Holiday veggie tree

THE DISH

December 17, 2003|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff

Cooks are rarely alone in the kitchen at holiday time. According to a survey conducted by knife maker CUTCO Cutlery Corp., cooks said 85 percent of their guests pop into the kitchen offering to lend a hand with food preparation.

The most common task guests are assigned is helping serve beverages, with 37 percent of the respondents saying they delegate duties of uncorking the wine, filling the ice bucket, slicing lemons and limes and pouring sodas.

Nearly one-third of those who answered the survey asked guests to help set the table. And 18 percent look for help slicing and chopping.

Here's one way to put your guests to work: Get them to chop broccoli and cauliflower for a vegetable platter shaped like a Christmas tree. Cherry tomatoes and carrots serve as ornaments and a slice of star fruit on top completes the decoration.

Waist watching

Few of us come out of the holiday season as thin as we went in. Here are some suggestions from Weight Watchers to keep the pounds under control:

* If you're on a marathon shopping trip at the mall, be careful around the food court. Opt for a salad or put a cooler of nutritious snacks and bottled water in your car.

* Drink at least six glasses of water daily to keep hydrated.

* When approaching a holiday spread, try ranking the dishes on the table from 1 to 10 with 1 being the most healthful, then choose the foods accordingly.

* Although office and family parties present many temptations, the biggest mistake is not to go. Fill up on healthul snacks before the party and keep high-calorie beverages, including alcohol and soda, to a minimum.

Rolling out a new spread

From the heart of dairy country comes a new cream-cheese spread, Not Your Ordinary cream cheese. The product is a blend of cream cheese and nonfat yogurt that contains one-third less fat and half the cholesterol of regular cream cheese. The kosher spread contains live and active cultures, and has a creamy texture that can be used as a vegetable dip as well as a bagel spread.

Not Your Ordinary cream-cheese spread sells from $2.69-$2.99 and is available in most grocery stores.

To kick off your party

If you'd like to put a little kick in your salad, or at least jump-start the conversation at your next dinner party, try serving the salad with a pair of wooden legs.

Salad Legs are the creation of California artisan Don Morey, who calls himself "the little old gentleman from Pasadena." The leg-shaped servers, crafted from maple wood, are available for $33 (including postage and taxes) by calling toll-free 866-655-8776 or visiting www.goodlifeartisans.com.

EVENT

* Learn about Mediterranean Hanukkah traditions from chef and author Joyce Goldstein at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Hampton's Restaurant in the Harbor Court Hotel. $60 for members of the American Institute of Wine and Food and $72 for nonmembers. For more information, call AIWF at 410-244-0044.

The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail food@baltsun.com.

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