What are you planning to bake or cook for Christmas?
Christmas is the time of the year when everyone can get together – friends, families and even foes, to celebrate the many blessings of the season and relish in the Yuletide atmosphere. Of course, the festivities are never complete without the timeless recipes that have tantalized the palates and nourished the spirit of the Christmas traditions for many generations – the hearty foods, the sweet candies, the luscious desserts, and the cold cup of beverages that are often served contrary the warm mugs of chocolate.
So what foods should you serve this Christmas time? Here are a few ideas:
Minced foods have been around since ancient times. The process of cutting or chopping foods like pork, beef or even veal into tiny strips or pieces, has long been a practice albeit much older than Christmas itself. Although historical data would attest that mincemeat recipes, like mincemeat pies, were a medieval concoction cooked or baked, with meat of course, but also with an assortment of spices, sugar and dried fruits or even vegetables.
Modern variations of mincemeat have opened to the replacement of meat products with various fruits and spices, as well as sugar and nuts, plus beef suet. As a matter of fact, meat has been regularly taking a vacation from the Christmas cookbooks, as healthier and more affordable food choices are driving modern-day consumers to go for the vegetarian alternatives, instead of meat.
This confection, has long been held, a product of the food routes that stretched across the Mediterranean, which spanned the continents of Eurasia and Africa. Many have pegged that the recipe has long been a Chinese innovation, that might have traveled with the people and the wares traded during ancient times.
Marzipan consists mainly of sugar and almond meal, however, less expensive alternatives like soy paste, almond essence, pili nuts, cashew nuts, oatmeal, semolina or farina have been also been used for the recipe. Spanish recipes of marzipan contend with the use of bitter almonds. The German version of the marzipan is usually made by adding sugar to well-ground bits of almond, and molding a design from the partially dried paste. French marzipans are made the same way as their German counterparts, with the only exception of the use of sugar syrup instead.
The sweet taste is often complimented by the creative designs that Marzipan products are molded into. Small imitations of animals, vegetable and fruits, as well as thin Marzipan sheets for glazed icing on cakes or painted with food colorings for use as garnish on other food products.