by Kate Heyhoe
(Don't miss the Global Gourmet's Holiday Headquarters—your complete holiday planner)
Go ahead, indulge. This is the time of year when anything goes —including waistlines. Don't worry about dieting (you can do that in January), forget the grocery budget, it's time to splurge. Delicacies and decadence are calling out: it's the holidays!
Every holiday season, I pull out my "celebrity chef" cookbooks and go to town. You know those books, the ones with full color close-up photos on heavy gloss paper of intricate, vertically-stacked dishes, and delectably complex recipes you know you'll never cook. But if you do, even if it's only once, holiday entertaining is the time to unveil them. For after such Herculean efforts, you certainly want to get the most exposure and applause you can get for your creations.
Of course, I do exaggerate. Some chefs' recipes are not difficult, they're just innovative. Or, their recipes work simply because the ingredients, albeit exotic or intensely flavored ones, are allowed to shine through without being overly seasoned. Take Mario Battali's Fettucine with Lobster for instance: lobster meat mixed with pasta in a puréed sauce of fresh herbs and tomatoes. You don't need a CIA degree for this one, but the results make you seem like a Michelin chef—because the ingredients are rich, luscious and the sum of their parts works. One bite sends you to heaven.
In theory, I believe if you have the very best ingredients, you too can be a Charlie Trotter, the legendary Chicago chef. His recipes are complex, in technique and in taste, but don't even begin to attempt them if your peas aren't perfectly picked that day, or your truffles are second-rate.
Some of us, myself included, must travel hundreds of miles for gourmet and impeccably fresh products, or we seek them out online and in catalogs, gathering caviars, foie gras, duck, and even lobsters, around which to stage our holiday meals. But even without the gourmet goodies, I still manage to serve up splendid holiday fare using my local markets—with recipes like Martha Stewart's Porcini Mushrooms with Camembert and Emeril Lagasse's Hot Mayonnaise-Glazed Scallops, for instance.
I've collected below a wide range of indulgent recipes, ones you may not make daily but when the celebration calls for flashiness, sumptuous flavors, and spectacular desserts, these dishes take the cake. Some are time-consuming, others merely seem like you slaved for days. So haul out the cutting boards, clear off the counters. Send out the invitations and let's get cooking!
(By the way, for those with less time available, tune in next week for a New Year's Buffet You Can Make Advance.)
Salads & Starters...
Cromesquis, with Foie Gras
Fennel and Apple Salad with Juniper
Gruyère Cheese Gougères (Thomas Keller's)
Hatikva Grilled Foie Gras with
Duck-Prosciutto-Fig-Cardamom Jam, and Pomegranate Glaze
Hot Mayonnaise-Glazed Scallops (Emeril Lagasse's)
Porcini Stuffed Mushrooms with Camembert (Martha Stewart's)
Main Courses and Hot Sides....
Boneless Lamb with Mushroom Crust and Leek purée
Fettuccine with Lobster alla Pantelleria (Mario Battali's)
Roasted Leg of Lamb with
Mint Chutney and Mint-Flavored Potatoes
Sam Choy's Award-winning Roast Duck
Tournedos of Salmon
Tuna au Poivre
Black Goma Asparagus
Baked Asparagus with Toasted Walnuts
Creamy Artichoke Hearts and Pancetta
Cardamom Crème Brûlée
Kahlua Tiramisu (Sarah McLachlin's)
Lemon Phyllo Cups (Sarah McLachlin's)
Torta Divina: Chocolate Mousse Cake with Liqueur (Nick Malgieri's)
Copyright © 2000, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created 2000 and modified November 2006.
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