Holiday CuisineGlobal Holiday Feast
December is a blur of holiday parties, last-minute shopping, and family – and frankly, navigating the season is always a little smoother with a glass of Champagne in one hand and a bonus check in the other. This year we’ve gone global, with traditional dishes from around the world. Try a few out during your celebrations, and the tastemakers will be toasting your culinary efforts, demanding a repeat performance in 2014.
How better to relax after a turbo-charged holiday season than with an early afternoon drink on Boxing Day, as the kids revel in St. Nick’s bounty? Kick back with this proper drink, raid the fridge, and enjoy all the festive leftovers.
Yield: 1 drink
Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, and strain into a cold glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel, if desired.
Sure, the latkes from Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca, and Fairway are tempting, but what would your grandmother do if she knew the ones you served for Hanukkah were store-bought? What chutzpah! The happy contrast of ice-cold salmon and piping-hot latkes erases hours spent in the car, fighting Thanksgiving Day traffic.
Yield: 2 dozen latkes
Add sour cream and lemon zest to a small bowl, and mix well. Cover with saran, and refrigerate until serving. Peel potatoes. Grate potatoes into a large bowl with cold water. Drain potatoes. Working in batches, place grated potatoes on to a kitchen towel. Form towel into a ball, and squeeze tightly to remove residual water. Place potatoes in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan on medium-low heat. Add onions, and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and add to bowl with potatoes. Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chives and egg, and mix well.
Find a large spoon that holds about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter. Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add 1 spoonful of batter to pan per latke. Flatten latkes evenly with the back of a spoon. Cook until both sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove latkes from pan, drain on paper towels, and season with salt. Repeat process until all latkes are cooked. To assemble: Place salmon slices on top of latkes with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives. Serve immediately.
A bonus: Latkes with Apple Sauce are also a popular holiday treat, and add a sweet finish to the meal – or are perfect for breakfast the next morning.
2 lb apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
juice from 1 lemon
1 cup apple cider or water
Add all of the ingredients to a sauté pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally, and sauté until apples are tender. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to desired consistency, and refrigerate in an airtight container.
Leave it to the Québécois to transform a run-of-the-mill meat pie into a uniquely delicious – and pretty – dish. Eat it alone, with a bright salad, or a nice glass of Viognier.
Yield: 6–8 servings
Add flour, salt, sugar, and lemon zest to a bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add butter and mix until it looks like coarse meal. Add water and mix just until dough comes together, about 5 seconds. Remove dough from processor, and form into a disk. Wrap with saran and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from pan.
Add 2 tablespoons butter to a large sauté pan on medium heat. When foam has subsided, add onion and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and reserve. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and mushrooms. Sauté until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté 2 minutes. Add pork, cinnamon, white wine, stock, and reserved cooked onion mixture. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Unwrap 1 dough disk. Dust a rolling pin and your work surface with flour. Roll out dough, lifting and turning 90 degrees occasionally, until it is 12 inches. Place in a 9-inch glass pie shell. Add filling, and use the back of a spoon to even out.
Unwrap additional disk, and roll it until it is 10 inches. Place on top of filling. Fold edges of top and bottom doughs together, and crimp. Lightly brush top crust with egg, and cut several 1-inch slits into dough. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10–15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F, and bake an additional 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
Traditionally served on Christmas Eve with warm cherry sauce on the side, this lovely Danish dessert is a far superior version of rice pudding. Whoever finds the almond hidden within its creamy depths gets a present, so make sure you’ve gotten something special tucked aside.
Yield: 10 servings
Add milk to a saucepan. Scrape insides of vanilla bean into milk, and add rice and sugar. Bring to just a boil, and stir. Cover, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Transfer rice to a large bowl. Press saran wrap over rice, and refrigerate until completely cold.
Add whipped cream to a bowl with confectioners’ sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until soft peaks have formed. Fold cream and 1 whole almond into rice mixture until combined. Top with blanched almonds. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container.