Celebrate the season in style with these sophisticated yet easy to make holiday dishes and drinks.
Duck is a holiday delicacy for many. Impress your guests with this French classic that is much easier to make than it looks.
Charbar Co.: Duck Confit Crostini with Parsnip Puree & Fig
12 ounces duck leg confit or cooked duck breast
Fig spread or fig preserves
1 French baguette
Sea salt and pepper
Ingredients (parsnip puree)
8 ounces parsnips, peeled and small cubed
1 cup half and half
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
Sea salt and pepper
Directions  Make the parsnip puree. In a small pot, combine the parsnips, half and half, garlic cloves, butter, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until the parsnips are completely softened. A knife should pierce through them easily. If there is still a lot of liquid when the parsnips are fully cooked, uncover and reduce some of the liquid. Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth and creamy.  Make the crostini. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into even 1/4-inch thick slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer on baking sheets and cook until golden (15-20 minutes), rotating the pans halfway through.  Assemble the crostini. Heat the duck confit or duck breast. Spread the bottom of the crostini with parsnip puree. Top with a slice of the duck confit. Garnish with a small dollop of fig preserves and fresh rosemary. Enjoy!
Osso buco is Italian for “bone with a hole,” a reference to the marrow hole at the centre of the cross-cut veal shank. Healthy Habit offers this unique vegan take on the hearty delicacy.
Healthy Habit: Vegan Osso Buco
1/2 pound red pearl onions
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 very large carrots, cut crosswise 1 inch thick at the wide ends and 1 1/2 inches thick toward the narrow ends
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon dried porcini powder (ground porcini mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups prepared mushroom broth
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Directions  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and cook for 1 minute. Drain and trim the onions, then peel them. Wipe out the skillet.  Return the skillet to the heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the carrots in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Add the pearl onions, sprinkle with the curry powder and cook, stirring a few times, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Add the porcini powder and mushroom broth and bring to a boil. Transfer the skillet to the oven and braise the carrots for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once, until tender.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon the carrots, onions and sauce into shallow bowls. In a bowl, toss the parsley with the lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the parsley leaves over the carrots and serve. It can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently. Serve with soft polenta or celery root puree.
The holidays are a great time to make your own infusions with seasonal fruits. They make great gifts and are tasty for all of your holiday parties. If you are gifting, Patron bottles work well. They are all hand blown, numbered and the labels come off easily.
Charbar Co: Vanilla Bean Blood Orange Cosmo
Ingredients (vodka infusion)
6 blood oranges (cut off the rind, leaving some white pulp and cut into wheels)
3 vanilla beans, split
1 bottle Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Directions Combine all ingredients into an infusion jar and let sit for seven days. The vodka will turn a vibrant red with specks of the vanilla beans also visible. Strain into your favorite jars or bottles. Discard the beans and fruit.
2 ounces house-infused vodka
1 ounce Cointreau or your favorite orange liqueur
Squeeze of fresh lime
1 ounce cranberry juice
Directions Combine all ingredients into a shaker, add ice and shake. Strain into a Marie Antoinette martini glass. Garnish with a blood orange wheel or a star anise. Cheers!
A leg of lamb is a fresh idea for Christmas dinner — and one that everyone will enjoy. This Mexican- style version from Holy Tequila is a real treat.
Holy Tequila: Grilled Leg of Lamb, Mexican-Style
One 3-pound, well-trimmed boneless leg of lamb
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon pure New Mexico chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano, rubbed
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
6 plum tomatoes, halved
2 poblano chiles, quartered lengthwise, stemmed and seeded
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges through the core
Directions  Spread the lamb on a work surface and lightly pound the thickest part of the meat to a 2-inch thickness. Put the lamb in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the lime juice, chile powder, oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
 Remove the lamb from the marinade and blot it dry with paper towels. Bring the lamb to room temperature.  Light a grill and oil the grates. Brush the lamb with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until lightly charred on the underside, about 10 minutes. Turn the lamb over and scatter the sage and rosemary on top. Grill the lamb, turning once more, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135 degrees for medium-rare or 140 degrees for medium, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer the lamb to a work surface and let rest for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, poblanos, onion wedges and scallions with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and just tender, 4 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Thinly slice the lamb across the grain and transfer it to the platter. Serve with bacon fat tortillas and tomatillo salsa.
To Holy Tequila fans, this Fallgarita is either famous or infamous. Its blend of tequila, cranberries and cinnamon is guaranteed to put you in a merry mood.
Holy Tequila: Fallgarita
Ingredients (Tequila Infusion)
1 bottle of good tequila
Fresh cranberries, lightly smashed
Zest of an orange, 2 orange slices
3 cinnamon sticks
Directions Combine all ingredients. Allow to sit for at least five days for proper infusion. Strain into your favorite jars or bottles. Discard the beans and fruit.
3 ounces tequila infusion
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Directions  Make 1 ounce of simple syrup by mixing equal parts sugar and water. Let boil until sugar has melted.  Squeeze 15-30 limes depending on the amount of people you want to serve or buy 100% fresh lime juice to save yourself the headache.  Pour tequila infusion, simple syrup and lime juice into a shaker tin filled with ice. Shake it hard.  Rim glasses with equal parts cinnamon and sugar.  Strain shaker into rimmed glass. Garnish with lime wheel.
Chocolate and peanut butter are at it again, this time in a refrigerator pie that delivers all the creamy goodness you can pour into a cookie crust.
Salty Dog Cafe: Peanut Butter Cup Pie
9 ounces of ground Oreo cookies
3 ounces melted butter
10 ounces cream cheese
14 ounces peanut butter
1 cup of sugar
1 pound of semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
5 peanut butter cups
Directions  Mix Oreo cookies and melted butter together well. Press into greased pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 4 minutes.  In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, peanut butter and a 1/2 cup of sugar (save the second 1/2 cup of sugar for making the whipping cream). Whip thoroughly until creamy (3-4 minutes).  Whip 1 cup heavy cream and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together on high speed until stiff peaks occur. Gently fold into the peanut butter mixture until combined. Layer in pie crust and cool for 30 minutes.  Melt the chocolate in 1 cup of whipping cream until smooth and spread on top of pie. Chop cups and spread over the top. Chill for an hour. Top with whip cream and serve.
There’s no better way to warm up from the cold than with a cup of eggnog next to an open fire. Skip all of the preservatives by making your own.
LOCAL Life Test Kitchen: Classic Eggnog
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup bourbon or rum
Whipped cream, for serving
Directions  Combine milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat. Slowly bring mixture to a low boil.  In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until yolks are pale in color. Slowly add hot milk mixture to egg yolks in batches to temper the eggs and whisk until combined.  Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly thick but does not boil.  Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and rum.  Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon. Serve.