Whether you’re entertaining family and friends or staying in to watch your favorite holiday flick, there’s no denying that great food sets the scene for happy holiday memories. Here are a few favorite recipes courtesy of area restaurants. Their gift to you!
M&M Pudding Cookies[Editor’s note: A mistake was made in the production of the Nov. 22 print edition that resulted in the omission of the first three ingredients. Thank you to the astute reader who called our attention to the omission. The recipe has been corrected below:]
Need a festive holiday cookie in a hurry? Look no further than these melt-in-your mouth creations, made extra soft and chewy by adding dry pudding to the mix.
• Heat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
• In a large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until fluffy; scrape the side of the bowl.
• Beat in dry pudding mix, followed by eggs, adding them one at a time and beating just until batter is smooth. Beat in vanilla.
• On low speed, gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate candies and white chocolate chips until blended.
• Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
• Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Missouri River Valley Corn Fritters
Recipe provided by The Inns at St. Albans
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Oil for frying
Sour cream and scallions for garnish
Directions: Mix all ingredients to create a thin batter. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of batter into oil and fry as griddle cakes. Serve with sour cream and scallions.
The Inn at St. Albans suggests: Avoid serving hors d’oeuvres before dinner so that guests come to the table hungry and really appreciate the food. Starting with a festive champagne and no hors d’oeuvres before dinner will ease conversation, which is important if guests do not know each other.
Ranch Roasted Pretzels
Recipe submitted by Sarah’s on Central
2 boxes of large hard pretzels
1 cup oil
1 ounce ranch dressing mix, dry
1 teaspoon dill, dried
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
Directions: Break pretzels into small even pieces. Coat with oil, then coat with dry ranch mix, dill and garlic. Bake on a sheet pan at 250º F for 30 minutes, rotating sheet pan every 10 minutes.
Recipe provided by Balaban’s
8 ripe red plums, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups sugar
1.5 ounces of mustard seed [small container]
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cups golden raisins
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dried cranberries
Directions: Chop and mix all ingredients. Chef’s tip: To avoid tearing up when chopping onions, start by sticking them in the fridge overnight.
To serve: Use as a condiment with pork tenderloin or, for easy hors d’oeuvres, top a favorite cracker with soft, goat cheese and chutney.
Balaban’s suggests: Buy larger bottles of wine for the holiday, either magnums [equivalent to two bottles] or double magnums [equivalent to four bottles]. Larger bottles prove more festive, immediately signal a special occasion, and prompt conversation as guests sample and compare their first tastes and impressions of the wine. Plus, larger bottles last longer in storage if left over. Pay attention to details, such as creating an attractive table, the colors of the foods and their position on the plate. Add a surprise or two to the meal – such as unusual wine party favors – one for each guest. Plan dishes that you can prepare ahead to stand alone or complement those of a caterer.
Hot Apple Pie Wine
Recipe provided by Augusta Winery
1 bottle of Augusta River Valley White wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
Mulling spice: The preferred mulling spice mix consists of cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, allspice and orange peel. Some stores will have pre-made packs or you can gather the ingredients into a cheesecloth sachet or put them into a tea bag before adding them to the wine mixture.
Directions: Simmer wine with brown sugar, apple juice and mulling spice packet; pull spice packet after about 10-12 minutes. Voila – Apple pie in a glass!
Augusta Winery suggests: Never be without wine during the holiday season! It’s the quickest and easiest way to keep any surprise guests happy.
STL Kale Salad
Recipe provided by Walnut Grill
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed
and then chopped.
1 small carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
1/4 cup sweet drop peppers or 2 tablespoons of pimentos if drop peppers not available
3 to 4 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 small can artichoke hearts, drained
Directions: Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl in order. Hand squeeze artichoke hearts to break them up, making sure the juice stays in the salad. Toss salad until ingredients are well coated.
To serve: Transfer salad onto individual plates. Top with a bit of shaved Asiago or Parmesan.
Walnut Grill suggests: Salad is the perfect complement to steaks, chicken or fish. When preparing steaks, or roasts, be sure to let them sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. To obtain the perfect sear when cooking meat or fish, make sure to pat dry the fish or meat and use a hot skillet with a small amount of fat. The meat or fish will tell you when it is done by easily releasing itself from the pan.
Recipe provided by Favazza’s on the Hill
This recipe features a sauce that is to be used sparingly to taste.
For the sauce:
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
All ingredients can be adjusted to taste
Directions: Add lemon juice, fresh garlic, oregano, kosher salt and pepper to mixing bowl, slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.
For the chicken:
4 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded or sliced to an even thickness and marinated overnight in Favazza’s House Italian Salad Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil to dip chicken in before dredging it in breadcrumbs
Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs to coat chicken before grilling
Directions: Dip chicken lightly into olive oil and dredge in Italian breadcrumbs before grilling.[Editor’s note: grilling can be done on a well-oiled indoor grill pan. Chicken also can be baked. Chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 160º F on a meat thermometer.]
To serve: Stir Sicilian Sauce and spoon a couple tablespoons over the top of the chicken cutlets, preferably while chicken is still hot so it absorbs the sauce. Enjoy!
Favazza’s suggests: Sicilian Sauce also can be used to flavor fish, perhaps for a Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes – an Italian tradition.
Submitted by Charlie Gitto’s
2 ounces yellow onion, diced small
1.5 ounces prosciutto, julienned
2 tablespoons parsley
3 ounces brandy
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces Charlie Gitto’s Pomodoro Sauce
8 ounces penne noodles, cooked
Olive oil to sparsely coat the pan for sautéing
Parmesan cheese as garnish
Directions: In a medium hot skillet add prosciutto, onions and parsley; sauté with oil until onions are browned and prosciutto is crispy. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and flambé [briefly set alight]. Add cream and Charlie Gitto’s Pomodoro Sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer and add pasta. Toss and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon pasta into a bowl or platter and garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.
Charlie Gitto’s suggests: When cooking pasta, use enough water to allow the pasta to move [about 5 quarts of water per pound of pasta]. Let the water come to a rapid boil and add salt [about 2 tablespoons] before adding the pasta to the pot. Give the pasta a few quick stirs to prevent it from sticking. Cook until al dente, literally “to the bite” or a little firm when bitten. Drain the pasta and add the sauce. Hot pasta more fully absorbs the sauce.
Recipe submitted by Sarah’s Cake Shop
8 ounces butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup granulated or sanding sugar for decorating cookies
Directions: Preheat oven to 350º F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add egg and mix until combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon and roll into a ball. Add granulated sugar [white or colored] to a large bowl. Place each ball of cookie dough into the bowl of granulated sugar and roll to coat. Place cookie dough on baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Lightly press each cookie down. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
Sarah’s suggests: Sanding sugar, also known as decorating or pearl sugar, will give your cookies added “sparkle.” The sparkling effect is achieved because the sugar crystal grains in sanding sugar are larger than those in granulated sugar and will reflect light better.