Midnight Macaroons

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Chocolate-Covered Hazelnut Macaroons
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
Yields about 8 cookies

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large egg whites
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

METHOD
Fill a sauce pot with water and heat to boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to just simmering. Fill a large metal (or heat-resistant) mixing bowl with the chocolate chips and place over the hot water bath. Allow to melt, stirring with a spatula every few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg white. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Form the dough into eight, 2 tablespoon mounds and drop each onto the sheet pan about 2-inches apart.

Bake the macaroons until golden brown on the edges, about 15 minutes. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled macaroons. Serve.

Macaroons will keep in a sealed container for up to one week.

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(Editor’s Note: All movie screenshots in this story are property of Sony Pictures.)

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A Holiday Tradition

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arthur

jude

Just the other day at work, I was chatting with a newly single male co-worker who had recently (and reluctantly) joined a dating website. Since his divorce he hadn’t dated much, and hated the fact that online dating was the new way to meet fellow singles.

“Why can’t I just meet someone the old-fashioned way, like at the grocery store or something?”, he lamented.

I smiled and agreed, telling him he shouldn’t give up on that notion. That someday he’ll have his meet-cute.

“What’s a meet-cute?” he asked.

“A meet-cute is a way in which two characters in a story are introduced,” I explained.

“Are you talking about The Holiday?” immediately chimed another male co-worker.

I was shocked that this co-worker knew what I was talking about; it made me smile and giggle.

“My wife watches that movie a lot,” he huffed. “So that means, I’ve watched it… a lot.”

For the past 7 years, I’ve had this unofficial tradition of watching The Holiday around Christmastime. If you haven’t already seen it, the film is actually a great story with a stellar cast playing relatable, sympathetic characters. (Eli Wallach’s Arthur Abbott steals every scene he’s in. And you can’t help but sympathize with Kate Winslet’s character Iris Simpkins, who deals with the heartbreak that comes with loving a man who will never love you back.) The characters’ interwoven story lines, teamed with the sentimentality of the holiday season, are a joy to watch every year. But what’s also really great are the scenes where food is the common thread for comfort and togetherness during the holidays. Because of that, I was inspired to create a menu dedicated to the movie.

For the full recipes, click on the following links below.

MENU

Amanda Woods’ Christmas Eve Toast with Proscuitto, Burrata, Hazelnuts, Balsamic Reduction

Christmas Chicken Fettuccine with Grana Padano and Fines Herbes

Adult Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps and Whipped Cream

Arthur Abbott’s Hanukkah Chocolate-Covered Hazelnut Macaroons

(Editor’s Note: All movie screenshots in this story are property of Sony Pictures.)

[Adult Swig]

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Adult Hot Chocolate
Serves 1

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon sugar
sprinkle of salt, to taste
1 tablespoon Peppermint Schnapps
1/2 cup whipping cream

METHOD
Using a stand mixer, whisk on medium-high the whipping cream till hard peaks, about 8-10 minutes.

In a small deep sauce pan, heat the milk. Stir often to avoid scorching. Add in the chocolate chips, sugar and salt. Heat till chocolate is melted. Turn off the heat. Transfer the hot chocolate into a large mug. Stir in the peppermint schnapps. Finish with 2 big dollops of whipped cream.

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(Editor’s Note: All movie screenshots in this story are property of Sony Pictures.)

Festive Fettuccine

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Christmas Chicken Fettuccine
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
For the pasta
10 ounces fresh fettuccine pasta

For the roux
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour

For the Alfredo sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
roux
2-3 cups milk
1/2 pound grana padano, (6 ounces grated and 2 ounces shaved for garnish)
salt, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into medium-sized chunks

For the fines herbes
1/2 teaspoon tarragon, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon chives, finely chopped

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METHOD
In a deep sauce pan, fill with water and heat till boiling. While waiting for the water to boil, in a sauté pan, melt the butter on medium then add the flour. When it starts to bubble, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula mix till completely cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a plate, set aside.

In the same pan, add the oil and sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the milk and heat. Once hot, return the roux to the pan and stir till thickened, about 6-10 minutes.

Add the grated cheese and thicken into the sauce. Stir in half of the fines herbes, add salt and chili flake, season to taste. Set aside.

Once the water starts to boil, add the pasta. Stir and cook till al dente, about 3-6 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, heat a deep sauté pan with oil and add the chicken. Cook till all sides are browned. Add the sauce to the pan and stir. Stir in the fettuccine and coat with the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add in a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. When the chicken is fully cooked, turn off the heat. Using a pair of tongs, plate the pasta into a wide-brimmed bowl. Garnish with the rest of the fines herbes and grated grana.

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(Editor’s Note: All movie screenshots in this story are property of Sony Pictures.)

Amanda’s Holiday Toast

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Amanda’s Christmas Eve Toast
Serves 1

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
1 thick slice artisanal baguette
coarse sea salt, to taste
1 piece burrata, room temperature
2 slices proscuitto
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed and chopped

METHOD
Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pot over high until boiling. Lower to medium-low and simmer slowly till a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush bread with olive oil on both sides of bread. Place bread onto a sheet pan and into the oven for 3 minutes. Pull the bread out and flip onto the other side. Return to the oven for 3 more minutes or until medium golden brown. Slice the bread on a diagonal in half, then cut burrata in half and place on top of still-hot bread, sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Lay proscuitto slices over the bread and cheese. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the bread and sprinkle with the hazelnuts. Finish with the olive oil.

Serve with a glass of red wine.

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(Editor’s Note: All movie screenshots in this story are property of Sony Pictures.)