Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Duck Guazzetto and More Links to Holiday Recipes
The last few work days before a big holiday are always torture, and now is no exception! I can’t wait to kick back and revel in some holiday indulgence--not to mention presents. They’ve been taunting me from under our tree for weeks now because Mike is very conscientious about getting presents wrapped early. It’s really cute, actually. Plus, it motivates me to get my wrapping done too, instead of saving it for the last minute, as usual.
One thing that’s really helped us enjoy the whole Christmas season this year is NOT saving all the fun stuff up for the 24th and 25th. Tomorrow, for instance, we plan to open a bottle of Port we got last summer when we did some wine tasting in Los Olivos, California. We always buy Port at Christmas, but in past years we’ve opened it on Christmas day when we’re already stuffed and can’t fully enjoy it. This year, we’re using it to celebrate nothing more than, “Hey, it’s Thursday”. Little things like this really perk up an average weeknight.
When it comes to food, there are so many “special” recipes we want to cook for Christmas, that this year we decided not to pick just one. Last weekend, we made Duck Leg Guazzetto, a dish I think is truly, utterly phenomenal. It’s a recipe by Lidia Bastianich that was published in the January ’07 issue of Gourmet. The homemade, toasted pasta is so easy you’ll think you missed a step (and NO pasta machine is required!). The slow cooked duck legs become fall off the bone tender in a braise flavored with wine, rosemary and whole cloves. You must shave Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, and it’s bliss from there. I posted the recipe and pictures nearly a year ago, but after making it again last weekend, I just had to revisit it on the blog. It would make an incredible centerpiece for an intimate holiday meal.
If you’re still thinking about what to cook for the holidays, whether it’s Christmas Eve, New Year’s or, “Hey, it’s December 28th,” I have some ideas for you. Some appeared on this blog, and some are from other fabulous food blogs.
Spaghetti Bolognese with Chestnuts: Your favorite meat sauce with a little something special.
Brussels Sprout-Chestnut Tart with Pancetta: "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire..."
Big Italian Meatballs with Creamy Polenta: A meatball that's a meal.
Exotic Rack of Lamb: Sexy, fancy, perfect for holiday.
A duo of elegant vegetarian tarts: Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tart and Swiss Chard Custard Tart with Yeast Crust
And for dessert...
Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Cranberry-Almond Crostata: Take advantage of those fresh cranberries in this lovely recipe!
All in One Holiday Bundt Cake: apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, cranberries, maple and pecans (whew!)--all the flavors of the season in one great cake.
From Some of My Favorite Foodies:
A gorgeously seasonal Pomegranate and Spinach Salad from Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas
An authentic Cassoulet from Veronica's Test Kitchen
Chocolate Macarons with Peppermint Ganache from Anita of Dessert First--I'll be trying my hand at French macarons this weekend with Anita's and Helene's posts as a guide!
The Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies from Deb of Smitten Kitchen--or any of her other cookies!
The show-stopping Crunchy Chocolate-Chestnut Cake from Ivonne, aka Cream Puffs in Venice
Chestnut and Pear Tart from Dorie Greenspan's blog is another show-stopper. Can you tell I like chestnuts?