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The Festive Kitchen

Posted: December 13, 2018 at 4:33 pm

One of our very times of the year to be in the kitchen is around the holidays. It’s cold outside, so we like being around the stove and oven, and we have excuses (and sometimes a little extra time) to devote to more multifaceted or complex cooking projects. You know, the kinds of two page recipes or slow braises that we don’t even look at during peak spring activity season or in the heat of the summer pool season. With that in mind, this year we wanted to create a sort of culinary to-do list for the next few weeks. This is an ambitious start, and there’s no way we’ll tackle everything, but we wanted to give ourselves options, and share lots of ideas with our readers.

With that in mind, bon appetit!

Epicurean Gifts

Gifts from the kitchen are some of our favorites to both give and receive. They can be accomplished without breaking the bank, but the requisite time you spend creating these items in the kitchen says so much about how much you appreciate the recipient. This season, we’ve got our eye on these chocolate caramel crunch almonds from Smitten Kitchen, this gingerbread pear loaf from Country Living, and for maximum efficiency, these slice and bake chocolate pistachio cookies from Good Housekeeping. Batch cook one of these, package them up in glass jars or festive cellophane wrap and a pretty ribbon, and you are good to go for a crowd.

The Dinner Centerpiece

Hosting a holiday dinner party? Whatever the holiday occasion or guest list, it’s great to have a real stunner of a protein or primary dish as the centerpiece of your menu. In the age of slow cookers and pressure cookers, it doesn’t have to require a ton of attention to be delicious. We’ve got a couple of meals to prep this year, and we’re currently gathering diner opinions and preferences on this Crock-Pot Christmas ham from Delish¬†(there’s even a video here), this cioppino seafood stew from the Food Network to shake things up a bit, and for the vegetarians in our orbit, this luscious mushroom risotto from Delish, that really can double as a main or a side. We’re getting hungry just thinking about these.

Side-showstoppers 

Yes, we all love our mains, but for many of us, the side dishes are where it’s at. The holidays should be no different. For fancier occasions, we like to serve something starchy, something cheesy, and something green. We might also throw a salad into the mix if we’re feeling good. These Brussels sprouts from Delish look amazing, and we really love a good Brussels sprout. So does a mashed potato recipe straight from the icon herself, Martha Stewart. It’s hard to have a holiday without mashed potatoes at our house. Her cheddar biscuits are going to be both starchy AND cheesy, so that’s a win-win. This Sicilian-inspired blood orange salad from the Kitchn packs the 1-2 punch of feeling special while also packing a hefty nutritional punch. We’re all in.

The Cookie Category

No surprise here, but cookies get their very own list, in our hearts, and in our cooking list. All of these can be gifts too, but we anticipate eating many of them warm out of the oven, so we can’t really count on them as such. We always do a batch of very classic chocolate chip cookies, and this is our go-to recipe. We recommend it highly. We like Alton Brown’s take on the classic sugar cookie, and you can find that recipe here. We are looking to try these eggnog snickerdoodles this year for the first time, as well as these white chocolate candy cane cookies, which just LOOK extra festive.

That’s a pretty extensive list, and we have no idea where we are going to start. Do you have anything we should consider adding to it? Please share your holiday favorites with us in the comments. We are always looking for new recipes to explore, and this is always a fun time of year to experiment in the kitchen.

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