Food gurus Beth Bader and Emily Ferris have some great ideas for your holiday parties, and for brunch on Christmas Morning.
CHRISTMAS BRUNCH RECIPES
From Beth Bader
Egg Nog French Toast
3/4 cup eggnog
1 egg, beaten
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 slices egg bread like challah or brioche, or a whole grain like honey wheat.
1 tbs. butter
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1 tsp. bourbon
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Heat the butter in a skillet. Soak bread, both sides, in the eggnog mixture. Brown on each side until golden.
Warm the syrup in a sauce pan with the bourbon, cinnamon, and pecans. Top the toast with syrup. Enjoy.
Smoked Salmon on Herb Waffle with Creme Fraiche
1 and 3/4 cup cake flour (not self rising)
1 tbs. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup cream
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tbs. for garnish
2 tbs. chopped dill, plus 1 tbs. for garnish
1 tbs. chopped chives, plus 2 tsp. for garnish
pepper to taste
For the rest of the dish:
12 oz. smoked salmon
6 oz. roasted tomatoes (recipe) (or sun dried, packed in oil, or in the Whole Foods cheese aisle)
3 cups mesclun (spring mix) greens
6 oz. creme fraiche (or sour cream)
For the waffles, sift together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs then add the cream, milk and oil and mustard. Whisk well. Stir in the chopped herbs, reserving the others for garnish. Add a few grinds of pepper and whisk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing just until incorporated, do not over mix. Cook about 3/4 cup of batter in a round, Belgian-style waffle maker for each waffle. The recipe should make at least six waffles with a "spare" just in case.
To serve, place the warm waffle on a plate, top each with 1/2 cup greens, then 1 oz. tomatoes, then 2 oz of slices of smoked salmon. Add a dollop of the creme fraiche and garnish with the reserved chopped herbs.
From Emily Farris
Spinach Artichoke Dip
(from “Casserole Crazy: Hot Stuff for Your Oven”)
Serves 8-10 as with chunks of whole-grain bread
2 cans (13.75 oz. each) quartered artichoke hearts (I like to rip or cut them into smaller pieces to spread the artichoke love)
2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ large, white onion, chopped
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz mayonnaise
1 tbl dried basil
1 ½ cup Parmesan and/or Romano cheese, shredded or grated
Optional: a pinch or two (or seven) of cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, but make sure the cream cheese is softened before you do. Transfer to a 2 ½ - 2 ¾ -qt. baking dish and bake uncovered at 350ºF for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how deep your dish is. I like to sprinkle a little Parmesan and/or Romano on top before I stick it in the oven. It will brown a little, and that's just fine.
Spinach artichoke dip requires no stove-top preparation and is always a hit. This particular recipe makes a ton. It's easily halved, but this is something I like to make for parties and it always goes quickly, especially if served with warm bread.
Unfortunately, this is a high calorie dish. While anything with "spinach" and "artichoke" in the title should be healthy, it's not. The recipe calls for mayonnaise and cream cheese, but if you use low-fat or fat-free ingredients it's not so bad. Just add some extra spices. I like to put a pinch of two of cayenne pepper in mine to give it a little kick, but that's just me.
Baking time will vary. I like to cook this in a deep dish (a 2.75 qt. square dish), so it takes longer to warm all the way through.
This is something new I tried out for our early December tapas party. Don’t worry about following these measurements too closely. It’s more about flavor than perfection. And buyer beware: these are tasty — but slippery — little suckers.
2tbl olive oil
1 package (or about 20) baby bell mushrooms
½ pound fingerling potatoes
2 tbl butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
Approx. 20 peas (I love Cascadian Farms’ frozen sweet peas)
Boil the potatoes in salted water until you can easily stick a fork through them. Drain, and (with the skins still on, they’re delicious) mash the potatoes with the butter. At this point, if you have a stand mixer, transfer the potatoes and whip on slow while incorporating the heavy whipping cream. If not, use a hand mixer or elbow grease to really mash and then whip the potatoes with the cream. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. When the potatoes are light, fluffy, and seasoned to perfection, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 300ºF.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms, then rise and dry them. In a saute pan, over low heat, cook the mushrooms in the olive oil (upside down) until they begin to brown. Give them a good mix in the hot pan, then remove from fire and set aside. When they’re cool enough to touch, arrange them on a baking sheet or baking dish, again upside down.
Transfer the potatoes to a pastry bag (or a sandwich bag with one corner cut out). Fill each mushroom with your mashed potato mixture. Put the dish in the oven, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the potatoes begin to brown.
Remove and top each one with a fresh or frozen and thawed green pea. Enjoy!