Written on December 13, 2012 at 9:00 am , by Michael Wurm, Jr.
For me, Christmas has been, and always will be about family. After college, I moved from my small town to a big city. What I missed the most were holidays at home. Five years later, I’m so thankful to be back in my hometown and able to once again spend the holidays with my family. And, if there are two things my family knows how to do, it’s cook and eat! While my family has lots of traditions, the one I probably look forward to the most is our Christmas Eve celebration at my mom’s house. Presents are piled under the tree in order by recipients’ ages, Christmas lights and decorations sparkle throughout the house, and the kitchen is overflowing with desserts, cookies, and my personal favorite, appetizers!
Have you ever heard people say they could make a meal of appetizers? Well, I am one of those people. If you can dip it or pick it up with a toothpick, count me in! So, in celebration of Christmas, our families, and my love of appetizers, I dug through the BHG recipe archive and found recipes for twelve mouthwateringly delicious appetizers. I know these recipes will keep your family coming back for more.
1. Pimiento Cheese Poppers // 2. Bourbon-Glazed Cocktail Sausages // 3. Olive-Cherry Bruschetta // 4. Tomato Quiche Tartlets // 5. Asiago Cheese Dip // 6. Jalapeno, Crab, and Corn Dip // 7. Meatball Sliders // 8. Cranberry-Barbecue Meatballs // 9. Double-Quick Shrimp Cocktail
Scrumptious, right? No wonder most of us pack on a few pounds over the holidays. It’s hard to resist all that goodness.
Speaking of family, I wanted to share a quick and easy project that I created at my house to remind me of how much my family means to me. I’m calling it my Instamas Tree. Instagram + Christmas. Get it? Anyway, I printed out my most meaningful Instagram photos from this past year and simply clipped them on a silver tinsel tree.
My little tree is now a memory book with lots of special moments, from hanging out with my nieces and nephews to a few personal memories. And it has easily become one of my favorite Christmas projects.
For all the details and more photographs, swing by my blog, Inspired by Charm, and say hi!
Now, I’m off to fill my plate with appetizers and clip some more pictures to my tree!
Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm
Written on December 6, 2012 at 8:30 am , by Erin Gleeson
Hello from The Forest Feast! Lately I have been really into edamame. Since I don’t eat much meat, I am always looking for different sources of protein, and there is a lot you can do with these bright green little beans. Using this Edamame Humus recipe, I whirred them up in my food processor to make a colorful, healthy dip. Out here in the woods, we love having snacks with our cocktails before dinner, and this is a fun alternative to regular hummus. Considering its color, if you serve it with red bell peppers it’ll be a festive appetizer to serve at a holiday party this time of year.
A great cocktail hour snack! And easy to make ahead for holiday entertaining…
- 1 10 ounce package frozen sweet soybeans (edamame)
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (I left this out since I am not a big parsley fan, but you could alternatively add basil or cilantro)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (lime also works)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika (optional, for garnish)
- 8 cups assorted vegetable dippers, such as sweet red bell pepper pieces, cucumber slices, baby carrots, snow pea pods, and/or celery sticks
1. Shell and cook edamame until tender according to package directions; drain. Several grocery stores sell pre-cooked shelled edamame beans in the frozen section.
2. In a food processor combine edamame, parsley, lemon juice, the water, tahini, garlic, salt, and cumin. Cover and process until smooth. With food processor running, slowly add oil in a thin steady stream, processing until smooth. Add additional water if necessary to reach desired consistency. If desired, sprinkle with paprika. Serve with vegetable dippers or crackers.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods last summer where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook.
Written on December 4, 2012 at 8:30 am , by Delish Dish Editor
Seasons greetings, everyone! Jessica Christensen, senior editor with Better Homes and Gardens special interest titles here to welcome you to December—the busiest baking time of the year. I love baking during the holidays (and any time, really) but with my 9-month-old son demanding the majority of my time this year, my baking is going to be more structured and organized—as in make-ahead everything!
Which leads me to last weekend. When my son’s nap time rolled around, I set to work on a batch of rolls to freeze for Christmas dinner. My choice: Feather Rolls, a time-tested recipe from our BH&G archives. Like the name implies, these rolls are soft, tender, and light as a feather (thanks to the secret ingredient of mashed potato!).
