A Holiday to Remember

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Dear Subscribers:

¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Feliz Navidad! ….Próspero Año y Felicidad…. I want to wish you a Merry Xmas… says the famous José Feliciano song. The most wonderful time of the year is here and in this issue we want to give you a recipe and some entertaining tips to ease your holiday stress. This is our holiday gift to you!!

AMALIA’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING. Think easy and practical. Establish a picture in your head of what you would like to experience during your party and then put it in writing. This action converts your ideas into tangible doable steps and sets an initial plan that you can revise later, and also puts your mind at ease because now you have an organized approach to a potentially highly stressful situation. Put your initial plan aside for a day or two. Then with a fresh mind, return to your initial plan and revise it with any new ideas you may have come up with. Subsequently, write a final plan taking into consideration what is important to you and including: An easy food menu (3-4 heavy appetizers); an easy drink menu (wine, beer etc.) to complement your food menu. Finaly, hire a host to help you execute your plan to ease your stress further so that you enjoy your own party!

Lastly, we want to express our gratitude for your loyalty and support during 2008. We have lots of fresh new ideas and fun upcoming events during 2009, including our own Cocina Latina School at “Kitchen in the Market” at the Midtown Global Market. Check our website HYPERLINK “http://www.cookparty.com” www.cookparty.com (Upcoming Events) often to learn about our new cooking endeavors at our own kitchen quarters for the upcoming year. ¡Enhorabuena! Amalia.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH

8-10 medium cups

HOLIDAY FRUIT CUPS
This is a delicious, light and healthy alternative to decadent and heavy desserts. It can be made in minutes and when presented in attractive clear cups or tall flutes, it is a striking dessert.

1 32 oz. piece of Queso Blanco (white/fresh Latin cheese), cut into half-inch cubes
2 cups blueberries, washed
3 kiwis, peeled, sliced
3-4 oranges, cut into segments
½ cup packed fresh mint leaves, washed
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 cup honey

Garnish: mint leaves and pomegranate pearls

Cut the cheese into cubes. Prepare the fruits and keep them in separate bowls. Cut the pomegranate skin slowly with a paring knife or scissors being careful not to break the pearls, and then extract the delicate pearls by hand.

Make a sauce by mixing the lime juice, honey and mint leaves in the blender. Taste and adjust the acidity level by adding more or less lime juice. Set aside.

Assemble all cups at once. Use medium clear small cups beginning with a layer of cheese, then a layer of blueberries, a layer of orange segments, and another layer of cheese…. repeating until all ingredients are used and all cups are filled to the same level and all fruits are distributed evenly. Add a couple of tablespoons, or more, of the sauce to each fruit cup. Top with a few pomegranate pearls and one mint leaf. Chill.

Amalia’s Special Tips: Prepare the cheese and some of the fruits the day before and assemble the next day. The kiwi should be cut right before assembly. The sauce should be made right before assembly as the mint loses its freshness and punch if made ahead. For maximum freshness, assemble cups 1-2 hours before service, but no longer as acidity begins to break down some of the fruits the longer they sit in the sauce.

UPCOMING EVENTS FOR DECEMBER 2008 AND JANUARY 2009

DECEMBER 2008
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Monday, December 1, 2008, 11 a.m.-2 p.m
Venezuelan Flavors
From the Andes to the Amazon, South America is an adventurer’s dream, with a great diversity in topography, culture, and gastronomy. Join us for a journey through a diverse cuisine influenced by native Indian, African and European fare. Pabellón Criollo (Venezuelan shredded beef with rice and beans); Caraotas Negras (black beans with vegetables and spices); Arroz Blanco Venezolano (Venezuelan white rice); Tajadas (Pan fried plantains); Arepas (corn cakes). Participation class.
Register at: Edina Community Education
South View Middle School: Door 4, Room 205
Edina, MN 55424: (651) 438-0880

Friday, December 5, 2008, 11 a.m.-1 p.m
Holiday Luncheon- Accredited Investors, Edina
A cooking demonstration and cultural presentation with a holiday twist followed by a great Latin feast.
Private event

Saturday, December 13, 2008, 6 – midnight
Feliz Navidad
Merry Gatherings with cocina fantastica for a night with very jolly guests! Attendees enjoy a cross cultural menu at the home of a hospitable host in Chaska.
Private Event

Monday, December15, 2008, 6-9 p.m.
Latin Holiday Entertaining
Relax and savor a selection of South American wines paired with delicious Latin cheese dishes. You’ll go home with not only a greater appreciation of these amazing flavors, but also a bevy of fresh and versatile recipes to bolster your holiday repertoire. Menu: Mordidas de Queso y Patacones (spicy queso blanco bites with plantain chips); Chilaquilas de Tortilla (pan-fried fresh corn tortillas stuffed with queso fresco and sofrito sauce and wrapped in egg batter); Sopa de frijoles con Cotija (black bean soup with dried cheese); and for dessert, Queso Frito con Miel, Piña y chile (fried cheese, honey and spicy pineapple-rum flambé).
Register at: Cooks of Crocus Hill, Grand
877 Grand Avenue St. Paul MN: (651) 228-1333

Friday, December19, 2008, 4-7 p.m.
Accenture Women’s Group-Holiday Gathering
A great evening to enjoy fine cuisine, a demonstration, small plates, and to celebrate the holidays.
The Bluffs, Eden Prairie
Private Event

JANUARY 2009
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Monday, January 26, 2009, 6-9 p.m.
Winter Culinary Bliss
The winter chill lingers on, with seemingly no end in sight. Fear not –a warm streat is on the way! It starts here at Cooks, with quite possibly the perfect match to chase the shivers away: hearty Mexican and Guatemalan stews paired with robust wines. Mole de Pollo (Mexican chicken in dried peppers, peanuts and chocolate sauce); Kac Ik (Guatemalan spicy turkey stew); Arroz con Maiz (corn rice); and for dessert, Fresas con salsa de Naranja y crema (fresh strawberries with orange sauce and Salvadorian cream). Paired with Mexican and Spanish wines.
Register after Sept 30th at: Cooks of Crocus Hill, Edina
3925 West 50th Street Edina, MN: (952) 285-1903

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