Herb Goat Cheese Rounds
These tasty nibbles are great for parties or just for yourself. Toss some on a green salad or use them to garnish a cream soup. And don't be afraid to experiment with different herbs. This recipe is adapted from my book Recipes from an American Herb Garden, (Macmillan Publishing, 1993; $30).
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons minced fresh herb leaves, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives, or sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg white
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine all the ingredients, except the egg white and the Parmesan cheese, in a bowl or food processor and mix or process just until a smooth dough is formed. Form the mixture into a 1-inch-diameter log. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the log into 1/4-inch slices. Place on a lightly greased or parchment-covered baking sheet or one coated with a nonstick coating spray. Prick the tops with a fork. Lightly beat the egg white and use a pastry brush to coat the rounds, then sprinkle the tops with the Parmesan cheese. Bake until light golden brown, or about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet, cool, and store in an airtight container for up to several weeks.
Makes about 72 rounds.
Real Christmas Trees
The centerpiece of the holidays is usually the Christmas tree. The National Christmas Tree Association has a Web site (www.realchristmastrees.org) that's filled with useful and fun facts about this tradition. The site can help you locate by zip code your nearest source for trees and greens. You can also learn about the different kinds of trees, how to select and care for them, and all about the White House Christmas tree.