This past year has been very exciting for me. What’s Cooking at James & Everett has become more successful than I would ever have imagined, thanks to the support of all of the subscribers and readers like you. I hope you have been enjoying the recipes, stories, and photographs that you have been receiving, and that you are ready for more.
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All of the existing content from What’s Cooking? has been moved to James & Everett. Everything that is currently on What’s Cooking? will remain there, however new stories will only be found at the new address.
Thank you again to everyone, I consider you all a part of my “extended family” and truly appreciate your interest and support.
I hope to see you all at James & Everett. ~ Christoph
As we anticipate the arrival of the New Year, I find myself reflecting on the events and happenings of the one ending. I recall the best days and the worst, the ups and downs, promises and regrets, and friends who have come and gone.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the highlights of What’s Cooking from this past year. It is very interesting for me to see which posts received the most views, and also what foods and dishes people are doing their searches on. One thing is clear, bacon, cheese, and chocolate are always a hit. So I have complied a list with links to some of the most viewed and searched on dishes by category, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
The tradition of toasting has been practiced by almost every culture from the beginning of recorded history. Toasts are commonly expressions of love, friendship, health, honor, and wealth that are offered during holidays, or to commemorate special occasions. The origin of the toast is unclear. One thought is that the clinking of glasses was used to ward off evil spirits, while another is that the custom of touching glasses evolved from concerns about poisoning, where tapping glasses together would cause each drink to spill over into the others. Rites and rituals changed with cultures and regions. Today we raise our glasses at almost any gathering, with New Years being the most toasted celebration of all.
There is something very magical about a gingerbread house. Seeing a building made out of nothing but cookies, candy, and sugar, awakens the little kid in most of us. Our eyes fill with excitement just looking at the wonder of an edible structure. I don’t think anyone ever contemplates actually eating a gingerbread house, but knowing that you could, seems to makes them even more special.
Since it is simply too much for my parents anymore to bring them over to the house for Christmas, I though it would be nice to do something special for them, and the others in the assisted living home where they now reside. The idea came to me to make a gingerbread model of the charming Homestead where they live, to place in the dining room for all to enjoy. And enjoy they did! The gingerbread house seemed to do its magic, and bring out the little kid in everyone. The holiday treat could not have worked out better.
There is something very magical about the idea of a white Christmas, almost every mental image we have of this holiday includes drifts of frosting like snow. Dreaming that I’ll be home for Christmas by arriving in a one horse open sleigh, traveling through a winter wonderland, only to find chestnut roasting on an open fire, is something that we have harmonized about for years. And snowmen, sleigh bells reindeer, and Santa all depend on piles of the white flakes.
This year is seems like a lot of the country may not have snow for Christmas. I realize there are many parts of the world that never have seen a flake, and they are able to celebrate the holiday just fine. I guess I am just a dreamer when it comes to Christmas. Well I guess if we are not going to have snow on the ground for the holiday, we can still have a White Christmas in glass.
Everyone seems to love a “crunchy kibble” to munch on, and a homemade Chex party mix has got to be among the top on the list of favorites. I know that this snack is readily available in the chip isle, however there is absolutely no comparison to the flavor and goodness you get from roasting your own. For me, party mix is one of the basics for the holiday season. It is also very fun to make your own favorite flavor combinations, and is a great activity to do with your “little helpers”. So instead of reaching for a bag at the market, take a little time and make your own custom blend. I am willing to bet you will love it, and will probably find yourself thinking about what you will add next time.
With temperatures in the 50′s and 60′s, and bright blue skies, it is looking as though for the first time that I can ever remember, I might not have a white Christmas. Now I would guess there are many folks that would welcome the thought of mild temperatures for the holidays, but to me it is devastating. How can you have a Christmas without snow? I knew that when I moved from the mountains to Denver, that there would be less cold and winter, which actually has been nice, but for the first time in the dozen years since I moved to town, none?
So me being me, determined to enjoy my holiday as always, even without cold and snow, I decided to try to bring a little winter into the kitchen. Ice and snow is what is missing for me, and if I can’t have the real thing, well I can try to make some.
It was not until I moved to the alpine environment of Dillon, Colorado that I had ever heard of Hot Spiced Wine. Growing up on the plains in central Nebraska I personally had never been exposed to such a thing. I am sure it existed (with all the ethnic diversity found in a rural farming community), and very well may have been a part our neighbors’ holiday traditions, however the knowledge of this drink had somehow escaped me.
Within hours on my first shift working at the ski resort, I was bombarded with requests for drinks that sounded very odd to me. Glue wine? Mold wine? Neither sounded very good, and I could not help wondering why people would choose to drink something that contained adhesives and spores. Of course my naive inquiry’s led to laughter (at my expensive of course), but I was quickly educated on this seemingly strange multi-named beverage, and after sampling it for myself, everything became clear.
Rich and chewy, the non-chocolate cousin of the brownie, and this one is king of them all, introducing the Ultimate Blondie. Brown sugar, pineapple, coconut flakes, butterscotch pieces, white chocolate chips, and pecans create the perfect harmony of flavors in this upgraded take on a classic treat. This version is formulated from several of my favorite recipes, combining all the things I like best about each. I also wanted my dessert to be a bit taller than others, so I “raised the bar” so to speak. If you are looking for a decadent holiday cookie, these blondie’s are not only good, they are Rockin’ Good. I have to think if the three wise men could have gotten their hands on these golden bars of joy, they would have probably reconsidered their choice of gifts! And speaking of The Three Kings and a Rockin’ Blondie………………..