Holiday Cheese Ball Wreath

Holiday Cheese Ball Wreath

Bring your outdoor holiday wreath inside with this festive and easy cheeseball. Use a small Bundt pan to form a wreath shape, or roll the mixture into a ball or log. For a cheeseball worthy of any big gathering, skip the Bundt pan and colorful garnish and roll the ball in toasted sliced almonds instead. 

Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 15 min 

(includes chilling time)

Yield: 16 to 20 servings

Active: 15 min

Ingredients:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups shredded firm cheese, such as Cheddar, pepper Jack or Colby

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

1/2 cup pickled piquante peppers, such as Peppadews, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Crackers, sliced bread or crudites, for serving

Directions:

Special equipment:  A small (6-cup) Bundt pan

1. Line the inside of a 6-cup Bundt pan with plastic wrap. Process the cream cheese, shredded cheese, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and few grinds of pepper in a food processor until smooth. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl, and fold in all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped peppers.

2. Spoon the cheese mixture into the prepared Bundt pan; pack it in, spread into an even layer and cover (or simply form the cheese mixture into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap). Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour up to 2 days.

3. Uncover and invert the cheese mold (or unwrap and transfer the ball) onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chives and parsley to completely coat the wreath, and garnish with the reserved 2 tablespoons peppers. Serve with crackers, sliced bread or crudites.


Holiday Cheese Ball Wreath
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Holiday Cheese Ball Wreath
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1/2 cup pickled piquante peppers, such as Peppadews, finely chopped
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Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale

Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale

The combination of ham and kale is traditional for a reason: it’s so unbelievably good. But this satisfying casserole is easy to adapt to other greens and meat pairings, depending on what you have on hand: Try cooked sausage with frozen spinach or Andouille with frozen mustard greens.

Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 25 min

Prep: 10 min

Inactive: 15 min

Cook: 1 hr

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

 
Creamed corn:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Two 16-ounce bags frozen corn, thawed

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 pound thick-sliced deli ham, diced

5 ounces frozen kale (about 1 3/4 cups)

 

Cornbread topping:

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded sharp yellow Cheddar

Hot sauce, for serving

Directions

 

Special equipment:  a 2-quart oval baking dish

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart oval baking dish.

2. For the creamed corn: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cream, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces in volume and bubbles rapidly, about 15 minutes. Transfer 2 cups of the corn mixture to a food processor, puree until smooth, then stir it back into the skillet. Fold in the ham and kale. Transfer the creamed corn to the prepared baking dish; set aside. Clean the food processor bowl.

3. For the cornbread topping: Pulse the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a food processor to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar, and pulse until the batter just comes together.

4. To assemble: Sprinkle the cornmeal batter over the creamed corn. (Don’t worry if the corn isn’t completely covered; the batter will puff and spread as it bakes.) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar. Place the casserole on a baking sheet, and bake until the corn is bubbling and the crust is puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with hot sauce.


Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale
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Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale
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Christmas Steak

Christmas Steak

This restaurant-style steak is served carved and dressed in two fresh holiday-hued sauces — salsa roja and chimichurri — inspired by the two-tone grilled snapper served at the restaurant Contramar in Mexico City. Don’t be afraid of generously salting the meat; it helps create a real steakhouse crust.

Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 5 min

(includes resting time)

Active: 30 min

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Salsa Roja:

2 small plum tomatoes, cored

2 cloves garlic 

1 small jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and halved 

 

1/2 small white onion, halved 

1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Chimichurri:

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup ice cubes

2 tablespoons packed fresh oregano leaves

1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Steak:

One 2-pound bone-in porterhouse steak (about 2 inches thick)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 tablespoon canola oil 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes 

3 cloves garlic 

2 sprigs fresh thyme 

Directions:

1. For the salsa roja: Add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno and onion to a medium saucepan. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer until the vegetables are softened, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Drain the vegetables, add to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

3. For the chimichurri: Add the vinegar, garlic and a generous pinch of salt to a blender and blend on low until smooth. Add the parsley, cilantro, ice, oregano and jalapeno and blend on medium speed. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary, until smooth, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chimichurri to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

4. For the steak: Let the steak sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. 

5. Position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler.  

6. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; the steak should be almost completely white from the salt. Add the oil to the hot skillet and when it begins to smoke, add the steak. Cook the steak until browned and crusty on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board. 

7. Cut the strip steak from the bone and carve the meat across the grain. Cut the tenderloin filet from the bone and carve the meat across the grain. Place the bone back in the center of the skillet and arrange the sliced steak around the bone in its original formation so that it looks like a full steak. Top with the butter, garlic and thyme. 

8. Broil until the butter is melted and a thermometer inserted sideways in the center of the steak registers 120 degrees F for medium rare, 3 to 4 minutes (see Cook’s Note). Tilt the skillet slightly to pool the butter, then spoon it over the steak several times to coat. 

9. Transfer the steak to a serving platter and pour the melted butter over top. Top one half of the steak with the chimichurri and spread evenly. Top the other half with the salsa roja and spread evenly. Serve with the remaining chimichurri and salsa roja on the side.

 

Cook’s Note

The side of the porterhouse with the tenderloin filet will cook faster than the side with the strip steak. Remove the filet and continue to broil the strip if you want even medium-rare doneness.


Christmas Steak
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Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad

Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad

This cheery holiday salad is a fun (and delicious!) decorating idea for a party. A trio of lettuces create the evergreen tree, and items from the deli counter and salad bar become an edible garland. 

