Food and Dining Radio Show – 12.27.07
New Year’s Celebrations with Diane Worthington – Seriously Simple Holidays
Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Diane Worthington (DW)
LG: Do you love having friends over but don’t want to put in all the effort? Our topic today is easy New Year’s celebrations and our guest is Diane Worthington, the author of Seriously Simple Holidays. Diane, how can we make our parties live up to the big New Year’s Eve event?
DW: Think about what you want in advance. Make sure you have everything you need in advance, and make a list.
LG: What goes on the list?
DW: Everything you’ve decided in advance that you will need. If you’re doing a large party, think about the wines, beverages and other cocktails you want. Also the prepared foods. Since we have so many upscale take out places, don’t start from scratch.
LG: In your book you mention quality prepared foods. Tell us about those.
DW: For example, I have a brie recipe where you cut off the top rind and all you do is put cranberry chutney or pre-made sauce and toasted almonds on top, put the top rind back over that, and then cover it with more relish and almonds. It only needs to be in the oven for seven minutes at 325 degrees.
LG: That seems much easier than doing the brie dish with pastry.
DW: Yes, and they have 8 oz or 1 lb bries this year. You could use fig jam with apricots or almonds too. It’s very delicious and I can tell you that every time I serve it, it’s gone before I get to taste it.
LG: Appetizers are good for New Year’s Eve parties. It’s fun to graze. What are other ones?
DW: No time appetizers like candied pecans or almonds are fun. I love Spanish Marcona Almonds. They have a dimension of flavor you must check out. The flavor is very unusual. I know they have them at Whole Foods or other fine food markets. Also, there’s edamame that you can get in the shell. You only need to cook them for about 10 minutes and add some coarse salt at the end. That’s a great thing to have around.
FT: Do you eat the pod of the edamame?
LG: Or you can buy them without the pods.
DW: I also have slight assembly required recipes like antipasto platters from a deli. Try getting small boccaccini (tiny balls of mozzarella) and marinate them in a basic vinaigrette. Just put out a big platter with those, some salami and mortadella, and flat bread.
LG: That’s a substantial hors d’vour which is great.
DW: Another thing I love to do is use
LG: That’s a great little scoop you can pick up and go.
DW: Another thing I love are Fuyu persimmons. They are very delicious. I peel them and cut them in 2 inch slices and then wrap ham or prosciutto around them. Sprinkle them with reduced balsamic vinegar and it’s great.
LG: These are great tips. Of course in your book you have a whole dinner for New Year’s Eve. I liked the glazed ham suggestion. Tell us about it.
DW: It’s very simple. You take a spiral 8 lb cooked sliced ham. Then I do a very simple glaze of crushed pineapple, orange blossom honey, brown sugar, cloves and
JC: Can I get some of that on rye?
LG: Other ways you can use the ham are also in the book.
DW: Yes you can chop it up and throw it into chilled salads or make a ham and gruyere sandwich with honey mustard.
LG: We’re talking with Diane Worthington who is giving us tips on splendid simple New Year’s Eve celebrations. For another dinner, it’s dinner in minutes time. Today’s dinner is balsamic glazed steak with basil linguine. If you have a lot of people you can get a tenderloin and slice it into little steaks. Cook it two minutes on each side and then put onions in with balsamic vinegar. Just cook the vinegar down, put the sauce over the steak, and that’s it. For a side dish, buy fresh linguine, boil, drain and toss it with olive oil and fresh basil.
FT: I noticed that your book includes Peter Marks wine suggestions.
DW: Yes, he’s wonderful. He thoughtfully considered each dish and what he would suggest serving with them.
FT: I see him at COPIA.
DW: Yes, Coppia is the wine and food museum started in the town of
FT: They have a lot of things on the history of food.
DW: And they have a great store. Of course it’s in the town of
LG: Let’s talk about New Year’s Eve day. There’s lots of football. What can we serve?
DW: Consider the pineapple honey-glazed ham. That will make great sandwiches, and I serve it with the lime mint slaw. The slaw has a wonderful refreshing lime vinaigrette with chopped mint and dill. Then I decorate with pomegranate seeds.
LG: Let’s not forget the coffee toffee pie.
DW: Yes, it’s the easiest recipe and people love it because it has no pie crust. It’s like a brownie. It has semisweet chocolate and some bittersweet chocolate so it’s not too sweet. It’s very easy to prepare and you can make it in advance. You can even freeze it and then give it as a gift.
LG: The recipes for the ham, lime mint slaw, and pie are all on the website. Thank you to Diane Worthington for joining us. I’d like to wish all the listeners a happy, healthy and delicious new year!
Fred Tasker’s Drinks Suggestions
We have previously demonstrated here that the perfect way to toast the New Year is with champagne. The good stuff. No question. Still, we have to keep an open mind, so let’s explore some other nice ways to do it.
What’s hot this year? The pomegranate. You’re not really with it unless you make all of your holiday drinks, and most of your menu items, with pomegranate. In fact, proponents say pomegranates are so chock with vitamins and antioxidants that they protect against weight gain, heart attacks, cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, prostate cencer, erectile dysfunction, even the dreaded pelvic organ prolapse.
So here’s how we can use pomegranates in drinks.
First, simply take a glass of cheap bubbly and add a dollop of the pomegranate juice you can buy in the juice section of any supermarket. That creates a pomegranate kir royale. And it’s pretty good. Pomegranate juice has an intense, sweet-tart red berry flavor that goes very well with bubbly.
On the other hand, Oprah makes a pomegranate martini with vodka, Cointreau and pomegranate juice. Martha Stewart makes a non-alcoholic punch with pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar and mint. Personally, I’d add a hit of vodka – but that’s just me.
To make a Pom Sidecar, add cognac, Grand Marnier, sugar, lemon juice and bitters.
One last one: For a Pomegreenie you steep pomegranate green tea and add vodka. And by adding the antioxidants of green tea to those of the fabulous pomegranate, you’ll probably live forever.
And isn’t that a nice way to start the New Year?