Category Archives: Holiday Ideas
I was doing an article for the patch for New Years. My editor told me something about a tradition in the South called Hoppin John. I had never heard to the dish or the tradition and decided to do some research.
Turns out it is a dish made with rice and beans. It is to be eaten at midnight, New Year’s eve to bring good luck. The idea is to eat poor that night and eat rich the rest of the year.
Sounded good to me. As I read a bit more, I noticed it is usually made with some pork product and is served with some Southern style greens. I started thinking and decided to make mine with pancetta. I added some onions, garlic and green peppers to that. I also added dried thyme and made it mine by adding- yes, you guessed it- smoked paprika. I sauteed the mixture and added a can of black eyed peas, the rice and chicken broth. Once the rice was almost cooked, I added a lot of baby spinach.
I decided to make this into a one pot meal and healthy. Since traditionally the dish is served with greens, I decided to add mine right into the rice and beans.
The result was a delicious and quick comforting dish. Definitely make this for New Year’s Eve to ensure good luck for the rest of the Year- and Happy New Year to you and your family!
read more …
This is a delicious dessert to make for the holidays!
Orange Curd (Recipe from Food and Wine)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
In a small heavy saucepan, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the citrus juices and zests. Add the butter and whisk constantly over moderately low heat until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes; do not let it boil. Immediately strain the curd into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and cut 6 small steam vents in the plastic. Refrigerate the curd overnight.
- 1¼ cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup extra light olive oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl, set aside. Lightly brush a 9X5X3 inches loaf pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add one egg at a time mixing in between. Add 1 cup pumpkin puree and mix for about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes before taking it out. Cool completely before serving.
Slice the bread into ½ inch slices.
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Whip the cream, mascarpone cheese and sugar with an electric beater till the stiff peaks are formed while being careful not to over whip.
- Segments of 3 large navel oranges plus a few more for garnish
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
Assemble the trifle by starting with lining the bottom of the bowl with one part of the cake slices (divide the cake slices into three parts). Drizzle the layer with some orange juice. Divide the orange curd into three parts and spread one part onto the cake. Divide the orange segments into three piles and add the first pile onto the curd. Repeat twice more and top with the whipped cream. Garnish with a few orange slices. Chill in the fridge, preferably overnight.
This is one of those recipes I am extremely proud of. Simple, quick and extremely delicious to make. I love brussels sprouts but somehow I don’t think about making them unless it is holiday time. They are plentiful right now and nothing like a big bowl full of delicious sprouts as a side.
My favorite way to eat any vegetable is roasted. It is simple and delicious- and I love how the veggies get super sweet and nutty. I always roast the sprouts and did the same thing with this dish as well.
While the sprouts were in the oven, I zested a lemon and minced some garlic. I cooked them briefly with some olive oil and added some cream. I cooked the cream briefly and added the dried cranberries. Once the sprouts were done, I added them to the cream and checked for seasonings. That was it- they were the most delicious sprouts I have ever had- truly.
Try these with the pork chops or any other meat entree and they will become part of your repertoire.
read more …
This is an amazing roast to make for the holidays. We originally had it in Spello, Umbria. A friendly woman named Paula made it for us. I watched her make it step by step and replicated it at home.
I realized the ingredients make an amazing difference. The Italian vegetables and meats are amazingly fresh and taste so different. I tried my best to buy the most local and fresh ingredients I could find including using herbs from my garden.
The key is to use a lamb shoulder which can be roasted several hours in the oven. If you prefer a lamb leg, make sure you don’t over cook it.
It is perfect for Christmas. I made it with a white bean ragu, a big green salad and a huge tray of tiramisu. How can you go wrong with that??
read more …
This ragu is delicious and very easy to make. I decided to make it dried beans and soaked them overnight, but you can definitely make them with the canned variety. The dried beans give the dish a bit more depth of flavor but the canned ones are very comparable.
I started with pancetta, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. I got fresh herbs from my backyard including rosemary, thyme and sage. I always buy San Marzano tomatoes which are special ones grown in Italy and have an amazing flavor. Some white wine and chicken broth later, I had a start to a very delicious stew. I let it cook for a couple of hours. The good thing about this dish is you can make it in advance. In fact it will taste better the next day as all the flavors will have a chance to marry.
Make this ragu with the lamb roast and have a wonderful holiday.
read more …