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Warm greetings for the holidays.

WARM GREETINGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

A cherished highlight of the holiday season is entertaining family and friends. But the high quickly turns low when the cook is faced with hours of preparation. Solution: keep it simple. With a little planning and advance food preparation, the host won't fret over the feast.

Home brews and appetizers are welcome at any holiday happening. The lingering aromas of simmering juices and the taste of light, delicious appetizers are perfect companions to an evening of relaxed conversation.

Perk up a traditional tea with orange and lemon flavors, as in the recipe for Citrus Tea. Winter pears are in season, so why not take advantage of the delicious opportunity by stirring up a Warm and Rosy Pear Punch?

When microwaving liquids, stir the mixture immediately before heating. If the beverages are left standing for even a short time, the surface tension of the water can prevent boiling bubbles from breaking through. Pressure can build up in the liquid and cause a hazardous eruption.

Spare yourself the hassles of last-minute preparation by making the appetizers the day before the event. Start the finger foods in the microwave and then finish cooking in the oven to brown.

Hot Russian Tea

(Makes 5 servings)

3 cups boiling water

3 tea bags

20 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 strip (about 3 inches) fresh orange peel

1/3 cup sugar

Juice of 2 Sunkist oranges

Juice of 1 Sunkist lemon

Pour boiling water over tea bags, spices, and orange peel. Cover and steep 5 minutes; strain. Stir in orange and lemon juices and sugar; heat. Garnish with lemon cartwheel slices studded with whole cloves, if desired.

Hot Cran-Lemon Wine Punch

(Makes 17 servings)

3 cups water

3/4-1 cup sugar

20 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 bottle (32 oz.) cranberry juice cocktail

1 bottle (750 ml) rose wine

Juice of 6 Sunkist lemons (1 cup)

In saucepot, combine water, sugar, and spices. Bring to boil; stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove spices. Add remaining ingredients; heat. Float lemon cartwheel slices studded with whole cloves in punch, if desired.

Chilled punch variation: After simmering water, sugar, and spices, chill spiced mixture. To serve, remove cloves and cinnamon; in large punch bowl, combine spiced mixture and remaining ingredients. Add ice or float citrus ice ring.

Citrus Tea

(Makes 12 cups)

1/2 cup water

5 cups hot tea

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

5 whole cloves

Microwave water at High (100%) until boiling, about 10-15 minutes. Add tea and allow to steep until dark in color. Stir in honey, juices, and cloves. Serve hot.

Mocha Cafe au Lait

(Makes 4 servings)

1 ounce rich chocolate

1/4 cup honey

1 cup boiling water

1 cup hot milk

1 1/2 cups hot strong coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

Microwave chocolate at Medium (50%) 2-2 1/2 minutes or until almost melted. Stir until melted. Stir in honey and boiling water. Add hot milk, hot coffee, and vanilla. Serve immediately.

Hot Wassail

(Makes 12 servings)

2 quarts apple juice

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 can (6 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate

1 can (12 oz.) frozen orange-pineapple juice concentrate

1 quart water

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine first 3 ingredients in 3-quart container. Microwave at High (100%) 15-20 minutes or until flavors blend. Remove cinnamon stick. Stir in remaining ingredients. Microwave at High 5-10 minutes or until heated. Serve warm.

Carob Eggnog

(Makes 12 cups)

4 cups milk

4 eggs

3 tablespoons carob powder

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Microwave milk at High (100%) until heated, about 6-7 minutes. Beat eggs and carob powder until smooth. Stir into milk. Add honey, vanilla, and nutmeg. Microwave at High until heated through, about 5-6 minutes.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

(Makes 2 dozen)

2 dozen large mushrooms, stemmed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

8 ounces lump crab meat, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning

1/4 cup sliced green onions, tops only

Dash hot-pepper sauce

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange mushrooms on glass plate, stem side up. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at High (100%) until mushrooms are heated, about 4-5 minutes; set

aside. Combine crab meat, lemon juice, mayonnaise, yogurt, parsley, garlic powder, seasoning, green onions, and hot-pepper sauce. Lightly stuff mushrooms with filling. Sprinkle with cheese. Place mushrooms on oven-proof tray.

Bake mushrooms in preheated 400| F. oven 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Warm and Rosy Pear Punch

(Makes about 22 servings)

4 cups cored and sliced pears

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 quarts rose wine or cranberry juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

In 4-quart saucepot, sprinkle pears with sugar and cinnamon; mix well. Heat over medium heat until pears are glazed. Add wine and heat thoroughly but do not allow mixture to boil; add lemon juice. If using cranberry juice, omit lemon juice.

Serving tip: Serve warm punch in punch glasses with 2 or 3 pear slices per serving.

Cheese and Pancetta Polenta

(Makes 2 dozen appetizers)

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup yellow corn meal

1/2 cup cold water

1 teaspoon salt, if desired

24 slices pancetta

3 ounces grated Emmenthaler cheese

3 ounces grated fontina cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Microwave chicken broth at High (100%) until boiling, about 8-9 minutes. Combine corn meal, water, and salt in small bowl. Stir corn-meal mixture into boiling broth; stir until smooth and well-mixed. Microwave at High 1/2-1 minute or until thickened. Spoon into buttered 12 16 baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

Using round cookie cutter, make as many rounds as possible from polenta layer. Place on glass tray. Place one piece of pancetta on each round. Mix together cheeses and sprinkle over each round. Microwave at High until cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes for 12 rounds.

Cheese Wafers

(Makes about 4 dozen)

4 ounces low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

2 cups crisp rice cereal

1/2 cup margarine

Combine cheese, flour, pepper, and cereal in medium mixing bowl. Add margarine. Microwave at High (100%) until margarine starts to melt, about 1-1 1/2 minutes. Stir until well-mixed. Form dime-sized balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Using fork, flatten each ball. Bake in preheated 350| F. oven about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Photo: Greet family and friends with a delightful array of holiday drinks; a spicy hot tea or warming brew of citrus-cranberry punch will perk up any occasion.

Photo: Winter pears are in season. Make the most of the occasion by stirring up Warm and Rosy Pear Punch, sweetened with ground cinnamon and presented with fresh sliced pears.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Nyenhuis, Jaquelyn
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Dec 1, 1987
Words:1160
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