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FOOD FUN: Ice Cream Wreath, An Easy To Make Christmas Dessert

Ice Cream Wreath Recipe
[1] A Christmas wreath of ice cream and fruit (photo © Tillamook County Creamery Association | Facebook).

Kadota Figs
[2] Kadota figs. Any figs work here, all have reddish interiors. But green-skinned figs add more external color than darker hues (photo © California Figs).

Fresh Raspberries
[3] Raspberries dot the wreath with color (photo © Driscoll’s Berries).


This easy-to-make Christmas dessert is both elegant and food fun at the same time. An ice cream wreath is a treat anytime during the Christmas season.

The ice cream wreath is easy to put together with your choice of ice creams and fruits.

Matcha and strawberry ice cream deliver holiday colors, and vanilla is always correct.

The result: You spoon the ice cream and fruit into dishes for an instant sundae! No topping is needed, but we recommend a fruit sauce instead of caramel or chocolate. We like the raspberry sauce recipe below.

  • Ice cream: eggnog, matcha, strawberry, vanilla
  • Figs, small, sliced
  • Grapes, green and red
  • Mandarin sections (e.g. clementines)
  • Mint leaves
  • Pears, small sliced
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Raspberries

    1. PREPARE the fruits. Most require nothing beyond washing; only the figs need to be sliced.

    If you want to add pears, slice them right before serving or they will brown; or use this technique:

    Mix 1/4 cup water and 3 tablespoons of strained lemon juice. Dip the pear slice into the water.

    2. PLACE the fruits in a wreath shape on a round platter.

    3. PRE-SCOOP the ice cream into balls and return to the freezer.

    4. ADD the ice cream when you are ready to bring the platter to the table. Pass the optional fruit sauce.

    You can use any orange liqueur instead of Grand Marnier, or a raspberry liqueur like Chambord. You can make the sauce up to two days in advance and keep it covered tightly in the fridge.


  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, puréed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a bowl or pitcher and allow them to blend in the refrigerator for 2 hours or longer.
    > The history of ice cream.
    > The history of the ice cream sundae.




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    Macadamia Fried Shrimp & More Fried Shrimp Recipes For National Fried Shrimp Day

    December 21st is National Fried Shrimp Day. We have a tasty recipe below with a panko/macadamia nut crust. But first, inquiring minds want to know the differences between crayfish, prawns, and shrimp:

  • Crayfish, also called crawfish and crawdads, are small, freshwater lobsters. Their flavor is milder than shrimp.
  • Shrimp are sometimes called prawns, but that is erroneous. While they taste exactly alike, shrimp have lamellar gills (a side plate that overlays segments in front and behind) and carry their eggs outside of their bodies, beneath their tails.
  • Prawns, on the other hand, have branching gills (side plates that overlap tile-like from front to back) and carry their eggs inside their bodies near their tails.
  • Prawns have claws on three of their five pairs of legs, and shrimp have claws on two of their five pairs of legs. Their gills and body shape are different as well (source).
    > There are more fried shrimp recipes below.

    > The history of shrimp.

    You can make the aïoli up to two days in advance and refrigerate it until you start to prepare the shrimp. Then, let it come to room temperature.

    In addition to a green salad, add your favorite cooked green vegetable: asparagus, baby bok choy, broccoli/broccolini/rapini, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, dandelion greens, green beans, kale, snow peas, sugar snap peas, or Swiss chard, for starters.
    Ingredients For The Shrimp

  • 20 large shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 good pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 good pinch cayenne* pepper
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 quart macadamia oil or other high smoke point oil for deep frying (avocado, canola, grapeseed, peanut, sunflower)
    For The Aïoli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 7-12 ounces (200-300 ml) grapeseed oil
  • Lemon juice to taste

    1. MAKE the aïoli. Crush the garlic clove and place it in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, the egg yolk, and mustard, and whisk until well combined. Add a few drops of oil, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken.

    2. SLOWLY POUR in the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until the mayonnaise is combined and the texture is thick and creamy. Add the lemon juice in 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired tanginess is reached.

    3. BEGIN the shrimp. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork.

    4. PULSE the macadamias in a blender to the size or smaller of the breadcrumbs, and combine with the breadcrumbs.

    5. DUST the shrimp in the spiced flour, dip in the egg yolk, and then roll them in the macadamia breadcrumb mix.

    6. HEAT the oil to approximately 350°F/180°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, to test the hotness, drop a piece of bread into the oil: It should turn golden brown in about 10 seconds. Once the oil has reached the required temperature, drop about 10 shrimp in and cook until they are golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining shrimp.

    7. SERVE with the aïoli dipping sauce.

  • Baja Shrimp Tacos
  • Coconut Shrimp
  • Red Curry Shrimp
  • Shrimp Tempura

    Macadamia Fried Shrimp Recipe
    [1] Macadamia-crusted shrimp (photo © Australian Macadamias).