Level: Easy

Total: 45 min

Active: 45 min

Yield: 8 servings

 
 

Ingredients

Salad:

5 ounces baby arugula (about 8 cups)

5 ounces baby kale (about 8 cups)  

2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons

3 heads little gem lettuce, bases trimmed and leaves separated, or the inner leaves of Bibb lettuce

1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami

Three 1/4-inch-thick slices provolone (about 6 ounces)

1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto 

1 cup cheese-stuffed small sweet piquante peppers, such as peppadews 

1/2 cup jarred small whole artichoke hearts (about 8)

1/2 cup green castelvetrano olives

1/2 cup kalamata olives

1/2 cup small whole pepperoncini

6 radishes, tops trimmed

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

One 4-ounce goat cheese log

8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella (small balls of mozzarella), halved

 

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:


  1. Special equipment:

     1-inch, 1 1/2-inch and 3 1/2-inch star cutters; a bar citrus zester

  2.  
  3.  
  4. 1. For the salad: Combine the baby arugula and kale in a large bowl. Arrange the leaves on a very large platter or cutting board in a Christmas tree shape that measures 16 to 18 inches tall, reserving a handful of greens. The platter should be large enough to accommodate a star on top and a trunk on the bottom. Scatter half of the sliced cucumbers over the tree. Arrange a layer of little gem lettuce leaves to create 4 tiers on the tree; use the small inner leaves for the fourth layer at the top of the tree.
  5. 2. Stack the sliced salami and cut out a large star using a 3 1/2-inch star cutter; reserve the scraps. Using the same cutter, cut out 2 stars from 2 slices of the provolone; reserve the scraps. Make a layered meat-and-cheese stack starting with half the salami stars, topped with a provolone star, the rest of the salami, and the second provolone star. Place the star at the top of the tree. 
  6. 3. Cut out smaller stars from the provolone scraps and the remaining provolone slice using 1-inch and 1 1/2-inch cutters. Roll up the salami scraps and prosciutto slices into flowers. Arrange the cheese stars, meat flowers, stuffed peppadews, artichoke hearts, both kinds of olives and pepperoncini on the lettuce to form a garland that zig-zags up the tree from the bottom right to the upper left. 
  7. 4. Using a bar citrus zester, zest a channel along the equator of each radish so it resembles a tree ornament. Halve each radish vertically and add the pieces to the garland. Scatter the remaining cucumber slices on the leafy parts of the tree and use the reserved greens to fill any gaps in the tree.
  8. 5. Put the nuts on a small plate and roll the goat cheese in them to fully coat. Place the log at the bottom of the tree to form the trunk. Decorate the ground under the tree with the ciliegine mozzarella balls for snow.
  9. 6. For the white balsamic vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl until well combined. Serve on the side.

Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad
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Classic Pork Crown Roast

Classic Pork Crown Roast

This classic crown roast of pork is sure to wow family and friends at your next holiday gathering. We seasoned the pork overnight with salt, pepper and aromatic spices such as fennel, juniper, bay and allspice, for the most tender and juicy roasted meat. Glazed apples and onions serve as a sweet and tangy counterpoint. 

Level: Intermediate

Total: 10 hr 40 min 

(includes resting time)

Active: 45 min

Yield: 16 to 18 servings

Ingredients:

One 16- to 18-bone crown roast of pork (about 10 pounds) (see Cook’s Note)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon juniper berries

1 small bay leaf

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each

2 large red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups apple cider

Directions

1. Put the pork on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon salt and several grinds of pepper; set aside.

2. Put the fennel, allspice, whole peppercorns and juniper berries in a small skillet over medium heat and cook until the fennel begins to turn slightly golden, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the toasted spices to a blender, add the bay leaf and blend until coarsely ground. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon salt and process until a coarse paste forms, about 1 minute. Spread the paste over the pork, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies; use a spatula to scrape up all the paste from the blender. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

4. When ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

5. Put the pork on a rack set in a large roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 135 degrees F, about another 1 1/2 hours.

6. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, sage, thyme, apples, onions and 6 tablespoons of the butter in a large bowl until well coated. Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add half of the apple and onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples and onions are dark golden all over but the apples are still firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread into a single layer to cool, using a heatproof spatula to scrape all the remaining sugar from the skillet over the apples and onions. Repeat with the remaining apple and onion mixture.

7. Return the skillet to high heat and add the wine. Cook until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Add the cider and cook until thickened and glossy, about 8 minutes; you should have about 1/3 cup of glaze. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and set aside.

8. Once the pork reaches 135 degrees F, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and brush the pork all over with half the glaze. Return to the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Brush with the remaining glaze and continue to cook until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees F, about another 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and let rest for 30 minutes. Serve with the apples and onions.

Cook’s Note

A crown roast is made up of 2 to 3 racks of bone-on pork loin that a butcher ties together end to end to create a large round roast. Make sure to order the roast from your local butcher a couple of days in advance so they have time to get the right size racks, clean the meat from the tips of the bones (called Frenching) and tie them together securely so it cooks evenly.

Classic Pork Crown Roast
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Classic Pork Crown Roast
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Servings:
Recipe Notes
Level: Intermediate

Total: 10 hr 40 min 

(includes resting time)

Active: 45 min

Yield: 16 to 18 servings

Ingredients:

One 16- to 18-bone crown roast of pork (about 10 pounds) (see Cook’s Note)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon juniper berries

1 small bay leaf

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each

2 large red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups apple cider

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