However, since I don’t eat dairy products (long story), I had to find a substitute for the butter. My solution to that problem: Earth Balance margarine, the best non-dairy, high-fat margarine on the market for baking. It contains 100 calories per tablespoon, just like butter, so it behaves in much the same way. It’s also free of hydrogenated oils, which is not true of most margarines.The dough came together beautifully—made from flour, sugar, margarine, mashed potato, water, salt, and yeast. Once the ingredients were mixed together, it was a simple matter of kneading the dough until it formed a smooth ball.
Now here’s a big perk of the Feather Rolls recipe—the dough can rise in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. So when I got completely distracted for the rest of the day playing an endless game of peekaboo, it was no big deal. The next day I turned the dough out, cut it into 16 pieces (the recipes says 15 pieces, but it’s much easier to get equal sizes from an even number of bread pieces), formed each piece into a rough ball, and placed the pieces in a 13×9 pan to rise for 40 minutes. The awkward 16th piece of dough had to squeeze in on one end of the pan, but I’m OK with that. Then it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to hot and yeasty baked rolls.
Once the rolls were cool, I wrapped them up in a layer each of plastic wrap and foil, and then placed them in a larger baking dish with a tight fitting lid. Then off to the freezer they went, where they will stay until the big holiday festivities later this month. I plan to pull them out of the freezer the morning of the feast to thaw and then bake them for about 10 minutes at 350°F to warm them up.
Then, because I was “on a roll” I decided to make up a double batch of Mini Focaccia. I used half of it to make a large focaccia round, and then split the other half of the dough up to make mini focaccia. I topped it with fresh rosemary (from a summer plant I brought inside that is now struggling to survive in my window). I learned long ago that this recipe needs to either be eaten immediately or frozen to keep it from getting tough and dried out. Fresh bread doesn’t last nearly as long as store-bought. So after it was baked off to the freezer it went.
Three cheers for planning ahead! What baked goodies are you going to prep and freeze for the holidays this year?
Categories: Delish Dish, In the Test Kitchen | Tags: baked, bread, christmas, classic dinner rolls, dairy-free, December, dinner rolls, dough, Earth Balance margarine, Feather Rolls, flaky, flour, focaccia, freeze, freezer, garlic, herbs, Holiday, homemade, Italian, make-ahead, margarine, non-dairy, potato, potluck, rosemary, Side Dish, sugar, tender, vegan, vegetarian, yeast, yeast bread
Written on December 3, 2012 at 8:37 am , by Lauren Brennan
Happy Holidays! ‘Tis the season for parties and more parties. Are you planning on throwing a shindig? Well, if you are or even if you’re not, I’ve searched the BHG recipe archives for some of the tastiest and easiest party recipes that are sure to be a hit with family and friends no matter what the occasion is.
Appetizers: I think for the most part, holiday parties are made up of mostly appetizers. It’s so much easier to throw some of these together than a sit down dinner and you can have more of a variety laid out for your guests. All of these can be made in advance so you can keep things as organized and low stress as possible.
1. Crunchy Cracker Snack Mix/ 2. Roasted Garbanzo Beans/ 3. Wrap & Roll Basil Pinwheels/ 4.Gorgonzola-Thyme-Stuffed Olives/ 5. Sugared Bacon-Wrapped Smokies/ 6. Mini Puffs with Goat Cheese and Herbs/ 7. Fresh Arugula Bruschetta/ 8. Stuffed Mushrooms/ 9. Crab Cakes
Drinks: Any party you go to or throw is bound to have a tasty drink or two! These are some of the more popular options I found on BHG:
Main Courses: If you choose to do a main course for your party, here are some festive and easy meat options:
Dessert: Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some sort of cookie! Here are some fabulous options perfect for any party that can all be made days in advance:
1. Eggnog Kringla/ 2. Gingersnap Logs/ 3. Giant Ginger Cookies/ 4. Cherry-Almond Ornament Cookies/ 5. Chocolate-Peppermint Meringue Kisses/ 6. No Bake Lemon Drops/ 7. Spritz Blossoms/ 8. Red Velvet Whoopie Pies/ 9. Almond Biscotti
Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours!
Written on November 29, 2012 at 8:30 am , by Michael Wurm, Jr.
I love baking cookies. It’s one of the things I really look forward to each holiday season. I usually set aside a day or two and bake up a storm. Since it’s just me here, this leaves me with a lot of cookies. Thankfully, my mom and grandma are able to take some off my hands. Unfortunately, for some of you, this tradition of making a beautiful variety of cookies may have become a dreaded chore. Well, not any more! This year consider having a Cookie Exchange Party.
