from Westchester Magazine Features Editor Nancy Claus
“The Official Claus Christmas Cookie recipe, straight from my grandmother, Mrs. Claus herself. Four generations of Clauses have enjoyed these intensely spiced and crisp wafers—you’re welcome to keep the tradition going!”—Nancy Claus
1½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ginger
3 tsp ground cloves
Cream butter and sugar; add syrup and egg. Mix together dry ingredients before adding to wet ingredients. Roll out on a well-floured board or pastry cloth—the thinner the dough, the better the cookie. (If you have problems with sticking, cover dough with plastic wrap before rolling it out.) Cut the dough with cookie cutters (hearts are a traditional shape), then place on a cookie sheet using a spatula. Decorate with sprinkles. Bake in 350° F oven for about 10 minutes (or in convection oven at 320 ° F for about 5 minutes). Cool on wire racks; store in cookie tins.
Yield: About 90 cookies
BRAISED LAMB SHANK
“Nothing warms the heart like a beautiful piece of braised meat, and the richness of this lamb is perfect for a holiday feast with family and friends. It really shows them you care.”—Chef Pasquale Coli, Massa’ (914) 472-4600; www.massascarsdale.com
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 large Spanish onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
2 cups white wine
2 Tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
10 to 12 thyme branches tied together
3 to 4 cups water
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Coat a large Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to high heat. Season lamb shanks generously with salt and add them to the pan. Brown all sides well.
Meanwhile, puree the onions, carrots, and celery in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Remove and set aside.
Remove the shanks from the pan to a sheet tray. Discard the excess fat from the pan. Add a little oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the pureed vegetables. Season with salt, to taste. Sauté the vegetables until they are very brown, about 20 minutes. The brown vegetables should form a sort of crust on the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomato paste and brown for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, chopped rosemary, and thyme bundle. Stir frequently and cook until the wine has reduced by about half.
Add the shanks back to the pot and pour in 3 to 4 cups water. The shanks should be submersed; add more water if they are not. Add the bay leaves to the pan, cover, and put in the preheated oven. Cook for about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Turn the shanks over about halfway through the cooking time. Check the shanks every 45 minutes or so. If the liquid has reduced too much, add more water. De-fat as you go.
Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking time. When the shanks are done, the meat should be incredibly tender and flavorful. Combine 1 lemon (zested), ¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves, 1 small garlic clove, minced to garnish. Serve with saffron rice pilaf.
MARE’S SPOON-UP EGG NOG
from Westchester Magazine Fact-Checker/Reporter Katie O’Donnell
“The first time my mom made this twist on traditional, from-the-carton egg nog, she and my dad were newlyweds hosting their first Christmas. Being that the only alcohol they had on hand was high-proof rum brought back from their Jamaican honeymoon, it’s no surprise it was a hit.”—Katie O’Donnell
4 eggs, separated
½ cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup golden rum (or 1 to 2 Tbsp. rum flavoring for a non-alcoholic version)
2 cups heavy cream
A dash of powdered nutmeg (for garnish)
Beat heavy cream until stiff and set aside. In another bowl, beat egg whites (which should be at room temperature) until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar, and salt until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in rum. Fold egg yolk mixture into whipped cream. Next, fold egg whites into egg yolk/cream mixture. Chill thoroughly. Place in a glass bowl and serve in cups with spoons. Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.
Servings: 6 (1 cup) or 12 (½ cup)
LEMON ROASTED CHICKEN
“Roasted chicken is a comfort dish to us, and we keep it on the menu year-round, but change the accompaniments seasonally. For the holidays, we'll serve it with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe.”—Chef Kyle Inserra, Polpettina
Two 2 ½-lb organic or natural whole chickens, trimmed and halved
Garlic Lemon sauce (recipe below)
1 cup roasted garlic cloves
4 cups water
2 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut in 4
4 bay leaves
Garlic Lemon Sauce:
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tsp garlic, minced
½ tsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
½ tsp fresh sage, chopped
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Prepare the brine by combining garlic, water, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and olive oil; whisk to combine. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedges and add to the brine. Add to a pot and bring to a boil, then allow to cool.
Add chicken to non- reactive pan and pour brine over the chicken. Allow chicken to sit in brine for at least 8 hours; 24 hours is ideal.
Whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the chicken: preheat broiler for 20 minutes. Season chickens and broil for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, until skin is golden brown and the juices run clear. Remove from broiler, place on a baking sheet, pour lemon sauce over, and toss to coat. Return chicken halves to broiler and broil for 2 to 3 minutes; turn and broil for an additional minute.
Remove from broiler and top with sauce and pan drippings. Finish by adding chopped chives to top of chickens.
FRUTTI DE MARE
from BLT Steak
“This dish is a family favorite of mine. In fact, my family makes it every year on Christmas Eve. An Italian Christmas tradition is a dinner involving seven fishes, called the ‘Feast of Seven Fishes.’ Every year, I make this delicious cold preparation of seafood crudo involving baby octopus, calamari, and lobster.”—Chef Anthony Micari, BLT Steak
3 lbs baby octopus
2 lbs calamari (whole)
2 1½-lb lobsters
2 tsp chili flakes
1 bunch parsley, chiffonade
8 leaves basil, chiffonade
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups white wine
2 Tbsp capers
1 white onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
4 sprigs thyme
10 lemons, halved and juiced
8 cups water
1 cup baby arugala
To begin, make a court bouillon to cook the shellfish:
In a large pot, add the water, white wine, lemons, onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and bring to a boil. Begin cooking the shellfish separately. First the lobsters. Cook for 8 minutes in the shell and then remove and quickly place in an ice bath. For the calamari, separate the heads from the tubes and clean thoroughly. Then cook in the liquid for 2 minutes; remove and place in ice bath. Last, add in the baby octopus and allow to cook until tender, about 40 minutes, then shock in an ice bath as well.
To prepare the fish:
Remove the lobsters from the shells and clean thoroughly, removing the center vein and any debris. Remove the claw and knuckle meat from the shells and cut into ½-inch pieces. Cut the tail meat down the center vertically and then also cut into ½-inch pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl. Cut the calamari tubes into ½-inch thick rings and leave the heads with tentacles, whole. The octopus should just be cut simply in half. Place all the fish in a large mixing bowl and await the other ingredients.
Mix the crudo:
In the large mixing bowl of the fish, add in the minced shallot, garlic, chili flakes, herbs, capers, vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Chill in the refrigerator for about two hours, allowing the fish to marinate with herbs and vinegar. This will provide the acidic punch of the salad and flavor the shellfish.
Arrange the crudo on a large plate. It should be mixed with the herbs and ingredients appear like a ceviche. Top with the baby arugala and then dress with residual vinegar, oil, herbs, and capers. Serve with warm country bread.
Photo: Moya Mcallister
Courtesy BLT Steak
SOUR CREAM CHEESECAKE
from Westchester Magazine Managing Editor John Bruno Turiano
“This cheesecake is a rich combination of sweet and sour. It’s a challenge to have just one piece—I suggest sneaking into the kitchen around 11 pm when everyone else is sleeping off the day’s carb-heavy, tryptophan-rich repast.”—John Bruno Turiano
1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter, melted
For filling (all filling ingredients should be room temperature)
12 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup heavy cream
For sour cream topping:
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 340° F. Combine first four ingredients. Add butter. Mix, first with fork and then with hands. Press into 9-inch pie plate to form shell. Refrigerate for an hour before baking to help prevent crumbling. Bake about 3 minutes. Chill.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat cream cheese in mixer until smooth. Mix in vanilla, sugar, and egg and egg yolk (one at a time) at moderate speed. Add heavy cream. Beat until smooth.
Stir sour cream and sugar briefly, just to mix
Pour filling into chilled crust. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 25 minutes at 350°. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Starting at edge, spoon sour cream topping onto cheesecake and spread evenly to center.
Servings: 8 (one 9-inch pie)
from La Bella Havana
“This is a very Latin traditional Christmas recipe and is also served year-round. Our customers love it!”— Chef Javier
5-7 lbs pork butt
1 Tbsp adobo
2 cloves garlic
1 sour orange
1 Tbsp oregano
black pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)
In a large pan, marinate the pork with sour orange, garlic, oregano, adobo, black pepper, and salt the night prior to cooking.
Set the oven to 275°, place the pork in a pan, cover well (or place in an oven bag), place in the oven, and let cook for 3½ to 4½ hours.
Serve with Moros y Christianos (black beans and white rice mixed together) and maduros (ripe yellow plantain).
MAMA LEONE’S OLD-STYLE PIZZELLES
from Westchester Magazine Chief Copy Editor Carol Caffin
“When I was little, my grandmother used to make these pizzelles every Christmas Eve using an old stove-top pizzelle iron that looked a Victorian bed warmer! I was her ‘helper’ and would shape the dough balls and hand them to her. Unlike some pizzelle recipes, the batter in this recipe is stiff—like drop-cookie dough—not liquid; the dough is shaped into balls and pressed in the iron, rather than poured. This old Italian recipe also uses anise seeds, rather than extract. The result is a heavier, denser, but just as crisp pizzelle that bursts with flavor when you bite into it. When my grandmother passed away, my mother (‘Mama Leone’) and I kept the tradition going—with an electric iron—and now, my son and I make these pizzelles on Christmas Eve for family and neighbors, eating a few as we go. The entire house smells like vanilla and anise. I love ‘em!”— Carol Caffin
Ingredients (recipe may be halved or doubled):
1 dozen extra-large eggs
2 ½ cups sugar
2 cups Crisco shortening
7 cups (yes, 7) all-purpose flour
3 ½ tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 to 4 tsp anise seeds (or more, if you prefer a bolder anise flavor)
• In an electric mixer, beat the eggs slightly, add the sugar, and then beat again.
• Add the Crisco, vanilla, flour, salt, and anise seeds, and mix well, using the mixer’s dough hook attachment, if it has one (dough will be VERY stiff).
• Using your hands, loosely shape dough into one-inch balls. (You don’t have to shape all the balls at this point; just enough to get you started. This is a great recipe for two or more people to make—one or two people can shape the dough balls while another is pressing them into the iron).
• Heat the pizzelle iron according to directions. When the iron is ready (in a minute or two), place one dough ball in the center of each pizzelle “plate” (most modern irons have two plates), close lid, and lock for approximately 30 seconds, or according to manufacturer’s directions (times vary widely according to type of iron).
• Unlock iron, remove pizzelles with nonstick spatula, and discard the first two pizzelles if you have not used the iron for a long time, as they may have an aftertaste.
• Continue rolling into balls and cooking in the iron, making sure to time the cooking of the pizzelles. Since each iron is different, you may need to tweak the time by a few seconds to achieve a light golden-brown color. (Do not overcook!)
• Place pizzelles on a wire rack to cool, then remove to a plate once they’ve hardened.
• Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Yields: Approx 12 dozen pizzelles
ROASTED CHICKEN WITH CARROT, SHIITAKE, AND LENTIL SALAD
from Good-Life Gourmet
“Roasted chicken with lentil salad is a dish that I often make around this time of year. I usually make this recipe for friends and family on a cold night—it is so simple and warm, it’s the perfect dinner.”— Eric C. Korn, Executive Chef, Good-Life Gourmet; www.good-lifegourmet.com
Ingredients— Carrot Shiitake and Lentil Salad:
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 tomato, diced
3 cups lentils
9 cups vegetable stock
10 sliced shitake mushrooms, stems removed
salt and pepper
• Combine lemon juice, Dijon, and olive oil.
• Sweat onion, garlic and carrot over low heat, then add tomato and cook 5 minutes more.
• Add lentils and cover with stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Let cool.
• While lentils are cooking, sauté mushrooms in small batches. Let cool.
• Combine lemon dressing, lentils, and mushrooms.
Ingredients—French Roasted Chicken:
2 five-pound chickens
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon; save stems
2 lemons, zested
1 stick butter
salt and pepper
• Combine butter, chopped tarragon, and lemon zest.
• Stuff chicken carcasses with lemons and tarragon stems.
• Season chickens and rub with tarragon butter.
• Tie chickens and, over medium heat, brown all over.
• Finish chickens in 400° F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted between the thigh and the breast reads 160 °F
AUNT LYNDA’S FAMOUS FRENCH TOAST
from Westchester Magazine Advertorial Writer Barbara Hines
“Who doesn’t love brunch? The timing is perfect [you get to sleep late]. Champagne usually shows up. And, typically, the menu features fresh baked goods right out of the oven. Through the years, the ladies in my family [there are many!] have celebrated special occasions with a lovely brunch. This fragrant, cake-like French toast casserole, made famous by Aunt Lynda, is always the highlight.”—Barbara Hines
1 French bread/baguette, cut into 1-inch slices
6 large organic eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup light cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp light corn syrup
Grease a 9-inch square pan, and arrange bread slices overlapping to fill pan. In medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour over bread, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine butter, sugar, walnuts, and corn syrup. Spread evenly over bread. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffy and golden. Serve with maple syrup.
SAFFRON SEAFOOD RISOTTO (Scallops, Shrimp, and Crabmeat)
from Eastchester Fish Gourmet
“This is a favorite from our restaurant and a crowd pleaser for Christmas Eve”—Chef Arsenio Flores
2 cups Arborio rice
½ white onion, diced
½ fennel bulb, diced
1 cup asparagus, cut into quarters (approx. 1 ½ inch pieces)
1 cup fresh tomatoes (seeded)
1 cup white wine
8 cups chicken stock
2 pinches saffron
2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ lb (21-25) cleaned wild shrimp
½ lb sea scallops, cut into quarters
½ lb Maryland jumbo lump crabmeat
Salt and pepper to taste
Diced chives for garnish
• Dice tomatoes
• Blanche the asparagus and set aside with tomatoes (uncooked)
• Sauté onion and fennel in olive oil and, when onion is translucent, add 2 cups of Arborio rice.
• Sauté risotto, onion, and fennel for 2 minutes, then add 1 cup of white wine.
• Reduce wine and add 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 pinches of saffron to the risotto.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.
• Bring to a boil then reduce the flame and simmer the risotto for approximately 15 to 20 minutes (uncovered), stirring frequently to prevent burning.
• Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock gradually.
• When risotto is al dente, remove from flame and cool on a sheet pan.
• Sauté scallops and shrimp in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes.
• Add the risotto to the pan with 2 cups of chicken stock, sauté, and stir frequently.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.
• When shrimp and scallops are cooked, add asparagus, tomatoes, and crabmeat, 2 tablespoons of butter, and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.
• Garnish with diced chives
SPICY TURKEY CHAAT
from Chutney Masala
“This recipe is the perfect for left over turkey and works for us every time. After a relatively bland turkey, this spiced up salad is the perfect antidote. It’s a fresh and zesty low-fat salad that can also be used to make sandwiches and wraps.”—Chef/Owner Navjot Arora
1 lb leftover turkey, cut into strips
2 oz red and green peppers, julienned (total: approx 1 pepper)
1 small red onion, sliced
1 sprig fresh cilantro, chopped
1 to 2 oz (depending on taste preference) green chile or jalapeño pepper, cut into strips
1 Tsp chaat masala
Pinch of red chili powder/cayenne pepper
Pinch of roasted cumin powder* (directions below)
Juice of one lemon
Mix together all the ingredients above, except lettuce. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce.
*To make fresh roasted cumin powder, heat a skillet on high and toast cumin seeds, stirring constantly for a maximum of 2 minutes, or until the cumin seeds release their aroma. (Constant stirring will ensure even toasting of the cumin seeds.) Cool down and grind in a coffee grinder or a pepper mill.
NO-BAKE PEANUT BUTTER DROPS
from Westchester Magazine Articles Editor Marisa LaScala
“This recipe is from my mother-in-law. My husband’s family has a huge repertoire of cookies and sweets they make at Christmastime. When we got married, this was the first one we attempted to do on our own, because it doesn’t require any baking—it’s a tradition in my family to just go to the bakery, so I’m not that skilled in the kitchen.”—Marisa LaScala
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 cups oven-toasted rice cereal
¾ cup chunky peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar and corn syrup. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Fold in remaining ingredients until well blended. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cool until firm. Store airtight.
Yields: 36 peanut butter drops
from Westchester Magazine Account Executive Jill Coronel
“My mother's family came over from Vienna, Austria during the war and brought with them the traditional holiday recipes. A favorite has always been since I can remember, latkes for Chanukah. Now my mother's friend Bernie who considers himself the Latke King prepares them for us. This is his secret recipe only for Westchester Magazine.”—Jill Coronel
10 large potatoes, peeled and placed in cold water
4 large onions
½ cup matzo meal
2 tsp salt
1 cup oil
• Hand-grate potatoes and onions in a large mixing bowl. Strain extra
water when finished.
• Add, eggs, matzo meal, and salt. Mix well.
• In a 10-inch skillet, pre-heat the oil.
• When oil is hot, place latke mixture in the oil by large tablespoonfuls.
• Fry on one side until golden brown for about 4 to 5 minutes; turn over latkes for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
• Place on paper towels to drain, and continue until all batter is used.
• Serve with applesauce, and enjoy
Servings: Approx 10-15
GINGER CRÈME BRÛLÉE
from Celebrity Chef, Caterer & Event Planner Nisa Lee
“A signature favorite of all my clients, from Justin Beiber, Halle Berry, and Vanessa Williams to the former Duchesses of Luxemburg. Everyone always asks, “What’s the mysterious spice?” I say, “ginger.” They respond with “Wow, it’s so subtle!”—Nisa Lee
3 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp coarsely grated, peeled fresh ginger
10 large organic egg yolks
1 cup plus 2 tsp organic cane sugar
Bordeaux cookies (1package of Pepperidge Farm)
• Preheat oven to 325°F.
• Combine cream and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat.
• Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes.
• Strain cream into small bowl, pressing on solids in sieve.
• Whisk yolks and 1cup sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in warm cream.
• Divide custard among eight ¾-cup ramekins or custard cups. Place ramekins in large roasting pan. Pour enough warm water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.
• Bake custards just until set in center when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes.
• Remove custards from water bath; chill uncovered until cold, at least 3 hours. Cover and chill overnight.
• Preheat broiler. Place custards on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with ½ tsp of remaining sugar.
• Broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, turning sheet for even browning, about 1 minute.
• Refrigerate custards until topping is cold and brittle, about 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
• Garnish custards with Bordeaux cookies and mint and serve.
LENKA’S GEFILTE FISH
from Westchester Magazine Editor-in-Chief Esther Davidowitz
“I know some people who have never had homemade gefilte fish. It has no resemblance whatsoever to what comes out of a jar. My mom’s gefilte fish is silken, subtle, and sublime. Try it once and you’ll never buy that stuff in jars.”—Esther Davidowitz
For the fish:
2½ lbs ground fresh pike
2½ lbs ground whitefish
salt to taste
1 medium onion, grated
sugar to taste (or about 3 Tbsp)
For the broth:
3 or 4 carrots, cut into large pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 or 3 Tbsp sugar
salt to taste
• Using a blade, chop the fish for 10 minutes. Add salt. Add the remaining fish ingredients and mix well.
• Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
• Using wet hands, form balls with the mixture (whatever size you prefer).
• Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the fish. Add the carrots and onion to the water and bring to a boil.
• Add the fish and cook on low heat for 1½ hours.
• Add the sugar and salt to the broth, adjusting to taste.
• Let cool and store in the refrigerator.
Servings: 12 to 15
from Neméa Greek Taverna
“This is a fun and delicious cocktail to make and even more fun to drink. It tastes like Christmas.”—Rob Levine, Head Bartender
3½ oz gingersnap vodka
2½ oz butterscotch vanilla vodka
1 oz white crème de cacao
½ oz dark crème de cacao (for “gingerbread color”)
1½ oz ginger simple syrup made with fresh ginger
* All ingredients are approximate and may be adjusted according to taste.
Crushed graham crackers
Crushed gingerbread cookies
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch cinnamon sugar
Rim a 7-ounce martini glass with agave nectar, butterscotch sundae syrup, or honey.
Dip glass in “rim ingredients”: crushed graham crackers, crushed gingerbread cookies, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and cinnamon sugar.
Combine martini ingredients in shaker and pour into glass. Serve with gingerbread cookies, if desired.
Servings: Varies, depending on size of glass.
NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE COCONUT OATMEAL CHRISTMAS COOKIES
from Westchester Magazine Senior Editor Robert Schork
“With 13 grandchildren and even more great-grandchildren, my grandmother was busy for the whole month of December making these no-bake cookies, which were her most requested Christmas specialty. Timing was everything—if you stopped by at just the right time, she’d have a just-cooled fresh batch that she’d invite you to sample, ‘for quality control purposes.’”—Robert Schork
3 cups quick oats
1 cup shredded coconut or coconut flakes
½ cup raisins (amount can vary, depending on preference)
½ cup chopped walnuts (amount can vary, depending on preference)
2 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 stick butter
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Bring milk and butter to a boil; add vanilla extract.
Stir well, then mix in dry ingredients.
Remove from heat.
Spoon mounds of warm mixture onto wax paper; allow about 3 hours to cool and harden.
Be sure to store cookies in enclosed tins or plastic bags to keep moist.
Yields: 2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on size
"My favorite family-style dinner to serve when it's chilly outside!"—Chef Octavio Sandoval
1 lb monkfish or red snapper, cubed
1 lb striped bass, cubed
24 top neck clams
36 PEI mussels
24 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 leeks (white part only)
½ cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp saffron
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 cup white wine
9 cups fish stock (see recipe below*) or clam juice
Salt and pepper
In a large stockpot, heat the vegetable oil. Add shallots, fennel, leeks, and garlic and sauté until translucent. Then add saffron, chopped tomatoes, and white wine; reduce by half. Add fish stock or clam juice, mussels, and clams; reduce by half. Add shrimp and fish and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Rouille (see recipe below**) and French baguette.
Fish Stock Ingredients:
4 lbs fish bones and shrimp shells, rinsed well with cold water
2 medium onions
3 leeks, washed, split lengthwise (green part)
2 carrots, whole
1 celery stalk
1 fennel core
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Place herbs, vegetables, and peppercorns in bottom of stockpot, then add fish bones and shells. Add enough cold water to barely cover the bones. Bring the stock to a slow simmer, skimming off any froth that floats to the top. Maintain a bare simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain, cool, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes about 9 cups.
1 loaf French baguette, sliced
1 loaf country bread, crust removed
1 small shallot
1 clove garlic
2 cups roasted red peppers, freshly roasted or jarred
Salt and pepper
Soak the bread in water until soft. Drain and squeeze out all liquid and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the roasted red peppers, garlic, and shallots then add the wet bread and pulse until blended together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread over toasted baguette.
from Westchester Magazine Associate Editor Ben Brody
“We knew we were on the right track with this dish when we heard the story of a diner owner who insisted the same recipe came to her in a dream/vision. Even though it’s the simplest holiday recipe we make, these shallow-poached eggs—cooked with to-the-second precision and zen-like spatula mastery by my sister—are a total staple of our brunches.”—Ben Brody
2 large eggs
Approx. ½ cup water (or enough to cover the bottom of a medium sauté pan with ½ inch of water)
1 tsp distilled vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
In a medium sauté pan, bring water to a boil. Add distilled vinegar (which helps keep the egg whites together during cooking) and then reduce heat so water can simmer. Drop the eggs into the water. Let them cook for 90 seconds, spooning water over the top occasionally. Cover the pan, and cook an extra minute. Eggs are done when the white over the yolk has just set. (For firmer yolks, cook under the cover for two minutes.)
Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula, being careful not to break the yolk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on buttered toast, breaking the yolk just before eating.
* To make more than one serving, simply drop two more eggs into the water once the previous serving has been removed. You may have to remove excess egg white between preparations and replenish the vinegar every second or third preparation.
CORNBREAD CHESTNUT STUFFING
from Moderne Barn
"This is a recipe I learned from my grandmother when I was growing up and helping her in the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. I loved watching her take the time to roast the chestnuts and I would help her peel them. To this day, the scent of roasted chestnuts always brings me back to the memory of helping her with the cornbread chestnut stuffing."—Chef Ethan
8 cups cornbread (small cubes, dried in oven)
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
6-8 stalks celery, diced
½ pound bacon, diced
¼ cup oil
1 cup chestnuts, roasted, shelled, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme), chopped
6 large eggs
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
In a heavy-bottomed pot, render bacon and cook vegetables in oil until tender. Place bacon and vegetable mixture into mixing bowl to cool a few minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except cranberries and chestnuts. Mix together and then fold in chestnuts and rehydrated cranberries. Place stuffing inside turkey to cook, or cook separately in buttered baking dish until internal reaches 165°F.
Servings: 6 – 8 (as side dish)
from Havana Central
“I’ve been eating this exact pernil asado recipe my entire life and it has a special place in my heart. My mother passed this recipe on to me, and her mother to her, and so on; it’s been in my family for generations. The memories that flow and are created from this recipe are so important to my family and I that I would never change it. I hope that the process of creating this dish and eating it together can do the same for your family.”— Executive Chef Stanley Licairac
10 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder (yield: 6 - 8pounds)
4 oz apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, chopped
14 oz canned pimentos, drained
16 oz manzanilla olives
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
20 garlic cloves
¼ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp cumin
8 oz orange juice
8 oz lime juice
16 oz olive oil
Cut 1-inch holes all over pork butt/shoulder. Fill each hole with a garlic clove. In a large mixing bowl, mix all other ingredients together. Place pork butt/shoulder into bowl and marinate overnight. Place in a 325° F (160° C) oven, and cook for approximately 5 to 6 hours. (It will take between 35 and 40 minutes per pound for the meat to reach a center temperature of 160° F.)
RAW KALE SALAD
from Rona Naseri, sister of Westchester Magazine Web Editor Dorna Naseri
“I was inspired to make this dish after trying a similar salad when dining out in New York City. I felt that by using butternut squash, you get to savor creamy, sweet flavors in a light, refreshing, earthy salad. A great course to prepare your palate for a holiday feast.”—Rona Naseri
6 cups thinly sliced kale
2 cup cooked, small-diced butternut squash
2/3 cup roughly chopped, toasted almonds
½ cup creamy Pecorino Toscano cheese (such as Toscano cheese with black pepper from Trader Joe’s), crumbled
½ shallot, finely chopped
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
• Cut off the end of the kale and peel each layer apart. Cut out the fibrous stem in the middle of each leaf and discard. Thinly slice the kale, about 1/8 inch.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
• In another bowl, combine the kale, almonds, and butternut squash. Lightly dress the salad with the lemon-shallot vinaigrette.
• Portion the salad into two plates and top with the Pecorino cheese.
CLEAR RED BORSCHT
from Westchester Magazine Photo Editor Marta Kujawa
"This is a wonderful—and easy—Polish recipe for Christmas Eve supper.”—Marta Kujawa
½ liter vegetable broth
4 medium beets, peeled and cut
2 cloves of garlic
Handful of dried mushrooms
Red sour borscht concentrate or 3 Tbsp lemon juice
Boil broth and add peeled and cut beets, garlic, and mushrooms. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add borscht concentrate and salt, then strain; borscht should be clear.
Serve with uszka (little mushroom dumplings).
Servings: 2 – 4
BANANA CREAM PIE
from Westchester Magazine Art Director Aiko Masazumi
“This is a delicious dessert that’s become a holiday tradition—Aiko Masazumi
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup mashed bananas
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 ripe bananas cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and mashed bananas in a large bowl Add butter and stir to moisten. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of a 10-inch glass pie dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Bake crust until set and a light golden color, about 15 minutes. Cool.
Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and whole milk, then egg yolks. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add vanilla bean. Whisk over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Discard vanilla bean. Transfer custard to large bowl; cool completely, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour.
Stir custard and spread 1 cup of it over bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of the sliced bananas, then add another cup of custard, covering bananas completely. Continue layering with remaining bananas and custard. Chill pie until filling is set and crust softens slightly, at least 8 hours. Cut and serve.
Servings: 6 - 8
THOMPSON’S APPLE BLOSSOM BENDER
from The Iron Horse Grill
“We came up with the Thompson’s Apple Blossom Bender when we tasted the unique, local cider from Thompson’s Cider Mill. We knew that we needed to create a great drink to show off the fruits of their orchard.”—Chef Philip McGrath
2 oz Cachaca Rum
2 oz Thompson’s Apple Cider (made by Geoff Thompson of Thompson’s Cider Mill)
1 lime wedge, squeezed
¼ tsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
YELLOW SPLIT-PEA SOUP, FARM STYLE
from Westchester Magazine Features Editor Nancy Claus
“This is the best way to use leftovers from holiday hams.”—Nancy Claus
3 Tbsp oil or bacon fat
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium onions, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped fine
4 quarts water (or enough to cover ham bone)
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 ham shank
2 lbs yellow split peas (green peas neither look nor taste the same!)
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup parsley, minced (for garnish)
In a deep, heavy pot, sauté vegetables in oil until soft, not browned. Add all other ingredients except peas, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook until ham is falling from the bone, remove shank, and cut meat into little pieces. Return meat and bone to the pot and add split peas (rinse peas first and pick out any stones). Cook until the peas have almost disintegrated (about 45 minutes); stir often to prevent scorching. Add more water if soup gets too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. For best flavor, refrigerate overnight, then reheat and serve the next day with fresh parsley.
Servings: 6 – 8, depending on serving size
STICKY BUN BREAKFAST RING
from Westchester Magazine Imaging Specialist Lauren Golde
“My family and I wait for this breakfast all year long!”—Lauren Golde
1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp butter, melted
½ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
¼ cup chopped almonds (optional)
Spray a bundt pan with non-stick spray. In a bowl, combine the melted butter and syrup; set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the bundt pan and sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.
Lay the biscuits, evenly spaced and overlapping, in the bottom of the pan to form a ring. Pour the remaining syrup over the biscuits and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture. Bake at 375° F for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter.
Servings: 6 – 8
STUFFED ARTICHOKES À LA DOTTIE AND FRANCIE
from Westchester Magazine/Hudson Valley Magazine Production Director Kathee Casey-Pennucci
“This recipe is from my mother, Dottie, and her sister, my aunt, Francie. They learned how to make stuffed artichokes from their mother, Katherine. She, ironically enough, was French and German. She cooked Italian food for her husband, Charlie, my Italian grandfather.”—Kathee Casey-Pennucci
1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Romano cheese
3 Tbsp parsley flakes
8 - 10 garlic cloves, finely diced
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
Trim off bottoms of artichokes so they are flat. Then cut the tops (pointy parts) off of all the leaves with scissors. Rinse artichokes so all sand comes out. Spread leaves apart in order to stuff and lie the artichokes face down to drain the water.
Blend all ingredients together, except olive oil.
Stuff artichokes with the stuffing mixture—outside leaves first, pulling apart towards the center and filling. When stuffed, put artichokes in a cast-iron pot on stovetop. Drizzle tops with olive oil. Put about an inch of salted water in pot. Cook in covered pot on medium heat for about an hour. Then sample a leaf to make sure leaves are tender. If not, cook a little more. Serve.