Two Quick and Easy Holiday Appetizers for Small Gatherings

Typically, at this time of year, we’d be entertaining nonstop—hosting an end-of-semester party for my husband’s students, inviting friends and neighbors for some holiday libations, or welcoming guests to a large open house. None of that will take place in 2020 because of the pandemic. Our socializing this season will be primarily through Zoom or Face Time, and we’ll only need appetizers for two! Because many other families, like ours, will be scaling down this year, I’ve chosen two easy yet delicious treats (both featured on my blog in earlier posts) perfect to serve at small gatherings. A wheel of Camembert stuffed with a glorious mélange of fruit and nuts as well as bowls of spiced orange pecans are on my list.

A round of Camembert is halved horizontally, filled with a colorful fruit Continue reading

Curried Cashews Make a Great Last-Minute Gift from the Kitchen

If, like me, you are running late, but still hoping to make edible gifts for this holiday season, consider these delicious curried cashews with currants. They take only about 30 minutes to assemble, roast, and cool!

I included these nuts at a Holiday Open House cooking class last week, and was thrilled when almost everyone in the packed room said they were planning to prepare them!

These nuts are definitely addictive. Just try eating a mere handful! Seasoned with a tempting blend of both sweet and salty notes, cashews, along with currants, are coated with a maple syrup mixture scented with curry, cardamom, and ginger. The nuts are Continue reading

Whole Foods Isn’t Always Whole Paycheck!

Whole Foods in Hadley, Massachusetts

Whole Foods in Hadley, Massachusetts

It’s a common, catchy little phrase that I hear all the time from my friends and students. “Whole Foods means whole paycheck” they exclaim after expeditions to our local WF where irresistible produce, fish, and meats often have hefty price tags.

An inveterate grocery shopper (I’m in supermarkets at least 3 to 4 times a week!), I’m aware that many things do cost more in this food emporium, but there are bargains too tucked among the shelves. Listed below are six items I routinely put in my cart. All are of excellent quality and a terrific value.

And speaking of non-monetary value, my local Whole Foods rates high for me on the service scale. Last week I asked a stocker where the peeled and cubed butternut squash was. She quickly explained that it was early in the season and that the store hadn’t begun to display packages of peeled and cut fall squashes. Then she continued, “Just go pick out a squash and I’ll take it in the back and prep it for you!” That little extra service is a bargain too! Continue reading

Fresh Orange Slices in Spiced Red Wine With Vanilla Ice Cream

I created this dessert as the finale for a delectable Indian feast prepared by a good friend of ours from the sub-continent. The cool, refreshing taste of citrus made a fine counter point to the spicy dishes of the evening. Since then, I’ve served these oranges as a light dessert after a spread of tapas and as the sweet conclusion to a winter chili supper. Continue reading