    Plate of Jumbo Raw Shrimp
    [2] Jumbo wild Gulf raw shrimp (photo © Sea 2 Table).

    Bowl of Macadamia Nuts
    [3] Macadamia nuts are native to Australia (photo © Australian Macadamias | Facebook).

    Panko Bread Crumbs
    [4] Panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs (photo © Good Eggs).

    Ground Cayenne Pepper McCormick
    [5] Cayenne powder, ground from dried cayenne chile peppers (photo © McCormick).

    *The cayenne pepper or chile is a variety of Capsicum annuum. Capsicum is the genus of chile peppers, and annuum is one of several species (here are all of them). Capsicum annum is usually a moderately hot chile. See the different types of chiles.


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    Christmas Grilled Cheese Recipe With Pickled Beets

    Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Pickled Beets & Arugula
    [1] A festive gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with pickled beets and arugula (photo © Aunt Nellie’s).

    Jar Of Aunt Nellie's Pickled Beets
    [2] A jar of Aunt Nellie’s pickled beets. They’re so versatile: Check out this recipe for balsamic chicken with pickled beets (photo © Easy Chicken Recipes).

    Baby Arugula For Grilled Cheese Sandwich
    [3] Baby arugula (photo © Good Eggs).

    Slice Of Swiss Le Gruyere Cheese
    [4] Gruyere cheese (photo © Murray’s Cheese).

    Caramelized Onions On A Spoon
    [5] Caramelized onions (photo © Pompeian Olive Oil | Facebook).


    This red-and-green “Christmas” grilled cheese recipe is delicious on any day of the year, but we especially like it during the holiday season.

    This gourmet grilled cheese with is seasonally colorful comfort food with caramelized onions, gooey melted cheese, and toasted sourdough, accented with tangy red pickled beets and spicy green arugula.

    National Grilled Cheese Day is April 12th.
    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

    For The Caramelized Onions

    Editor’s note: These caramelized onions are so delicious that we make a triple batch to have extras to enjoy with every other meal, from breakfast eggs through dinner.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, halved, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1-2tablespoons water (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Ingredients For The Sandwich

  • 8 large sourdough slices, 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces shredded Guyère cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 jar Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Pickled Beets (about 32 beets)
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

    1. MAKE the caramelized onions: In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium.

    2. COOK until the onions are caramelized and rich, deep golden brown, about 25 minutes, stirring often. Turn the heat to medium-low or add water if onions are dry or start to scorch before caramelizing.

    3. ADD the sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute. The onions should be jammy and darkly caramelized when done. Remove them to a plate to cool.

    4. MAKE the sandwiches: Spread out the bread slices on a flat surface. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on one side of each bread slice.

    5. TURN 4 of the bread slices over and spread goat cheese on the plain side. Top the goat cheese with Gruyère, an even layer of beets, caramelized onions, and arugula. Top with the remaining bread, mayo side out. Secure with toothpicks, if desired.

    6. MELT 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add two sandwiches, cover, and grill until the bottom of the bread is toasted, about 5-7 minutes, and cheese starts melting. Check often.

    7. FLIP and cook, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the bread is toasted. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

  • Beer Battered Grilled Cheese & Bacon Sandwich
  • Blackberry Grilled Cheese
  • Brie, Strawberries & Balsamic Grilled Cheese
  • Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
  • Dessert Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Four Pages Of Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese Benedict
  • Grilled Cheese With Mozzarella, Blue Cheese & Raspberries
  • Halloumi Reverse Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • How To Make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Macaroni & Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Mascarpone Grilled Cheese With Chocolate Soup
  • Pizza Grilled Cheese
  • Poutine Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Turkey, Tilsit & Brussel Sprouts Grilled Cheese



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    Winter White Sangria Recipe For National Sangria Day

    National Sangria Day is December 20th, a drink made with red wine that looks festive for the holidays. We have quite a few delicious recipes below. But how about a recipe for Winter White Sangria?

    While not all sangria recipes use spirits in addition to wine, this one adds rum. It also has winter fruits: pears and persimmons.

    > The history of sangria.

    > The history of rum.

    > Types of rum.

    Thanks to Kōloa for the recipe, which uses the brand’s Kōloa Kaua’i Gold Rum.

    Gold rum, also known as amber rum, has been aged in wooden casks, giving the rum its signature color and a sweeter, richer flavor. You can substitute

  • 1 ripe pear
  • 2 mandarins (e.g. clementines)
  • 1 ripe fuyu persimmon (NOT an astringent persimmon)
  • Small handful of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Generous dash of maple syrup
  • 25.4 ounces (1 bottle) crisp, citrusy white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 ounces Kōloa Kaua’i Gold Rum or substitute
  • Garnishes: additional fruit slices and fresh thyme sprigs

