I love cooking and baking any time of the year, but there is something special about making holiday meals. I love the way the whole house smells wonderful and there is anticipation of a great meal to come. The best part is sharing delicious food with the ones you love.
Here are some of my favorite holiday dishes:
- Fettuccine with White Truffle Butter and Mushrooms: recipe courtesy Ina Garten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces white truffle butter
- 8.82 ounces fresh fettuccine
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
Add 1 tablespoon of salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing often, until the mushrooms are cooked and the liquid has evaporated.
Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and rinse out the pan.
Pour the cream into the saute pan and heat it over medium heat until it simmers. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to very low and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over very low heat.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander and add it to the truffle cream. Add the chives and mushrooms and toss well with tongs. Stir in the Parmesan. Serve hot in shallow bowls, garnished with extra chives and Parmesan.
2. MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS, BLUE CHEESE AND PECANS:
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (from half of 1 fresh pomegranate)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) feta or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below), or your favorite
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
3. Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread: recipe courtesy Ina Garten
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups milk
- 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
- 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
- 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4. cinnamon rolls: recipe courtesy Pioneer woman
For the dough:
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 9 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon salt
For the filling:
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
- 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more as needed
For the maple icing:
- 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
- Dash of salt
- 1 tablespoon maple flavoring or maple extract
For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat; do not boil. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.
Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.
Remove half of the dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 by 10 inches, with a long side facing you.
To make the filling, pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar!
Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls will be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together.
Transfer to a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, make 1 1/2-inch slices. One log will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of tablespoons of melted butter into several pie pans or baking dishes and swirl to coat. Place the rolls in the pans cut-side up, being careful not to overcrowd.
Repeat the rolling-sugar-butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover each pan with a kitchen towel and let rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towels and bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, butter, coffee and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add more sugar, butter or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be thick but still pourable.
While the rolls are still warm, generously drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor. They only get better with time…not that they last for more than a few seconds!
5. Snickers Brownies: recipe courtesy Laura Vitale
- 1/2 cup of Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature
10 oz of Semisweet Chocolate, melted
1 cup of Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 cup of flour
- 2-1/2 tbsp of Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp of Instant espresso powder
1 cup of Chopped up Snickers
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper making sure it comes up the sides a bit, set aside.
2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and mix well.
3) Add the melted chocolate, mix to incorporate. Add the flour, cocoa, espresso powder and salt.
4) Mix until everything is combined and the pieces of snickers and just mix to mix throughout the batter.
5) Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, bake them for about 35 to 40 minutes, allow them to cool completely before serving.
For the Streusel Topping:
1) Place the pie crust in a 9” pie plate. Spoon the caramel sauce in the bottom of the pie crust and set aside.
2) In a large bowl toss the apples with the lemon juice, orange juice and orange zest. Add the chopped walnuts, cornstarch, both sugars and cinnamon, toss to coat.
3) Add the apple mixture in the pie crust with the caramel sauce at the bottom.
4) In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the streusel topping and mix with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed through the dry ingredients.
5) Sprinkle streusel topping over the apples and place the pie plate on top of a baking dish. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Let it cool completely.
Slice and drizzle over some more caramel sauce and enjoy!