Easy recipes that’ll make you the star this holiday season!
Christmas is my favorite time of year for good food. If nothing else, you can be sure that the new gym membership you just got won’t be wasted that first week as you try to get rid of all that holiday goodness you ate between the parties, your Gramma’s house, and everywhere in between. To make it even harder on you, my buddy Jimmy Kennedy and I have put together some of the most delicious and easy recipes we have so you can be the rockstar at any holiday gathering this year! And where better to begin than with the first meal of the day.
The Old Man’s French Toast
Now I’m going to admit, this isn’t the true recipe. Not only am I not entirely sure he’s even told me the EXACT recipe as he creates it, but even if he did I wouldn’t feel right sharing Terry Finch’s world class french toast with total strangers who never saw him make it in his underwear at Lake Steere after a night of drinking and before a day of fishing. But this one is close enough that you’ll still love it.
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp all spice
Preheat a non-stick teflon pan to medium heat. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, then transfer to a pie pan. This will allow you to use any size bread (I prefer artisan breads), without having to bend or cut each piece to fit in the bowl. Quickly dip each side of bread and place on pan. Turn when golden brown, and add small piece of butter so it melts as the other side finishes. Remove, top with New York Maple Syrup, and serve. Makes 3-8 pieces, depending on size of each slice of bread.
Better Than “You Know What” Homemade Pancakes
By Jim Root
It’s true…I searched for years to find a pancake recipe that would allow me to finally stop buying those ridiculous mixes at the store, and with a little tweaking and LOTS of trial and error, I have finally found it. For real, this is super easy, and once you try it you’ll never buy another pancake mix again. So here it is:
- 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
- 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth. Heat a nonstick pan over medium low heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Turn when the batter is covered with bubbles, and remove once you see steam come off the bottom. Makes about (8) 6-inch pancakes. Top with New York Maple Syrup. (Jimmy happens to be from Vermont, but he admits our syrup is better).
Beet and Arugula Salad with Bacon, Toasted Pecans and Goat Cheese Tossed in a Raspberry Vinaigrette
By Jimmy Kennedy
This is my favorite holiday salad. What’s not to like; earthy beets, delicious crispy bacon, sweet, toasted pecans and creamy chevre over spicy arugula and tossed with a sweet fruity dressing.
For the salad:
- 12 cups cleaned arugula (more or less depending on number of family or guests)
- 3 medium size beets
- 4 slices of thick bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
- 5 oz. of Vermont Creamery Goat Cheese
- ¼ cup of toasted pecans
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup champagne vinegar, rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
- ½ Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. Dijpn Mustard
- 1 Tbs. minced shallots
- ½ tps. minced garlic
- 3 Tbs. Raspberry preserves
- 2 cups canola oil
- salt and pepper
Place the beets in a medium size saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a medium to maintain a medium boil. Cook the beets until a toothpick or knife can be inserted to the center with little resistance. Drain the beets and let cool enough to handle. When cool, peel the beets, cut into bite size pieces and set aside.
To make the vinegar, place all of the ingredients in a medium size bowl except for the oil and salt and pepper. While constantly whisking, slowly add the oil until it is all added. Continue whisking for a minute or two and then as salt and pepper to taste. You can also use a food processor or blender to make the dressing.
Place the arugula in a large bowl, add dressing to taste and toss lightly until the leaves are evenly coated.
Place the arugula on serving plates and garnish with beets, bacon, pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Enjoy!!
Venison Negimaki: Venison, Wild Leeks and Cabot Cheddar Rolls
By Jimmy Kennedy
This recipe blends a little of the South and the North with the Far East. My family and I love sushi and whenever we dine out at a Japanese restaurant we ALWAYS order the Beef Negimaki appetizer. It’s basically beef rolled around a scallion and grilled with teriyaki sauce….simple and incredibly delicious. They definitely make great appetizers but are also great as a main course.
BBQ Teriyaki Sauce:
- ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
- ½ cup of soy sauce
- ½ cup of sherry or sake
Combine the ingredients in a small cast iron pan and heat over medium high heat until it just comes to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately and let cook on a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The sauce will cook down quite a bit.
