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Christmas Around the World

Christmas In Switzerland

Endives Baked in Cream (Chicorée Neuchâteloise)

6 Belgian endive (approximately 1-1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil plus extra for buttering the dish
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup rich chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Dry Jack and/or Gruyere cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup coarse Bread crumbs such as Panko
1 tablespoon finally grated lemon zest

Halve the endive lengthwise removing any loose or discolored leaves. Blanch in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Plunge immediately into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and pat dry.
Over medium heat saut? the endive halves in the oil and butter until lightly browned. Set aside on paper towels. Meanwhile in a separate saucepan bring the cream, stock and wine to a boil, lower heat and simmer until reduced by half. Off heat, stir half the cheese and zest and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange the endive halves cut side down in a buttered baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour cream mixture over and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Mix the bread crumbs and zest together and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes or until nicely browned.

Mailaenderli (my-lend'rrlee) Xmas Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of one small lemon or 1 tablespoon Kirsch*
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

* Kirsch: Is a white brandy distilled from cherries and usually aged in a paraffin lined cask to prevent it from taking on the color of the wood. It is also another name for cherry schnapps.

Cream the butter. Gradually beat in the sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat in the grated lemon rind, the lemon juice and the 2 whole eggs. Blend thoroughly. Stir in the flour, beginning with 2 1/2 cups. Knead the dough with the hands until it is smooth and clears the fingers. If it is too sticky, add the remaining flour. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for 4 hours or overnight. Roll out the dough between two sheets of waxed paper to the thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut the dough with small fancy cookie cutters in shapes such as stars, hearts and crescents. Place them on a buttered and floured cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Brush with the beaten egg yolk. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350°F) for about 15 min. or until golden.
Keep in a tightly closed container. Cookies taste best after 2 days.

Zimsterne (tzeemt-shtern') Cinnamon Stars

3 egg whites
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 cups unblanched grated almonds
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mace sugar

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. The mixture should be stiff and glossy. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture. Beat the almonds, lemon juice, cinnamon and mace into the remaining egg-white mixture. Let it stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour; it should dry out and be firm. Sprinkle a cutting board with sugar. Carefully roll out the dough to the thickness of 1/2 to 3/4 inch. If the dough sticks, sprinkle more sugar on the cutting board. Cut out the dough with star-shaped cookie cutters. Paint each cookie carefully and neatly with the remaining egg white mixture. Place the cookies on a buttered and floured cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated slow oven (275°F) for about 15 minutes or until set.
The icing must remain white.

Spitzbuben (shpeetz-booben) Jam Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups butter
2 1/4 cups ground blanched almonds
2 tsp vanilla flavoring
3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
apricot or strawberry jam
confectioners' sugar

Beat the sugar and the butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the almonds and the vanilla flavoring. Add the flour. Knead until smooth. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured cutting board to the thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch; the thinner, the better the cookie. Cut with small round, star or diamond-shaped cookie cutters. Place the cookies on lightly buttered and floured cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated slow oven (325°F) for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove cookies from the baking sheet. Spread half the cookies with apricot jam. Top with the remaining cookies, dip the edges into confectioners' sugar.

Roast Cherry Tomato Soup with Balsamic Vinegar

2 lbs plum tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
1/4 medium red onion
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs oregano, remove leaves from stem
3-4 basil leaves
2 cups fat-free vegetable broth or fat-free chicken broth or water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved or grated (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Wash and cut tomatoes, placing in a shallow baking dish cut side down. Add onion pieces, garlic, oregano and basil to the pan. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes. Place roasted vegetables in food processor bowl or blender and begin puree. Slowly add broth or water until soup has desired consistency. Continue blending until smooth. An immersion blender also works very well. (If you warm the broth first, the soup will be hot without reheating.). Serve garnished with cheese if desired.

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Bacon Cheese Red Pepper Sauce

2 slices bacon, fried and drained
1/4 cup onion; minced
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup firmly packed coarsely grated unpeeled zucchini; squeezed dry in a paper towel
2 tblsp minced drained bottled roasted red pepper or pimiento
1 ounce soft mild goat cheese; crumbled
1 whole boneless chicken breast; (with skin), halved
1/4 cup shallots; minced
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tblsp butter

In a skillet cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately low heat until it is softened, add the zucchini, and cook the mixture, stirring , for 1 minute, or until the zucchini is tender. Stir in the red pepper, goat cheese, and salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let it cool slightly.
With your fingers make a pocket for the filling in each chicken breast half by separating the skin from the meat, being careful not to tear the skin and keeping the skin attached along most of the edge. Stuff each pocket with one bacon piece and half the filling with a small spoon, packing it and pulling the skin to cover the filling completely, and secure the pockets with wooden picks if desired. In a large skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it saute the chicken, beginning with the skin side up, for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to moderate, cook the chicken for 9 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through, and divide it between 2 plates. Pour off the fat from the skillet, to the skillet add the shallots then the wine. Add the broth, and boil broth, scraping up the brown bits, for 30 seconds. Finish sauce with butter. Pour sauce around the chicken.
Yield: 2 serving

Brie, Roquefort and Wild Mushroom Fondue

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps diced
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
12 ounces chilled 60% (double crème) Brie cheese (do not use triple crème)
2 ounces chilled Roquefort cheese
1 cup dry white wine
1 13-ounce loaf crusty white bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Vegetables (such as carrot sticks, blanched broccoli, cauliflower and boiled small potatoes)

Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallot and thyme; sauté until mushrooms just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
Place flour in large bowl. Cut rind from Brie; discard rind. Cut Brie into cubes; drop into flour. Toss to coat; separate cheese cubes. Crumble Roquefort into same bowl; toss to coat. Place wine in heavy medium saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring until melted after each addition. Continue stirring until smooth.
Stir mushroom mixture into fondue. Season with generous amount of pepper. Transfer to fondue pot. Set pot over candle or canned heat burner. Serve with bread and vegetables.
Serves 6 to 8.
Recipe From: Bon Appétit February 1997

Toblerone Dark Chocolate Honey Almond Fondue

6 tblsp whipping cream
3 tblsp honey
7 ounces toblerone bittersweet chocolate (2 3.52-ounce bars) or semisweet chocolate, chopped 1 tblsp kirsch *
1/4 tsp almond extract
fresh fruit (such as whole strawberries, 1-inch-thick slices peeled banana, peeled pear wedges and orange segment)
* Kirsch: Is a white brandy distilled from cherries and usually aged in a paraffin lined cask to prevent it from taking on the color of the wood. It is also another name for cherry schnapps.

Bring cream and honey to simmer in heavy medium saucepan.
Add chocolate; whisk until melted.
Remove from heat.
Whisk in kirsch and extract.
Pour fondue into bowl; place on platter.
Surround with fruit.
Serve with skewers.

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