Sure, we all love cranberry sauce served alongside the turkey or ham on Christmas Day, but especially when slathered on the day-after sandwich. But I propose that there is another condiment that is equally (if not better) suited for festive seasonal fare: curried apple chutney. Made out of local apple varieties and warming, fragrant spices, it’s the perfect complement to your starring bird. Best of all, this is a recipe that not only can be made ahead, but actually improves with time. This recipe is safe for water-bath canning, so you can prepare the chutney quickly and easily, then store it on the shelf until you’re ready for the big day.
Curried Apple Chutney Recipe
Continue Reading Make-Ahead Curried Apple Chutney for Christmas (and Leftovers)
Throughout the month of December, Venezuelan bakers produce countless loaves of pan de jamón — sweet dough rolls containing ham, olives, raisins and sometimes bacon that are baked and sliced. Served alongside hallacas (tamales), pernil (roast pork), ensalada de gallina (chicken salad) and ponche de crema (eggnog) on Christmas Eve, the recipe hails from a bakery in Caracas, Venezuela. It is simple to prepare and often shared with loved ones.
When I return to Florida for the holidays, I am greeted by one of my favorite adopted traditions: a pan de jamón prepared by family friends or neighbors in place of the traditional fruitcakes and panettones. While roasted pork and glazed hams dominate holiday tables throughout Latin America, the lighter and varied seasonal dishes like Venezuela’s pan de jamón are all the more special for coming only once a year.
Pan de Jamón Navideño: Christmas Ham Bread Recipe
Continue Reading Venezuelan Pan de Jamon: Christmas Ham Bread
We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.
With every passing year, the holiday season seems to get more and more expensive, as the pressure to have the best gifts, the most current decor and the fanciest family cards increases. Whether you’re scrambling before Christmas guests’ arrival or are wishing you hadn’t made a dent in your wallet for yet another box of metallic knick-knacks, we’re here to show you how you can create chic decorations using products already in your home. You can spin recycled paper goods (think books, magazines and newspaper) into a sophisticated and eco-friendly backdrop for your next holiday bash. Here, paper trees and bunting are paired with a build-your-own waffle bar — perfect for Christmas Day — and candy cane-topped mugs of hot cocoa. Frosty blue details are the final touches on this display, turning your home into the most unique of winter wonderlands.
To create this easy waffle bar holiday brunch, you’ll need five essential ingredients:
Continue Reading Party in Five: Belgian Waffle Bar Holiday Brunch
Some people are just better at celebrating holidays. In Puerto Rico, the season starts after Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas and Three Kings Day to the Octavas and Octavitas, a religious observance that extends the celebration through mid-January. The Fiestas de la Calle de San Sebastián caps it all off over the course of three days in Old San Juan. Friends will show up at loved ones’ houses singing and playing music, like Christmas caroling but with maracas, güiros and cuatros.
It’s common during these celebrations to make large batches of pasteles. Similar to tamales, pasteles are a combination of grated green unripe bananas called guineos, plantains and either yautia or yuca, blended to make a masa seasoned with achiote oil. The filling — pork, ham or chicken simmered in a sofrito of peppers and onions, then mixed with garbanzos, olives, capers and raisins — is tucked into the prepared dough and wrapped in plantain leaves. Once the pasteles are filled and wrapped, they can be frozen, then steamed or boiled just before serving so they’re ready to welcome anyone who may turn up at your door.
Pasteles Puertorriqueños: Puerto Rican Tamales Recipe
Continue Reading Puerto Rican Pasteles: Tamales for the Holidays
While it seems like the holidays begin earlier every year, in Colombia the season has always started on Dec. 7 with la noche del alumbrado, or Day of the Candles. People light candles in their homes and by parks, public landmarks, stores and churches. The celebration continues on Dec. 16 with the first of nightly novenas that will continue until Christmas Eve, when families and friends gather for prayers, petitions, villancicos (carols) and, of course, food.
While the observances vary from family to family, one constant element is the buñuelos: fritters made out of a smooth dough composed of fresh cheese blended with cornstarch, an egg and milk. I was given this recipe by family friend Oscar Marin who recalls buñuelos made with freshly ground corn in his youth. He makes sure to get the oil to just the right temperature so that the buñuelos rise to the top and swell up as they turn in the oil. If they rise too quickly, they won’t cook all the way through — too slowly, they’ll take on too much oil and become heavy. Traditionally served with hot chocolate or natilla made with whole cane sugar for the perfect combination of salty and sweet, buñuelos are a seasonal treat that are longed for year-round.
