Europeans do it better. Not the wine, beer and cheese, which are all great, but the holidays and vacations.
A holiday in Europe occupies at least two weeks. Summer vacation is six to eight weeks. With that much time off from work, one’s internal clock resets. Mind and body slow down to take in the pleasures of the moment.
In America, “hurry” is always the new “black.” Racing between appointments, checking what’s on sale before we buy, and dropping kids off at soccer, school or play dates keeps most people’s nerves frayed. Then when it’s time for the holidays, with only a few days off from work, it’s difficult to shift gears.
Even though we look forward to being with friends and family during the holidays, entertaining means more work.
Just when we should be relaxing, kicking back on the couch or taking a long walk at the beach, we find ourselves in front of the stove cooking for dinner guests or preparing a dish we need to bring to a potluck.
Short of flying off to Bermuda with a ton of cash in hand, there’s no way around it, except to make cooking take less time without cutting back on quality.
Easy-to-make holiday treats
Using easy-to-make recipes means having your cake and eating it too. While the dessert bakes in the oven, you’ll be watching the game on TV or canoodling on the couch with a loved one.
In the interest of lending a helping hand, here are two recipes that take very little effort but have a lot of flavor and an exceptionally high “wow” factor.
Brown sugar, golden raisins, Fuji apple custard
A variation on an apple pie, the apples take center stage with custard providing a pillow of creamy sweetness. The almonds and golden raisins surprise with crunchiness and chewiness, adding a touch of told-you-so sassiness.
Crystallized ginger custard
If a shallow baking dish is used, the custard benefits because a deliciously sticky ring forms around the outer edge.
Zester Daily contributor David Latt is a television writer/producer with a passion for food. His new book, “10 Delicious Holiday Recipes” is available from Amazon. In addition to writing about food for his own site, Men Who Like to Cook, he has contributed to Mark Bittman’s New York Times food blog, Bitten, One for the Table and Traveling Mom. He continues to develop for television but recently has taken his passion for food on the road and is now a contributor to Peter Greenberg’s travel site and the New York Daily News online.
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Credits: David Latt