- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Talking turkey

Butterball Turkey’s home economists and nutritionists will answer holiday cooks’ questions by phone and e-mail in English and Spanish in November and December. Call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, 800/288-8372, or send e-mail to [email protected] The phone line is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Dec. 26.

The National Turkey Federation Web site also has Thanksgiving recipes and cooking tips among its year-round general information. Go to www.eatturkey.com.

Cooking Southern

The “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” (Oxmoor House) touts that it is the “All-New Ultimate Holiday Entertaining Guide.” Inside, the food photographs are handsome and enticing and the recipes are in the straightforward style of Southern Living magazine.

Also just out is the 2008 “Christmas With Southern Living” (Oxmoor), which concentrates on ideas of holiday decorating as well as more recipes. This book has a recipe for wilted collards with bacon and onion; the “Ultimate” book also has a recipe for collards, but with liquid hickory smoke added to the pot. Be still, my Southern heart.

Here’s a recipe from “Ultimate”:

Blue cheese-bacon dip

7 bacon slices, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup half-and-half

4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

Grape clusters

Flatbread or assorted crackers

Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until crisp. Drain bacon, and set aside. Add minced garlic to skillet, and saute 1 minute.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add half-and-half, beating until combined. Stir in bacon, garlic, blue cheese and chives. Spoon mixture evenly into 4 1-cup baking dishes.

Bake at 350 degrees or until golden and bubbly. Sprinkle evenly with chopped walnuts and serve with grapes and flatbread or crackers. Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Bay Area chocolates

Charles Chocolates are mighty fine confections that appeal to the eye almost as much as to the taste.

Charles “Chuck” Siegel was 25 when he entered the San Francisco chocolate scene by founding Attivo Confections in 1987.

Among the artisanal standouts created by Mr. Siegel are this year’s fall and winter edible chocolate boxes - yes, made of chocolate, and each filled with more fabulous chocolates. The chocolate lid on the fall box is decorated with a barren oak tree; the winter box sports a delicate snowflake.

Charles Chocolates offers $12 tins of triple-chocolate-covered almonds or hazelnuts; a 10-piece box, the classic assortment, costs $20, while the classics in the 20-piece box cost $30. The suggested retail price for the edible chocolate boxes is $60, and there are boxes of chocolate truffles and heart-shaped chocolates.

In Washington, Charles Chocolates are carried by Chocolate Moose, 1743 L St. NW; Chocolate Tastes, 4875 Colorado Ave. NW; Sur La Table, 5211 Wisconsin Ave. NW; and Whole Foods, 1440 P St. NW.

For more information, visit www.charleschocolates.com.

- Richard Slusser

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