31 Ways to Win December
December 1: Detox to Retox
December 2: Lots of Cooks in the Kitchen is a Good Thing
Put everyone to work with a make-your-own pizza party. Just follow our simple guide for perfect Neapolitan-style pizza.
December 3: Host a Christmas Tree Tailgate
Take a page out of chef Ken Oringer’s holiday playbook and turn tree cutting into a party. On the menu:
- Deliciously spiced hot mulled cider
- Warm and crunchy Cuban sandwiches with tomato jam
- Hearty black bean and quinoa salad
- Refreshing avocado, grapefruit and hearts of palm salad
- Gooey caramel pecan bars
December 4: Own the Cookie Swap
December 5: Curl Up with a Cozy Cocktail
December 6: Take On Taco Tuesday
December 7: Wine Shop Like a Boss
F&W’s Ray Isle selects the perfect bottle for any kind of host:
LIFE OF THE PARTY: 2015 Espelt Old Vines Garnacha Blanc ($12) This white is the perfect party wine to bring or to pour for your own steady stream of guests. And you won’t go bankrupt in the process.
INFAMOUS REGIFTER: 2014 Josh Cellars Legacy Red ($15) This tasty red blend says “for you, and only you” with a free personalized label (joshcellars.com).
UNRELENTING HIPSTER: 2015 Donkey & Goat Ramato Pinot Gris ($28) A white cool enough to impress even a sommelier.
FAN OF BIG REDS: 2014 Hess Collection Lion Tamer Napa Valley Red ($40) Malbec rounds out Cabernet and Petite Sirah in this lush red blend.
INTIMIDATING BOSS: 2012 Château Haut-Bailly ($80) An elegant, old-school Bordeaux worthy of a splurge.
December 8: Host Like a Pro
A signature cocktail, inexpensive wine and a few simple hors d’oeuvres is all it takes to create weekend vibes (with weeknight effort). Happy Thursday!
The best bang for your buck wines.
December 9: Netflix and Snack
Binge watch your favorite shows or holiday movies with these updates on classics:
Sweet-and-salty popcorn with sesame glazed pistachios.
Can’t decide between pizza and nachos? You don’t have to with Mexican pizza.
Add umami to potato chips with nori salt.
Creamy, crunchy ice cream bonbon pops.
Christina Tosi’s candy-pretzel snack mix.
December 10: Share the Holiday Spirit
Cocktail hour will be a lot more fun with these gifts.
Once impossible to find and now blissfully available, Braulio amaro is the ideal after-dinner sipper: Its 140-year-old recipe is less bitter than Fernet and not as sweet as Ramazzotti. $50; astorwines.com.
Glen Scotia, one of just a few remaining Scotch distilleries in iconic Campbeltown, Scotland, is now in the United States. $76; parkaveliquor.com.
Stonecutter ages its gin in bourbon barrels to give it the perfect balance of juniper, cardamom, orange peel, caramel and oak. $55; stonecutterspirits.com.
Made with Barolo grapes, Alessio Chinato sweet vermouth is great for sipping or for cocktails. From $28 for 375 ml; klwines.com.
Make over your martinis with lemon-peel-stuffed Gordal olives. $10; tienda.com.
Check out more of our favorite cocktail-inspired gifts.
December 11: Make a Simple Sunday Supper
With holiday shopping and parties, football games and everything else sucking up your December weekends, save time with these easy, one-pot meals.
December 12: Double Down on Dinner
December 13: One for You, One for Me...
December 14: Turn Tree Trimming Into a Party
From brownies topped with crushed candy canes to sugar-and-spice nuts, here are seven festive snacks to enjoy while decorating the Christmas tree.
December 15: Cook in Season
Citrus is at its peak right now. Celebrate with this incredible tangerine curd tart.
December 16: Make A List
We’ve been exceptionally good this year, so we’re not being bashful about our annual ask. Here, four of the things topping our wish list.
DUTCH OVEN: Le Creuset’s new matte finish in Cashmere marries Scandinavian simplicity with French tradition. From $130; lecreuset.com.
Check out more of our favorite gifts to give and get.
December 17: Get Your Sugar Fix
Chef Ludo Lefebvre has us covered with his sweet recipe and a sweet step-by-step video for making chocolate mousse. It sounds even better when he says it. Trust us.
December 18: Don’t Buy, DIY
December 19: Which Way to the Beach?
These new Caribbean hotels are just the thing to get you through the winter. Whip up some rum punch and start planning!
December 20: Make it Fast
With last minute shopping and lots of wrapping to do, who has time for an elaborate dinner? Take a quick time out with one of these fast favorites:
- Angel hair with crab and country ham.
- Caramelized black pepper chicken.
- Italian sausage burgers with garlicky spinach.
- Chipotle shrimp tostadas.
- Chicken and rice salad with pesto yogurt dressing.
- Stir fried shrimp with bacon, mint and chiles.
- Soba noodles with miso roasted tomatoes.
December 21: Conquer Late Night Cravings
This quick stir-fry from chef Rachel Yang of Revelry in Oregon is perfect for leftover takeout rice.
December 22: Quench Your Thirst
It’s Thirsty Thursday so why not get a jump on your 2017 cocktail resolution to break out of your drink rut? It’s time to upgrade that Gin & Tonic to a French 75 or graduate from a Negroni to a Boulevardier.
December 23: Go for a Homemade Host Gift
December 24: Celebrate with the Feast of the Seven Fishes
Matthew Jennings, chef at Boston’s Townsman, gives this classic celebration a modern makeover. Get his menu here:
- Roasted shrimp and fennel skewers.
- Pink peppercorn and fennel gravlax.
- Smoky mussel stew.
- Oysters with cava mignonette.
- Sea scallop lollipops.
- Anchovy toasts with parsnip butter.
- Crab dip with brown butter crumbs.
December 25: Go Big or Go Home
December 26: Veg Out
Take a break from heavy holiday eating with these satisfying vegetable-driven dishes:
- Seared tofu tabbouleh
- Lemony quinoa salad with shaved vegetables
- Baked eggs with mushroom and spinach
- Vegetable rainbow salad
- Italian bibimbap
- Avocado toast with brussel sprouts, pecorino and sunflower seeds
- Toasted farrow with greens and tahini
December 27: Thanks a Latke
December 28: Back to the Roots
December 29: Feed Your Skin
Forget the pharmacy, head to your kitchen to mix up DIY exfoliators and moisturizers like:
Apple Tart: 1 medium-size cored apple, 1 tablespoon of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Instructions: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Massage into skin, and rinse with cool water.
Purpose: Brightens, cools, refreshes and hydrates skin.
Bright New Day: 1/2 cup of raw sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of honey.
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in bowl. Gently apply to skin in a circular motion to exfoliate. Be careful when applying to the skin around your eyes.
Purpose: Reduces appearance of scars, plus smoothes and brightens skin.
December 30: Cozy Up with a Chef
Reserve your energy for the big night by laying low with a good read from a great chef. It’s Friday—your couch is calling.
32 YOLKS Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert tells a vivid story of his childhood and the trying days of his early career before finding success in the kitchens of New York. $28.
OUT OF LINE Barbara Lynch’s memoir traces her path from troublemaker to gifted chef and owner at some of Boston’s best restaurants, including No. 9 Park. Available now for preorder. $26.
December 31: Prep Like a Pro
Let this cheesy strata sit overnight in the fridge while you ring in the New Year. You’ll thank us in the morning.