by Kate Heyhoe
Yikes!!! It's December already. Christmas shopping, festive parties, impromptu entertaining. Are you ready for the holiday season?
Throughout December, Kate's Global Kitchen is on the case—I've got quick-to-fix party ideas that taste like you've slaved for hours to make them: rich cheese spreads for a wine party...an exotically spiced no-knife buffet (filling your house with the warm aromas of ginger, cloves and saffron)...and if you love lox and smoked salmon, you'll want to make delicate Swedish Salmon Gravlax for the Christmas weekend—it's as perfect for a festive buffet as it is for breakfasts, noshing and sandwiches (buy bagels!). For holiday gifts, I review my favorite kitchen equipment See the schedule of upcoming columns below. Happy holidays!
A holiday wine and cheese party can be ultra simple—just select a number of contrasting cheeses and serve them at room temperature with assorted breads, crackers, and fruit, and a decent selection of complementary wines.
Good quality cheeses worthy of enjoying "au natural" aren't cheap, but with a small amount of effort, you can stretch your cheese budget by making irresistible cheese spreads. Forget the pedestrian herb cheeses found in the deli case—in minutes you can whip up these special, savory treats to impress your holiday guests and make their tastebuds sing fah-la-la and ooh-la-la, too.
For those of you on the wild side, this lively horseradish cheese spread hits the tongue assertively at first, but quickly melts into the nutty, butteriness of the Gouda and the softness of the cream, underscored by a hint of Vermouth. The recipe was inspired by a similar spread made at Dallas' trendoid foodie Mecca, Eatzi's. Serve it with Carr's slightly sweet Wheatolo crackers, sliced cucumbers or celery sticks.
Savor the classic flavors of blue-veined Gorgonzola cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and the slightly sweet creme de cassis, made from black currants, zipped up with a dash of allspice. A touch of Marsala adds a complex layer of flavor, but if you don't already have it on hand, then substitute more creme de cassis. Whipping these ingredients together into a luscious, nutty spread keeps the rich but crumbly Gorgonzola cheese from scattering across floors and furniture. This spread is absolutely fabulous on sliced apples and pears (dip them in lemon juice to prevent browning).
More Wine and Cheese Party Ideas
Weekend Salmon Gravlax
...and Last Minute Gift Suggestions
Copyright © 1998, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created 1998 and modified September 2007.
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