Santa Came Early

Got a great Christmas present recently. A stocking stuffed with wine. Box wine, removed from the box, stuffed in the stocking, and the tip of the stocking had been removed. Perfect! Just press the button and your wine glass gets filled. And since box wine has improved a lot, this is a great way to enjoy the holiday season!

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Pickled Grapes? and a salad…

New magazine, new recipe.  A recent one I ripped out of Bon Appetit just had to be tested…Radicchio Salad with Pickled Grapes and Goat Cheese.  What the heck do pickled grapes taste like?  And it was interesting when reading through the recipe because you use black vs. red grapes.

Ingredients

½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 star anise pods (great to get in bulk, they didn’t even weigh anything, they wouldn’t even charge me at Whole Foods)
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, divided
1 cup seedless black grapes, halved if large
8 cups torn or sliced Treviso and/or Chioggia radicchio
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup unsalted, roasted almonds, chopped
2 ounces aged goat cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup) (yeah, lactose free)

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Prep

-Combine vinegar, sugar, star anise, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. orange juice, and ¼ cup water in a medium bowl or glass jar; stir (or cover and shake) until sugar and salt dissolve. Add grapes and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
-Toss radicchio in a large bowl with oil, 3 Tbsp. strained pickling liquid, and remaining 1 Tbsp. orange juice; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and scatter drained pickled grapes, almonds, and goat cheese over top.
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This was pretty simple to make and had some great flavors, as well as being so fresh!  Would be nice over the holidays.  Enjoy.

Do Ahead: Grapes can be pickled 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

A Pre-Halloween DC Tradition

Note:  This post has nothing to do with food.  But, it’s fun to change gears sometimes.  I have been living in the DC-area for over a decade and finally made it to the High Heel Race this year.  It takes place the Tuesday before Halloween and is a huge tradition in the city.  The weather was perfect, the costumes put most of us to shame by just going to the costume store and the entertainment was phenomenal!

Some local news (recap) links are at the bottom, too.

Lots of pictures (there was so much going on that the quality isn’t great on all of them because I was in constant motion)!

 

http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/23824780/thousands-cheer-on-runners-in-27th-annual-high-heel-race#axzz2jKPGttyH

http://www.voanews.com/content/washington-dc-halloween-race-features-high-heels-drag-queens/1780650.html

 

 

I do believe in spooks

This is the first thing that came to mind when I was walking through Target the other day and I was surrounded, and that is a light word, by Halloween candy and food. I can’t say all, but many manufacturers put that little twist on what they make/package to draw the attention of consumers for that extra sale. Not quite point-of-purchase (POP) but definitely strategic marketing. It tastes the same but lures that eye. This is the point at which I’m really glad I’m lactose intolerant and can’t eat/consume/splurge/inhale/spend way too much money on most of this stuff.

This is a snapshot of what I say in the Halloween section:

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Snow is falling, holiday music is playing, everywhere you look there are decorations and lights…it’s the holidays!!  And what does that mean?  I can finally make holiday cookies again!  I’m heading to the store tonight to pick up all the ingredients to start baking.  That’s why it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Mint snowballs, candy cane cookies, holiday brownies, chocolate bark with red and green sprinkles.  This means endless hours in the kitchen that are far too much fun, trying new recipes, wrapping the goodies in seasonal colors and finally flopping on the couch at the end of the day, exhausted and full from sampling a bit of each treat.

The best part of all this…HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY.

Candy Cane

Give Me Some Candy!

easter-egg

T minus three days until Easter.  What does that mean?  Only a few more days of walking into stores and being surrounded by chocolate eggs, loads of colorful jelly beans and both chocolate and marshmallow bunnies.  Want some crazy stats?

According to the National Confectioners Association,

  • The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century and remain among the most popular treats associated with Easter
  • 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter each year
  • 16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter
  • Each day, five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter
  • Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind only Halloween
  • 88 percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of creating Easter baskets for their kids
  • 76 percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first
  • Red jelly beans are kids’ favorite
  •  According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25-ft high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported by an internal steel frame.

Dang!  Need some other good numbers to give you a sugar high as we head into the weekend? Check out The Fact Site.   After reading all this, what do you plan to load up and/or munch on the next few days?