Christmas

Honey Walnut Baked Brie

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie is a heavenly cheese. Encased inside an edible rind, brie has a creamy and buttery texture with a mild taste. When I was younger I used to take my best friend up to New Hampshire to go skiing with me and my family. Her parents used to give us a little food-packed thank you basket every time. The sole reason I remember this is because of the brie.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oh the brie! There was always a wheel of it and my friend and I would dive right in, no serving dishes needed.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie’s versatility makes it pair well with everything from turkey artichoke paninis to wedges of apple. Sweeter flavors also complement brie well because it’s so mild and you know how I feel about my sweets.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

This honey walnut topped baked brie is a simple and addictive happy hour appetizer or dinner party dessert. Well, pre-dessert, actual dessert must still be involved.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie is already a spreadable cheese, but when you melt it into warm gooey deliciousness it becomes both spreadable and habit-forming. The honey and walnuts on top add just the right amount of sweetness, earthiness and texture to really elevate the baked brie. And doesn’t the topping make it look fancy? You can serve this baked brie on its own, but I like to serve it with warm soft bread or raisin crostini.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Honey Walnut Baked Brie
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 wheel of brie
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the brie in a baking dish. Top with the honey and the walnuts then bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Serve hot with crostini, slices of bread or crackers.

Recipe slightly adapted The Food Network.

Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus has always been one of my favorite vegetables, even when I was a picky little kid. Everyone always loves the tops, which for some reason are my least favorite part. My dad doesn’t like the stems so sometimes we swap. Just like how Matt’s favorite Starburst are the red and orange, while mine are the yellow and pink. You can’t force these things. Only fate can cause the food stars to perfectly align.

My favorite way to cook asparagus is to roast them. It is incredibly simple and I am all about ease of preparation, especially on weeknights, but more importantly roast asparagus are delicious. They are tender, yet crunchy, have a slight char, and they soak up all the flavor from the olive oil and seasonings.

You might be nodding your head and thinking, “Yeah, roast asparagus are the best! They are so tasty there’s nothing in the world that could make them taste even more awesome!” But, my friends, you need to go one step further.

Prosciutto. Salty, delicate prosciutto makes everything better. Especially when it’s blanketing a spear of roast asparagus. I’ve had prosciutto wrapped asparagus a variety of ways, but I’m really digging this crispy version. The prosciutto is wrapped on the raw asparagus before being broiled to crispy perfection.

Served warm or cold, these are right on par for your next gathering this spring. Easy to make and so tasty everyone will be fighting over vegetables. What’s better than that?

Crispy Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Place an oven rack about 5-6 inches below the heating element then preheat the oven to broil.
  2. Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet then toss with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Wrap each stalk of asparagus with a slice of prosciutto. Take 1 piece of prosciutto and wrap it tightly around the asparagus stalk in an upward spiral starting at the bottom of the stalk. Repeat for the rest of the asparagus.
  4. Spread the wrapped asparagus out on the baking sheet so that none of them are touching each other. Broil the asparagus for 3 minutes, flip the asparagus, then broil for 3 more minutes. The prosciutto should be crisped and lightly browned.

Recipe from CHOW.

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

There is so much hot chocolate in my apartment right now. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a hot chocolate hoarder. It’s okay, there are worse things to hoard like styrofoam peanuts and diner jelly packets, although I do have a couple of those packets in the fridge. What do you expect, I was raised by my grandma!

Even with all the hot chocolate options sitting in my cabinet I could not resist making this spiked hazelnut hot chocolate. I have never made homemade hot chocolate without a mix and after this experience it’s going to be hard to go back. The drink is creamy and decadent with a strong hazelnut flavor.

Just like Nutella tastes by itself, the hazelnut doesn’t overpower the chocolate taste. Since there is no powdered cocoa involved this hazelnut hot chocolate stays delightfully smooth.

The addition of the Frangelico, although fun and perfect for bringing out the hazelnut flavor, is of course optional so feel free to omit it for any kiddos or nondrinkers. I know this won’t be the last I see of this hot chocolate over the next couple months. I plan to drink it as a cozy breakfast treat, an after dinner dessert or as a nice warm pick-me-up after inevitably shoveling my car out of snow for the tenth time. How will you enjoy yours?

