Thursday, October 23, 2014

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics
225 Recipes for Special Occasions
by The Best of Bridge

Hardcover, 330 pages

Two months til Christmas! 

I'm hungry already. And, as much as I love to play around with new techniques and exotic foods - my family would never let that happen during the holidays. They are all about the classics. Just like Grandma used to make. And this is exactly what you will find in this cookbook. No harrissa rubbed turkey breasts, smears or foam here - these are all the recipes from the family dinners of yore.

Seriously. This book made me miss my Grandma. And assorted aunts who showed up with the trimmings. A delicious tradition.

Contents include:

Sample Menus
Holiday Brunches
Cocktail Parties Plus
Buffets and Potlucks
Sit-Down Dinners 
Holiday Cookies and Squares
Desserts and Other Sweet Treats
Food Gifts

From the Back Flap:

Now available for the first time, the definitive collection of holiday recipes from the ladies of Bridge.

Due to overwhelming interest, we’ve compiled a collection of the Bridge ladies’ favorite holiday recipes, as well as some new recipes that are sure to become instant holiday classics. The best roasts and other special entrĂ©es for your celebration are here, along with fabulous recipes for everything from holiday buffets and potlucks to festive libations and treats.
What makes this collection extra-special are the two chapters devoted to Leftovers and Food Gifts. The only problem with holiday repasts is that you’re likely to have leftovers. This chapter includes incredible recipes for transforming unused food into a second delicious meal. And nothing says “happy holidays” more than a gift made from scratch. From homemade toffee to seasoned nuts to preserves, you’ll discover a cache of gift-giving ideas.

As always, the ladies promise you simple recipes with gourmet results. Enjoy!

Christmas Marmalade, page 289

A friend once left this on my doorstep Christmas eve (it was a warm night!) and I’ve made it ever since. Why not make a batch for your friends?

3    medium oranges    3
2    lemons    2
11⁄2 cups    cold water    375 mL
1    bottle (6 oz/170 mL) preserved     1
6 cups    granulated sugar    1.5 L
1    bottle (6 oz/170 mL) maraschino     1
    cherries, drained and chopped
    (add extra green cherries as well —
1    pouch liquid pectin    1

Wash oranges and lemons. Slice paper thin. Discard seeds. Put into large kettle. Add water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until rinds are tender and transparent. Stir occasionally. Drain ginger, saving syrup. Chop ginger finely. Add sugar, chopped ginger, ginger syrup and cherries to orange-lemon mixture. Turn heat to high and bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Continue stirring and skimming for 5 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Wipe rims and seal with two-piece canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Check seals and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.

Makes about ten 8-oz (250 mL) jars.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Eggnog Supreme, page 85

This is a best of bridge Christmas tradition.

12    egg yolks     12
1 cup    sugar    250 ml
7⁄8 cup    brandy (okay! use the whole cup)    210 ml
11⁄3 cups    rye or rum    325 ml
2 cups    half-and-half (10%) cream    500 ml
12    egg whites    12
3 cups    heavy or whipping (35%) cream    750 ml
    nutmeg for garnish

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until lemon-colored and thick. Add brandy, rye and half-and-half. Blend well. Chill for several hours. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat whipping cream in large bowl and fold in egg whites. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Pour into a large punch bowl. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Enjoy!

Serves 24.

Note: This recipe contains raw eggs. If the food safety of raw eggs is a concern for you, substitute pasteurized eggs in the shell.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Roast Turkey with Sage-Bread Stuffing, page 148

Turkey almost always has the place of honor when family and friends gather for holiday meals. It’s perfect when serving a crowd.
It’s economical, too, and everyone loves it.
Best of all are the leftovers that get wrapped and placed in the fridge for hearty sandwiches the next day — or even later that night.

