Favorite Recipes for Holiday Entertaining

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FE's Favorite Recipes for Holiday Entertaining

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share some of our favorite recipes for the perfect holiday spread.  

We're packing in a bunch of recipes in this one because the holidays are all about an abundance of food, drink and holiday cheer! No matter what menu we're planning, it's important to balance the choices and make sure there's a variety so that there's something everyone can enjoy. As a hostess, we know how important it is to be cool, calm and collected on they day of your event, so all of these recipes can be made ahead and/or are easily assembled. Don't worry, with these recipes, you'll be sure to be celebrating in style in no time!

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Cran-Brie Swirls

Ingredients

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

4 tablespoons butter, melted + divided

8 ounces soft brie cheese, softened to room temperature

1 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup cinnamon sugar *

     * To make cinnamon sugar, mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Store in an airtight container.

    ** These can be prepared in advance, stored, covered in the fridge and then bake just before serving.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Brush the pastry with about 1 tablespoon of melted bugger and then sprinkle with a layer of cinnamon sugar. You can go as heavy or as light as you would like, I use about 2 tablespoons. * Pro Tip: Make sure you let the puff pastry sheet thaw completely before trying to unfold it. This sill ensure it doesn't tear and will be easy to work with!
  3. Spread the softened brie over the pastry. If the cheese is not spreading, just dice it into small pieces and place it evenly across the dough. Sprinkle the cranberries over the brie. 
  4. Starting at one of the long ends, roll the pastry up as tightly as possible. Brush the roll with the remaining melted butter and then coat the roll with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  5. Using a kitchen ruler, score the roll at ever 1/2 inch. Using whichever method you're comfortable with or have available to you, (dental floss, dough cutter/pastry scrapper, chef's knife) slice the dough into individual swirls.
  6. Place the swirls on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the pastry starts to turn golden. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes when you take them out of the oven, and then transfer them to your serving plate! 
  7. For an extra touch, I like to sift a little bit of powdered sugar on about a third, grate some fresh orange rind on a third, and leave the last third plain!
  • Takes about 20 minutes start to finish and makes 16-18 swirls
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Tips for building the best Charcuterie board

Mix up your palette

Mix up sweet and savory

Go semi-homemade

Opposites Attract

Keep it simple, but bountiful

Cheese it up 

Make sure your cheese has a vehicle

Garnish, garnish, garnish

Stock up on wine

 

**We're going to go more into depth on our next blog post about each of these tips!

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Brandied Candied Cranberries

1 package of fresh cranberries

1 bottle of Brandy

2-3 cup sugar

  1. Put cranberries in a glass or non-metal bowl and fill with the Brandy. Let soak overnight or at least 8 hours. 
  2. Prepare a bag of sugar. (Sometimes I mix in a little bit of cinnamon as well.)
  3. Working in small batches, remove cranberries from their Brandy bath and drain with a slotted spoon. Place the cranberries into your sugar bag and toss until well-coated. 
  4. Spread the coated berries out on a parchment covered cookie sheet to dry and harden. Once they have crystalized, you can pack them up in storage containers, or throw them in a candy dish for service!
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No Bake CranOrange Cheesecakes

Crust

6 oz crispy gingersnap cookies

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3 tablespoons salted bitter, melted

Cheesecake

16 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons orange zest

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Topping

Your favorite homemade cranberry sauce

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the gingersnap cookies and pumpkin pie spice. Pulse the machine until the cookies form crumbs. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter, mix until combined. Press crumbs onto the bottoms of individual serving dishes* - about 2 heaping tablespoons per dish. *Pier1 always has reasonably priced ramekins!
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and orange zest for about 3 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and beat an additional minute. Pipe or spoon cheesecake filling into individual serving dishes, directly onto the prepared crust layers. 
  3. Cover cheesecakes and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Before serving, top with your favorite cranberry sauce. 
  • Prep Time will take 20 minutes, and will make 8 servings
  • Can be stored covered in a refrigerator for up to 2 days
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Moroccan Meatballs with Pomegranate Glaze

Meatballs

1 shallot, very finely chopped, divided

1 lb ground lamb, beef, or chicken (I prefer lamb)

4-5 large garlic cloves, mined or crushed

2 eggs

1 cup chopped herbs, flat leaf parsley, mint or cilantro or a blend

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon kosher salt, 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs

  1. Place meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and using your hands, combine well, adding enough breadcrumbs to make them easy to roll into balls. Cook a "Tester." Taste, adjust salt.
  2. Using wet hands, roll into ping-pong sized balls (about 1 3/4 - 2 inches in diameter) and set aside. (You will have about 12-16.)

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1/3 shallot - finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice. 
  1. Start the glaze. In a small sauce pan or pot, sauce shallot in a drizzle of olive oil, over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until tender. Add pomegranate juice, pinch of salt and pepper, maple and allspice. 
  2. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to medium, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until it reduces to 1/2 cup. Turn heat off. 
  3. While glaze is reducing, cook the meat balls. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Working in batches, (be careful not to overcrowd!) brown the meatballs, giving the skillet a little shake now and then to roll them around and cook the edges. Once browned, turn heat down to lowest setting, cover and cook through for just a couple of minutes. 
  4. Place in an oven proof dish, pour glaze over top and keep warm until ready to serve, or refrigerate and reheat.
  • Prep time will take about 15 minutes, cook time - 30. 
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs
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Poinsettia Spritz Punch

3/4 cup vodka

1 1/2 cup 100% cranberry juice or pomegranate juice

2 ounces St. Germain elderflower liquor

3/4 cup champagne

1 cup fresh cranberries

slices of orange and sprigs of rosemary as garnish

  1. In a large pitcher, combine the vodka, cranberry juice and St. Germain. Chill until ready to serve. 
  2. When guests start to arrive, add the champagne and cranberries. 
  3. Pour in glasses over orange slices and rosemary.
  • Will take you 10 minutes to mix together and will yield 6 servings.