Festive recipes for a great Christmas dinner


Christmas is just a few days away, and if you haven’t decided what to cook for the holidays yet, I have a few ideas that I hope you find out. I spent the better part of two months imagining my perfect holiday meal – both for cooking and, fate permitting, for serving. I’ve developed recipes that all work together – from the moment guests walk in the door until they put on their coats – to create a balanced yet extravagant meal that suits the season.

The first thing the guests will receive is a festive cocktail. This year, is it your place or mine? (brilliant name for a drink) of the Atrium restaurant in Los Feliz. It is made with whiskey, almond milk and maple syrup for a touch of spirit on milk punch or eggnog. While the guests are sipping their drinks, a bowl of classic spiced rosemary nuts will be on the coffee table so they can immediately quench their hunger.

Then, when they’ve settled in, I like to surprise guests with something unexpected: hot sautéed potatoes, drizzled with flaky sea salt, and a platter of frozen raw vegetables. Both are served with Caesar sour cream which acts as a dip; he has anchovies, Worcestershire and Parmesan for maximum umami. A generous appetizer like this also saves me some time to run into the kitchen to reheat and slice last minute for dinner to come.

Once everyone’s ready for dinner, I’ll bring out my Citrus Herb Porchetta with Roasted Lemon “Christmas†Salsa Verde; half sliced ​​for serving and the other half left whole to elicit mind-blowing gasps of “What … ??!” of my friends. Pork looks awesome, but it’s easy enough to prepare – like baking bread, it only requires a few spells of intermittent activity for hours of effortless babysitting.

To serve with such an elaborate roast, I keep the sides simple and comforting. To accompany the pork, this means Polenta With Parmesan and Thyme and a Crisp of Seared Red Cabbage with Fried Chestnut Breadcrumbs. The cabbage is garnished with a fresh lemon juice on the finish and drizzled with toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled with caramelized chestnuts. It’s the perfect complement to the rich polenta with pork and herb butter.

And finally, once everyone has had time to loosen their belts and sip a digestif, it’s dessert time in the form of my Hot Persimmon Cake with Orange and Olive Oil. ‘Olive. It’s an update to the classic persimmon pudding, using a lighter hand with sugar and spices to allow the fruit – the ripe Hachiya persimmons – to shine. The fruit is pureed and mixed into an easy-to-make muffin-style batter. I serve it lukewarm with a few macerated Fuyu persimmons and a spoonful of Grand Marnier whipped cream.

And just when my guests think the night is over and start to leave, I hand them a present on the way out: a slice of my cinnamon, bourbon, and pecan holiday cake. You can call it a fruit cake but I can’t, because it’s so much better than the name suggests. Brown sugar paste is packed with cinnamon and alcohol-soaked fruits like apples, cherries, and golden raisins, so it’s lighter than traditional fruit cakes. And a slice is the perfect amount to gift, because it gives people a taste without overwhelming them with an entire cake.

It’s a perfect Christmas dinner for me. It is a treat for me to cook and for my guests to enjoy it. Hope you also take a photo of some of the recipes – or the whole meal – so the experience of eating it doesn’t have to live on just in your dreams.

Sauteed Potatoes with Caesar Sour Cream Crudity

This holiday appetizer has something for everyone: hot, salty roasted potatoes that are eaten like fries; cold and crunchy vegetables for health; and a rich sour cream dip flavored with anchovy, Worcestershire and Parmesan cheese for a Caesar salad flavor.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 2 hours, mostly unattended.

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Classic Spicy Nuts With Rosemary

These nuts are the perfect bite to keep in a bowl and eat with party cocktails. Their flavor and spices wash over you after a while, which is a fun surprise. Adding rosemary halfway through cooking allows the herb to cook without burning or becoming bitter.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.

A bowl of nuts mixed with glasses of clear liquid.

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Your place or mine?

This cocktail has all the flavors of milk punch, eggnog and a strong Manhattan in one, but with a more spiritual and lighter touch – plus it’s vegan, thanks to the use of milk from almond. Serve it with appetizers at the start of your holiday party or dinner.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 5 minutes.

A bowl of mixed nuts and three cocktail glasses that contain brown liquid

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Citrus and Herb Porchetta with Roasted Lemon Christmas Salsa Verde

This recipe wraps a trimmed pork loin with an entire belly that has been rubbed with a savory paste of wintery herbs, citrus zest, and chili flakes to keep things as light and shiny as possible in such a hearty roast. . The salsa verde brings here a dose of lightness and freshness to the meat.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1h40, plus 6h30 without supervision and 2 days for dry brining and rest.

A whole porchetta with a slice on the side and a bowl of green sauce

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Polenta with parmesan and thyme

Polenta is an easy and simple side dish that only requires a little stirring to get a good preparation. I like to prepare it hours in advance, leave it on the side of my stove, then reheat it over low heat while I put the rest of the meal together.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.

A blue Dutch oven that contains yellow polenta sprinkled with thyme.

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Sautéed Red Cabbage with Fried Chestnut Breadcrumbs

Crunchy and warming, sautéed cabbage is an easy dish to serve with pork that doesn’t compete with it. I quickly cook it in butter and olive oil and season it with salt and pepper, plus lots of lemon juice to keep it shiny.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 25 minutes.

A dish of red cabbage sautéed with fried chestnut crumbs

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Warm persimmon cake with orange and olive oil

This dessert is an update to the classic persimmon pudding. It’s typically spicy like gingerbread and very sweet, but this version is made with Hachiya persimmon puree, delicately spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, and brightened up with orange and lemon. It’s baked in a Bundt pan, then drizzled with butter and alcoholic sugar while hot, and served with whipped cream and tangy, crisp Fuyu persimmons.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1h45.

A brown cake from a Bundt pan, with a slice of cake with whipped cream next to it.

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

Cinnamon Holiday Cake with Bourbon and Pecan Nuts

When baking a cake like this, I prefer to use a large Bundt pan, which gives structure to cakes with a dough as heavy as this. (It is also helpful to use the slits in the design when dividing the cake into portions.) Prepare this cake, cut it into slices, and give it as a festive gift – a treat that guests can enjoy at their own. rhythm.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 5 hours without supervision and 2 days for soaking the fruit.

Sliced ​​fruit cake on a white table.

(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)


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