Browsing Tag:

Holiday

Easter Ideas

April 16, 2019

Hi there! Happy Spring! The birds are chirping, streams are running, and we’re spending lots of time outside, so our spring is off to a great start. I am loving the timing of Easter this year for some reason. It’s actually my favorite holiday to cook for. Little kids in spring clothes, lots of chocolate and jelly beans, cheese and mimosas is basically a recipe for a great day. Baskets, brunch, and going to Mass fill us with joy and the rest of the day is always so sweet.

Over the last few years, I’ve started to make a few dishes that are from some other food stars…think Giada, Ina, and Julia. I thought I’d share them with you here because we’ve grown to love them and I can’t wait to add them to the table.

  1. Trader Joe’s Ham – I don’t know what they do to it to make it so yummy but its the best I’ve tried.
  2. Artichoke Gratinata – this will be my seventh or eight year making this for Easter. It’s so light, flavorful, and a wonderful textural combination and goes so well next to lamb or ham. I always think, why do I wait until Easter to make this? It should be in my dinner rotation too its that easy. SO looking forward to this on Sunday.
  3. Tomatoes Provencal a la Julia  I have been making these since I still lived at home out of my mom’s copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. They are also a dish that I’m like ‘why don’t I make these all the time?” as I somehow save them for our Easter feast. The garlic and herbs give it such big flavor. The stuffed half of a tomato just looks like a nest and is so cute for spring.

4.  Eggs Benedict with Julia’s Hollandaise Sauce – This is a family tradition from my childhood. It is actually a surprisingly easy brunch to pull together – poach eggs while the butter melts, Candian bacon fries and English muffins toast (so global!). Then just blend the Hollandaise sauce in a blender and serve. I usually pull it together while my kids recover from their sugar coma and play with the few surprises they got in their Easter basket. Ok, I’m getting so excited for Sunday now.

5. Ina Garten’s Four-Hour Lamb – I am actually going to make this for the first time, but I love it when the meal is 90% tradition and 10% something new that might become a tradition. My husband doesn’t like ham so we usually look to find a protein for him that he’ll like. Sometimes its steak, once it was chicken breasts because that’s what he wanted (insert eye roll here), and we’ve tried different lamb recipes. I’m excited to turn leftovers into gyros the next day.

6.  Ina Garten’s Sour Cream Cake –  Ok, true confession, I have been known to run to Trader Joe’s and grab their cinnamon coffee cake some years that get too crazy. But I’ve loved making this with my kids the days before Easter, and it is definitely the gold standard. A great recipe to have in your repertoire for any coffee/pot luck/brunch situation.

7. Cheese Puffs – This holiday tradition goes way back in my family. I know they look funny (and its a super old pic) but they are so good! A burst of buttery crunchiness with cream cheese and onion and Worcestershire flavors.

8. Lamb Cake – This is from Mom Loves Baking, and she must have the same mold as my mom since ours looks EXACTLY like this. My mom uses a pound cake mix, though, so look for one in your grocery store. You can find the molds on Amazon if you don’t have one already.

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you have a blessed day and happy eating. xoxo Katie

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate

November 7, 2018

I love this salad SO much. It has everything I love about fall produce – pears and pomegranates – plus a tangy apple cider vinegar dressing. The crunchy walnuts and tangy goat cheese just round out the flavors and textures in this dish. It would be beautiful on a Thanksgiving table (and lighter, with a nice note of acid to balance the other heavy foods). You could also sub cranberries for pomegranates too. It’s the kind of dish at a buffet that surprises me and makes me want more.

I recently thumbed through Ina Garten’s Cookbook, How to Cook Like A Pro, and when I got to a page that listed her Apple Cider Dressing, I had to laugh. It was the exact dressing I had just made and put on this salad. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a pro, especially because it’s a very simple, basic recipe that is delicious and easy and you’ll use it all the time.

I actually buy all the ingredients for it in bulk at BJs, including a one pound bag of shallots. I guess I really need to have the makings for it in my pantry. Yes, that is a giant Dijon jar you see there and I love it!

 

This dressing just brings every thing in this salad together. The toasted walnuts…

The pomegranate seeds and crumbled goat cheese…

This salad hits the high notes for flavor but also it’s just so pretty.

That whole ‘we eat with our eyes first’ idea means that our mouths and our tummies will be so satisfied with this on our plate. And you can play around with the ingredients – roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, dried cranberries all play well with this dressing. And I highly recommend grabbing a big wooden bowl like this if you see one! This functions as our fruit bowl but I have made a huge salad in it for parties before and it always dresses up the table and is always one of the first dishes to be polished off.

Hope this salad helps you round out your fall entertaining table! But it is equally as good for a simple dinner or a lunch for one.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

 

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate (printer versions here):

16 oz. of mixed greens (the mix I used had shredded carrot, pretty but optional)

3-4 oz. of crumbled goat cheese

1-2 sliced pears

⅓ cup toasted walnuts

⅓ cup pomegranate seeds (or substitute dried cranberries)

For the dressing:

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

⅓ cup olive oil (I like a 2:3 ratio of vinegar to oil but you make like it 1:2 and use 1/2 cup of oil)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 T. chopped shallots

S & P

 

Directions: 

Slice pears, toast walnuts, and prepare pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, if you’ve bought them whole.

Mix dressing, then add most of it to greens, tasting to see how well-dressed it is. Add more dressing if needed.

Layout in a wooden bowl, then top with sliced pears, pomegranate, goat cheese and walnuts.

 

A Trifle Easy

December 5, 2011

This year I have vowed to keep things simple at the holidays, so I am sharing with you 2 easy go-to ideas to bring to any party or when people come over.

The first is Ina Garten’s Ham & Cheese in Puff Pastry –
so good & all 4 ingredients can be on standby for a fancy appetizer.
The best thing about this idea is you can substitute any great combo
such as Brie & Raspberry Jam, Turkey and Cheddar, Fig Jam & Goat cheese,
or whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced
  • 1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.

The second Idea is for an easy trifle – the holiday dessert that looks so pretty in
a glass bowl with layers.

Chocolate Peppermint Trifle:
Layer brownies, vanilla ice cream, and crushed peppermint candy in 3 layers, finishing with whipped cream and candy pieces.  You can think of other easy to grab cakes, such as angel food cake or pumpkin bread, and pair with ice cream and candy flavors that complement the cake & the season.