These elegant and unusual tamales are celebration-worthy! The masa dough may be made up to three days in advance, and the sauce may be made earlier in the day and gently re-warmed. It can be fun to have guests help fill, fold and tie the tamales—or you can get them ready several hours ahead and steam them just before serving.
This particular crepe batter is one of my favorites, as the rye flour keeps it tender, and the minimal amount of sugar means you can use it to wrap both sweet and savory fillings. When paired with the buttery apple compote, they work for breakfast (top with plain yogurt), lunch (cottage cheese!) or dessert (a spoonful of softly whipped cream).
When I was growing up, my mother often made a beet soup that she called Borscht, and it was a traditional Christmas Eve offering. She always made her borscht the same way every time, but now I know there are a number of varieties of borscht, including some that don’t include beets at all. My variation on the traditional Borscht is that I roasted the beets rather than boiling them. The beets are sweeter, and the flavor is more concentrated.
These simple appetizer spinach meatballs are the perfect holiday addition—a quick homemade bourbon BBQ sauce mixed with savory meatballs. What’s not to love?
These creamy mashed potatoes are packed with spinach and flavorful Parmesan cheese. To make it even more delicious they’re topped with crispy fried onions.
Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend that is easy to make at home and works well with meat like pork or lamb. A simple toasting of hazelnuts along with coriander, cumin and sesame seeds and you have an easy elegant meal that will impress your family or loved ones.
This updated version of the classic Sicilian fried cheese-stuffed rice balls are coated with Panko bread crumbs, a Japanese style bread crumb that stays crunchy and crisp when fried. If you can’t find them at the grocery store you can always substitute regular bread crumbs in its place.
These mushrooms are ideal as passed one-bite appetizers at a party, speared on a frilly toothpick. For a sit-down dinner, they would be lovely as an amuse bouche. Because of the added cracker crumbs, the sausage meatballs are tender and fluffy, unlike a sausage cooked as-is.
I like to think of risotto as a contemplative dish. You don’t have to think too hard about what you’re doing, none of the steps are difficult or technical, but you have to stay close by, stirring gently. It gives you time to think. And when it’s done, you have a dish that has an air of sophistication. Perfect for a dinner party, but easy enough for a family dinner.
Stuffed artichokes can be quite challenging to make if you keep them whole. But if you cut them in half, they’re much easier to prepare, and they’re not quite the same huge portion, making them more appropriate for a first course. You can use any Italian spice mix you like, or use oregano, basil, or a mix of the two. For the cheese, use what you like. Provolone, Parmesan, Asiago, or an aged mozzarella would be fine. Or a mix.
Smooth cornmeal combines with mild garlic, cheese, and corn kernels to create a light and creamy side dish resembling a soufflé that pairs great with meats, sauces and vegetables. Add it to your next dinner party menu for a savory taste of the south.
This easy side dish requires very little prep work, just scrubbing the carrots, mincing some rosemary and slicing some shallots. You can definitely make these with regular orange carrots but if you can find rainbow carrots (often available at upscale grocery stores or natural food stores) definitely try them out, as they add a splash of fun color to the table.
This bread pudding has the flavors of turkey stuffing, making it perfect for the holiday table or any time you’re serving poultry or craving stuffing. If you like, you can make this a vegetarian dish by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock. If your family has traditional add-ins to their stuffing, you can add them here. Or, throw tradition out the wind and add things that might never be in stuffing, like cooked carrots, frozen peas, or roasted red peppers. Or, top with shredded cheese that will melt on top.
A twist on the classic pecan pie, this recipe uses maple syrup in place of corn syrup, has a hint of bourbon and browned butter to bring out the nuttiness of the pecans. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream or enjoy a slice without the cream.
This creamy milk chocolate custard studded with coconut and topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream is sure to knock the socks off your next dinner party guests.
When Thanksgiving rolls around, my menu tends to veer toward traditional foods. While our family never had a traditional dessert that was served every year, apple crumb pie has a special place in my heart, since it was the first type of pie I ever made. I started with a recipe from one of my mother’s cookbooks, but the recipe has evolved and changed many times since then. For this pie, you can use your own favorite crust recipe, or buy a ready-made flat sheet of crust. For the apples, look for baking apples, like Granny Smith, but it’s fine to use several varieties so you have a few different apple textures in one pie.
The hint of savory rosemary in the crust plays well with the caramel and spices in the classic pumpkin pie. The easy shortcut of using a microwave to make the caramel means anyone can make this pie without fear!
This chocolate orange pudding pie is the perfect easy Thanksgiving dessert—rich chocolate flavor with just a touch of orange essence. The sweet and crunchy pretzel crust gives you that perfect sweet and salty bite.
Start your meal with this flavorful soup, or serve it for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich or an apple-mixed green salad.