It's the most wonderful time of the year...when end-of-semester duties and Christmas run head on into each other. I just have to accept that for a few years law school finals will coincide with the time when I most want to be in the kitchen, making delicious holiday things. For now, I decided it might be cool to put up some links to a few past favorites that I think are particularly suited to holiday time entertaining.
Fried Chickpeas with Rosemary. These are addictive little snacks that are perfect to set out in a bowl at a cocktail party. I think they're probably one of the most popular things I've ever made. Just crisp up your chickpeas in olive oil and toss with salt and chopped rosemary. Divine.
Black-eyed Pea Hummus with Sweet Potato Chips. So you used up all your chickpeas on the first appetizer recipe? Never fear, this is a delicious way to change up your standard hummus routine. And the sweet potato chips are amazing, but if you know a good brand that can stand up to dipping you could always buy them and save yourself some time that would best be used watching Rudolph.
Arancini. Here my mother teaches us all how to make a Sicilian classic: stuffed, fried rice balls. I always thought of them as a snack but lately I have seen them pop up as starters in restaurants--they look quite chic served in little paper cones and would be a cute thing for a party.
Tortilla Soup. It's red! It's green! It should be in your family photo Christmas card this year, it looks so perfect for the season. A great way to start off a small holiday dinner party, or eat the whole batch yourself because it is spicy, tangy and addictive.
Red Cabbage with Prosciutto and Pine Nuts. This is a really pretty side dish that hits all the right sweet-savory-salty-sour notes at once. Who knew cabbage could clean up so well? Great for alongside a pork loin or another big holiday centerpiece.
Sweet Potato and Roasted Beet Confetti. With a name like "confetti" how can it be anything but fun? I do think this might be the most lovely looking side dish (or maybe it's a salad?) I've ever made. The beet and sweet potato have totally different textures and types of sweetness, but the crumbles of goat cheese give a nice tangy balance and they all go together like best friends.
Potluck Pineapple-Cheese. OK, this one might not be such a classy dame like the other recipes here, but she sure is fun to hang out with. I can eat this whole pan all by myself and I am not ashamed of that fact. I have brought this to every single holiday work potluck ever since I became a grownup and it is a hit every single time.
Simplified Life Roasted Chicken. You're having a "come and see the tree" party with the neighbors or a couple good friends are coming by to have dinner and drink Baileys by the fire. Here's my favorite roasted chicken that means you won't have to do a single thing once you have it in the oven besides pour yourself another glass of wine. You gotta get away from the complicated life!
Sugared Cranberries. They shimmer like little jewels in a bowl--not too sweet and just right to pass around after dinner. Or they'd be so pretty with the cheese plate for appetizers. And super easy too! There's only three ingredients, I think. You're welcome.
Eggnog Martini. Definitely a greatest hit. Shake up a few and go walk around the neighborhood to look at everyone's lights.
And this is just a start--I've got some cool new ideas that will be up soon and just right for 2010 holiday fun.