April 19, 2014

Everyday Gourmet

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Christmas crib notes

Dec. 16, 2010

By Kim Dannies

It’s the most magical time of the year, where food and family, parties and presents all take center stage. Between the galas and the gigs, it’s nice to know there are tasty meals and snacks that are quick to prepare, but still feel like an extra-special treat.

Lamb Chop Heaven

Broil baby lamb chops for 5 to 6 minutes. Top with minced mint, orange zest, and garlic, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Perfection on a plate.

Fast & Fancy

Buy a pre-cooked hickory smoked duck breast. Sear a chopped onion in a bit of oil. Slice the duck breast against the grain (like a flank steak). Add slices to the hot pan; quickly add a splash of sherry and some balsamic vinegar. Heat. It’s ready in 2 minutes. Leftover duck, like bacon, is a great embellishment in almost everything.

Professional Brownies (from a box)

Mix a standard package with 2 eggs, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup leftover coffee and 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Pour mixture into a pan that forces the batter to rise 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

(Decadent alternative: to a standard mix add 1 egg, 1/2 cup of sugar and 8 ounces of mascarpone — outrageous!)

That’s Italian

Sauté 1 large, chopped onion in olive oil until caramelized. Add 4 minced garlic cloves. Add a jar of commercial pasta sauce and 1 can of crushed tomatoes. Add 1 shot of vodka and 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Add beef or chicken meatballs. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over a new kind of pasta.

Afternoon Tea

Sick of cookies? Slather 2 slices of Waitsfield Common Red Hen bread with some creamy goat cheese and Nutella. Pop into a hot pan or panini maker to toast. Excellent with Earl Grey tea.

Cheap drinks

To save time and money and score some really fabulous wines, check out WTSO.com. The wines are a warehouse auction and go fast, but you can save between 30 percent and 65 percent on select bottles with free shipping. Plus, it’s really festive when the FedEx guy shows up with the goods.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three 20-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

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