It's beginning to feel - and taste - a lot like Christmas ! The tree is up, the snow has coated everything in wonderful white, and the season is in full, festive swing.
Our Christmas menu selection this year is full of fabulous flavor, using the foods and ingredients we love so much around here. We looked for great innovative ways to prepare some classics, but also wanted to have pretty presentation and a bit of a wow factor - this is a once-a-year event, and your table should be anything but ordinary!
...with this festive Pomegranate Cheese Ball by How Sweet It Is. Twinkling pomegranate gems glisten and glow festively in this incredible appetizer that reminds us of a Christmas ornament (an edible, delicious one!) and acts double duty as a centerpiece. This classic-yet-chic cheese-ball appetizer is made with sharp white cheddar, mixed with some smoky toasted almonds, then sumptuously finished with cream cheese, mascarpone, and sage butter. Everything gets blended with an electric mixer and then formed not a ball. We are raving about this appetizer!
A delicious centerpiece to start off your feast! Photo: Pomegranate Cheese Ball by How Sweet It is.
Get the Pomegranate Cheese Ball recipe here >
Instead of a Christmas ham or turkey, we're making this a sophisticated, delicious and upscale alternative: Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck by Spoon Fork Bacon. Traditional dishes are great and all, but sometimes it's time to shake things up, but there's something very "everyday" about ham, and by December 25th, we've just about had enough with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. This duck is juicy and tender, but with loads more flavor than a turkey. You can use a whole duck, or two if you're feeding a large crowd. This recipe also includes a Spiced Cranberry -Persimmon Chutney (which we think is just perfecto for this), but since a roasted duck is a super versatile main, you can pair it with your favorite sauce.
A very crispy Christmas! Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck by Spoon Fork Bacon.
Find the Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck recipe here >
Creamy, cheesy, luscious Scalloped Potatoes by Oh Sweet Basil! We almost have no words to describe the incredibleness that is this au gratin dish. It's classic and comforting, and we think it will pair perfectly with our more complicated main dish. Russet potatoes, butter, heavy cream, a great sharp cheddar cheese, all spiced with thyme, bay and cloves, and baked until gorgeously golden and deliciously melty. We're planning to make this with sharp and buttery Fiscalini Farmstead 18 Month cheddar for an extra boost of flavor...and we're planning to make it our staple winter comfort dish throughout the season!
A sumptuous side! Creamy Scalloped Potatoes. Photo by: Oh Sweet Basil.
Find the Scalloped Potatoes recipe here >
...with a warm glass of Glogg (recipe by Taste Food Blog). If you're ready to go beyond the Eggnog this year, you should definitely try this yummy alternative. Glogg is the classic Scandinavian Christmas drink. A kind of spiced mulled wine, it's made with cloves, cinnamon, red wine and brandy, served cozily warm with almonds and raisins. It's pretty much the grown-ups cup of hot chocolate, and it's much more beautiful to serve, the merry red drink adding to the Christmas atmosphere.
Stay mellow and warm with a glass of Glogg. Photy by; Taste Food Blog.
Find the Gløgg recipe here >
AND FINISH WITH...
Mascarpone Nutella Mousse! The creamy hazelnut chocolate spread is pretty much an addiction of ours, and it's the perfect treat to end a holiday meal. This dessert combines sweet mascarpone with Nutella and heavy whipping cream. Just blend equal parts of each in a blender and you're done. Garnished with cheery red berries, festive green mint and (more) chocolate, this is the ideal clincher to our picture-perfect Christmas meal!
Nuts for Nutella! Nutella Mascarpone Mousse. Photo: Gourmet Food Store.
We'd like to thank the following bloggers for sharing their amazing recipes and beautiful photographs. Visit their blogs for more delicious recipes and tons of culinary inspiration.