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Archive for 'Christmas'

SCARLET POACHED PEARS FOR CHRISTMAS

Desserts that are both easy and spectacular are all too rare. That’s why it pays to keep a running file of them, and if they happen to be gluten and/or dairy free, or not terribly fattening, then so much the better. This time of year, at the top of my list are the scarlet poached […]

SMOKED FISH: YOUR HOLIDAY GUIDE TO SHOPPING & EATING

Holiday entertaining has a certain glamour about it. And although a magnificent standing rib roast, for instance, or a caramel-caged croquembouche are tried-and-true showstoppers, the extravagance and formality they represent are an uneasy fit for many of us these days. There’s the expense and time involved, obviously, but also lighter, leaner diet preferences, or a hectic […]

HAPPY HOLS

Christmas Eve morning, 10 o’clock. As always, we are rusticating in southwestern Virginia, where the magnolias are deep glossy green against the brown and the boxwood smells wonderful. Just had breakfast. And now I need to get serious about making enough cheese biscuits to get us through the next few days, and perhaps gingerbread with stars. You know, […]

PUSHCART PARTY TRICK: GUACAMOLE WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND PERSIMMON

The pushcart vendors in New York City are amazing. I’m not talking trendy food trucks here, but the unsung produce sellers who stake a claim near subway entrances and corner drugstores. This time of year, they jockey for position with the sellers of resiny Christmas pines, firs, and spruce. Where else can you pick up […]

COQUITO—LIKE EGGNOG, ONLY BETTER

Around this time last year at a holiday lunch, our friend Elaine Greenstein, an art teacher and author-illustrator of children’s books, gave us a beautifully wrapped but decidedly knobbly present. Intriguing. The parcel was both heavy and cold. When held up to an ear and shaken cautiously, it sloshed. I freed the object from tissue and ribbon, then lifted it […]

SEASON’S GREETINGS

We’re heading South to rusticate for the holiday, and if I do nothing else, I’ll fill the house with the rich, spicy scent of gingerbread with stars or one last batch of cheese biscuits. Freshly cut pine and magnolia boughs will decorate the mantel, and the seasonal frenzy will give way to a profound mellowness. That is, […]

CHEESE BISCUITS SAY HAPPY HOLS AND MORE

I would rather labor over cassoulet for 12 than bake Christmas cookies. The very idea makes me want to run screaming out into the street. Don’t get me wrong: I greatly admire the people who carry on this tradition, willingly or under duress. I’m just not one of them. Cheese biscuits, however, are a different […]

PEARS: SHOPPING, COOKING, & EATING GUIDE

Pears are full of intrigue. Because they are usually rock-hard when you buy them, it’s difficult to gauge when they’ll be ready to eat and whether they’ll ultimately reward you with sweet, meltingly tender flesh. It’s no wonder that many shoppers pass them over for apples, which are immediately gratifying. But some things, as we well […]

LESSONS, CAROLS, AND GINGERBREAD WITH STARS

A rich and rewarding life doesn’t just happen. You need to surround yourself with interesting people, have a sense of occasion, and know how to make your own fun. My schooling in this began when I was very young. One mentor I always think of this time of year is Aunt Eloise—in truth, a longtime friend […]