For the rolls:
- 2 thin, boneless venison steaks, 4 or 5 ounces each
- 4 wild leeks (ramps) or scallions, split lengthwise and cut into four pieces
- ½ cup or so of BBQ Teriyaki sauce (recipe above)
- Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar or 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, 2 or 3 ounces, cut into thin strips, approximately the same size as the scallions
The venison steaks will need to be made as thin as possible. The best way to do this is to place it between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap on a cutting board and gently pound it with a meat mallet, flat side of a cleaver or even the bottom of a heavy, glass soda bottle. When the steaks are nice and thin, about 1/8 inch thick or so cut them in half crosswise. Arrange a line of the leeks or scallions and the cheese strips down the entire length of the steaks. Roll the pieces tightly into cylinders and hold in place with toothpicks.
Preheat the oven’s broiler or light the grill. Dip the venison rolls into the BBQ teriyaki, making sure they are good and covered with the sauce. Place the rolls in a cast iron skillet, grill pan or griddle and broil for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. It’s a good idea to baste them a little on each side while they are cooking. When they are done, remove from the heat and place on a cutting board. Remove the toothpicks and using a sharp knife cut the rolls into 1 inch long pieces. Stand them upright on end and add a little more sauce and enjoy.
Yield: Makes about 16 1 inch rolls
Whole Roasted Trout Stuffed with Oyster Dressing and served over a Creamed Corn Succotash
By Jimmy Kennedy
This tasty and somewhat “fancy” fish dish makes a great change up from the usual baked ham or roasted turkey and there’s something about sweet corn and oysters that is irresistible. If you don’t have or can’t find trout for this dish you can use any whole fish or even two fillets. Anyway, you can’t go wrong and it gives the angler or anglers in the family to get out on the water or ice.
- 4 whole cleaned trout
- 1 recipe of creamed corn
- 1 recipe of oyster dressing
For the Corn Succotash
- 4 cups corn, fresh off the cob, canned or frozen
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 2 cups red bell pepper, dice
- ½ cup green onion, sliced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons shallots, minced
- 4 teaspoons parsley, minced
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- canola oil
- salt and pepper
To make the succotash, heat a small amount of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, corn, red peppers and shallots to the hot pan and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and parsley and sauté for an additional or two. Next, add the chicken stock, lower the heat to medium and let cook until the mixture is almost dry. Remove the pan from the het and stir in the thyme, green onion and butter. When the butter has melted adjust the seasonings to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lay the trout down on a clean work surface or cutting board so that they are spread open with skin side down. Lightly salt and pepper the inside of the fish. Spoon a good amount of the oyster dressing down the middle of the fish. You want to put enough inside of the fish so that when you fold the fish closed the stuffing fits nicely without too much falling out. Fold the fish closed and carefully insert a toothpick or two into the fish so that it stays closed. Once all the fish have been stuffed, season the outside with salt and pepper. Heat a medium size skillet with enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. When hot but not smoking place two of the fish in the pan and sear them until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. When all the fish is browned transfer them to a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in a preheated 375 degree oven and roast fop about 20-25 minutes or until the fish and stuffing has been heated through.
To plate, portion the succotash onto four plates then top them with a nice-sized ladle of creamed corn. Remove the toothpicks from the trout and gently place the fish on top of the creamed corn succotash. Garnish with green onion and serve.
Two Jims Mac N Cheese
Jim Root and Jimmy Kennedy
This is a hybrid recipe combining pieces from each of our favorites.
- 1 stick unsalted Cabot butter (8 tbsp)
- 8 tbsp King Author Flour
- 4 Cups whole milk
- 4 Cups Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar (grated)
- 1 Cup Asiago
- 1 lb Rigatoni
- 1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- 4 medium, fresh tomatoes.
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (optional)
Cook noodles until almost done (al dente), drain, place in a large bowl and set aside. If you haven’t already done so, shred all your cheese and place in a bowl.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan over medium heat and stir in the flour, a little at a time, with a whisk until it is well blended. Continue stirring, letting it cook for a minute or two. Slowly add the milk and keep whisking for another couple of minutes. Add the cheese and stir with whisk or spoon until it melts and is blended into the mixture. Adjust the heat to low and cook another 3 or 4 minutes while stirring.
This is where our two recipes stray from each other. Note the next steps denoted with a (JR) or a (JK).
(JR) Stir in the pasta and the basil, plate the desired amount and top with enough coarsely chopped fresh tomato to cover your serving. Note that I prefer to only add the tomato as I serve it, so that the tomato stays crisp and robust, and I do not bake the dish or add the bread crumbs. I prefer it this way, but for those of you wanting a little different swing on it, read on.
