After the marathon cooking and baking sessions of the holidays, many of us still may be reluctant to get back into the kitchen. Still, winter entertaining doesn't need to be difficult.
Here are some tips from Hillshire Farms:
Stick to lighter fare, such as appetizers, so you can spend more time with your guests.
Serve both hot and cold appetizers and place the food throughout the party space.
Figure on eight to 10 appetizers for each person.
Do as much preparation ahead of time as possible, and plan on offering a variety of cheese, meat, vegetable, poultry and fish dishes.
A cherry myth, by George
With the approach of George Washington's birthday this Saturday, we pause to remember our first president and cherry growers everywhere.
Historians tell us that the story of young George's chopping down the cherry tree and confessing to his father because he couldn't tell a lie is a myth. But he could have chopped one down. The first sweet cherries were brought to this country around 1630, according to the National Cherry Growers.
While the sweet-cherry harvest is in the summer, canned and frozen cherries are in stores year-round. For recipes, visit www.nationalcherries.com.
New kettle:clear difference
Capresso takes boiling water to a new level with its one-quart H2O Glass Water Kettle.
The kettle is faster than stove-top teapots, uses less energy and the curved-glass body lets you see when the water is boiling. Safety features include a hinged lid permanently connected to the kettle and an automatic shut-off when water reaches a boil.
The kettle has a suggested retail price of $59.99. To order or find a retail store near you, call Capresso at 800-767-3554 or visit www.capresso.com.
Wine festival poster contest
It's time for artists and wine lovers to get out their sketch pads. The Carroll County Farm Museum is holding its annual design competition for the Maryland Wine Festival poster.
The competition is open only to Maryland residents and features a $1,000 prize. Entries must be received by 3 p.m. March 14. Contact the farm museum at 410-848-7775 or 410-876-2667 for a copy of the contest rules and an entry form.
The winning design will be reproduced on posters, T-shirts and brochures for the festival in September.
More than 800 wines from 220 international and domestic wineries will be available for tasting at the 4th annual Washington D.C. International Wine & Food Festival from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center, 900 9th St. N.W. Admission for one day is $61 and for both days is $82. Seminars are priced separately. For tickets and information call 800-343-1174M-5 or visit www.wine-expos.com.
Make desserts with chef Elizabeth French 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Anne Arundel Community College's Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism Building, 7438 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie. $41. For information and to register, call 410-777-2510.
Corks chef/owner Jerry Pellegrino discusses food and wine 7 p.m. Monday at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. At 7 p.m. Tuesday, explore Indian cuisine. Each course is $45. Call 410-539-8600 to register.
Learn to make pizza 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Donna's at the Village of Cross Keys. $45. Call 410-659-5248, Ext. 112 for reservations.
Learn to prepare fish 7 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 25 at Whole Foods Market, 2504 Solomons Island Road, Annapolis. On Wednesday, learn how to make sushi. Classes are free, but space is limited. Call 410-573-1800.