This week, we’re featuring six recipes/ideas from the Blue Kitchen archives for entertaining, celebrating and just feeling festive.
The holidays are upon us. Time for parties, family get-togethers, intimate dinners and even being indulgent on your own. Food—and drink—play a big part in all of it. Let’s start with something to drink.
Budget bubbly from Spain
The French may own the term champagne (seriously, they own it—only a loophole slipped into the Treaty of Versailles, marking the end of World War I, allows California to share the term), but they haven’t cornered the market on the festiveness that is sparkling wine. Since 1872, Spain has produced amazing sparkling wines using the “traditional method”—another legal workaround—called cava, for the cool cellars in which they are fermented. They are generally less costly than their French counterparts and wonderfully drinkable. You’ll find a few of our favorites here. Okay, this isn’t a recipe, but it’s a pretty good idea.
Up your bubbly game: classic French 75 cocktail
Want something a little fancier than just popping a cork? This classic, easy-to-make cocktail is made with gin, champagne, triple sec and lemon juice. You’ll find the recipe and the entertaining story behind its artillery-based name here.
Not exactly foie: Faux Gras Pâté
No, it’s not foie gras, but duck fat added to the butter hints at foie gras’ silky richness in chicken liver pâté. Perfect for the buffet table or as an elegant first course, this luxurious dish is definitely company good—maybe even restaurant good. If you can’t find duck fat, all butter works too.
How the Japanese do bar bites: Blistered Shishito Peppers
Here’s another appetizer—or a delicious addition to a small plates meal. Just four simple ingredients and you eat it with your hands. You can find them at Trader Joe’s, but Marion grew our shishitos in our garden this year. Here’s the recipe.
A tangy twist on cheesecake: Chevre Cheesecake with Hazelnut Crust and Fruit Compote
No, we didn’t forget dessert. Marion makes this cheesecake with mild goat cheese and lemon juice to give it a tangy flavor note. The hazelnut adds a rich, nutty crunch, and the fruit compote a lively tart finish.
Two holidays, one perfect loaf: Chocolate-filled Challah
This year, Hanukkah begins on Christmas Eve. And how better to celebrate both holidays than with this beautiful, traditional Jewish braided bread flavored with semi-sweet chocolate and brown sugar to create an almost dessertlike loaf. In the highly unlikely event there are leftovers, they will make amazing French toast the next morning.