(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
I got my best holiday recipe this year from a garden designer. I was reading about California nursery co-owner Greg Salmeri
and I translated his "best garden tip
" into an indoor tip that I tested. Salmeri had told Better Homes & Gardens magazine
that his best garden tip is: "Add fragrant plants, such as rosemary, scented geranium, sage and mint. Scents enhance the pleasure of a garden
I long ago decided that scents, too, enhance the flavor of any holiday dish as well as the atmosphere of any holiday home as the dishes are cooking. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves are nice, but old hat. Salmeri's comment made a lightbulb go on in my head that I would add scented ingredients, like some of those he mentioned, to my holiday dishes. Whether on their own or combined with some of those always welcome traditional holiday spices, they turn a house into a holiday home. All ingredients are to taste.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
- EVERYTHING'S ROSY WITH THIS APPLE PIE
Grind some rosemary and bake within your favorite apple pie recipe. Save some of the ground rosemary and gently mix it into vanilla ice cream you will place on top of each warm serving.
- SAGE ROLLS ARE FULL OF WISDOM
Bake a small amount of dried sage within your favorite dinner roll recipe, and also add to your mashed potatoes while they are cooking and any type of winter soup.
- MINTY FRESH
Serve fresh mint hot tea. Steam fresh mint along with green beans or include in a green bean casserole. Heat some fresh mint along with caramel sauce and drizzle atop a dessert of baked pears that had mint sprinkled in it before baking.
- TAKING LEMON TO NEW LEVELS
Combine pine nuts, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon verbena and lemongrass to make a memorable pesto to serve as an appetizer on slices of fresh zucchini or crostini.
- LOVIN' LAVENDER
Brew a pot that's a mixture of lavender, jasmine and chamomile teas. Serve with store-bought or homemade shortbread cookies that are meant to be dipped halfway into the tea to soak it up.
- THYME FOR FUN
If you've never baked a semi-savory bundt cake, you are missing out. Include small amounts of thyme, curry powder and freshly ground black pepper in your favorite recipe as well as even tinier amounts in a vanilla-based frosting.
My favorite holiday cookbook just gets started during the winter holidays. It is Diane Phillips' "Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead: A Year of Feasts to Celebrate with Family and Friends
", which after 10 years on the market, emerged as a cost-conscious Kindle edition in 2015. Innovative recipes and party themes - with very doable do-ahead options - play out all year round from the creative San Diego-based caterer and cooking instructor. Lisa Messinger
at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.