(JK) When the sauce is done, add about half of it to the pasta and mix well. Now add the 2 chopped tomatoes, a half cup of the chopped basil and the other half of the cheese sauce and mix again. Place the mac and cheese in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Top evenly with the sliced tomatoes, the remaining cup of chopped basil and then breadcrumbs. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly.
The one thing we both agree on is that you won’t be able to get enough once it’s done. You’re gonna love it.
Grammy’s High Powered EggNog
By Jimmy Kennedy
- 12 eggs, separated
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 fifth of your favorite bourbon
- 1½ cups of your favorite dark rum
- 2 cups milk
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl or stand mixer and whisk or beat until they start to lighten. Slowly add the sugar and continue whisking or beating until the mixture starts to thicken a little. Place the heavy cream in a different bowl and beat until it can hold a stiff peak. Add the milk and bourbon to the egg yolk mixture and gently stir to blend. Now gently fold in the whipped cream. Place in a punch bowl or individual cups and splash the top of the eggnog with the rum and a dash of the nutmeg. Hide the car, truck and boat keys and enjoy!
Cheddar Cheesecake with Chocolate Gancahe
By Jimmy Kennedy
Cheddar Cheesecake Ingredients:
- 5 packages cream cheese
- 6 eggs
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ cup milk or ½ and ½
- ½ teaspoon of lime or lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons flour
Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:
- 1 package of graham crackers
- ¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup Cabot butter
Grind crackers in food processor, with your hands or whatever will get the job done. Add sugar and melted butter. Line the bottom of a spring form pan. Using your hands press the crust onto the bottom of the pan and just a little on the sides. Make sure it is nice and smooth. Soften the cream cheese in a medium to large bowl. You can let it sit out at room temperature a while or place it in an oven-proof bowl and briefly soften it in the oven. Just a minute or so usually works. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg, until fluffy. Blend in all the other ingredients and beat well. You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer for the blending. Pour the batter into the crust lined pan. Bake at 475 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees and continue baking for one hour. Turn off heat and let sit in oven for one hour. While the cake is cooling in the oven, you can make the chocolate ganache.
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 9 or 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips or pieces, chopped small
- 2 or 3 tablespoons of rum, brandy or flavored liqueur of choice, optional
Put the chocolate chips or pieces in a medium sized bowl, I like to use a glass bowl for this. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and immediately pour over the chocolate in the bowl. Whisk or stir the chocolate and cream until it is very smooth and shiny. If using a liqueur, stir it in now. Allow the ganache to cool for about ten minutes before using as a glaze. When ready, pour and spread over the entire surface of the cheesecake using a spoon or spatula to make it as smooth as possible. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Twelve Days of Chocolate Truffles
By Jim Root
For the ganache:
- 2 cups (18 ounces; 500 grams) heavy cream
- 24 oz Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Stoli Razberi vodka (optional)
To cover them:
- 24 oz Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, tempered
To garnish the truffles (use all, some, or none):
- 2 cups Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 2 cups toasted nuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Heat the heavy cream in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Slowly add the finely chopped chocolate. Make a ganache by pouring about half of the hot cream over the chocolate and letting it sit for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Then slowly whisk until smooth. Do not add all of the hot cream to the cold chocolate at once. As the chocolate melts, you will see some elasticity. Add the remaining cream gradually and mix until all of the hot cream is incorporated and the ganache is smooth. Pour the ganache onto a plastic wrap-covered baking sheet and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Cover the ganache with plastic wrap and allow it to cool for at least 4 hours at room temperature. I usually make the ganache at the end of the day and let it cool overnight. As it cools, it will thicken and set.
Once the ganache has cooled like a paste, scrape it into a large bowl and use either a dough-ball tool, or two spoons to create cookie-sized balls of chocolate. Once they’re all in balls, I refrigerate them overnight so that they’re not going to melt when I roll them.
When all the truffles are rolled into balls, they are ready to be coated. Make sure you’ve melted the remaining chocolate and it’s not too hot.You can use either a dipping fork or your hands to dip the truffles in chocolate. To use the fork, drop the truffle into the bowl of tempered chocolate and then retrieve it with the dipping fork. Hold the fork over the bowl for several seconds to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Gently scrape the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate and roll the dipped truffle in the desired garnish. Immediately roll in your desired garnish if you choose to do so. You need to do this before the chocolate sets or the topping will not adhere. At this stage, it is good to have a friend help because it is hard to dip and roll at the same time. Place the truffles on a clean parchment paper-covered baking sheet and allow them to set, about 5 minutes.
The truffles will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, when stored in an airtight container.