December 9, 2012 – December 15, 2012

Frank Cisneros's Poinsettia Punch

A bright pink, gin-based punch might sound like a light, fruity drink, but it's anything but. Floral NOLET'S Silver Dry Gin takes on warm winter spice through allspice dram and cinnamon syrup, while lemon juice and a touch of grenadine bring in citrus and sweetness. As a garnish, Cisneros recommends a cloved lemon wheel. More

Kenny McCoy's Peg Leg Punch

Brugal Extra Dry Rum meets Cocchi Americano and Gran Classico in this punch from Kenny McCoy of Ward III and The Rum House. If you're used to thinking of rum punches as sugary, tropical concoctions, this will change your mind. More

Bruce Aidells' Turkish Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Shoulder Chops and Carrots

At the same time sour and sticky-sweet, pomegranate molasses is a great secret ingredient to stash. It brightens many a rich dish, especially those made with fatty, gamy cuts like lamb blade chops. In Bruce Aidells' The Great Meat Cookbook, pomegranate molasses is used as a base for a braised-and-glazed lamb blade chop recipe. The dish as a whole is inspired by Turkish cuisine, with a spicy floral rub for the lamb, and a bright finishing sprinkle of fresh herbs (basil and mint), pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts. Aidells' lamb chops would be welcome on any winter time table, but would make an equally dashing holiday meal (as long as you're feeding open-minded diners). More

DIY Rice Milk

While similar to the commercial options, this DIY recipe is not an exact replica of what's on grocery store shelves. If you're looking for a cost-saving option that you are free to flavor to suit your own preferences, however, this is a great way to go. More

Eggnog Cream Pie

If you're a fan of store-bought eggnog, this is the pie for you. It's filled with a rich pudding made from eggnog and lightened with clouds of whipped cream. Shaving fresh nutmeg over the top really makes this pie sing. More

Royal Garland Fizz

Jon Harris of Firefly in Washington, DC was inspired by the tradition of stringing cranberries and popcorn into tree garlands when he created this refreshing and frothy cocktail. More

Poinsettia Cocktail

This recipe is for "the world's fanciest cranberry juice cocktail." Matthew Ficke of the Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. serves this fruity, effervescent drink during the holiday season and now, so can you. More

Baked Sweet and Spicy Ginger Wings

Along with fresh minced ginger, the ginger beer in this recipe adds a nice ginger spice to the sauce, as well as sweetness to help round out the heat from a single habanero chili pepper. The resultant dish is a great balance of sweet and spicy that provides a nice change of pace from standard Buffalo wings. More

Bruce Aidells' Stinco (Braised and Roasted Pork Shanks)

Shanks are often overlooked when it comes to choosing a meat for braising, especially in the home kitchen. Sure, intrepid cooks may simmer osso bucco once in a lifetime, but it's rare to see a shank or two appear on the table. In The Great Meat Cookbook, Bruce Aidells presents a great case for bringing pork shanks to the holiday table with his recipe for Stinco. For this Italian-style pot roast, Aidells braises a couple of meaty shanks in a sumptuous sauce of white wine, porcinis, and prosciutto until quiveringly tender. The shanks then get a quick blast in a hot oven to brown and are then served on a soft bed of mashed potatoes, perfect for sopping up all of the potent sauce. The shanks make for an unconventional, yet dignified centerpiece for just about any holiday table. More

Crumpets

If soft butter had a true soul mate, it would be the crumpet. Each crumpet is filled with tiny crevices that, when warmed, become the ideal space to fill with butter. There are few things better first thing in the morning than a warm crumpet, a pot of tea, and butter. More

Classic European Nougat

At this time of year, store shelves are full of torrone and its varieties. I spotted coffee, cranberry and pistachio versions on my last trip - I also noted the hefty price tag. Make your own, fresh, giant batch of soft, chewy (or firm!) nougat, and flavor it however you like. More

Bruce Aidells' Pot-Roasted Grass-Fed Beef Chuck with Winter Root Vegetables

Some may argue that pot roast is not refined enough for a holiday meal. To those folks, I say, "Bah humbug!" When properly prepared, like Bruce Aidells' Pot-Roasted Grass-Fed Beef Chuck with Winter Root Vegetables, the humble chuck roast can be just as enticing as a bone-in rib roast. This recipe, from The Great Meat Cookbook, produces a meal with multitudinous meaty layers--bacon starts the show, rendering its fat with which to sear the chuck, and a dense red wine reduction forms the backbone (along with beef stock) of the braising liquid. A flurry of root vegetables, shallots, slow cooked onions, garlic add deep vegetal flavor to complement the earthiness of the grass-fed beef. Best of all, the dish is almost entirely hands-off, sending its luscious aromas into the kitchen to entice even the most Scrooge-like of guests. More

Chicken Taquitos with Guacamole

Call them taquitos, flautas, or simply fried tacos, but what I love about them remains the same: a soft and spicy filling housed in a crisp but still pliant tortilla shell, with fresh ingredients on top balance everything out. I also appreciate that they are handy for dressing up leftovers, especially roast chicken. More

Bruce Aidells' Spinach and Gorgonzola-Stuffed Flank Steak

For a big, rollicking holiday meal, a large beef or pork roast serves as an excellent centerpiece. But for those with a smaller holiday table, a more diminutive entree is warranted. Bruce Aidell's Spinach and Gorgonzola-Stuffed Flank Steak from The Great Meat Cookbook is just the ticket. The stuffing is a snap to throw together but full of funky blue cheese and earthy spinach. Since the cheese makes the filling sticky, it stays put when rolled up into a pounded (or butterflied) flank steak. A quick sear and 25 minutes of roasting later, and the elegant, yet reasonably-sized holiday roast can be on the table. More