Holiday Season Starts in Colorado – November 2014

1For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882

 

Thanksgiving reminds us of the ancient celebrations of harvest. A time when offerings were made in gratitude to the earth’s abundance and prayers spoken for winters survival. What do you have to be grateful for?  Make a list. It always makes me feel better. So often we only focus on what is wrong with our lives, all or our gifts are overlooked. Take a moment to consider and give thanks for all your blessings.

The holiday season starts with a vengeance this month as we are barraged with slogans of buy, buy, buy.  Leave the mass marketing behind and make this the season you strive for quality, not quantity. Prepare a harvest feast with apples, squash, kale, cider, pomegranates and other seasonal foods. Go for a walk in the woods, visit someone who is ill or lonely, contact a friend or family member you’ve been meaning to call. Take time to slow down and live your life, especially at this time of year when there are so many fun things to do.

 

Things to Do

2Once you’re rested, get out there and have some fun. For more events check www.denver.org.

 

Denver Arts Week, November 7-15 – a weeklong celebration of the city’s visual and performing arts. Many events are at a reduced cost or free so get out there and check out a play, ballet, concert or take an art class at one of the studios.  arts week

 

Denver International Wine Festival, November 19-21- celebrities, food, classes and all things grape. http://www.denverwinefest.com/

 

Starz Denver Film Festival, November 12-23 – the big week for all you film fans. denverfilmfest

 

Mile High Holidays – November 27 – January 4 – The holidays will soon be upon us. Take time out for some fun. milehighholidays

Upcoming Classes

Warming Winter Soups and Salads. Sold Out!
Wednesday, November 5th, 6 – 8pm, Denver Botanic Gardens, $39 member; $44 NM  www.botanicgardens.org, 720-865-3580.
It’s time to feast on economical, delicious soup, a nutritious, one pot meal rich in vitamins and fiber. Discover how to make Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder with Poblanos, savory Italian Wedding Soup with Orzo and Meatballs and exotic Thai Curry Chicken Soup with Vegetables. Dinner will include soups, a seasonal salad and fruit crisp. Recipes and full dinner included. Yum!

 

Gourmet Gifts from the Kitchen
4Thursday November 7th, 6- 8pm, Denver Botanic Gardens, $42 member; $47. NM, register here
, 720-865-3580.
Learn how to create easy, delectable culinary delights for unique gift giving. Discover delicious gifts that will delight cooks and foodies with Choco-Chili Nut Clusters, Marinated Olives, Savory Herb Blend, Cheaters Toffee, Pomegranate Jelly, Garlic Confit and Mango Chutney. Give love and good taste this season with your kitchen creations. Recipes and take home samples included.

 

Recipe of The Month

Apples, pumpkins, pears, citrus fruits, pomegranates, persimmons, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cranberries, and winter squash are all in season now. Try out some new recipes for the holidays,

 

Elderberry Syrupyou can also delete the Echinacea and just use the berries and ginger.5

  • ½ cup dried elderberries or 1 cup fresh elderberries
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 tbs grated fresh ginger root
  • ¼ cup dried or fresh Echinacea root
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup honey or agave (more or less according to taste)

Put all of the ingredients except the honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and reduce by ½. Strain into a bowl and add sweetener. If it’s not thick enough for you, put back into the pan and reduce further over low heat. You can add ¼ cup of brandy as a preservative if desired. Store in the refrigerator. Take a teaspoon at the first sign of cold or flu and repeat every 3 hours. Tastes yummy! Do not give honey to babies under 1 year old.

Elderberry Sambucus canadensis, related species) Great for viral and respiratory infections. Helps to boost the immune system. Good for children’s formulas as it has a great taste. Use in syrups, wine, tinctures and teas.

Echinacea – antiviral, antibacterial, strengthens the immune system. Great herb for the cold and flu season.

Ginger ~ valued for its ability to ease vomiting & nausea and to fight off colds, chills and coughs. Also good for circulation and warming. 

 

Quick Pickled VeggiesDelicious as a quick appetizer, side or compliment to sandwiches.These will last 2 weeks in the fridge

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup vinegar of choice, you can use wine, rice, apple cider, even white distilled (though I wouldn’t)
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp oregano, thyme, rosemary and/or dried chili flakes
  • 2 cups of cut up jalapeno or other peppers, red onions, carrots, peppers, green beans, cauliflower or broccoli florets, whatever raw veggies you have on hand.

Bring all ingredients other than the veggies to a boil, add veggies and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Pack the vegetables into a quart glass jar with a rubber top, cover with the vinegar and store in fridge.

 

Chai TeaYes, I know, a lot of ingredients, but easily available at your local health food store or spice shop. Make a bunch and refrigerate it. So delicious, and you will feel so accomplished!6

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 2” piece shredded fresh ginger root, or 2 tbs. dried ginger pieces
  • 1 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbs. dried orange peel
  • ½ tsp. black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3-4 tea bags black or green tea
  • Honey, agave or sugar

Bring water and spices to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the tea bags and milk and simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes. Strain out the tea bags and spices, sweeten to taste and enjoy. Lovely!

 

Creamy Thai Pumpkin Soupeasy and delicious!

7

  • ¼ cup minced onions or scallions
    1 large or two small cans of pumpkin or 1 large butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and diced, – should have close to 5 cups of cubed squash or pumpkin.
    4 cups chicken broth
    1 tsp. ground coriander
    2 tbs Thai fish sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tbs. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • ½  cup loosely packed cilantro leaves for garnish

In a soup pot, sauté onions with ginger root in olive oil until tender, add pumpkin or squash, chicken broth, seasonings and spices and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until pumpkin or squash is cooked through. Mash chunks or put in food processor to bring it to a creamy consistency. Add coconut milk and reheat. Serve with cilantro garnish. You can also top it with a dab of yogurt, scallion greens, peanuts, and/or coconut.

 

Roasted Pear with Goat Cheese, Agave and Thyme over Dressed Baby Greens

Simple but beautiful winter salad, one of my favorites.

  • baby greens
  • pears – ½ per person, cored
  • goat, blue or gorgonzola cheese
  • honey or agave
  • thyme
  • candied walnuts (optional)
  • balsamic vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 375. Put cored, halved pears on an oiled baking sheet. Fill cored cavity with cheese of choice, sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with honey or agave. Place in oven and heat through, 10 -15 minutes.

To serve – toss baby greens with salad dressing, put onto individual plates. Top with roasted pear and candied walnuts.

Balsamic vinaigrette – equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive or canola oil. Add a dash of Dijon and shake well.

 

Candied Walnutswork fast and be careful, the caramel provides a nasty burn. For cleanup just add water to the pan, reheat and stir to melt the brittle off the sides.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves or if pre-roasted, skip the first step
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Use middle rack in oven. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Let cool.

Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is medium amber. Add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture.

Quickly spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either with a Silpat non-stick mat, or parchment paper. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt. Let cool completely. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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