I’ve been asked by Macy’s to help them with their Mblog recipe showcase. Check out Macy’s Facbook Page, where Macy’s fans can submit their favorite holiday recipes for a chance to win a dinner with a renowned Macy’s Culinary Council chef, including Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora or Todd English. Although I am not being compensated, my recipe and story have a chance to be featured in Macy’s Mblog. Since I love the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade and always get to see it in person, I wanted to show some support.
There’s also something in it for you if you are the lucky winner! Tell me what your favorite holiday dish is by commenting on this blog post and you will have the chance to win this beautiful Stainless Steel Martha Stewart Roaster
It’s Christmas Day at my friend Debbie’s house, an extravagant food-filled event with family and friends. The hors d’oeuvres start early in the day, with delectable nibbles served one after the other, preceding an elegant sit down feast. My friend is dressed to the nines and unruffled as she proudly heats and presents an assortment of lovely homemade appetizers to her guests. You may wonder how she does it! The answer is simple: “With a little help from her friends.”
It’s been years that we’ve been cooking together for our holidays and often our friend Jackie will join our fun tradition as well. We’ve made Asian crab cakes, spiced lamb meatballs, lobster and corn empanadas, pork and bok choy dumplings, cheese crackers, caramelized blue cheese squares, blue cheese stuffed dates, Swedish butter cookies, chocolate truffles — you name it! We carve out several dates in December to start cooking, baking and freezing together.
There’s a lot of laughter in our kitchens as we splatter, sizzle and mix in large quantities together all while sharing stories and keeping in touch with each other’s lives. While the outside world bustles about in shopping malls and traffic jams, it may be messy, but all’s calm and quiet in our kitchens together. Last year, Debbie was so dreamy talking to us that she accidentally put an extra few cups of sugar in her cookies. We were hysterical, adding more eggs, sugar and vanilla to get the consistency right! Alas, we did and the cookies — many of them — tasted as good as usual. We ended up having more fun as a result of our merry little mishap. If you have a moment and you want to get a little laugh, watch our video of last year’s mishap (that’s me in the hat!).
As we serve our food to guests, each and every course we present is infused with meaning and the fond thoughts of cooking together.There’s no holiday stress in our time together; just the simple enjoyment preparing for our respective gatherings.
These two-bite empanadas make an extraordinary appetizer for a holiday cocktail party. Puff pastry dough is a fine substitute for flaky empanada dough. They can be made ahead of time and frozen.
2 dozen mini empanada dough rounds (or 3 inch circles cut out of puff pastry)
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 2 ½ pound steamed lobster, meat removed and cut into small chunks
1 cup sweet corn kernels, blanched slightly
1 cup béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped finely (If you don’t like cilantro, use can parsley.)
1 egg, plus a bit of water for egg wash
In a medium sized skillet, melt the butter on a medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook for five minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn, lobster, béchamel sauce and cilantro. Stir well and set aside to cool.
To assemble the empanadas, spoon a small amount (1 teaspoon) of filling into the center of each empanada wrapper. Fold the dough in half over the filling and crimp the edges together by using a fork or your fingers and twisting like a rope. Repeat until all the filling is used.
To cook, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of each with egg wash. Bake on a cookie sheet until golden for approximately 20 minutes.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup hot milk
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in flour. Whisk together and stir for several minutes. Gradually add the hot milk. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg if desired.
Smokey Lime Dip
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and serve with the empanadas.
1/8 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Juice from ½ of a lime