The story below is from our December/November 2015 issue. For the DIGITALLY ENHANCED VERSION, download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
Enjoy this collection of fresh, fun and festive ideas for entertaining this holiday season.
‘Tis the season for turkey and pumpkin pie, exchanging gifts and singing carols, popping the champagne and kissing loved ones at midnight. The holiday season is about family, friends, food and football—among other things—but juggling three major holidays in just two months can be overwhelming.
And while I love holiday traditions—in my family, that includes Thanksgiving at the beach, chocolate pie on Christmas, and watching Ryan Seacrest count down to the New Year on ABC—I also love to mix it up and start new traditions. Like adding different side dishes to the Christmas Eve dinner menu and coming up with interesting and festive cocktails for the New Year’s Eve toast.
With the help of local experts, we’ve come up with some unique, show-stopping ideas and recipes that will add a little spice to your next holiday gathering. Serve these dishes alongside your seasonal staples and impress your friends and family. We have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll be inspired to plan a holiday get-together just so you can try out the amazing recipes.
My favorite meal of all time is Thanksgiving dinner. I ask for it every year on my birthday, which happens to be in December, so my family ends up eating turkey and dressing three times in four weeks (we also have it for Christmas dinner).
The Thanksgiving menu hasn’t changed much in the last 200 years, but the traditional fare of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and potatoes wasn’t what the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims ate back in 1621. Though food historians have deduced what the first feast didn’t consist of, they have a harder time determining what they did actually eat.
So, really, why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Why not ham or lamb or, if you are vegetarian, tofu? Because it’s a tradition. And even though my love for Thanksgiving dinner runs deep, I also like the idea of creating new traditions.
Marinated flank steak
Wild mushroom bread pudding
Pumpkin pie martini
Flank Steak Marinade
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Pinch of BBQ seasoning
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
Mix all ingredients except rosemary and thyme. Put rosemary and thyme in Ziploc® bag with meat and pour in liquid mixture until covered. Marinate for 12 to 24 hours, flipping package twice.
Pumpkin Pie Martini
- 1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
- 3 ounces pumpkin liqueur
- 3/4 ounce butterscotch liqueur
- Cinnamon and sugar, for rim
- Fresh nutmeg
Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into cinnamon-sugar-rimmed martini glass and garnish with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.