1⁄3 cup    butter    75 mL
2 cups    chopped onions    500 mL
2 cups    chopped celery    500 mL
8 oz    mushrooms, chopped    250 g
4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1 tbsp    dried rubbed sage    15 mL
1 tsp    dried thyme    5 mL
1 tsp    dried marjoram    5 mL
1 tsp    salt    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    2 mL
12 cups    white or whole wheat bread    3 L
    cubes, toasted on baking sheet
    in 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes
1⁄2 cup    chopped fresh parsley    125 mL
1 cup    turkey gravy stock     250 mL
    (see tip, page 150)

1    turkey (about 12 to 14 lbs/6 to 7 kg)    1
2 tbsp    melted butter    30 mL
6    cloves garlic, unpeeled    6
1    large onion, cut into 8 wedges    1
2    carrots, cut into chunks    2
1    large stalk celery, cut into chunks    1
1 tsp    dried rosemary, crumbled    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    dried thyme    2 mL
1⁄2 tsp    dried marjoram    2 mL
    Salt and freshly ground
    black pepper

1⁄4 cup    all-purpose flour    60 mL
1⁄2 cup    white wine or additional stock    125 mL
3 cups    turkey gravy stock (see tip,     750 mL
    page 150)
    Salt and freshly ground
    black pepper

Stuffing: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until tender. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread cubes and parsley. Spoon into a greased 12-cup (3 L) casserole dish. To bake, add enough turkey stock to moisten stuffing and toss. (If you plan to stuff the bird, omit stock.) Cover with lid or foil and place in oven for the last hour of roasting turkey, uncovering for last 30 minutes to brown and crisp the top.

Turkey: Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Remove neck and giblets from bird; reserve to make stock.
Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Secure legs by tying with string or tuck under skin around the tail; fold wings back and secure neck skin with skewer. Place turkey, breast side up, on a greased rack in a large roasting pan or broiler pan. Brush bird with melted butter. Lightly crush garlic with side of knife; scatter garlic, onion, carrots and celery in pan. Season turkey and vegetables with rosemary, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of inner turkey thigh, being careful not to touch bone. Roast turkey for 31⁄4 to 31⁄2 hours; no need to baste. (If turkey starts to brown too quickly, tent bird loosely with heavy-duty foil, shiny side down.) Turkey is done when meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C) for unstuffed bird; 170°F (77°C) if stuffed. Remove from oven; cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes for easy carving.

Gravy: Skim fat from roasting pan; place over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring, until reduced by half. Stir in stock; bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, until gravy thickens. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan, pressing down on vegetables; discard the vegetables. Season gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 8 to 10, plus leftovers.

Tip: Turkey Gravy Stock: Pat neck and giblets dry. (Do not use liver.) In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp  (15 mL) vegetable oil over medium-high heat; cook neck and giblets, stirring, for 8 minutes or until nicely browned. Add 1 each chopped onion, carrot and celery stalk including leaves along with 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly colored. Add 1 cup (250 mL) white wine, if desired. Stir in 6 cups (1.5 L) water; season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours. Strain stock through cheesecloth-lined or fine sieve; discard solids.
Makes about 4 cups (1 L) stock.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

The Love Song of 
Miss Queenie Hennessy
A Novel
By Rachel Joyce

Hardcover, 352 pages

I read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry two years ago and, like the rest of the world, fell instantly and permanently in love.

The book cemented Rachel Joyce as a must-read author and one of the first on my favourites list.

Now we are given the gift of a companion book to the original novel. Not a prequel or a sequel - but a look into Queenie's life and perspective as she waits for Harold and his incredible journey.

We learn so much about this special woman, and remember so much about the first book - not with parallels but with snips and snatches that are remembered in such a different way by this teller.

It is profound how we can touch each other's lives. Near misses, words not said, things forgotten or unnoticed. Guilt, love, sadness, joy. Redemption.

A beautiful book.

From the Back Flap:

When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, 'Even though you've done your travelling, you're starting a new journey too.'

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.

Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the international bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. She is also the award-winning writer of more than twenty plays for BBC Radio 4. She started writing after a twenty-year acting career, in which she performed leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and won multiple awards. Rachel Joyce lives with her family on a Gloucestershire farm.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Vibrant Vegetable Cooking 
from London's Yotam Ottolenghi 
Hardcover, 352 pages

And the KitchenPuppy award for most beautiful cookbook goes to: Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. I love just saying his name. (Not that I am sure I pronounce it right, but I am in my kitchen most of the time so it's all good.)

