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Monday, December 28

Caramelized onion & bread soup with brûléed blue cheese

Active: 1 hour 20 minutes; Total: 2 hours; Serves: 6

Onions, red, white, sweet mix; halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

16 cups

Oil, extra-virgin olive

2 tablespoons

Butter, unsalted

2 tablespoons

Sherry, oloroso

¼ cup

Vegetable or chicken stock, low-sodium

6 cups

Thyme, fresh

6 sprigs

Salt, kosher

1 tablespoon +

Pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon +

Vinegar, sherry or white balsamic 

2 teaspoons

Bread, day old, cut in chucks to cover soup bowl

6 slices

Cheese, blue cheese, chilled, thinly sliced or crumbled

6 ounces 

  1. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, toss together the onions, oil, and butter. 
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to caramelized, about 20 minutes. 
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook, stirring and scrapping the bottom any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until the onions are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. 
  4. Add sherry and cook, scrapping up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. 
  5. Simmer over medium, stirring occasionally, until the sherry is almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  6. Stir in the broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. 
  7. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. 
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, until flavors marry, 20 to 25 minutes. 
  9. Stir in vinegar and cook 1 minute; adjust salt and pepper to taste. 
  10. Preheat oven to broil with an oven rack 6 inches from heat. 
  11. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. 
  12. Divide hot soup evenly among six ovenproof crocks or bowls, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  13. Place bread pieces on each bowl, and gently push them down until half-submerged but still at top of soup. 
  14. Add cheese to each bowl. 
  15. Broil until cheese is melted, bubbly, and browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. 
Recipe by Dana Frank & Andrea Slonecker from Food & Wine Holiday Recipes.

Monday, December 7

Chicken liver pâté with green peppercorns

Total: 40 minutes + overnight; Makes 2 ½ cups

Livers, chicken, well trimmed

1 pound

Milk, whole

2 cups

Oil, extra-virgin olive

2 tablespoons +
1 tablespoon

Onion, thinly sliced

1 small

Sage leaves, fresh

5 small +

Garlic, thinly sliced

2 cloves

Salt, kosher


Pepper, freshly ground


Bourbon

2 tablespoons

Lemon juice, fresh

3 tablespoons

Butter, unsalted room temperature

1 cup

Peppercorns, green, in brine, chopped

2 tablespoons +
1 tablespoon brine

Crackers or toast


  1. Combine livers and milk in a bowl, and refrigerate overnight. 
  2. Drain and rinse the livers; pat dry. 
  3. Heat 2-tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  4. Add the onion and 5 sage leaves, and cook until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. 
  6. Scrape the mixture into a food processor. 
  7. Heat 1-tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium heat. 
  8. Season the livers with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, until golden, about 2 minutes. 
  9. Add bourbon, and cook until almost evaporated and the livers are barley pink inside, 1 minute. 
  10. Add livers and lemon juice to the food processor; pulse until finely chopped. 
  11. With the machine running, add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the pâté is smooth. 
  12. Stir in the peppercorns and brine; season with salt and pepper. 
  13. Divide the pâté between two bowls; cover and refrigerate until chilled. 
  14. Garnish with sage, and serve with crackers or toast. 
Recipe from Food & Wine Holiday Recipes.

Stilton-stuffed pickled peppers

Total: 25 minutes; Makes 60 peppers

Pepperoncini, whole; drained, patted dry

16 ounces

Stilton cheese

8 ounces

Peppadew peppers, whole; drained, patted dry

14 ounces

  1. Using a paring knife, cut off and discard the pepperoncini stems; scoop out and discard seeds with a small spoon. 
  2. Remove and discard the cheese rind; cut into about 60 pieces. 
  3. Stuff one cheese chunk into each pepper; transfer to a serving platter. 
Recipe from Food & Wine Holiday Recipes.