Buñuelos Colombianos: Colombian Cheese Fritters Recipe
Continue Reading Buñuelos Colombianos: Colombian Cheese Fritters
No matter what you’re planning to make for Christmas dinner, it’s important to choose your wine carefully to enhance the flavors of your dish and ensure that the wine tastes optimal. We picked our top 10 Christmas main dish recipes and recommend varietals for each.
Giada’s Bracoile (Shown Above)
Braised beef with Pecorino, Provolone and marinara is an easy match for fruity Merlot.
Chuck’s Rib Roast With Mushroom Crust
Prime rib with Cabernet is a classic — and for good reason. An earthier Cabernet would match the wild mushroom crust; a more-tannic one would do well with the rich meat.
Continue Reading Wine Pairings for Christmas Dinner
Southerners know a thing or two about showy desserts—the taller and flashier the better—which explains why my mother’s signature sweet was a stunning English trifle filled with layers of sherry-soaked pound cake, creamy egg custard, raspberry preserves and vanilla bean whipped cream.
Thanks to Mom, that classic trifle has also become my favorite way to wow a crowd. I mean, what’s not to like? It looks gorgeous on a side table and keeps everyone on their toes until it’s time to serve. While I will always cherish my mom’s version, this year I decided I needed my very own pièce de résistance. And in my book, that means chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
Continue Reading Christmas for Chocoholics: Triple Chocolate Holiday Trifle
The holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge. I mean let’s be real, who wants to count calories while everyone else is enjoying the cheese plate and guzzling wine. It’s a time to celebrate and enjoy the fine things in life – and in my family eating tends to be at the top that list.
That’s exactly why I’m always looking for ways to remix festive recipes using healthier ingredients. We don’t want to lose the authenticity of the dish, but we don’t want the guilt either.
Traditionally, at my family gatherings, I bring a bottle of Coquito. Coquito is a sweet, Puerto Rican drink made from coconut, milk, and rum. It’s creamy, has a cinnamon scent and is the color of winter white, making it the perfect holiday drink — and it’s always a hit at parties. I was determined to find a way to make a guiltless version of Coquito. It took a few tries, but I finally got it. And the best part? My family hasn’t even noticed! In fact, the new and improved version tastes even better than the original. With the healthier ingredient substitutions, it’s light, airy, and pairs perfectly with appetizers, the main course and dessert! All you need is half a cup over ic, and you’re good to go!
Angie Martinez is an American radio personality and television host. Known as “The Voice of New York”, her afternoon radio show has consistently been ranked #1 with more young listeners than any other radio program in the country. She is also an advocate for healthy eating in the Latin Community.
I love the look of Bunuelos — the treat is so enticing with their perfectly round shape. They are a Christmastime favorite in Columbia, where the fried yeast balls are stuffed with a white salty cheese and are more savory than sweet. The dish is traditionally served with natilla, a custard-like dessert that is very similar to flan, and with ‘manjar blanco’ for a Christmas trifecta.
Columbian Natilla (the ‘s’ gets dropped in Columbia) differs from the natilla in other countries since they don’t use eggs. This dish gets served chilled and is the perfect accompaniment to a crunchy, salty bunuelo.
Continue Reading A Fried Christmastime Treat: Bunuelos
Dreaming of a warm-weather vacation this holiday season? Even if you can’t drop everything and jet off on a beach adventure, you can bring a taste of the tropics to your Christmas menu with sorrel punch.
Sorrel punch can be found throughout the Caribbean and in many Latin American countries, but it’s particularly popular in Jamaica as a Christmas cocktail.
Sorrel, not be confused with the green French sorrel, refers to the red bud of the Roselle plant, also known as the hibiscus flower. The ingredient is called many different names, so be on the lookout when you go to the grocery store. It could be called Flor de Jamaica, sorrel or dried hibiscus flower.
There are many ways to prepare and enjoy sorrel, but during the holiday season, sorrel is boiled with water, and cane sugar, fresh ginger and rum are added. The finished drink has a brilliant red color, making it a great holiday cocktail. There is a similar recipe in Trinidad and Tobago, but instead of adding ginger, they season it with cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.
Continue Reading A Caribbean Christmas Cocktail: Sorrel Punch