Whether you celebrate the season with Christmas, Hanukkah, or other cultural events, it’s a time for enjoying the company of family and friends. Here are some of my favorite recipes. They are great on their own or as gifts from the kitchen. A gift from the hands is a gift from the heart. Happy 2012!
HOMEMADE BOURSIN CHEESE
Better than anything you can buy. A nice gift from the kitchen served in a crock surrounded by crackers. Or make it elegant by mounding up on a platter and then inserting Belgian endive leaves to make a beautiful “flower”.
8 oz light cream cheese
1 stick butter or substitute healthy alternative (4 ozs)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ea: dried thyme, basil, dill
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Squeeze or two fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (optional)
SUGAR FREE STRAWBERRY JAM
Here’s a quick, easy, and healthy strawberry jam. The bonus? It’s really awesome spread on whole wheat toast.
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced if very large
1 cup cold water
1 package, 3 oz., strawberry flavored gelatin, sugar free
Crush berries in a large saucepan. Add water and gelatin and mix well. Over medium heat, bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer a couple of minutes. Pour into clean jars, let cool, then cover. Store in refrigerator up to two weeks or freeze for a month or so.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen
Strawberries have more vitamin C than some citrus. They are high in fiber, folate, potassium and antioxidants, and that means they help reduce the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Plus they are yummy!
A cup of strawberries has about 60 calories and contains over 100% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C for kids.
Leave stems on strawberries when cleaning and clean right before using. Remove stems after berries drain. This prevents them from soaking up water as you wash them.
POTATO PANCAKES WITH CHIVES
Want to make this very easy? Use frozen, shredded hash browns. Plan to spend more time if you use fresh potatoes. I love adding a handful of chopped chives from the herb garden instead of the onions. (You can make larger potato pancakes.)
1 pound shredded fresh potatoes, or frozen potatoes, thawed and squeezed very dry
2 eggs, lightly beaten or egg substitute
2 tablespoons flour or bit more to hold mixture together
Salt and pepper or seasoning salt to taste
1/2 to 1 cup fresh chopped chives or 1 small onion, minced (optional)
Mix everything together. With a small ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out portions of potatoes on hot griddle or omelet pan which has been filmed with a light coating of olive oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH, is a Certified Culinary Professional and Certfied Modern Herbalist, educator, author, founding editor of www.Abouteating.com
a popular website that showcases her many interests in healthy living.