Tuesday, December 21, 2010

in the mood

I once heard a Mid-Western visitor comment that he did not like the North East landscape, complaining "you can't see anything because of all the trees." At the time I thought what a strange comment. Aren't trees the whole point? But I did appreciate the humor of the image and in fact every winter I look forward to a landscape revealed through the spindly fine lines of bare tree branches.

This weekend I went up to The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park to hear The Waverly Consort's holiday concert of music from the Middle Ages.  The museum was decked out in holiday mode and the atmosphere was warm & cozy within the heavy stone-faced interior.
The vocal music was heavenly, echoing around the hall. 

I have been making holiday cookies, candies and latkes all month and have many more big festive meals to go. My friend Joann, a wonderful home cook, turned me on to a really tasty appetizer she served us last night from a recipe found in Cooking Light Magazine. The Artichoke and Fennel Caponata was so good, filled with fresh zippy flavor. Cooking Light has very reliable recipes and this one was no exception. It is an addictive treat that won't fill you up. Try it on the IT Crackers from last weeks post. A big batch will go a long way and makes a great condiment on grilled or roasted foods.
Artichoke and Fennel Caponata
This delicious caponata is worth a try. The recipe is simple to make and loaded with tangy capers, sweet golden raisins, lemon zest and parsley.
the wine pairing:
Beautiful pictures, Deb. I wish I had known about this recipe prior to my big holiday party this past Saturday night, which by the way was a big hit. Lots and lots of food. Passed hot hors d'ouerves with an antipasto table, shrimp cocktail and sushi platters. The Artichoke and Fennel Caponata would have fit right in with the other antipasti.

For occasions such as a holiday bash or informal get together where there are a variety of finger foods such as this caponata, I recommend a crowd-pleasing selection of wines. I had plenty of Pink Prosecco on hand which really contributed nicely to the festive atmosphere. For whites, I had an inexpensive French blend from the Cotes de Gascogne called Domaine Sancet. It's a blend of wonderful white varietals such as Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of upfront fruit and extremely food friendly. And only $7.99 per bottle! For reds, I had plenty of d'Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz 2008 to go around. Rated 90 points by The Wine Spectator, this ripe, juicy, fleshy Shiraz retails for around $8.99. These are the types of wines I like to offer at my parties - especially when they are on the larger size and the wallet is an issue. Simple, easy-quaffing juice is what I seek out! I save the more serious, expensive selections for smaller, more intimate gatherings where people are in attendance not only for the food and company, but for the wine as well!

1 comment:

  1. Argh. I wish I saw this before I planned and shopped for Xmas dinner. Will have to try it at the next party. Thanks!


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