    1. CUT the pear, mandarin, and persimmon into thin slices, leaving the peels on.

    2. MUDDLE the sliced fruit and cranberries with the maple syrup in a large pitcher.

    3. ADD the wine and rum. You can adjust the sweetness level to your own taste.

    34. STIR well and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

    5. STRAIN into chilled wine glasses. Garnish with additional fruit slices and a sprig of fresh thyme.

  • Apple Sangria
  • Blood Orange White Sangria
  • Brazilian Red Sangria
  • Cranberry Sangria Recipe
  • Halloween Sangria
  • Holiday Sangria With Port & Cinnamon
  • Pomegranate Sangria Recipe
  • Holiday & Winter Sangria With Pinot Noir
  • Jubilee Sangria
  • Peach Sangria #1
  • Peach Sangria #2
  • Pomegranate Sangria Recipe
  • Port Sangria
  • Rainbow Sangria
  • Red, White & Blue Sangria
  • Rosé Sangria
  • Ruby Port Sangria Sour
  • Saké Sangria
  • Stone Fruit Sangria
  • Summer Sangria (White Sangria)
  • Winter Spice Sangria

    [1] Winter White Sangria. The recipe is below (photo © Kōloa Rum).

    Holiday Pomegranate Red Sangria
    [2] Pomegranate Sangria has festive holiday arils. Here’s thre recipe (photo © Pom Wonderful).

    Blood Orange Sangria Recipe
    [3] Blood oranges are deliver holiday color. Here’s the recipe for this Blood Orange White Sangria (photo © Chef Aida Mollenkamp).

    Apple Juice Sangria Recipe
    [4] Another winter theme: Apple Sangria. Here’s the recipe (photo © U.S. Apple).





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    Milkboy Swiss Chocolate Drink: Premium Cocoa Mix

    Milk Boy Swiss Chocolate Drink
    [1] Canisters of Milkboy Swiss Chocolate Drink (photos #1 and #3 © Milkboy).

    Hot Chocolate In Red Plaid Mugs
    [2] A seasonal spin (photo © Williams Sonoma).

    Milkboy Milk Chocolate Bar With Almonds
    [3] Milkboy is one of our favorite chocolate bar brands.


    Today’s product is a premium cocoa powder mix. There’s a difference between cocoa and hot chocolate: The former is made from cocoa powder and the latter from bits of ground chocolate bars. Here are the details.

    Both create cups of sippable chocolate, and there are two occasions to celebrate:

  • December 12th is National Cocoa Day.
  • January 31st is National Hot Chocolate Day.
    With time still left to buy holiday gifts, we’re happy to announce that one of our favorite brands of Swiss chocolate bars, MilkBoy, has introduced Milkboy Swiss Chocolate Drink.

    Now, is that cocoa or hot chocolate? Easy: It’s made with cocoa powder, so it’s cocoa. It’s also delicious, and a higher-quality, velvety cocoa drink than most other mixes offer.

    The mix is sweetened with sugar. You add your milk of choice: hot, for a cup of hot chocolate, or cold, for chocolate milk.

    We tried it with whole milk, 2%, and oat milk. All were wonderful, with a bit of an edge to the whole milk.

    The drink mix is gluten-free, GMO-free, soy-free, vegan, and certified kosher by Triangle K (DE).

    The company is also dedicated to sustainable farming, using only Rainforest Alliance-certified sustainably farmed cocoa beans in our artisan chocolate products.

    While you’re at it, treat yourself to some chocolate bars. For the best selection, head to the Milkboy website.

  • Alpine Milk
  • Alpine Milk with Roasted Almonds
  • Alpine Milk with Crunchy Caramel and Sea Salt
  • Extra Dark 85% Cocoa
  • 72% Cocoa with Crispy Mint
  • 72% Cocoa with Fresh Roasted Coffee
  • White Chocolate with Bourbon Vanilla (one of our favorite white chocolate bars)
    The brand is named for young herders who accompany Swiss milk cows on their summer journeys to the high Alpine meadows, where they feed on the finest grass and produce the finest milk.

    Alpine pastures have hundreds of different grasses and herbs for the cows to graze upon, compared with only a few dozen types down in the valley.

    Some 270,000 cows are marched from their valley farms to mountain meadows at the start of every summer and come back down again in early autumn [source]. 

    That’s the udder truth.


    For the Chocolate Drink, head to Amazon.

    You can also find the chocolate bars there, good for stocking stuffers. There are also both milk chocolate and dark chocolate giftable variety pack boxes.

    Note to Santa and Hanukah Harry: We would gladly receive any and all.

    Cocoa is a misspelling of the word cacao, which appeared on a ship’s manifest in the 18th century. The error led to replacing the original word with the erroneous one.

    Cacao “beans” are the seeds from the pod, or fruit, of the Theobroma cacao tree. At the center of the bean is the nib, from which chocolate is made.

    Cocoa powder is produced from the cocoa bean particles left over when the cocoa butter is extracted.
    > The history of cocoa.

    > The difference between natural and Dutched cocoa powder.

    > 25 great cocoa and hot chocolate tricks.

    > For the holidays: a crushed candy cane rim for your cocoa.

    > The health benefits of cocoa.




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