Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your best winter drinks.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Swedish Glögg by Meg Whitlock: Pity that Sweden's biggest contributions to global culinary heritage are often cited as jokes, even by Swedes. Witness Meg's story of lutefisk here. But her grandfather's classic glögg, a mulled wine, sweet and beguiling with its cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and raisins, is nothing to laugh at.
THIS WEEK'S ALTERNATE WINNERS:
Christmas Boilo (spiced honey rye) by Trish Rainbow: Plenty of cultures have mulled wine, but the truly serious drinkers (in this case, Lithuanians-by-way-of-Pennsylvania) mull their rye whiskey with fruit and spices. It's no joke to start, but it smooths out with each sip. Possibly because you're getting hammered.
Sweet Milk Punch by Zul: Look, who really likes eggnog? But sure, yes, creamy, boozy drinks are an undeniable tradition during the holidays, but here's one that you'll actually like. Riffing on a New Orleans classic, sweetening this luxurious milk and rum punch with maple syrup and rounding it out with bourbon, Zul gets things going in lovely, lazy style.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE EXCELLENT HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Rye and Ginger by M. S. Bellows Jr.: We confess that any drink that calls for Vernor's, the ginger ale of choice of the Great Lakes states, will get us to smile. Granted, it can taste like yellow sugar water if you didn't grow up with it, but what's not to love about regional sodas?
Tequila Christmas Cake by Bonnie Russell: Have you ever seen that old kung fu classic "The Drunken Master"? Well, if you've ever wondered how he'd make a dessert, here you are.
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Even for the only occasional host, holiday dinner parties are events of grand culinary spectacle, where everyone breaks out their most accomplished specialties, like Uncle George's triple-brined, double-toe-loop roast goose or Aunt Arabella's standing rib roast with 42 cloves of garlic.
But what really makes a feast? What turns a dinner into an all-day holiday party? Snacks, people. Appeteasers. (And may the Little Baby Savior-of-your-Choice smile upon the goofy menu-writing genius who came up with that awesomely awful word.)
So this week, let's get nibbling on the finger foods. But there's a catch: Since we're running these just a few days before Christmas, extra bonus points go to the tastiest, quickest, last-minutest hors d'oeuvres that are still dressy enough for company.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC holiday snacks (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, and execution.