This is a stunning book that brings hope and love, beauty, and a sense of aliveness to the plate. Seriously, I could live off the pages alone.

I am not a vegetarian. I guess the term these days is flexitarian. I am just happy to eat for the most part. But in this book you don't even notice or miss the meat. (Not saying you couldn't serve any of these fine dishes with a lamb cutlet, but you certainly don't need to.)

A heady variety of Mediterranean dishes separated by cooking methods, which all sound incredibly sexy to me.

Tossed * Steamed * Blanched * Simmered * Braised * Grilled * Roasted * Fried * Mashed * Cracked * Baked * Sweetened

From the Back Flap:

The hotly anticipated follow-up to London chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling and award-winning cookbook Plenty, featuring more than 150 vegetarian dishes organized by cooking method.

Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the world’s most beloved culinary talents. In this follow-up to his bestselling Plenty, he continues to explore the diverse realm of vegetarian food with a wholly original approach. Organized by cooking method, more than 150 dazzling recipes emphasize spices, seasonality, and bold flavors. From inspired salads to hearty main dishes and luscious desserts, Plenty More is a must-have for vegetarians and omnivores alike. This visually stunning collection will change the way you cook and eat vegetables

Yotam Ottolenghi owns an eponymous group of four restaurants, plus the high-end restaurant, NOPI, in London. His previous cookbooks–Plenty, Jerusalem, and Ottolenghi–have all been on the New York Times bestseller list. Yotam writes for The Guardian and appears on BBC. He lives in London. The author lives in London, UK.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen

More than 100 Culinary Inspired 
Presents to Make and Bake
By Alison Walker
Hardcover, 176 pages

Countdown to Christmas! I know you were thinking it.

I am at the stage of my life.... (does that make me sound old? I'm not. Much) But I am at that stage where homemade gifts mean so much more to me than store bought. Especially if I can eat said gifts.

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen gives you over 100 yummy gift giving treats and presentation ideas. Perfect for anyone on your list. I assume I am on your list as well. Please?

Chapters include:

Baked with Love
Candies and Confections
For the Pantry
From the Garden
The Delights of Chocolate
A Savory Treat
Raise a Glass
Small but Perfectly Formed
Gifts for the Cook
Containers and Packaging
Gingerbread House Templates
Resource Section

Beautifully laid out and photographed, you will have no end of sweet and savory ideas to wow your friends and family. And me.

From the Back Flap:

From homemade cookies to marshmallow hearts, flavored oils and spirits to panforte and spice kits, each of the more than 100 gift ideas has an easy-to-follow recipe along with inspirational ideas for presentation. Whether you're baking for a friend's birthday or bringing a thank-you gift, this book is your guide to creating elegant and tasty treats for any celebration.

     Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen is a delightful gift in itself, as well as providing a beautiful collection of culinary gift ideas for you to make and bake at home for friends and family. In a world where mass-produced is the norm, homemade carries a certain potency of care and thought, and indulgent fudge, warming liqueurs, spicy chutneys, sweet and crumbly homemade biscuits are easy to make, affordable, and meaningful gifts. They are perfect for Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving, or for everyday giving.

     And it's not just the making, it's the wrapping, too. Decorative jars, tins, baskets, and boxes add a personal touch that ensures these gifts will still be remembered long after the food has been enjoyed. That said, a range of containers isn't essential; Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen offers ideas for wrapping your gifts in a stunning and stylish way, so that every gift is special.

Alison Walker is the Food and Drink Editor of Country Living magazine and loves cooking comfort food using seasonal ingredients. After a career in editorial magazine and publishing, she retrained as a professional chef at Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London and graduated as Student of the Year in 2002. After leaving Leith’s, she worked as a food stylist on various movie sets and television programs, such as the James Bond film Die Another Day and Vanity Fair. Since then, she has worked as food editor on various glossy women’s magazines in London. Immediately before joining Country Living, she was Head of Cookery at Good Housekeeping (UK edition).