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Last Minute Holiday Treats: Mt. Airy Edition

Tips on preparing hors d'oeuvres for parties with ingredients from the co-op.

It's clear to me that, after visiting the store, can rescue you from your very worst holiday nightmares.

I'm impressed with the array of prepared foods, local products and freshly baked goods. After e-mailing with Jonathan McGoran, the co-op's communications director, I learned the store carried fresh bread, crackers and a great selection of cheeses. I hadn't known much about the co-op before we got in touch.

And when I think of holiday parties, I immediately think of snack foods and noshes. Want to perform a fancy trick, stolen from one of New York’s finest restaurants? Pop up a big bowl of popcorn, drizzle some melted duck fat over it (D’Artagnan duck fat is available at Weavers Way) and sprinkle in some kosher salt for the best popcorn/rich snack you will find. The ease of preparation is certainly a bonus.

Creating an amazing cheese and cracker plate is easy, too. Port wine cheddar, smoked gouda, blue cheese and goat cheese with honey make for an interesting combination of flavors and textures. There are organic crackers, Carr’s table crackers and even gluten-free rice crackers (the Tamari sesame look awesome) at the co-op for your celiac friends.

There are also more than a few varieties of smoked salmon to choose from at Weavers Way. For a quick and easy passed hors d’oeuvres, grab any white bread (freshly baked or factory made), smoked salmon, gruyere and a lemon. Sprinkle lemon zest on the salmon, and then assemble salmon and cheese sandwiches. Add some butter to a large saute pan over medium heat and make salmon grilled cheese sandwiches. Trim the sandwiches into quarters or triangles and you'll have fancy hors d’oeuvres.

If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, grab a few containers of scallops and a package of bacon. Check each scallop for the foot/adductor on the side. It looks like a bright white plug. Simply pull it off and throw it away, then wrap a piece of bacon around the outside of each scallop. Secure it with a toothpick if the bacon doesn’t adhere to itself. Move the rack to the top of the oven, set your oven to broil and place the wrapped scallops on a baking sheet and put in oven. Cook them for two to four minutes, until the bacon is crisp.

The co-op, which prides itself on offering fresh and local items, has a produce section that backs up its claim.

The locally grown hydroponic butter leaf lettuce is gorgeous. These leaves make an ideal, delicious bottom layer for any platter. And for an alternative dinner salad, chop kale into fine ribbons and toss them with a shallot or lemon vinaigrette (Epicurious.com has a million wonderful vinaigrette recipes). For some added oomph, sliced almonds or grated parmesan work quite well.

And one final note. When all the revelry and celebration are over, Weavers Way also carries coconut water. This electrolye-replenishing drink is nature's cure for hangovers.

Happy holidays, all.

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