Saturday, December 21, 2013

Pie and coffee Christmas

Happy Christmas to all. I hope you all are feeling great about the good things in your life and help others feel some joy. Being well fed is a good feeling and here’s some ways to get that going:

Pumpkin Trending Update
The American Pie Council, (great place to work?) features recipes for Real Pumpkin Pie, Octoberfest and Tasty Pumpkin Pies, some with maple and raisin and walnuts and other combos.

America’s Best Harvest Pies: Apple, Pumpkin, Berry, and More! (Skyhorse Publishing)  offers 70 recipes that have won awards at National Pie Championships in Celebration, Fla.  Linda Hoskins, who has this “sweet” job, spreads the word about this competition. These pies of all flavors look amazing, and have “real people” ingredients like Cool Whip and Jell-o brands.
A fun one that caught my eye is The Engagement Ring, a pile of blueberries surrounded by candy jewels covered in diamond dust. Guess who’s ring it a nod toward: Kate Middleton’s, also worn by Lady Diana.

SteamBrew and iCoffee make the cut

Consumer Reports has beat me to bragging about the Remington iCoffee, listing it as a “best product.” It has a big, maybe giant, basket on top that reminds me of a space alien head from the movies. Don’t worry, I’m not the first reviewer to mention the “big” basket. Instead of dripping, this method uses SteamBrew to allow hot water jets to soak and stir grounds, like a French press (which I already love). This is serious news to those who love, need coffee. Another cool aspect is that the machine is so efficient, you can often cut down on the amount of coffee you put in, so your most expensive beans can last a little longer. I usually avoid talking technology, but this is a steamy case of success. iCoffee made my ordinary beans taste markedly more smooth and gourmet. Turns out ilike iCoffee.

It has to be good
Smucker’s got a little fancy on us, and I’m happy to invite them to holiday spreads. I’m trying these ideas and making up my own, and maybe there will be a tad left in the jar to enjoy on an “ordinary” day’s breakfast. I have started in on Orchard’s Finest Lakeside Raspberry, Cranberry Preserves. What’s below is easy, but if you’re still at the “spread preserves over a block of cream cheese” level, you’ll still be good. The flavor, texture and color of these preserves is a cut above. I’m even drizzling it on yogurt.
These pairings use just a few ingredients and are ready in about 15 minutes. That’s my kind of entertaining:
·         Fresh Cranberry Orange Pecan Relish Try out NEW Smucker’s Natural Fruit spreads by adding some seasonal flavor to your cheese board.  Pair relish made with cranberries, pecans with Smucker's Natural Orange Marmalade.
·         Cherry Filled CamembertCamembert’s rustic flavor pairs beautifully with tart cherries, creating a unique, creamy holiday appetizer spread.
·         Fruit Fondue- For a decadent dessert, serve chocolate fondue infused with sweet orange marmalade or red raspberry preserves.

Coconut in your kitchen
LouAna puts Cajun in their press release, noting its 100 plus-year history which began with Cajun settlers in Opelousas, La. It is now the nation’s largest independent cooking oil refinery, so wonder what those founders would have thought of its latest release, LouAna All Natural Pure Coconut Oil. Made by extracting oil from the meat of the “ripest, most mature coconuts, freshly fallen from the coconut palm tree plant.” It’s not a neutral taste for sweet and savory baking and can make your popcorn and pies taste heavenly. I warmed some of those Matlaw’s fish sticks I was telling y’all about in the oil and loves a brown egg over-easy cooked in a drizzle of this oil. Coconut oil has proven to raise HDL levels in the body, makers say. I think the original Cajuns would have been as excited about pure coconut oil as I am. I can’t help thinking how well it pairs with the Island Fever theme of our 2014 Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas.

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