Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Library ZOOM Lecture had Tips from the ‘Thirsty Radish’ to Create a Very Berry Holiday

The Warren County Library recently had a ZOOM lecture entitled “Cooking with Berries through the Holiday Season” with Vanessa Young of the Thirsty Radish.

Young is a cooking instructor, writer and educator known for her artful approach to food and seasonal meals. She shares her passion for cooking with online classes for children and adults.

Young’s class was filmed in her kitchen where she showed us how to add berries for an extra special holiday dinner. She always uses organic foods in her recipes. She suggested using fresh apple, pear and cranberry compote as a condiment on a cheese plater next to the crackers.

Young made a non-alcohol cocktail with fresh pears called Maple Pear Sparkle, recipe included.

Young shared some baking tips:

  • Never over mix shortbread dough
  • If a cookie dough gets to sticky, pop it into the freezer to stiffen up
  • Add something savory to your holiday cookie tray

She said preparing for guests can be stressful so make some on trays, days before. She made a simple feta cheese side. Chop feta into small bite size chunks, add to a jar with fresh rosemary and hot pepper flakes and cover with olive oil. Let it marinate two or three days in room temperature and then refrigerate. Serve at room temperature because the olive oil needs to loosen up.

Young made a soft cheese spread with fresh ground nuts. Place the mixture of nuts on plastic wrap then roll the soft cheese into a loaf shape and wrap it in the same plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least overnight.

Young inspires everyone to make the holiday treats as healthy as possible by substituting the decorative sprinkles for some organic Turbonado raw cane sugar. This sugar has a gold color and adds sparkle to any holiday cookie.

She decorated cookies with freeze dried berries chopped up and some cookies had freeze dried berry sprinkles. The organic freeze dried products can add that festive look while being healthy. Freeze dried berries retain97% of the nutritional value of the food it can be purchased at

Young mottled some pink peppercorns, a dried berry from the Baies Rose found in Brazil. The berries have a sweet fruity peppery flavor and are quite popular in French cuisine. Pink peppercorns can be used in a in a vinaigrette, in cocktails or used as a coating for a filet mignon or pork tenderloin.

Young graciously shared her recipes with us. Ffor more creative culinary dishes check out her website at She can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.

Cranberry Curd Tarts:

Chocolate Cranberry Cookie Bars:

Yelens Choban
MB Journe, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

My name is Marybeth Journe, I feel blessed to be living in this part of New Jersey. I have enjoyed this community taking advantage of the lakes and woods. Always supporting the local businesses that make this my home. As a local artist myself, I know many of our residence if not by name, at least by sight. I feel comfortable interviewing others. I have worked for The Paulinskill Valley Chronical where I provided articles, photographs and billing. I consider myself an artist, journalist, naturalist, gardener and a teacher for the YMCA Camp Mason. I look forward to the work ahead

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