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Tag: holiday

What’s Cooking This Christmas

What’s Cooking This Christmas

Homemade macaroni with bolognese sauce was served on Christmas Eve.
Homemade macaroni with bolognese sauce was served on Christmas Eve.

So here’s what I cooked up this holiday season.

  • I started by making a couple of hundred Befana cookies, a traditional Italian Christmas cookie with flavors of sugar, orange, lemon, almonds and anisette.
  • I then moved on to try something new: chocolate bark with orange peel and walnuts; and white chocolate bark with cranberries and pistachio nuts.
  • On Friday night I had my brother-in-law and his wife over for dinner. They flew in from Florence, Italy (their Fall home) by way of Florida (their permanent residence). And so I made them something very Florentine, Ribollita soup, followed by a main course of roasted vegetable napoleons with a side dish of parmesan cups filled with porcini flavored orzo. I’ll post the recipe for the latter sometime this week.
  • Then, last night on Christmas Eve, I had my brother’s family over along with my friend Danny and his daughter (my God daughter) Dani Siobhan. For that dinner I made fried calamari, roasted pepper shrimp saute, and homemade macaroni with meatballs. For the homemade macaroni guests had their choice of a bolognese sauce or an all vegetable red sauce made with carrots, celery and tomatoes. Recipes for this dinner will also be posted later in the week.

And now, today on Christmas Day, I can rest. But there’s no rest for Tricia who is obligated to make her Asian shrimp salad to bring over my brother’s house. It’s a great recipe that she found in a cookbook that a previous tenant left in an apartment she lived in years ago. It’s a crowd pleaser and now has become a Christmas Day tradition.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good meal!

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls

Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls

You don't cook these so the alcohol doesn't evaporate.
You don't cook these so the alcohol doesn't evaporate.

This is a quick and easy treat to make. And they make a great gift around the holidays too.

I got the recipe from the December, 1997 edition of Bon Appetit magazine but it was my idea to add the Kahlua. You can also make the original recipe, omitting the Kahlua and adding additional rum. But be forewarned: these little devils pack a potent punch!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup of dark rum
  • 1/4 cup of Kahlua
  • 5 cups of finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies (about 20 ounces)
  • 2 cups of finely chopped walnuts

Looking for something quick and simple to make to bring to a Christmas Eve dinner? Try these.
Looking for something quick and simple to make to bring to a Christmas Eve dinner? Try these.

What I did:

Stir chocolate in top of a double boiler set over simmering water until melted. Remove from on top of water.

Whisk in 1 cup of sugar and the corn syrup, then the rum and Kahlua.

Mix the vanilla wafers and the walnuts in a bowl and blend.

Add the chocolate mixture and stir to blend well.

Place remaining 1 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl. For each ball, roll a teaspoon of the chocolate mixture into a 1-inch ball.

Roll the balls in sugar to coat evenly.

Cover and refrigerate at least overnight and up to five days.

Makes about 80 balls.

Find more recipes in the Food section.