Our Favorite Holiday Cocktails and Eats

This time of year is a fun time to try out new recipes. Here’s our favorite holiday cocktails and eats. Enjoy!

The Very Merry Christmas Martini

Here’s something new to try and share with all you virtual party guests – the Christmas Martini compliments of a couple cooks, Sonja and Alex. It’s a a flavored vodka martini that’s made with cranberry juice. In fact, it’s actually more like a Cosmo than a martini! The Classic Martini is made with gin and dry vermouth, though vodka sprang up as a popular swap for gin. Over time, the vodka version became a blank slate for adding all sorts of fruity variations. So have fun with it and make substitutions if your game!

Christmas Martini Recipe

Ingredients:
Cranberry juice: 100% unsweetened (see below)
Vodka
Cointreau
Lemon juice
Simple syrup (or maple syrup)
Use unsweetened cranberry juice! Or skip the simple syrup

This Christmas martini uses unsweetened 100% cranberry juice to make its beautifully brilliant color. But be careful when you shop: it’s easy to find sweetened cranberry juice too. Here’s what to know about the two types:

Sweetened cranberry juice is sometimes labeled as cranberry juice cocktail. This type of cranberry juice has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. It is the kind used for classic cranberry cocktails of the past, like the Vodka Cranberry and others.
100% cranberry juice is now easily available at your local grocery store. The benefit of this type? The color is brighter and you can sweeten your drink to taste. We use this type for all our cranberry cocktails.

Let’s get to it:
The Christmas martini is easy to make. All you’ll need is a cocktail shaker and a martini glass! If you’re making this for a crowd, you can also mix up 2 drinks at once in a single cocktail shaker.

Directions–

First Shake: Add the vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds until cold.
Then Strain: Strain the drink into a glass and serve!
Finally, Garnish: Here’s the fun part! To make it look Christmas-y, use fresh cranberries and a rosemary sprig as a garnish. You can place the cranberries on a cocktail pick but you can also place them directly into the drink.

If you need to make a pitcher,h ere’s how to make 8 drinks:

In a pitcher, mix together 1 cup vodka, 1 cup 100% cranberry juice, 1/2 cup Cointreau, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and 5 tablespoons simple syrup.
Add 3 handfuls of ice and stir until cold. Pour into glasses and serve.

For a mocktail version, just check out Difford’s Guide here for a Cosmo looking drink, that doesn’t taste like one.


 

Alton Brown’s Eggnog

We really like Alton’s recipe and you can check out the video and the reviews here…

It’s an easy recipe that takes about 15 minutes to prep and yields about 6 to 7 cups. And to make it kid-friendly or an alcohol free version, leave out the bourbon and add half a tablespoon of vanilla extract and pinch of salt. And if you are running low on time, pick up some from your local grocery store. Many brands are making their way to store shelves and really we won’t tell if you don’t!

Full disclaimer, this recipes is not low fat.

Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*

Directions–

1- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

2- Next, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

3- Finally, whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Cook’s Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.
1- First, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
2- Next, in a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.
3- Finally, in a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
*Note: Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.


 

Crispy Mushroom and Muenster Sliders

This easy recipe from Good Housekeeping makes 6 servings and takes about 25 minutes after you have all the ingredients ready to go.

 

Ingredients: and feel free to make your own variations or substitutions to taste
3/4 c. panko
1/4 c. Grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
pepper
12 medium ( 2 1/2-inch) shiitake mushroom caps
3 oz. Muenster cheese, grated
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Hot sauce
Pinch smoked paprika
8 cornichon pickles, thinly sliced
12 slider buns, split
Lettuce, sliced tomato, and sliced onion for serving

Directions–

1- Heat oven to 450°F. Line large baking sheet with nonstick foil. In pie plate, combine panko, Parmesan and 1 tablespoon olive oil. In medium bowl, whisk together egg and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
2- Next, working with 1 mushroom at a time, dip rounded side into egg, then coat in panko. Transfer mushrooms to prepared baking sheet, panko side down.
3- Then, divide Muenster among mushrooms. Sprinkle any remaining panko mixture over Muenster. Roast until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes.
4- Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, hot sauce, smoked paprika and pinch each salt and pepper; stir in sliced cornichons.
5- Finally, spread buns with sauce and top with mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
Enjoy!
Nutritional information (per serving): About 390 calories, 20 g fat (5 g saturated), 11 g protein, 515 mg sodium, 41 g carb, 1 g fiber.


Fabulous Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup

For the healthier side, try out this Bowl of Delicious soup this holiday season. This Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup is full of healing, healthy ingredients- it’s warm, deliciously bright, vegan, low carb, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant!

Prep time is about 5 minutes and cook time is about 15 minutes, but read through the entire recipe so you get a good feel for pulling it all together. If you are prepping the squash from its original state, you’ll need to roast or cook first which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 6 hours, so please take that into account.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash cooked (see notes below)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1 onion diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil, or butter
2 cups chicken stock/broth or vegetable broth, for vegetarian/vegan
15 oz. canned coconut milk
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
roasted squash or pumpkin seeds and fresh cilantro for serving (optional)

Directions–

1- In a large pot, saute the ginger (2 tablespoon) and diced onion in oil (1 tablespoon) over medium heat until softened (about 3 minutes).
2- Next, add the stock (2 cups), bring to a boil.
3- Then, add the cooked butternut squash.
4- Next, stir in the can of coconut milk.
5- Then, season with salt, pepper, and turmeric (1 teaspoon).
6- Use an immersion blender to blend to a smooth puree (alternatively, you can use a standing blender in batches). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
7- Finally, serve topped with roasted seeds and/or fresh cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes:
To cook the butternut squash, place it whole in your slow cooker for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Remove, let cool, halve, deseed, and remove flesh from peel. Or, halve it and roast it in your oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, then remove the seeds and remove the flesh from the peel.
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.

Recommended Equipment:
Large pot
Immersion Blender

Nutrition info:
Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 734mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 13288IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg


Latkes

Thanks Editors of Publications International.

Latkes are potato pancakes which are small cakes of grated potatoes fried in olive oil. But their story is much more interesting than that. Latkes are a vital culinary part of any Hanukkah celebration.

The eight-day festival of Hanukkah commemorates the Miracle of Oil – honoring a flame that miraculously burned for eight days. To celebrate, Jews all over the world eat foods fried in olive oil. Hanukkah falls at the end of the oil-pressing season, so olive oil was always readily available. No matter if you are Jewish or not, try out this recipe for a new creation this holiday.

The recipe makes about 18 Latkes

Ingredients:
2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes (about 1-3/4 pounds), peeled and shredded
1 large onion (8 ounces), shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup matzo meal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Applesauce (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Directions–

1- Combine potatoes and onion in large bowl. Add eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper; mix well.
2- Next, eat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Drop potato mixture by level 1/4 cupfuls into skillet. Then, use the back of a spatula to flatten potato mixture into 3-1/2-inch patties, about 1/2 inch thick. Cook about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer to ovenproof platter lined with paper towels.
3- Keep warm in 200°F oven while preparing remaining latkes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil as needed. Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream. Garnish as desired and enjoy.

I hope you liked the list of Our Favorite Holiday Cocktails and Eats. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus and All the Best and Brightest in the Coming New Year!

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