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Classy Holiday Entertaining

Whether you’re making a traditional ham for the family, a vegetarian New Year’s brunch or an intimate Noël for two, you could probably stand to learn a trick or two from the instructors at Great News! Cooking School in Pacific Beach. Check out classes like Phillis Carey’s Holiday Brunch Ideas, Diane Phillips’ Do Ahead Party Appetizers, George Geary’s Chocolate for the Holidays and Katherine Emmenegger’s Gluten-Free Entertaining. Dishes include apricot orange scones with marmalade butter, baked coconut shrimp with Maui sunset sauce, chocolate almond linzer torte and grilled lemon shrimp martini over Sze­chuan scented slaw. Go to great-news.com for the complete schedule.

Omega’Me Well with Salmon

If you’ve been hard pressed to find just the right lox component for bagels, lox and cream cheese, try the lox sold by Omega’Me Well. Clearly, owner Dave Hiebert is channeling his inner Barney Greengrass, because this cold-smoked lox is sublimely smooth and smoky. Then there are Hiebert’s other products: The former commercial fisherman brines, dries and smokes wild-caught Alaskan and Pacific Northwest salmon to make wine-maple smoked salmon, jerky, chowder and spreads, as well as a fine salmon burger. You can find them at the Little Italy, UTC and Hillcrest farmers’ markets. sdfarmbureau.org.

Good Meat by Deborah Krasner

Serious carnivores and locavores often find it challenging to buy meat that’s both healthful and sustainable. As we grow more concerned about the environment and the quality of the lives of the animals we consume, we want to know where our meat comes from and how it was raised. With Good Meat ($40, Stewart, Tabori & Chang), James Beard Award – winning food writer Deborah Krasner offers invaluable insights into sourcing and cooking sustainably raised meat. She explains slaughtering practices, defines terms like “grass-fed” and “pastured” and offers 200-plus tempting recipes — both “center of the plate” and those that use meat sparingly for flavoring.

Italianissimo: Local Is Relative

Importer Andrea Zarattini still has roots in his Italian homeland, where he has an 11-acre farm in the town of Notaresco in Abruzzo. So it makes sense that he would sell the luscious olive oils produced there in his new home in San Diego. I tried the Lotario delle Colline Teramane, and its young, grassy, almost bitter flavors won me over. Zarattini also sells a variety of imported pastas, grains and beans — all pesticide-free and organic. Try the cicerchie, an ancient legume from the Middle East, or the farro polenta. Zarattini sells to restaurants like Nobu and also at the Little Italy Mercato and independent markets in San Diego. lotario.net.

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