Archives for Christmas foods

this is via Epicurious  | November 2005. A recipe by Crescent Dragonwagon from Passionate Vegetarian


  • 1 teaspoon of butter or Better (see tips, below)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushroom caps (about 1/3 pound)
  • 3 1/4 cups vegetable stock (see tips, below)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon golden miso (sweet white miso)
  • 1 tablespoon dark miso (traditional red miso)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see tips, below)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet, well sprayed with cooking spray, over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Raise the heat slightly and add the mushroom caps. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes more.

2. Pour the vegetable stock into a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, preferably nonstick, and warm over medium-low heat.

3. Pour the wine into a food processor and add the garlic, flour, golden miso, dark miso, nutritional yeast, and mustard. Buzz together to form a paste.

4. Whisk the paste into the warmed, but not hot, vegetable stock. Gently bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Take a ladleful of this liquid and swirl it into the sautéed mushroom mixture, stirring well to scrape up any little flavorful bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the mushrooms, onions, and liquid to the pot with the stock, scraping the sauté pan clean.

5. Reduce the heat to very low and let the sauce simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Correct the seasonings with salt (you’ll need little, if any, since miso is salty) and a lot of pepper. Serve hot, ladled over whatever good thing you are serving.

crescent dragonwagon shares her tips with epicurious:• To make “Better,” Dragonwagon combines in a food processor: 1 pound salted butter at room temperature, 2 1/2 cups macadamia nut, almond, or avocado oil, and 1 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste. She puts the mixture into 3 or 4 ramekins, refrigerating one and freezing the rest. It’s just as delicious as butter, but more healthful, easier to spread, and better for sautéing because its smoking point is higher than that of plain butter.
• If you don’t have time to make your own vegetable stock, Dragonwagon recommends the dark vegetable stock by Kitchen Basics. Packaged or homemade, these stocks are certainly healthier than meat stocks, but as Dragonwagon notes in Passionate Vegetarian, a high-quality vegetable stock does not sacrifice flavor: “It is good stock that underpins the glossy, piquant, sweet, or hot sauces that transform tofu, tempeh, and seitan from plain basics to genuinely satisfying dishes that speak cogently of abundance, not deprivation or blandness for the sake of health.”
• Miso is a soft, highly concentrated, soy-based seasoning paste, and a standard item in Japanese kitchens. Generally, darker misos have a stronger, heartier, and saltier flavor than the more delicate and sweeter white misos. Miso is available in Asian markets and natural food stores.
• Nutritional yeast is a savory molasses-fed yeast that’s rich in B-complex vitamins and protein. It is widely available in bulk at natural food stores.

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From Gourmet via epicurious


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated peeled ginger
  • at least 2 Bosc pears maybe 3 or 4
  • Accompaniment: whipped cream


Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, knocking out excess.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.

Melt butter with water.

Beat together brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well. Beat in flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Add butter mixture and ginger, beating just until smooth. Pour into cake pan.

Peel pear and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Scatter over batter. Put most of them closer to the edges so the center of the cake cooks through. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes and then raise to 350 for 10. until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool slightly.

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apple cakeThis is a slightly modified version of Teddie’s Apple Cake from The Essential New York Times Cookbook via epicurious


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter (I’ll keep experimenting with a little less)
  • 2 cups sugar (all white or 1 c white and 1 c brown)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • at least 3 cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced apples, 5 is probably better
  • 1 cup raisins or cranberries
  • you could try adding 3/4 cup of apple butter
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.

2. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer with a paddle (or in a bowl with a hand mixer) for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add the vanilla, apples, and raisins and stir until combined.

3. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out.

4. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cooking notes: 
If mixing the batter in a mixer, use a paddle attachment and turn the speed to low once you add the flour mixture, or the texture of the cake will be tough. Even better, mix the rest by hand.

The recipe called for Red Delicious or McIntosh apples, but I’d recommend a variety that’s brighter in flavor and firmer in texture, such as a Honeycrisp, Macoun, or Granny Smith.

The apple slices can be halved if you want a more uniform texture.

This cake can be eaten at any time of day, including breakfast. If you serve it for dessert, the recipe suggested a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I prefer to whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks, then fold in crème fraîche to taste.

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This one is from Gourmet. My first try had too much cinnamon. But it was super easy.


1 pie crust
15-oz can canned solid-pack pumpkin (about 2 cups). I used 2 cups of real pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt


Make pastry dough as directed. Roll out dough into a 14-inch round on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch glass pie plate (4-cup capacity). Crimp edge decoratively and prick bottom all over. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°°F.

Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake shell until pale golden, 6 to 10 minutes more. Cool in pan on a rack. Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, spices, and salt, then pour into shell.

Bake pie in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling is set but center still trembles slightly. (Filling will continue to set as pie cools.) Transfer to rack and cool completely

A recipe from epicurious. We made this stuffing for Christmas 2010 and it was a hit but we all agreed the bread should be cut a lot smaller.

1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 8-ounce French-bread baguettes, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Combine 1 1/2 cups hot water and dried porcini in small bowl. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to work surface; chop finely. Pour mushroom soaking liquid into small bowl, leaving any sediment behind, and reserve.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shiitake and button mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and porcini mushrooms. Cook until almost all wine evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover mushroom mixture and porcini soaking liquid separately and chill. Reheat mushroom mixture to lukewarm before continuing.) Transfer mixture to very large bowl.

Mix bread into mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper; mix in egg.

To bake stuffing in turkey:
Loosely fill main cavity and neck cavity of turkey with stuffing. Add enough mushroom soaking liquid to remaining stuffing to moisten slightly (1/4 cup to 3/4 cup, depending on amount of remaining stuffing). Generously butter baking dish. Spoon remaining stuffing into prepared dish. Cover dish with buttered foil, buttered side down. Bake stuffing in dish — alongside turkey or while turkey is resting — until heated through, about 25 minutes. Uncover stuffing in dish. Bake until top of stuffing is slightly crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.

To bake stuffing in dish:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add enough reserved mushroom soaking liquid to stuffing to moisten (3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups). Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 40 minutes.

We just mixed these two dips together and that was even better. Christmas 2010.


2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon harissa or hot sauce


1. Using the side of a knife, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt to a smooth paste. Transfer the garlic to a bowl and whisk in the yogurt, mayonnaise, buttermilk and pepper. Season with salt. Divide the dip into two bowls.
2. In a small skillet, cook the oil, tomato paste and harissa over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then whisk the mixture into one bowl of dip. Serve the dips side by side.