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
 
Yield: 1 hot chocolate
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico or another hazelnut liquor
  • Whipped cream
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan on medium heat warm the milk until it begins to bubble at the edges.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the Nutella and Frangelico and whisk until smooth.
  3. Top with whipped cream then serve.

Recipe from Saveur.

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze

The first time I made a whole roast chicken was all due to a happy accident. Vehicle-less and not wanting to lug groceries on the T, my college roommates and I decided to test out Peapod online grocery delivery service. After the roommates and I added all our items, Matt added a couple of his own before completing the order. When it arrived a couple days later I pulled out an entire ten pound chicken. What college student buys a ten pound chicken? Especially in an apartment where we were living on grilled cheeses, frittatas and pasta! Turns out in his haste Matt accidentally ordered a whole chicken instead of chicken breasts. So we stuck it in the freezer until we could work up the courage to tackle the bird.

But when we finally did and took the first bite out of our labor of love we had seasoned, buttered and basted for hours, it was absolutely glorious. There is something so delicious about a roast chicken. It could be that the anticipation goes to your head while you’re waiting for it to cook. It might be that you get overwhelmed by a sense of accomplishment at having completed such a monumental task.

But if I was to really try and put my finger on it I’d have to keep it simple: from the juicy white meat to the tender thighs to the crispy skin a whole roast chicken is just damn tasty. This pomegranate molasses and apricot roast chicken is certainly no exception. The meat is moist, flavorful and fragrant, while the exterior is sweet and sticky. Finger-lickin’ great chicken.

You will wish you had five ovens so you could whip up a whole bunch of these bad boys at once. If you have never made roast chicken before don’t be shy! I promise you that if a couple of grilled cheese making college kids can do it then so can you. And if you have made a whole roast chicken before then you will regret not giving this one a shot. So go ahead, use some of that precious pomegranate molasses and tackle that bird.

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4-6 pound chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 orange, cut in slices
  • 1 lemon, cut in slices
  • ½ onion, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken inside and out and dry thoroughly.
  3. Salt and pepper then inside of the chicken the stuff the cavity with the orange slices, lemon slices, onion pieces and garlic cloves.
  4. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together, tucking the wings under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken breast-side down on the roasting rack in a deep roasting pan.
  5. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Use the melted butter to baste the chicken allover. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to cook for 45 minutes. After 20 minutes baste the chicken again with butter.
  6. While the chicken is in the oven make the glaze. Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, orange juice, apricot jam and lemon juice until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. After the 45 minutes are up flip the chicken so the breasts are up then coat allover with the glaze. Cook for 30 minutes, basting with the glaze again after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or when the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Recipe adapted from The Global Jewish Kitchen.

Egg Nog Ice Cream

There are some flavors we really only see around the holiday season like gingerbread and pumpkin. Another one of those flavors is egg nog. Now I think I could really enjoy a moist spiced gingerbread loaf or some smooth pumpkin hummus anytime during the cooler months, but it takes a special time of the year to be in the mood for egg nog.

The first time I had egg nog was in the form of a dining hall carton that we spiked with Captain Morgan’s in a college dorm room. I have definitely come a long way since then. This egg nog ice cream is spiced and sophisticated. But one thing hasn’t changed- this ice cream is boozy. An adult-table-only-make-you-go-woah kind of treat. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Especially on days when your whole family is together from sun-up to sun-down and you’re starting to find yourself going a little kooky. One bite of this ice cream will slap your tastebuds back to reality. Best served to adults alongside a warm slice of gingerbread cake or a pumpkin bread pudding to add a little liquored up sophistication to your holiday desserts.

Egg Nog Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and place a mesh strainer on top.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat warm the milk, sugar and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks. Whisking constantly carefully pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks then pour the mixture with the egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir constantly over medium heat, making sure to scrap the bottom, until the mixture is thick enough that it coats the spatula.
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool for a couple minutes. Then pour the mixture through the mesh strainer into the bowl with the heavy cream. Stir to combine then add the nutmeg, brandy, rum and vanilla.
  6. Stir until cool over an ice bath then chill the mixture completely in the refrigerator. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Recipe from The Perfect Scoop.