The holidays are upon us and, if you’re like we are, you want to show the people around you that they are special. Here are two very easy recipes with high WOW! factors that can be done with minimal effort.


Home style cottage cheese. Quick and so simple to make. The taste is unbelievable!

Home style cottage cheese. Quick and so simple to make. The taste is unbelievable!

Quick Home Style Cottage Cheese

Ingredients (makes about 2 pints)
  • 1 gallon pasteurized skim milk (we made ours with whole milk and it worked just fine)
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and half-or heavy cream


Pour the skim milk into a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat to 120 degrees F. Remove from the heat and gently pour in the vinegar. Stir slowly for 1 to 2 minutes. The curd will separate from the whey. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a colander lined with a tea towel and allow to sit and drain for 5 minutes. Gather up the edges of the cloth and rinse under cold water for 3 to 5 minutes or until the curd is completely cooled, squeezing and moving the mixture the whole time. Once cooled, squeeze as dry as possible and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine, breaking up the curd into bite-size pieces as you go. If ready to serve immediately, stir in the half-and-half or heavy cream. If not, transfer to a sealable container and place in the refrigerator. Add the half and half or heavy cream just prior to serving.

Our brother-in-law, who grew up on a farm in Indiana, says that this tastes just like the cottage cheese his grandmother made. We don’t know about that but it is the best cottage cheese we’ve ever tasted; mostly because it actually tastes like cheese!

This second offering comes from a New York Times article we found a couple of years ago.

Soul Food ChutneyRecipe

adapted from Art Smith’s Back to the Table. Smith is executive chef and co-owner of Art and Soul restaurant in Washington, D.C.

This has become a family favorite. People actually argue over who gets to slick up the bowl!

This has become a family favorite. People actually argue over who gets to slick up the bowl!

Ingredients Makes about 3 1/2 cups
  • 1 large navel orange
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (this year we substituted about 1/2 cup of dried tart cherries. It works well!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (3 inches) cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted* (sometimes these go into our chutney, other times not)


Grate the zest from the orange and squeeze the juice.

Bring the cranberries, pears, orange juice and zest, ginger, sugar and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until almost all of the cranberries have popped and the juices are syrupy, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a container and cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight to marry the flavors. Remove the cinnamon stick. (The chutney can be prepared up to 1 week ahead.)

Just before serving, stir in half of the almonds, and garnish with the rest. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

*To toast nuts, spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Well, we’d love to hang around and chat a bit more but, there’s a lot to do before Thursday! Enjoy your holiday with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!


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