Six recipes for eating, drinking merrier

by Terry B on December 7, 2016

This week, we’re featuring six recipes/ideas from the Blue Kitchen archives for entertaining, celebrating and just feeling festive.

Affordable Spanish Cavas

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

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

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

chevre cheesecake and 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

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.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John/Kitchen Riffs December 7, 2016 at 8:24 am

Always fun to see food roundups! Some great dishes I’m happy to be reminded of. Haven’t had a French 75 in ages, and it’s a great cocktail — and perfect for the season (that bubbly). And I really love the idea of adding duck fat to that chicken liver spread — super idea. Thanks!

Dani H December 7, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Wow! What a wonderfully entertaining post, Terry! Thanks and happy holidays to you and Marion.

Jeri December 7, 2016 at 11:04 pm

I was trying to come up with an inspired dish to celebrate the Christmas/Hanukkah double and your chocolate challah is just the thing. On a personal note, challah is the first bread I ever made. On the occasion of my first and only high school grounding, I spent my “incarceration” learning to make bread. It came out so well I worried that grounding might become a regular thing, but my parents were happy to cut me slack on curfews if I continued to make them challah. That was more than 40 years ago and I will be making it again this year. As always, thank you for your inspiration, and happy holidays to you and yours.

Terry B December 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

Thanks, guys!

Jeri, we’d love to hear what you think of the chocolate challah. And thanks for your kind words.

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