Here’s how it works. When hosting a Cookie Exchange Party, you bake up one big batch of a particular type of cookie (or fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, candy, etc.) as do your friends. Then everyone joins you at your house with a large supply of treats. During the party (after sampling a few cookies, of course) you swap cookies and recipes. When you leave the party, you have a huge variety of holiday treats and you only had the stress of baking one item. Plus, you had a chance to hang out with your friends. Sounds pretty fun, right?
So whether you are considering holding a cookie exchange or doing all the baking yourself, I found 12 fabulous cookie recipes that will leave your guests satisfied and impressed. Some are classics and some are new favorites.
1. White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread // 2. Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts // 3. Peanut Butter and Mocha Checkerboards // 4. Tangerine Butter Cookies // 5. Mini Raspberry and White Chocolate Whoopie Pies // 6. Ultimate Chocolate-Dipped Cookies // 7. Chocolate Palmiers // 8. Cherry Surprise Crinkles // 9. Roly-Poly Santas // 10. Buried Cherry Cookies // 11. Lemony Star Sandwiches // 12. Mint Meringue Kisses
I also took things a bit further and created a little round up of my favorite holiday-inspired platters, trays, and cake stands. I mean, if you are going to all the trouble of baking these delicious treats, you want them to look as scrumptious as they taste, right? You could even fill one of these delightful pieces with a variety of homemade sweets and you’d have an instant gift. Too perfect!
1. Mikasa Scarlet Vine // 2. White Enamel Cake Stand // 3. Williams Sonoma Vintage Footed Platter // 4. Plaid Platter // 5. Dancing Dreidel Platter // 6. Rectangular Plates // 7. French Bull Ziggy Plate // 8. Williams Sonoma Christmas Tree Platter // 9. Artist Palette Tray // 10. Jadeite Cake Stand // 11. CB2 Clarity Plate // 12. French Bull Black and White Platter
How do you handle all of your holiday baking? Do you host a cookie exchange? What’s your favorite holiday cookie?
Cheers, Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm
Written on November 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm , by Delish Dish Editor
Happy Thanksgiving! Erin from The Forest Feast here, sending greetings from my family’s annual celebration in Santa Barbara, CA. My husband Jonathan and I left the woods and headed for the beach where we’re spending the weekend cooking, eating, and surfing with lots of relatives at my aunt and uncle’s beach house. This is my absolute favorite holiday! We spend all day cooking in their dreamy kitchen overlooking the ocean while the turkey cooks on the BBQ outside.
This year, we are shaking up the menu a bit with this New Cranberry Sauce, which includes persimmons, my favorite autumn treat. Trees full of these ripe, orange fruits are everywhere near where we live right now! A friend was kind enough to let me come and pick some off his tree, and I was excited to be able to use them in this Thanksgiving dish. It’s a fun, seasonal twist on the traditional recipe and adds color and sweetness to the cranberry sauce.
We eat around sunset, and I always take a picture of the turkey as it comes off the grill.
So much to be thankful for as we gear up for a weekend of family fun. Cheers!
Makes: 12 servings. Serving size: 1/4 cup. Yield: 12 (1/4-cup) servings
Prep 10 mins, cook 18 mins to 20 mins, chill up to 48 hours.
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup pomegranate juice or cranberry juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 fuyu persimmon or apple, cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Rosemary sprig (optional, as garnish)
Directions: In large saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Add cranberries, pomegranate juice, sugar, and ginger. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 16 to 17 minutes, or until mixture is just thickened. Stir in persimmon for the last 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve warm or at room temperature or transfer to a storage container. Can be covered and chilled up to 48 hours. If desired, top sauce with a rosemary sprig as a garnish. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings.
Kitchen Tip: There are two types of persimmons: Fuyus and hachiyas. For this recipe, use fuyus, which are tomato-shape, and can be eaten when firm or slightly soft. The fruit, available from October to December, should be evenly light orange, not yellow or green. Store in the fridge up to 14 days.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, vegetable based recipes that are presented visually, with handwriting, illustration and photos to describe the steps.
Categories: Delish Dish, In-Season Eats | Tags: autumn, christmas, Cranberry, cranberry sauce, fall, fruit, garlic, Holiday, onion, persimmon, seasonal, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, vegetable, vegetarian