November 12th, 2013

Perfect Holiday Recipes

thanksgiving cookbookMy foodie obsession started years ago when my husband bought me the Williams Sonoma “Thanksgiving” cookbook—he joked that it was really a gift for him so he could enjoy all the delicious food. At first, I was intimidated by the fancy recipes, but working my way through that book taught me a lot of basics—how to cook a great turkey, make a flaky pie crust, and how to whip up the “Spicy Three Cheese Spread” that we can’t seem to do Thanksgiving without.

Though I’m now a more seasoned cook, I honestly keep very few cookbooks on my shelf.  Instead, I prefer to browse lots of recipes from lots of sources, plucking ideas from here and there to craft the perfect menu or dish.  Checking out a huge stack of cookbooks is my idea of a relaxing Friday night—hot beverage in hand, of course, to help inspire the browsing.

My new foodie fascination is Zinio — the free digital magazines available through the library.  I squealed with delight when I discovered I can freely download the holiday cookie magazines (if you’re a baker, you know that those magazines often retail at $10 or more).   Taste of Home, Food Network, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur… I could go on and on.  All freely downloadable (even back issues) with your library card!

Stop by the library (and the library’s website)  when you’re ready to start working on your holiday menu planning. Or, come happily browse our stacks if you just love looking at gorgeous food pics like I do.

In the meantime, here’s how we like to make that “Spicy Three Cheese Spread” at our house.  Bon appétit and happy holidays!


Spicy Three Cheese Spread

Adapted from Williams Sonoma “Thanksgiving.”

cheese spread

Make this at least a day ahead to give the flavors time to meld.  It’s amazing used as a dip for crackers or vegetables and adds a delightful kick to leftover turkey sandwiches.

6 oz Swiss cheese, finely diced or shredded
6 oz sharp orange Cheddar, finely diced or shredded
4 oz creamy blue cheese or gorgonzola
5 TBSP salted butter
1/3 cup tawny Port
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (add more if you want it spicier)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 green onion, minced (include the tender green parts)
finely diced pimento, if desired

Let the cheeses and butter come to room temperature, then mix with the remaining ingredients. If desired, mix in some pimento for a festive, red accent.  Makes 8-10 servings.

What’s your favorite holiday dish?

Photo credit: Lauren H. Craig

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October 23rd, 2013

Best Teen Reads for 2013

Thanks to the awesome teens that participated in our fun Teen Read Week activities and thanks to those who voted for the Teens’ Top Ten best books for 2013.  Teens across the country voted on their favorite titles and the exciting results were announced this week.  Here they are:

TEENS TOP TEN 2013 WINNERS:Caroline mustache display

1.  “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein
2.  “The False Prince” by Jennifer A. Nielsen
3.  “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth
4.  “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry
5.  “Poison Princess” by Kresley Cole
6.  “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater
7.  “Crewel” by Gennifer Albin
8.  “Every Day” by David Levithan
9.  “Kill Me Softly” by Sarah Cross
10.  “Butter” by Erin Jade Lange

During Teen Read Week, we also asked teens about their favorite things to check out from the library.  Their responses?  Sports books, mysteries, movies, graphic novels, eBooks, and in terms of specific authors, anything by Clive Cussler and Veronica Roth.  Speaking of Ms. Roth, we have copies of “Allegiant” in both print and eBook!

What are your favorite things to check out from the library and what’s the best teen book you read this year?

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