Ringing in the New Year with antipasto

If you want something fun for a New Year's Eve buffet, look no further than this simple recipe for marinated antipasto platter. It's in my column today in the SouthShore News & Tribune. If you need too, make it ahead of time and then refrigerate it. That way you'll have plenty of time to get dressed for the party.

I am so grateful for family, friends, good times, traditions, and all the things that can't be measured in tangibles.

Happy New Year to all!


Stockings hung? Cookies baked? Jelly rolled?

I've been baking my way through my annual got-to-have Christmas goodies - thumbprints, bite-size brownie cupcakes and cranberry crunch cookies. In the middle of this baking frenzy, I made a new recipe for a chamber breakfast meeting.

Surfing the Internet, I found this really great cranberry and pecan jelly roll recipe at gourmetsleuth.com. The "healthy favorite" looked impressive, and was much easier to make than it appeared.

It turned out to be a joyous combination of cake and fat-free cream cheese frosting all rolled into one dessert or, in this case, breakfast.

If you have a houseful of hungry guests this week, this jelly roll might be the ticket!

Here's hoping you have a Lake Wobegone Christmas: All the cookies are outstanding; all the presents are satisfying; and all the stocking stuffers are above average.

4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan with waxed paper; coat with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed for 3 minutes or until thickened. In a small mixing bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until soft peaks form. Fold into yolks. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gently fold into the egg mixture until combined. Fold in cranberries and pecans.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 - 10 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack.

For filling, in a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter and extract. Set aside 1 1/2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar. Gradually beat remaining sugar into cream cheese mixture. Unroll cake; spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Sprinkle with reserved confectioners' sugar. Store in refrigerator. Serves 12


Tis the season for crashing tea parties?

If you're going to crash a party, it might as well be one with Mrs. Claus. That, and just in time for the holidays, this recipe from today's South Shore News & Tribune for Thumbprint cookies.


Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar

Recently, I was invited to a tasting preview at the new Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar in Clearwater. My daughter and I had a fabulous time. The food was exceptional.

Here are some pictures to whet your appetite, until I write my next Table Scraps column.

Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
Northwood Plaza
2548 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL 33761
(727) 724-4228