Eating My Way Through the Holidays. Festive Foods: Dijon Deviled Eggs! Those who know me well fondly refer to me as a Francophile, someone who loves everything French. It goes all the way back to my school days when a sixth grade Social Studies teacher introduced the class to France, after having traveled there herself. From that moment on, it became a dream of mine to take a trip there someday. I studied the French language and Impressionist art. I admired the historical connection, the romantic countryside, and most of all the incredible food! Is it any surprise I chose to share today’s recipe of something a little French?
DIJON DEVILED EGGS
6 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon French Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon light cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1-2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
Fresh Basil for garnish
Once the eggs have cooled, remove the shells, and slice each egg in half lengthwise. Gently remove yolk and place in a bowl. Arrange the egg on a plate. Repeat until all eggs are divided. Lightly mash the egg yolks until crumbly, leaving a few chunks. Add Dijon mustard, Greek yogurt, light cream, mayonnaise, sea salt, and white pepper. Mix until almost smooth. Fold in a few red onion pieces. Spoon yolk mixture into egg halves. Garnish with chopped red onion and fresh basil snips. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
“The Church knew what the
psalmist knew: Music praises God.
Music is well or better able
to praise him than the building
of the church and all is decoration;
it is the Church’s greatest ornament.”
~ Igor Stravinsky
When a fellow blogger encouraged me to share my love of gift-wrapping in a “How To” post on my blog, I couldn’t resist! Supplies are simple: satin ribbons, decorative boxes, colorful berries, gift tags, quirky embellishments, and framed photographs. Put them all together and you have a captivating gift-wrapped package that will have your friends and family adoring its beauty rather than trying to sneak a peek inside. Place the the gifts under the Christmas tree or on the fireplace hearth to spread excitement as well as anticipation of an upcoming event. Decorated packages become “Instant Décor”. Interesting boxes can be found anywhere all year long. Often greeting cards, scented candles, exotic fragrances, and luxury beauty products are packaged in unique and vibrant boxes. It’s a shame to discard them after opening when you can go “green” and give them a facelift as a phenomenal package for someone else. Satin ribbon is classy and elegant, in my opinion. Choose polka dots, geometrics, or muted tones. Make single or multiple bows. Angle cut the ends to create a nice finish. Incorporate any embellishment such as a sprig of rosemary, a pine cone, a branch of holly, or an interesting ornament. Let your creativity shine! Sometimes I attach a gift tag, other times I take a snapshot of the recipient and put it in a miniature frame. Who doesn’t love seeing photos? Afterwards, the frames hang on the tree as memorable ornaments. Just be sure to include the date on the back for reminiscing years later. Whatever you design, have fun and be creative. Anything goes!
Festive Foods! Good times naturally accompany good food. Every family has its favorites. Some indulge in time-worn traditions while others enjoy modern classics. As you embrace the holidays with companionship, nostalgia, food, or festivities, celebrate the spirit of the season. In the next few weeks, join me as I share favorite foods as well as healthy options. Bring it home for the holidays with Festive Foods! Follow me on Instagram @gail_dorna or check in with me on Twitter @Snapshotsincursive.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Zested Orange Cranberry Sauce! Infuse the traditional cranberry sauce with cinnamon, orange, and citrus to reap a perfect blend of holiday flavors. By simmering the mixed fruits together, it transforms ordinary sauce into a fancier version of a popular classic. Elevate your taste buds from semi-sweet to welcome complement. Top off baked Brie, spoon onto a dish of yogurt, or slather across a piece of toast. It’s perfect for now as well as all season long.
ZESTED ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1/8 teaspoon granulated lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup fresh orange juice, from 2 oranges
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
Combine marmalade, orange rind, and lemon zest. Set aside. Combine juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add cranberries and return to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries pop and sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in marmalade mixture. Cover and chill.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Your Classic Green Bean Casserole! Can we ever get enough of this all-time favorite side dish? I think not! It seems there are all sorts of variations on this classic holiday casserole. Some of my friends only use French-style green beans while others prefer freshly snapped. And the seasonings are all over the map from Hawaiian sea salt medleys to crushed Midwest garden herbs. I keep it simple because, honestly, once you add the French fried onion rings, everything else takes a back seat.
YOUR CLASSIC GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
2 cans whole green beans, drained and cut-up
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup light cream
1/8 teaspoon Mrs. Dash herb and garlic seasoning
1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 1/2 cups French fried onions
Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a medium casserole dish with nonstick spray. Combine green beans, cream of mushroom soup, light cream, herb seasoning, and salt. Mix well. Fold in 1/2 cup of French fried onion pieces. Place in casserole dish. Spread evenly. Arrange remaining French fried onion rings over top around the edges leaving the center open. Bake 30-35 minutes.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: “Xingzi” Apricot and Fruit Tarts! Three bites. That’s all. Three bites. Someone once told me portion control is all about savoring the taste. I agree. Discover a guilt-free way to float through the holiday parties. When you are asked to bring a dish to share, mini tarts can be prepared in a few minutes leaving you plenty of time for a rejuvenating bubble bath. These adorable sweet and savory tarts are exactly three bites. Put them to the test.
“XINGZI” APRICOT CAMEMBERT TARTS
15-count package Mini Fillo Shells, thawed
1/4 cup apricot jam; or assorted flavors
Wheel of Brie or Camembert cheese
1 teaspoon almonds, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pecans, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Blueberries for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the Fillo shells into a mini muffin tin. Remove skin from cheese. Discard. Cut the Brie or Camembert cheese into a small cube to place into the bottom of each Fillo shell. Gently drop a dollop of jam on top of each cube of cheese. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts, red pepper flakes, or a blueberry. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the jam begins to caramelize. Remove from oven and serve at room temperature.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Winterfest Walking Tacos! Here’s the perfect “Grab and Go” snack when you’re heading out the door. This time of year towns all over the world celebrate the holiday season with dazzling displays of outdoor Christmas lights. From Santa’s Workshop to high-tech Winter Wonderlands, the animation never stops. Pile the kids on board and have a tailgate party in your car, truck, or SUV. Keep it simple by using plastic picnic tumblers for easy handling. Enjoy a tasty snack while embracing the spirit of the holidays.
WINTERFEST WALKING TACOS
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix
15-ounce can chili beans
10-ounce can tomato bits and sauce
2 cups shredded romaine
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
10-ounce bag of corn chips, slightly crushed
1/3 cup salsa
Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Stir over medium heat until completely cooked. Drain. Add taco seasoning packet, chili beans, tomato bits and sauce. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir occasionally. Before serving, assemble corn chips in the bottom of each cup followed by beef mixture and toppings of choice. Eat with a fork.
“Candy is childhood,
the best and bright moments
you wish could have lasted forever.”
~ Dylan Lauren