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Keep warm from the inside out with special winter recipes

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Winter doesn't officially begin until Dec. 21, but the cold weather is here to stay. There are only two things to do in the face of winters frigid weather, you can embrace it or pull the covers over your head till spring.

Since most people are not independently wealthy enough to hibernate for nine months, finding a winter activity to keep the winter blues away is important.

You don't have to invest in a snowmachine or skis to enjoy time with your friends and family. Sharing a big pot of stew or a just out-of-the-oven loaf of bread slathered with butter is a perfect way to reconnect with those we love or want to know better.

So let it snow you will be warm, satisfied and ready for a long winters nap.

Hot Mulled Wine

Jack Frost may be nipping at your nose but a few sips of these tasty beverages will keep you nice and toasty. A recipe from my collection. nm

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 medium orange, thinly sliced

1 small lemon, thinly sliced

4 cinnamon sticks

1 cup water

8 whole cloves

1 bottle dry red wine

1 small orange, studded with cloves, cut into eighths.

In a nonreactive 4 quart sauce pan combine sugar, medium orange, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and 1 cup of water and heat to boiling over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves completely. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add wine to mixture and heat through, but do not boil.

Russian Tea

Betty Hall

2 cups orange powdered drink mix

2 cups sugar

1 cup instant tea (decaffeinated or regular)

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground clove

2 large packages instant lemon aid mix

2 ounces cinnamon flavored hard candies

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container, in a cool dry place.

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons to 8 ounces of hot water.

Smoked Salmon Cheddar Chipotle Corn Chowder

This chowder recipe submitted by Teri Robl of Homer has the appeal of being easy to make and the staying power to give you the energy to slog through the snow or walk across the floor to turn up the heat.

It was the first-place entry in this year's Kenai Peninsula State Fair Clam Chowder Cook-off. nm

"This recipe is based on a corn chowder recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook authored by Ina Garten. I wanted to give the chowder an Alaska flavor with the addition of the smoked salmon and chipotle is my new favorite fun seasoning to add 'bam.'" Teri Robl

4 ounces smokey bacon, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups diced yellow or sweet onion

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

6 cups chicken stock or chicken broth

3 cups medium dice Yukon Gold potatoes

5 cups corn kernels, fresh (5 ears) or frozen corn (1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup half and half

1/4 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 cups smoked salmon cut in small pieces

chipotle seasoning to taste (a smokey, hot addition)

In a large stock pot on medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce heat to medium and add onions and butter to the bacon fat and cook 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and turmeric and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a slow boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn on the cob, blanch corn for about 3 minutes in a pot of boiling salted water.

When corn ears are cool enough to handle, cut corn off cob. (You can skip this step if using frozen corn.) Add corn, salmon, half and half and cheese to soup, season to taste with chipotle seasoning, salt and pepper. Take care not to return soup to a boil after adding cheese and half and half.

Serve with a garnish of bacon. Serves six.

Apple Squares

(Shared by Evy Gebhardt, advertising director of the Peninsula Clarion and contributing food editor for the taste of Home Magazine.)

These bars are the perfect compliment to an evening meal or a hot cup of coffee with friends. They are also great for potlucks or packing into a lunch.

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup shortening or butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks plus enough milk for 2/3 cups total (save the whites)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Mix as for pie crust and divide in half. Roll one half out and fit into a lightly greased 9-by-13 inch pan. On top of crust sprinkle:

1 cup crushed corn flakes

4 to 6 cups sliced apples that have been mixed with 1 cup of sugar.

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Roll out remaining dough and cover filling. beat egg whites and brush on top of crust. Bake for 30 minutes.

Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon butter

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

enough water to thin

Frost apple squares while still warm.

Caramel Popcorn

(One from my recipe collection.)

n 2 1/2 quarts plain popped popcorn

n 2 cups mixed, unsalted nuts

n 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

n 1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup

n 1/2 cup butter

n 1/2 teaspoon salt

n 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

n 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 F.

In a large shallow roasting pan combine popcorn and nuts, Place in oven while making glaze.

In a large heavy sauce pan combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Stir constantly and bring to boil over medium heat.

Without stirring boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over warm popcorn mixture, stir to coat well. Bake in oven, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Cool, break apart and store in tightly covered container.

(As the mixture cools bits of fudge or caramel added to the mixture is wonderful.)



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