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Features

  • The Associated Press
    Who says salsa has to be made from tomatoes? Or dumped unceremoniously from a jar?
    With all of summer’s bounty, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that make fantastic salsas. Scoop them up with chips or crackers, or add them to sandwiches, salads, burgers and tacos. We came up with three simple salsas, but they are easily tweaked to whatever is fresh or happens to be in your refrigerator. Switch out the apples for peaches or plums, even chopped strawberries. Don’t like dill? Opt for basil or tarragon.

  • By Sara Moulton
    The Associated Press
    Just because summer seems to scream for pie doesn’t mean we are eager to crank up the oven. This is especially true at the Fourth of July, when we’d rather focus on the grill and preparations for fireworks.

  • By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    The New Mexico Highlands University Ray Drew Gallery presents an exhibit of the university’s eclectic fine art collection through Aug. 12.

    The Ray Drew Gallery is in the university’s Donnelly Library, 802 National Ave. The gallery is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to  5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

  • By Alison Ladman
    The Associated Press
    Who says the traditional Easter ham has to be traditional?
    We understand that there is good reason for many traditions, particularly when it comes to food. After all, many food traditions earned their place because they are simply delicious. The glazed ham is a fine example. And that’s why we decided not to mess with that part of this spring staple.

  • By Alison Ladman
    The Associated Press
    A little retro and a whole lot of fun, cream cheese mints are the perfect way to keep little hands busy during Easter dinner preparations.
    Make up the dough, then let the kids play around with different flavors and colors (or not, if you’re trying to avoid pink and green hands). They also can form the mints in a variety of shapes. Consider making lemon mints, classic peppermints, or orange cream mints. You even could do mocha mints with coffee and chocolate extracts.

  • By Russell Contreras
    The Associated Press
    Evil eye. Magical fright. A sick soul.
    These are all afflictions usually treated by traditional Mexican healers known as curanderos. And this summer, an Albuquerque museum is planning an exhibit on the magical art of curanderismo, or the practice of traditional Mexican folk healing.

  • By Elizabeth Karmel
    The Associated Press

    My sister, Mary Pat, is the born baker in the family. She has a sweet tooth that she has polished into a fine baking skill. Everything she makes is delicious, but she is famous for her rugelach.

    As is common with rugelach, the recipe is passed down from family baker to family baker. This recipe originally came from our cousin Vera, but my sister has lovingly tweaked it to make it her own. It is made with sour cream instead of cream cheese, making the pastry lighter and flakier than most rugelach.

  • APRICOT CLOVE CRUMB BARS

    Start to finish: 45 minutes
    Makes 24 bars

    2 cups old fashioned oats
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cloves
    3/4 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
    12-ounce jar apricot preserves

    Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper.

  • By J.M. Hirsch
    AP Food Editor

    You can keep your decorated, stained glass, death-by-chocolate, triple-dunked biscotti bombs, or whatever this holiday season’s must-bake cookie will be.

    Any time of year — and especially this time of year — I’ll take the delicious simplicity and vanilla-ness (no, probably not a real word) of a chewy, soft and sweet snickerdoodle over just about any fancy, overwrought confection. Even better is to pair that simple, underappreciated cookie with the most perfect of holiday beverages — eggnog.

  • The Associated Press

    ALMOND SAFFRON PUFF COOKIES

  • By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    The New Mexico Highlands University Mariachi Vaqueros de la Sierra presents a concert at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. in the university’s Ilfeld Auditorium, 900 University Ave.

    The award-winning mariachi group will perform a variety of musical selections, including huapangos, rancheras, boleros and sones. The group will also perform a number of classic mariachi Christmas songs as well as arrangements of Christmas songs for mariachi.

  • By J.M. Hirsch
    AP Food Editor

    It’s awfully hard to get excited about a food called “nutritional yeast flakes.” It sounds like something you either need a prescription to get. Or a prescription to get rid of. Even worse, it resembles yellow flaked fish food. But trust me, this is an ingredient worth looking beyond its name and appearance.

  • By J.M. Hirsch
    AP Food Editor

    Nothing says “Yum!” like a bit of nomenclatural confusion... Especially with a side of near extinction.

    But that’s what you get once you venture down the culinary path with bison, an alternative red meat that is showing up at more and more grocers  nationwide. And these massive shaggy creatures are such a delicious — and good for us — meat, it’s worth sorting it all out.

  • Submitted to the Optic

    Air Force Col. Joseph L. Torres, Jr. has retired from the U.S. Air Force.  Torres is the Chief of Logistics Readiness Division, Headquarters, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.  The Colonel has served in the military for 26 years.  

    He is the son of Joseph L. Torres, Sr. and Priscilla C. Torres of Coronado Drive in Las Vegas.  

    His wife, Angelina, is the daughter of Frances and Jose F. Esquibel also of Commerce Street. They have two children, Rachel and Andrea.   

  • By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    The New Mexico Highlands University Madrigal Choir will present A Classical Christmas concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Ilfeld Auditorium.

    The madrigal choir will perform Christmas anthems, oratorios and compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Henry Purcell, Camille Saint-Saëns, Samuel Barber, and John Rutter.

  • Submitted to the Optic

    Luna Community College quilting and sewing students will be donating pillows, pillow cases and stuffed animals to children who are with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program in Las Vegas.

    “This is the second year we do this,” said LCC Quilting and Sewing Instructor Lin Chibante. “Last year we gave 18 pillow sets to CASA; our goal is to give them 80 to 100 this year.”

    Chibante said that the reason for the dramatic increase is to ensure that every child receives a pillow set and a stuffed animal.

  • By Anne D’Innocenzio
    AP Retail Writer

    NEW YORK — Attention frustrated Black Friday shoppers who can never grab that hot product: Wal-Mart is hoping to relieve some of that anxiety.

    The world’s largest retailer is throwing its doors open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than a year ago. It’s also guaranteeing shoppers that it will have three of the most popular items it sells if they line up inside the store during a one-hour event that day.

  • By Mark Jewell
    AP Personal Finance Writer

    BOSTON — Thanksgiving could be an opportune time to talk turkey about family finances, rather than merely eat the bird and prepare for the next big holiday. A detailed discussion could prove to be worthwhile, given the strong likelihood that older parents and their adult children have conflicting expectations about issues such as elder care, retirement security and inheritance.

  • Submitted to the Optic

    ALBUQUERQUE – For Justin Montoya and his mother, Rosemarie Montoya, winning a New Mexico Lottery prize was a scream.

    The Las Vegas residents won $50,000 playing a $5 “Diamond Mine 9X” Scratcher that they bought after stopping for gas.  Justin Montoya, who paid for the ticket, let his mother play the game while he drove. 

    When his mother revealed the five-figure prize, he said she erupted.