Shrimp toast with scallion-chili sauce

Total: 35 minutes; Makes 4 dozen toasts

Shrimp, large, shelled & deveined

8 ounces

Egg

1 large

Salt, kosher

1 teaspoon

Butter, unsalted, cold, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons

Sesame seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons +

1 ½ teaspoons

Bread, white, crusts removed

6 slices

Oil, canola

For frying

Scallion, finely chopped

½ +
Garnish

Soy sauce

1 tablespoon

Vinegar, rice

1 tablespoon

Sambal oelek sauce

1 ½ teaspoons

  1. Combine the shrimp, egg, and salt in a food processor; process until smooth, about 15 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. 
  2. Add butter and 2-teaspoons sesame seeds, and pulse until smooth with flecks of butter remaining, about 7 pulses. 
  3. Spread ¼-cup shrimp mousse on each bread slice. 
  4. Pour oil to a depth of 1/8 inch in a large nonstick skillet; heat over medium until shimmering. 
  5. Working in batches, add bread slices, mousse-side down, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. 
  6. Flip the toasts; cook until browned and mousse is firm to touch, about 1 minute. 
  7. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. 
  8. Stir together 1 ½-teaspoons scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, samba oelek, and remaining 1 ½-teaspoons sesame seeds in a small bowl. 
  9. Cut each toast into eight triangles; transfer to a platter or board. 
  10. Garnish with slice scallions; serve soy sauce mixture with toasts. 
Recipe from Food & Wine Holiday Recipes.

Sunday, December 6

Irish fish pie

Active: 45 minutes; Total: 1 hour 30 minutes; Serves: 4 to 6

Sweet potatoes, orange-flesh, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 ½ pounds

Cod, fresh, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ pound

Shrimp, large, shelled & deveined

½ pound

Bay scallops, picked for shell bits, remove tough band of muscle adhered to one side of each scallop

½ pound

Butter, unsalted, room temperature

2 tablespoons +
2 tablespoons +
2 tablespoons

Onion, finely chopped

1 small

Milk, whole

2 cups

Bay leaves

2

Thyme, fresh

2 sprigs

Salt, fine sea

½ teaspoon +
½ teaspoon +

Pepper, freshly ground

½ teaspoon +

Flour, all-purpose

2 tablespoons

Chives, fresh, chopped

¼ cup

  1. Add the potatoes to a large saucepan, add cool water to cover by 1 inch; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  2. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fully tender, about 15 minutes; drain. 
  3. Mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher; set aside 2 cups, reserve any remaining for another use. 
  4. Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
  5. Melt 2-tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 
  6. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. 
  7. Pour the milk into the pan, and add the bay leaves and thyme. 
  8. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring often. 
  9. Stir in ½-teaspoon salt. 
  10. Poach each type of seafood individually; place the cod in the simmering milk and cook until the fish is nearly cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  11. Lift the cod from the milk with a slotted spoon, and place in a 2- to 3-quart casserole dish. 
  12. Add the scallops to the milk, and poach until opaque, about 30 seconds. 
  13. Lift from the milk with a slotted spoon, and add to the dish with the fish. 
  14. Add the shrimp, and poach until they just begin to curl, about 1 minute. 
  15. Lift them from the milk with a slotted spoon, and add to the dish. 
  16. Use your hands or fork to flake cod into bite-sized pieces. 
  17. Season with ½-teaspoon salt and ½-teaspoon pepper. 
  18. In a small bowl, mash 2-tablespoons butter with the flour. 
  19. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the milk. 
  20. Bring the milk to a simmer once again, and whisk the butter mixture into the until no lumps remain. 
  21. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. 
  22. Pour béchamel over the seafood in the casserole dish. 
  23. Add the chives, and fold gently to combine everything. 
  24. Taste the filling and adjust seasonings, if needed. 
  25. Reheat 2-cups potatoes in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, or in a pot, stirring until warm. 
  26. Stir in the remaining 2-tablespoons butter until it melts, and season lightly with salt. 
  27. Pipe or spread the puree over the filling, sealing the edges. 
  28. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the topping is browned, about 20 minutes. 
  29. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. 
Recipe from Food & Wine Holiday Recipes.

Meatloaf melt panini

Active: 20 minutes; Total: 60 minutes; Serves: 4

Oil, extra-virgin olive

1 tablespoons

Onions; halved & thinly sliced

3 medium

Salt, coarse


Pepper, freshly ground


Butter, room temperature

4 tablespoons

Bread, rye or rustic

8 slices

Meatloaf, preferably with a topping like ketchup

4 thick slices

Cheese, Swiss or sharp cheddar

4 ounces

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Reduce the heat to low. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the onions are soft, deep brown, and caramelized, another 40 to 50 minutes. 
  5. Heat your panini press to medium-high. 
  6. For each sandwich: spread butter on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. 
  7. Flip over one slice of bread, and top it with caramelized onions, a slice of meatloaf, and cheese. 
  8. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered side up. 
  9. Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the cheese is melting and the bread is toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes. 
Recipe from The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs.