Written By: Tamberlyn Dobrowski
Photography By: Christina Hussey
You cannot beat the time-honored holiday recipes that everyone expects on the table. Here are a few classic recipes with a modern twist. These reinvented classics are sure to freshen up your annual feast.
QUINOA SALAD WITH ROASTED SQUASH, DRIED CRANBERRIES AND PECANS
Quinoa with butternut squash for those who prefer whole grains and no gluten. One of our favorites.
1 cup quinoa
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium Delicata or Butternut squash, seeded and thinly sliced into half moons
1 bunch Tuscan kale, thinly sliced and stems removed
1⁄3 cup pecans, toasted
1⁄3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄3 cup crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet tray to cool completely. Meanwhile, arrange squash on a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden, 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, squash, kale, pecans and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Drizzle over salad and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, crumble feta on top, and serve.
Recipe from Anna Watson Carl, Delish
FENNEL, RED ONION AND FOCACCIA STUFFING
Using focaccia instead of your typical choice adds a nice twist to an otherwise traditional stuffing.
2 pounds plain or onion focaccia, cut into 1-inch dice (16 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium fennel bulbs—halved lengthwise, cored and sliced lengthwise ¼ inch thick
2 red onions, halved and sliced lengthwise ¼ inch thick
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3½ cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the focaccia on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until dry and golden around the edges. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the fennel and onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the fennel mixture into the bowl with the focaccia. Add the stock and toss until the bread is evenly moistened. Season with salt and pepper.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with one tablespoon of the butter. Scrape the stuffing into the baking dish and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the top is golden and crisp. Serve hot.
My favorite creamed spinach is Ina Garten’s recipe. Cut back on the onion and use a very small dice.
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 10-ounce packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened.
Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the spinach mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup Parmesan and the Gruyère on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.
MASHED POTATOES WITH CELERY ROOT
My favorite mashed potato recipe. Pulsing the potatoes in the processor makes them very smooth. I love the addition of celery root—it makes the dish much lighter.
2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into large dice
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
4 cups heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
In a large pot, combine diced potato and diced celery root. Add heavy cream and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Once cooked, remove potatoes and celery root, reserving cream. Add potatoes, celery root, butter and 1½ cups of the reserved cream to a food processor (I add the cream in ½-cup increments). You may need more or less to get the consistency you prefer. Pulse until smooth and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.
PUMPKIN PECAN CRUNCH MUFFINS
Makes 18 muffins
This is the best pumpkin recipe ever. Very light. A must try!
For the topping
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons demerara sugar (raw cane sugar, also called turbinado)
¾ cup chopped pecans
Heaping ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two standard muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
To prepare the topping
Combine the flour, butter, demerara sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. The mixture will be quite wet. Set aside.
To prepare the muffins
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at low speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue beating at medium speed until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary. Turn the speed down to low and mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to muffin pans, filling each muffin tin about ¾ full. Using your hands, divide the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely (use a butter knife to lift them out of pan).
Recipe from Jenn Segal, Once Upon A Chef
NOTES: If you want to make these muffins without the nut topping, increase the sugar in the muffins to 1¾ cup. And reheat muffins by giving them a quick blast in the microwave.