Yikes! Only Five More Days Until Christmas!

Orange Wine and Tapenade

Making Christmas cakes and orange wine and wrapping, and more wrapping–getting my boxes ready to ship to family and out-of-town  friends. I hope their gifts arrive before Christmas! Too much Christmas-making to write a brand new post. Orange wine is one of my favorite recipes to prepare at this time of year and I posted this same recipe last year. Try it. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. My daughter loves orange wine and during the holidays I also make another of her favorites, which is tapenade (so easy) and the two pair beautifully. Spread a thin layer of  tapenade on home-baked crostini and serve with orange wine before dinner.

Tapenade

1/2 cup black olives, pitted

6 anchovy fillets, cleaned, rinsed, and drained

1 1/2 tablespoons capers

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil (more may be needed)

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped basil

Place all ingredients, except for the basil, in the blender and blend on high speed for a few seconds. Push down with a spatula and add more oil if too think. Pour into a bowl and check seasonings; if too salty add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Add basil and cover. Will keep for approximately ten days.*

Crostini ~ Slice thinly on the diagonal best quality French or Italian bread. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in 350 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Flip the bread slices and drizzle a tiny bit more olive oil and salt and bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Optional, add a very slight sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese, after flipping, and prior to baking the second time.

Orange Wine

Orange infused wine, or vin d’orange, is a warm weather Provençal aperitif, but I never remember to make it during the summer months, only during the holidays. Although, when drinking it, I like to imagine sipping orange wine from a garden somewhere (anywhere!) along the Côte-d’Azure. Vin d’orange is marvelously easy to prepare and makes a much appreciated holiday host/hostess gift.

Over the years I’ve experimented with the original recipe, which was, to my way of thinking, much too sweet—add more sugar if you like a sweeter aperitif. I think you will find this concoction intoxicatingly fun, light, and aromatic. I hope your family and friends enjoy as much as do mine!

12-15 Clementines thoroughly washed and cut in half

3 bottles modestly priced dry white wine

1 Cup sugar

½ Cup Courvoisier

Long strips of orange zest

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl combine the wine and Clementines, gently squeezing each half to release some of the juice. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 5 days. Save the empty wine bottles and corks; wash and remove labels. You will need a fourth empty bottle.

Remove orange infused wine from the refrigerator and squeeze any liquid remaining in the orange halves into the large bowl. Discard oranges. Add the sugar and cognac, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour wine concoction into wine bottles. Insert a strip of the zest into each bottle and cork. Chill the wine for one week. Serve neat or over ice. The vin d’orange will keep for 6 months when chilled. Makes approximately 4 bottles.

*The tapenade recipe is based on Mirelle Johnson’s classic Provençal cookbook, The Cuisine of the Sun (Random House)

About Kim Smith

Currently creating documentary films about the Monarch Butterfly, Black Swallowtail Butterfly, and Gloucester's Feast of St. Joseph. Landscape designer for the Gloucester Harbor Walk Gardens. Designer, lecturer, author, illustrator, photographer. Visit my blog for more information about my landscape and interior design firm- kimsmithdesigns.wordpress.com. Good Morning Gloucester daily contributor. Author/illustrator "Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden"
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2 Responses to Yikes! Only Five More Days Until Christmas!

  1. Great post and the Orange Wine must smell wonderful.. Merry Christmas my friend xxoo

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