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Some Easter Dinner Favorites
Apr 1st, 2015 by

The passing of the stuffed artichokes from Easter dinner 2010 in the RootsLiving dining room.

The passing of the stuffed artichokes from Easter dinner 2010 in the RootsLiving dining room.

These tried and true side dishes show up at the RootsLiving dinner table every Easter. If you’re looking for ideas to wow your guests this year, try these recipes. Nan’s Mashed Potatoes are rich, creamy and flavorful. And there’s no better way to make carrots than to follow French Chef Paul Bocuse’s recipe for carrots in cream.

Here is a list of Easter dinner favorite recipes:

And of course there’s plenty of ham, but ham needs no recipe. Just heat it up, and don’t forget the pineapple.
Find more recipes in the Food section.
Christmas Eve Dinner
Dec 30th, 2014 by


(Chef Gina Palmacci from Legal Oysteria demonstrates how to make Antipasti Platter.)

The menu this Christmas Eve for 11 people at our house was as follows:

Appetizers included the prosciutto wrapped bread sticks and parmesan stuffed peppadew peppers demonstrated here by the head chef at Legal Oysteria in Charlestown. And of course dessert included espresso with your choice of poisons: dark rum, sambuca, or grappa.
The 12 Treats of Christmas
Dec 17th, 2012 by

A few of these recipes are misfits, but still very good.

A few of these recipes are misfits, but still very good.

There are some foods I make every year around Christmastime. They are tried and true classics that continue to make taste buds happy year after year. And each year, I also try some new recipes. Some stick and become a classic, others fade away either because they didn’t deliver on their promise or simply because of neglect: like a broken doll on the Island of Misfit Toys in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” TV special.

Here are a list of winning recipes. Most I make every year. But there are a few neglected misfits too that are worthy of a new chance in a New Year. We’ll start with the desserts because this time of year is so sweet:

DESSERTS:

This is more of a snack than a dessert but anytime you eat it, it's delicious.

Chocolate Bread is more of a snack than a dessert but anytime you eat it, it's delicious.

1.) Pane alla Cioccolata (Chocolate Bread)This lightly sweetened bread is great with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. You can spread cream cheese over it, but Mascarpone cheese is better.

2.) Chocolate Bark (Christmas Gift): The only thing that would be easier than making this sweet treat would be going out and buying it.

3.) Cenci (Florentine Rags): Cenci are a deep-fried Florentine winter treat, made from Epiphany to Mardi Gras.

4.) Christmas Befana Cookies: My grandmother, Bruna, made these Befana cookies every Christmas.

5.) Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls: Another quick and easy treat to make. Makes a good gift too.

APPETIZERS:

Ribollita is a hearty soup for a cold December day.

Ribollita is a hearty soup for a cold December day.

6.) Ribollita Soup: One of the most loved recipes in the RootsLiving collection. Who knew, Tuscan Bean Soup, would be such a crowd pleaser?

7.) Asian Shrimp Salad: Trish found this recipe in an old cookbook a previous tenant left in her apartment about 30 years ago. It has become a traditional Christmas Day appetizer.

SIDE DISH:

8.) Nan’s Mashed Potatoes (with Cream Cheese and Sour Cream): No Christmas Roast Beast would be complete without a side dish of this. It puts the “comfort” in comfort food.

ENTREES:

Shrimp Saute can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.

Shrimp Saute can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.

9.) Shrimp Saute (For the New Year): I made this for the first time last year, but it’s a keeper. From Joshua’s Restaurant in Wells, Maine.

10.) Best Lobster Stew Recipe, Ever!: The recipe is from Morrison’s of Portland, Maine. It’s even easier to make if you have your lobsters steamed when you buy them.

11.) Pizza: Cheese and Fig & Proscuitto (from Figs Restaurant): My grandmother made pizza every Christmas Eve. This recipe is a combination of her pizza, Julia Child’s pizza, and Todd English’s pizza.

12.) Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes: In these last, short, dark days of December sometimes it’s nice to stay in your pajamas all day and have breakfast for dinner. Here’s a suggestion in keeping with the holiday spirit.

Cocktail Pitcher Inspires 60s Dinner Party
Nov 12th, 2012 by

This is the cocktail set that inspired a night fit for a Mad Man.

This is the cocktail set that inspired a night fit for a Mad Man.

My parents had this cocktail pitcher and glass set from the 1960s and it’s been sitting on a shelf in the RootsLiving butler’s pantry for years gathering dust. So we decided to put it to good use by throwing a 1960s dinner party.

We knew the night would have to start off with some cocktails so deciding on that was no problem. We made a pitcher of Manhattans.

But food for a 60s dinner party could go several ways. Should we go the bean sprout hippie route complete with grass brownies for dessert? Or should we go the chic fondue route, a la Mad Men style?

We chose the latter, minus the fondue.

If you haven't had iceberg lettuce in awhile, try this.

If you haven't had iceberg lettuce in awhile, try this.

We served the Manhattans with appetizers of deviled eggs, tiny pigs in a blanket, and potato chips with onion dip.

For the main course we had beef stroganoff, served with a wedge salad.

And for dessert we had ambrosia, made with Cool Whip.

Surprisingly, some of the easiest things to make got the most raves: don’t underestimate a good onion dip or the power of Cool Whip.

Here are the recipes:

Appetizer/Cocktail Hour

Main Course

  • Beef Stroganoff (This recipe varies from the traditional by serving it over sourdough toast rather than noodles. I also used Delmonico steaks, cut up into 1-inch pieces instead of the tri-tip roast.)
  • Wedge Salad (This made me like iceberg lettuce once again.)

Open up a few cans and you've got ambrosia.

Open up a few cans and you've got ambrosia.

Dessert

  • Ambrosia Salad (I omitted the maraschino cherries and instead used some canned fruit cocktail. I also forgot to buy marshmallows but the dessert was fine without them and plenty sweet.)
  • Tom and Jerry Cocktails (This is a very old favorite, especially in winter. If you’ve never tried this you’re missing out on some great cocktail history. Make it with coffee for an after-dinner dessert.)
Find more recipes in the Food section.
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