Christmas Cookie and Sweet Goods Sale
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Pentecostals of Troy, 8965 Route 162, Troy
Features: Cookies are $4 per dozen and peanut brittle is $5 per bag. No phone orders please; first come first served.
Information: www.pentecostalsoftroy.org, The Pentecostals of Troy on Facebook, 618-667-6054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday Baking Bites
What: Kids Cooking Class for ages 5-12
When: 1-3 p.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 15
Where: Eckert's Country Store classroom, Illinois 15 and Green Mount Road, Belleville
Cost: $15 (Parent free.)
Reservations: Required to 233-0513
Features: Join the culinary staff to make a variety of goodies, including Holly Jolly Bites, Taste of Christmas Pancakes, Santa's Sweet Treat and Dipped Candy Canes with Hot Cocoa. Students will bring home a sweet holiday treat.
What: Lunch and Learn class
When: Noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 18
Where: Eckert's Country Store, 951 S. Greenmount Road, Belleville
Reservations: Required to 618-233-0513 or eckerts.com
Features: Learn some creative shortcuts to getting filling appetizers on the holiday table in no time. This class offers a tasty way to spend lunch with a friend. This is an encore class from 2013 with new recipes.
Pasteurized eggs now sold in metro-east
Home cooks and bakers can now buy pasteurized whole-shell eggs locally.
Safest Choice Eggs provide a healthy option for all consumers, including children, pregnant women, and others who need be especially concerned about possible salmonella contamination when eating raw eggs. That means that for the holidays, you can make eggnog without concerns about food safety. Soft-cooked eggs, silk desserts, ice cream and especially this time of year, eating raw cookie dough are no longer a concern.
Safest Choice eggs are locally sold at Dierbergs and Schnucks.
And, no worries about confusing them with eggs you might buy that aren't pasteurized: Each Safest Choice Egg is stamped with a red circle "P" on the shell.
Wonder how they do it without cooking the egg? The company says pasteurization is an all-natural process, that it involves only heat (not chemicals or irradiation). Safest Choice eggs go through a series of warm-water baths to eliminate bacteria.
Cost is $3.50 per dozen. Go to safeeggs.com for more information and to get a 75-cent coupon.
Shut the door on trying to save thawed food
Q: I found the door of my deep freezer open on a Monday morning. I hadn't gone into it since Friday night. All the food was completely defrosted, but still felt cool. Could I cook and refreeze the food to save it?
A: That heartbreaking question came in while I was at a seminar with several other food writers. No one at the table hesitated in the answer: No.
If food is partially thawed -- if it still has ice crystals in it -- it can be refrozen. But if it is completely defrosted, even if it is still cool, it must be discarded. There's no way to know how long the food was outside the safe-temperature zone, which is below 40 or above 140 degrees.
Many refrigerators and freezers now come with a door alarm that will let you know if the door has completely closed. You know why if you've ever had to throw away everything in a deep freezer. It's worth checking with your home insurance provider to find out if the contents of your deep freezer are covered.
Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte Observer