FOR THE FOODIE IN YOUR LIFE: Sometimes an edible gift is a perfect holiday pick. Always the right size and color, what could be a more delightful surprise than having deliciousness delivered to your door?
We've seen and sampled a number of products over the year and this my shortlist of tastes sure to please.
Talenti Gelato: Yes boys and girls, exquisite gelato and sorbetto made in Texas. Not only were testers wowed by the richness of the Double Dark Chocolate (chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate bits) and Old World Eggnog flavors, they also admired Talenti's packaging: a freezer-proof plastic jar with screw-on lid. No more soggy cartons for those who prefer to enjoy ice cream a few spoonfuls at a time.
There are more than 15 flavors of gelato (cappuccino, black cherry, vanilla bean, etc.) and sorbetto (lemon, raspberry, strawberry, blood orange); all are hormone-free and many are kosher. Pints are $8 plus shipping and can be ordered at www.talentigelato.com.
Debbie's Rugelach: Anyone searching for a Hanukkah gift can find it easily in these little bites of flaky pastry filled with cinnamon, nuts, fruit or chocolate chips. A young California mother makes these traditional Eastern European treats and offers them in mixed or single-flavor bags of six ($8), boxes of 18 ($22) or more. Order by going to www.debbierugelach.com.
Plush Puffs: For that special marshmallow fanatic, the ultimate treat. Made in a variety of flavors we loved seasonal selections like Pumpkin Pie plus Chocolate Chipetta, Toasted Coconut, Caramel Swirl and Peppermint. Talk about gourmet hot cocoa and s'mores!
Already featured on the "Today" show and the Food Network, these artisan-made marshmallows come in packages of 18-20 ($6.50) or bulk, 150 pieces ($14). They can be ordered at www.plushpuffs.com.
Dear Aunt Judith: My husband and brother-in-law are going goose hunting right before Christmas and they want me to prepare what they bring home for the family dinner. Problem is I have almost no idea what to do with a goose. Can you help?
— C. Hirley
A: First, make clear to the hunters that they and they alone are responsible for dressing and plucking their geese. Anything else is patently unfair.
If they choose to "hang" the birds before dressing them, an old method of tenderizing the meat, it should be done only under refrigeration, from four hours to overnight.
Wild fowl, unlike its farm-raised counterparts, has very little fat. This means you will need to use bacon over the breast and baste, baste, baste.
The first recipe uses bacon and the second a Canadian semi-submersion technique.
ROAST WILD GOOSE
Makes 4-6 servings
1 wild goose, 6 to 8 pounds (dressed)
- Salt and pepper
¼ chopped onion
1 cup chopped dried apricots
½ teaspoon salt
4-6 slices bacon
- Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup butter
1 cup chopped tart apple
2 cup soft bread crumbs
¹/8 teaspoons pepper
- Melted bacon fat
1. Sprinkle goose inside and out with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in apple, apricots, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
2. Spoon stuffing lightly into cavity. Close opening with skewers and string. Cover breast with bacon slices and cheesecloth soaked with melted bacon fat. Place goose, breast up, on rack in roasting pan. Roast in preheated 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until tender, basting frequently with bacon fat and drippings in pan.
UPSIDE DOWN ROAST GOOSE
Makes 4-6 servings
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 medium apple, cored, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup veal (or low-salt chicken) stock
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 whole wild goose, about 7-10 pounds
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, celery, onions, apple and garlic. Sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add the stock, wine, parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil for about 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 6-8 minutes.
3. Pour the vegetables and liquid into a large roasting pan fitted with a lid. Turn the bird breast-side down and nestle into the vegetables and liquid. Spoon some of the liquid and vegetables over the goose and add more water (or wine if you like) to submerse the bird half-way. Cover and roast about 1¼ hours. Turn the bird over, facing up, and cook another 15 minutes, uncovered or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted next to the leg bone.
4. Remove and let the bird sit for about 10 minutes before carving. Spoon some of the juice and vegetables over each portion of sliced meat and potatoes.
If you have questions about food, cooking, kitchen equipment or dining or would like to publicize your organization's upcoming fundraising meal, write to me in care of What's Cookin' Judith, P.O. Box 120, Wichita Falls, TX 76307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.