Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce
At Christmas, pastry chef Elizabeth Katz likes to create a tower of fluffy, chocolate-covered cream puffs. The dessert harkens back to her time as a pastry chef in the French kitchen at New York City’s Daniel, where a croquembouche (a pyramid of custard-filled profiteroles draped in caramel and wrapped in spun sugar) was de rigueur at holiday dinners.
Pan-Roasted Veal Chops with Cabernet Sauce
At his restaurant Brabo, chef Robert Wiedmaier serves elegant dishes, like this veal chop. To make the wine sauce even more complex, use demiglace (concentrated veal stock) instead of beef stock and flour.
New Year's Day Black-Eyed Peas
Ryan Hardy says, “My mother, a Yankee, insisted that it was good luck to have black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day and she’d save the bones from country ham hunks just for that day.” Hardy now serves the hearty peas with garlic-rubbed toasts and garnishes them with generous amounts of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Eggnog
Eben Freeman’s foamy interpretation of eggnog—infused with the sweet, caramelly flavors of sticky toffee pudding, a British favorite—is halfway between a drink and a dessert. “It’s thick enough to eat with a spoon,” he says. “So was classic eggnog.”
Gail Simmons’s mother, Renée Simmons, uses a food processor’s shredding disk to get long potato strands that fry up extra-crispy.
Marshmallow crème doctored with peppermint extract and confectioners’ sugar makes a speedy filling for these cookies.
Chestnut Soup with Grappa Cream
Growing up in Italy’s Marche region, Fabio Trabocchi roasted chestnuts in the fireplace to eat as a snack while playing cards with his family. At culinary school, he first transformed those chestnuts into this luscious soup. Incredibly creamy, it’s best served in small cups as an hors d’oeuvre.
Mario Carbone tops the oysters with a tangy vinegar-shallot mignonette, plus a Champagne-infused foam and frozen Champagne grapes.
Smoked Ham with Apple-Riesling Sauce
For holiday entertaining, Marcia Kiesel makes easy and impressive roasts that can sit out on a buffet table.
Caffè Di Alpi
Bartender Steve Peters dreamed up Caffè di Alpi (“Alpine Coffee” in Italian) as a deliciously warming après-ski drink.
“I love this dessert because it makes me think of eggnog,” says Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections. To give the semifreddo its spectacular shape, she freezes it in a silicone kugelhof mold.
Mashed Potatoes with Manchego and Olive Oil
Instead of using butter, chef José Andrés prefers to add richness with olive oil and Manchego cheese.
Salt-and-Pepper-Crusted Prime Rib with Sage Jus
“The great thing about doing a whole rib roast is that you don’t have to concentrate,” chef Michael Mina says. “Season it right with salt and pepper, put it in the oven and then you can focus on all the dishes that go along with it.”
Green Salad with Nutty Vinaigrette
This simple salad has a nicely nutty dressing made with both walnut and hazelnut oils. It’s garnished with pleasantly spicy yellow tatsoi blossoms, when David Kinch has them in his garden.
Caesar Salad Spears
Grace Parisi transforms a classic Caesar into a clever holiday hors d’oevure. She tosses chopped endives with a lemony dressing, then spoons the mixture inside elegant endive spears, topping it with cheese and crunchy mini croutons.
Rosemary-Pepper Beef Rib Roast with Porcini Jus
“When entertaining at home, I’m always hard-pressed for stove space,” says Floyd Cardoz. To save room, he sears the meat in a preheated pan in the oven. The method also helps the meat cook more quickly.
Italian Trifle with Marsala Syrup
In Italy, Fabio Trabocchi makes this dessert with Alchermes, a bright-red cinnamon-scented liqueur rarely seen in the States. The Sicilian fortified wine Marsala is a good substitute: It has a subtler color but a similarly spiced flavor, perfect for drenching squares of soft sponge cake layered with vanilla-infused pastry cream.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple-Riesling Sauce
Chef Debra Whiting mixes fresh goat cheese with apple, sausage and greens, then stuffs it inside a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. To balance the richness of the cheese, look for a wine with good acidity, like a dry or semi-dry New York Riesling.
Vanilla Bean-Whipped Sweet Potatoes
This is an irresistible combination of creamy pureed potato and fragrant vanilla.
Roasted Goose with Crispy Skin
Separate the skin from the meat, then steam the goose before roasting—an adaptation of a Chinese technique that helps the bird baste in its own fat and ensures crispy skin.
Best-Ever Nut Brittle
Tina Ujlaki adapted this crunchy, buttery, slightly salty brittle from a recipe by pastry chef Karen DeMasco. When her children were younger, Tina would make it as a holiday gift for their teachers. As she recalls, “Come November, I’d start getting these looks from teachers who were hoping for the brittle but too shy to ask me about it.”
Pork Roast with Sausage, Fruit and Nut Stuffing
Pork and fruit is a classic pairing around the world, but this dish gets a particularly Catalan flavor from the combination of dried fruit and butifarra (a Catalan cured pork sausage) in the stuffing. The stuffing cooks inside the roast, which gives it a deep, marvelously porky flavor.
Ginger-Miso Sweet Pea Spread
As a dairy-free alternative to creamy dips, the recipe here calls for pureeing sweet peas with scallions, ginger and jalapeño, then seasoning the mix with yellow miso. Serve the spread with different kinds of crackers and breads or sugar snap peas and celery for dipping.
Chestnut Stuffing with Fennel
Suzanne Goin’s chestnut-laced stuffing with pancetta and fennel is adapted from the Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook. The crispy olive oil-soaked bread cubes on top are especially delectable.
Maria Helm Sinskey, who says she comes from a “hard-core gingerbread family,” makes her spicy dough with butter instead of shortening and corn syrup so that it tastes fresher than most gingerbreads.