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Christmas Is: Sweet

I bake too much at Christmas, and then I eat too much sugar, and then I look as jolly as I feel. By the time Valentine’s Day rolls around feeling sexy is very tied to how much bubbly I need to drink to feel lithe underneath my post-Christmas layer of fluff.

But I digress. It’s the holidays, and what better way to kick it off than to dig into the retro recipes that we all remember our favourite aunt decking her sweet trays with?

At my house, the tackiest of tacky goodies were always the butterscotch marshmallow squares. Heaven forbid you pack these little gems in a container with anything else, or everything in there would smell the same.

I always used to think that if you ate these, you’d eat anything, but as I’ve gotten older, I realize that the sense of taste can be pleasantly nostalgic.

Exactly one month out from the big day, I present to you my family recipe.

BUTTERSCOTCH MARSHMALLOW SQUARES

1/4 cup butter

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup peanut butter

1 bag coloured marshmallows

Grease a 9 x13″ baking dish and set aside.

Melt butter, and butterscotch chips in a pan over medium heat. Remove once thoroughly combined and remove from heat. Immediately add peanut butter. Mix until well blended and cooled slightly. Add coloured marshmallows and mix until butterscotch and peanut butter mixture coats the marshmallows.

Scrape mixture into greased baking dish and pat down to fill the pan. I often used a buttered spatul to press the squares down before placing them in the refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, cut into squares and place in an airtight container. DO NOT place with other baked good. These little tacky tidbits freeze well.

If retro recipes are up your jingle-belled alley, try my great-granny’s recipe for Coconut Cherry Balls.

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Savoury Sunday: Crevettes a la Grecque

Glasses
Glasses (Photo credit: Simon_sees)

It’s been a while darlings. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, I’ve just been terribly busy, pre-occupied, and frankly, enjoying the simple pleasures of the barbecue.

Alas, I am back with a delicious recipe for you to enjoy while dining al fresco under the stars after the sun has set and the humidity is blown away by  the cool evening breeze.

Shrimp in Mediterranean sauce is simple, easy and delicious; the way that food should be prepared and served. With a few fine quality ingredients and lots of love, you can enjoy this simple dish with your true-love without having to spend hours slaving over the stove.

Add a glass or five of Joseph Cattin Pinot Gris spritzed half and half with ice-cold club soda and a wedge of juicy lime. Be sure to have a baguette and fresh salad of baby greens with a simple vinegraitte, and you’re all set.

Don’t worry darlings, I haven’t forgotten the  ambiance. Please see my preferred selection below the recipe.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup olive oil

2 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced NOT crushed)

1 small red onion (finely chopped)

1 large lemon with finely pared zest

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. coriander seeds (lightly toasted)

1/2 tbsp. ground pepper

20 large shrimp or equivalent smaller shrimp

Fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped for garnish)

Method

1) Combine wine, water, oil, garlic, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, coriander seeds, pepper into a pan and bring to a boil.

2)Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3) Add the shrimp and simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp (depending on size) turn pink. Remove from pan and place in serving bowl.

4) Bring the liquid back to a boil and reduce it by half (approx. 5 minutes)

5) Pour over shrimp and serve warm, garnished with parsley.

***

What would a romantic dinner be without a little music?

I’m going to suggest a summery-remix of one of my favourites;

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Savoury Sunday; Antipasti II Croquettes

Arancini
Arancini (Photo credit: L.Richarz)

I’m back just like I promised last Sunday my sweet little darlings. This is the second of three Antipasti Savoury Sundays. Last week I gave you a delicious shrimp and pea puree recipe. This week I send out all of my culinary love and have decided to share a Croquettes recipe that we enjoy.

No mater where I go, there is always a local version of croquettes – the perfect savoury food to pop in your mouth, with just enough staying power to get your through a long, lingering afternoon of sunshine and friendly frolicking.

This is a long, slow recipe to make, so turn on some music, enjoy a nice glass of wine, and look forward to sharing these with your friends.

A recent recommendation of Las Moras Reserve Chardonnay  from Billy’s Best Bottles could be paired with any of these three Antipasti’s.

Be sure to check out my music selection below….

Arancine Rice Croquettes

Ingredients

1) 3.5 cups water

2) 1/2 tsp chopped saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 minutes.

3) 1.5 tsp salt

4) 2 cups Arborio rice

5) 2 eggs

6) 2/3 cups grated parmesan cheese

7) 1/4 tsp ground  black pepper

For the filling;

1) 3 tbsp. olive oil

2) 5-6 oz  ground beef/pork or a mixture of the two

3) 1/2 onion

4) 1 small carrot peeled and diced

5) 1 small celery stalked finely chopped

6) 1 cup tomato sauce

7) 1 tbsp. tomato paste

8) 1/4 cup cooked peas

9) 1 cup flour

10) 1 cup fine bread crumbs

11) 2 eggs

12) Olive oil, or preferred oil for deep-frying ( I prefer grape seed oil).

Method

Rice Mixture;

1) In a saucepan combine the water, saffron and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil.

2) Ad rice, stirring well. Turn heat down to low, covering pan to cook rice until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through (~15 minutes).

3) Cool rice mixture for a few minutes, and then add eggs, cheese and season with remaining salt and pepper.

4) Spread rice on baking sheet and cool until cold, but do not let it harden (1-2 hours)

Arancine Filling;

1) Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Saute meat, onion, carrot and celery until cooked through (~15 minutes)

2) Add tomato sauce and paste. Cook until thick (~30 mins)

3) Remove from heat and stir in the peas.

4) Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Putting it all together;

1) To shape the croquettes, use a spoonful of rice to make a 1-2 inch ball.

2) Make an indent in the rice with your finger, and add some Arancine filling.

3) Smooth the rice over the filling.

4) With bread crumbs, flour, and lightly beaten eggs  in their own, separate bowls, dip the croquettes one at a time first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Place croquettes on lined baking sheet and refrigerate  for at least two hours, and up to a day. This makes frying easier as the raw croquettes are much more firm and don’t fall apart when frying.

5) When you’re ready to fry the croquettes, line a baking sheet with paper towels, and heat up your oil in a sauce pan.

6) With a skimmer, place the croquettes in the oil, and let them fry until golden brown. A few times during the frying process, lift the croquettes from the oil. This allows the inside to cook without over cooking the outside. Place fried croquettes on lined baking sheet and slip the sheet into the oven to keep warm.

***