or fuss but deliver that wow factor via visual presentation and taste.  Homemade Christmas bark is super simple and the variations are whatever you what it to be.  A delightful gift to give straight from the heart.

dark chocolate
1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachio nuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
orange zest
sea salt flakes

Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch the water). When melted remove bowl from heat. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and zest an orange in the middle working out from there. Pour chocolate over zest and smooth out until 1/4-inch thick. Scatter pistachio and cranberries. Top with a pinch or two of sea salt flakes.  Christmas Barkk ingredientsMove tray to fridge and leave there until firm – about 30 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container or wrap up to give as gifts.

dark chocolate Christmas barkThe Culinary Chase’s Note:   Swirl in milk chocolate or white chocolate for added effect.  The hidden orange zest is a pleasant surprise and goes marvelously with the chocolate.   Enjoy!

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Top 5 Favorite Recipes for Christmas http://theculinarychase.com/2013/12/top-5-favorite-recipes-christmas/ Fri, 20 Dec 2013 23:31:04 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=5041 The celebration of Christmas in our house begins with breakfast which consists of ham and eggs, toast and freshly brewed coffee.  Of course the presents are opened pre breakfast…that would be just cruel to make you wait!  Around lunchtime I head back into the kitchen to prep the turkey and the stuffing.  Some people believe […]

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top 5 CollageThe celebration of Christmas in our house begins with breakfast which consists of ham and eggs, toast and freshly brewed coffee.  Of course the presents are opened pre breakfast…that would be just cruel to make you wait!  Around lunchtime I head back into the kitchen to prep the turkey and the stuffing.  Some people believe that cooking the stuffing inside the turkey can lead to food poison but I’ve never cooked it separate from the turkey and have never been sick.  Next, I’ll make pastry for the apple and lemon meringue pies.   Christmas music is playing in the background and I’ll be singing (out of tune, of course!) to our old-time favorites, dancing a bit in the kitchen and planning in my head the next steps to make the dinner special.  Trying to select which top 5 favorite recipes for Christmas was a difficult one for me as it’s akin to trying to choose which child you love more.  The 5 I’ve chosen might not seem typical but boy are they tasty!  The tourtière (French-Canadian meat pie) is a Christmas eve family tradition that my mom started many years ago.  She would serve this along with Mediterranean soup.  I make the tourtière as well but usually serve it with a side salad.  If you don’t want to cook a whole turkey, the Peking turkey makes for a nice change especially if you’re not cooking for a large group.

xmas 1989I found this photo taken in 1989 – yours truly at the stove, mom in the middle and beside mom is my sister Kris.  We used to get dressed up for Christmas dinner but these days it’s more relaxed.

Apple Pie in a Jar – perfect for those who are gluten intolerant or if you just want a change from making a traditional apple pie.
Mince Pie Cookies – don’t like mincemeat? Try these soft, chewy cookies and fall in love with mincemeat.
Peking Turkey – mandarin and cranberry stuffing with hoisin roasting sauce – a delightful Asian twist on a North American tradition.
Tourtière – this meat pie has a few variations but I prefer my mom’s.
Lemon Squares – don’t want to make lemon meringue pie? This is the perfect lemon fix without the fuss.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  See you next year!

photo credit: www.hdwallpapersinn.com

photo credit: www.hdwallpapersinn.com

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Pretzels Dipped in White Chocolate and Crushed Candy Cane http://theculinarychase.com/2013/11/pretzels-dipped-white-chocolate-crushed-candy-cane/ http://theculinarychase.com/2013/11/pretzels-dipped-white-chocolate-crushed-candy-cane/#comments Fri, 29 Nov 2013 19:50:53 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=4908 I’m in the holiday bake mode!  This is ‘the most wonderful time of the year‘ for me.  I am in my element as I bake, cook, and roast all leading up to the 25th.  Forgive me if I sound mawkish but I love Christmas.  I love how people seem a bit kinder, smile more and […]

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prezels in white chocolate candy cane by The Culinary ChaseI’m in the holiday bake mode!  This is ‘the most wonderful time of the year‘ for me.  I am in my element as I bake, cook, and roast all leading up to the 25th.  Forgive me if I sound mawkish but I love Christmas.  I love how people seem a bit kinder, smile more and generally are in the Christmas spirit of rejoicing.  Out of all the entertaining we do throughout the year, the days leading up to Christmas are the most special for us.  I am always fine tuning the party menu and looking for ways to shorten my time in the kitchen so as to enjoy the company of our guests.  When I saw that Shutterbean posted white chocolate peppermint pretzels I knew this would have to make a debut in The Culinary Chase’s kitchen!  I have to admit I’m not a big fan of pretzels and while they aren’t high on my list of party foods, dressed up like this, how can I resist?

white chocolate, melted
pretzel sticks
candy canes

Use a rolling pin or tin can to gently crush the candy cane in a large zip-lock bag.  Once this is done you’re ready for the assembly line. Dip pretzel stick in melted chocolate and let drip off. You may want to shake gently to remove excess chocolate. Roll in crushed candy cane until coated then lay on top of waxed paper. Repeat process. The chocolate doesn’t take long to harden.

pretzels by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  Make sure the candy cane isn’t crushed too finely as the chunky mint bits are lovely with the chocolate and saltiness from the pretzel. Perfect for a school party, gifts for the person who has everything, or for your paper boy.  Enjoy!

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