Book Bites explores party food

  • Cranberries are a seasonal fall favorite used in two party time recipes. AP file

For the Monitor
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The holidays are approaching and that means that there will be parties, get together, shindigs, and no end of holiday meals. Instead of bringing the same dish you brought last year, try out some new, easy, exciting dish to surprise your hosts or your guests.

Party food is on the menu for this month’s Book Bites Club at the Gilford Public Library. The club meets to talk about cookbooks, learn from Tracey Petrozzi, the fabulous librarian-cook, and, most importantly, to sample new dishes! Petrozzi reads the library cookbooks ravenously and is quick with a reference and a recommendation. The club participants are also sociable and eager to talk about cookbooks and dishes they have tried themselves.

Each month Petrozzi selects a theme that relates to the current season, seasonal ingredients, or anything she’s in the mood for cooking and builds a tasting menu around the theme that typically consists of an appetizer, main course, and desert.

On Dec. 6 from 5 to 6 p.m., the Book Bites Club will try a variety of appetizers and sweet treats that liven up a party! Food brings us together, after all.

The cost for this program is $5 per person, and space is limited so participants are encouraged to sign up at the library’s circulation desk. For more information ,you can contact the Gilford Public Library at  524-6042 or by email at library@gilfordlibrary.com. The Gilford Library is located at 31 Potter Hill Road in Gilford.

Petrozzi teased a couple of the recipes you are likely to see there, including Cranberry Sangria and Cranberry Pico. She mentioned that she is going to try adding a couple of jalapeno peppers to the Cranberry Pico to “kick it up a notch.”

Cranberry Sangria

1½ cups water

1 cup sugar

4 slices lemon, plus more for garnish

6 whole cloves

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ginger

4 cranberry-flavored or cranberry-blend tea bags

2 bottles white wine

¼ cup apple brandy

2 apples, cored and cut into thin wedges

1 cup fresh cranberries

Stir together water, sugar, lemon slices, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a 2-quart saucepan. Add tea bags and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 1 hour. Strain, pressing lightly on lemon and tea bags. Discard lemon, tea bags and cloves.

Pour wine in a large pitcher, jar or other container. Add tea mixture and brandy. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir in apples and cranberries, then garnish with additional lemon slices. Serve cold.

(Recipe adapted from Allrecipes Magazine.)

Cranberry Pico

8 oz. fresh or frozen (do not thaw) cranberries

⅓ cup sugar

2 green onions, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

Pulse cranberries and sugar in bowl of food processor 3 or 4 times, or until blended. Add onions and remaining ingredients; pulse until finely chopped. Cover and chill up to 5 days.

Serve with tortilla chips.

(Recipe adapted from Country Music’s Greatest Eats.)