Tag Archives | Holiday 2013 Recipes



Recipe by Patricia Mercadante, step-grandmother of the author

Vegetable oil (for frying)
40 smelts, fresh or frozen (about 3 pounds)
1 cup all-purpose fl our
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 lemons, cut into wedges

If smelts are frozen, defrost them. Some people fry and eat smelts whole, especially the smallest ones. Our family prefers smelts butterflied. To clean whole smelts, make a straight cut along the belly with a small knife from under the head to the tail. Turn the smelt over and cut halfway into the fish just behind the head.

Pull the head down and back to remove the innards and tiny backbone. Use your fingers and running water to pull and rinse away any remaining bits. Drop each cleaned fish into a bowl of ice water.

Pour oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350° (or until a small piece of bread dropped in the oil immediately bubbles and rises to the top).

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag.

Cook the smelts in batches, depending on the size of your skillet. Drain the smelts and toss about ten in the bag at a time.

Shake bag to coat smelts with flour. Shake off excess flour from each smelt before dropping it into the oil. Stir to make sure they don’t stick together. Cook until golden brown, turning over once if necessary, 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain the fried smelts on paper towels and serve immediately with the lemon wedges. (Serves 4 to 6.)

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1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 cups fl our

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream softened butter and sugar well. Add fl our to sugar mixture. Roll with rolling pin to ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes. Bake on baking sheets covered with parchment paper for 8 to 10 minutes. Frost and decorate, if desired. Makes approximately three dozen.

Icing (if desired):

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Assorted food colorings or red and green sugar crystals

Cream sugar and milk together and color as desired.

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The Surprise:

1½ cups peanut butter
1½ cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Dough:

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups fl our
1 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda


4 tablespoons shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

In a mixing bowl, cream 1½ cups peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Roll into 30 ¾-inch balls. Cover and place in freezer on waxed paper. Only take out a few at a time. (The frozen peanut butter balls are much easier to work with.) Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, cream butter, ½ cup peanut butter and sugars. Beat in egg whites and vanilla. Combine fl our, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into approximately 125 1-inch balls. (You’ll have plenty of extra dough for future cookies.)

Using fl oured hands, fl atten chocolate balls and shape one around each peanut butter ball, sealing edges. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 375° for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set and tops are cracked. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks.

For icing, in a small mixing bowl, cream shortening and powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla and enough milk to reach spreading consistency. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag or pastry bag; cut a small hole in corner of bag. Pipe icing over cookies in a zigzag pattern. Sprinkle with chocolate jimmies. Makes 2½ dozen.

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Here’s a simple cocktail inspired by Alba’s raspberry dessert wine. I experimented for a while with this wine, but I like the pure flavor of the raspberry so much, it seemed a shame to mask it with too many flavors. The Champagne serves to cut the sweetness of the wine, and the oils from the lemon twist gently enhance and open up the berry flavors.

—Andrea Morin, general manager, LITM

Pour one ounce of Alba raspberry wine into a Champagne flute. Fill the rest of the flute with Champagne or Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist.

LITM 140 Newark Ave., Jersey City; 917.536.5557 litm.com

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Recipe by Heiner Aichem, Black Forest Inn

Note: If a sweet-and-sour quality is desired, after dish has cooked, season to taste with red-wine vinegar and/or more currant jelly.

4 tablespoons goose fat (or duck fat)
2½ large onions, halved and sliced thin
5 Red or Golden Delicious apples, cored, halved and sliced thin
5 tablespoons currant jelly
1 bottle red wine
2 medium heads red cabbage, cut into quarters, cored and sliced or shredded to the thickness of slaw
4 tablespoons pickling spice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat goose or duck fat over medium heat. Add onions and apples and sauté until onions are soft and light gold in color. Deglaze the pan with the currant jelly. Pour in half the bottle of red wine and add the cabbage in stages, letting each batch cook down a bit before adding the next batch. Simmer the mixture slowly for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine half of the remaining wine and the pickling spice.

Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Strain the reduction, discarding the spice.

Add to the cabbage mixture the pickling spice–wine reduction and the remaining red wine. Combine well, season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer, slowly, until the cabbage reaches the desired level of tenderness, about 30 to 40 minutes. Add water (or more wine) as necessary if the mixture starts to get too dry. (Serves 8 to 10.)

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Recipe by Heiner Aichem, Black Forest Inn

Best-quality bone-in smoked ham, about 9 to 10 pounds

Your favorite bread dough recipe, raised twice and punched down

Preheat oven to 275°. Roll out dough to a thickness of between 1 and 1½ inches. Place ham in center of dough. Wrap dough upwards, leaving an opening for the shank bone. Moisten edges with water if necessary to seal the edges. (The bone remains exposed.)

Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 155° internally, approximately 3½ hours. Let ham rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Knock off the bread to expose the meat. Slice the ham and serve with a little piece of the bread for each guest.

Optional: Brush dough wrap with an egg wash and/or sprinkle with coarse salt before baking. (Serves 8 to 10.)

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Recipe by Corey Heyer, Executive Chef, The Bernards Inn, Bernardsville

1 dozen eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste

Place eggs in a pot that will hold them in one layer. Cover the eggs with cold water and put on a high flame. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tightfitting lid. Let sit for 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and cover the eggs with ice water for 20 minutes.

Peel the eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks. Push the yolks through a fine mesh strainer and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of salt. Mix with a whisk to make a smooth purée. Carefully spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the egg halves. This can be done with a spoon or a piping bag, depending on the importance of presentation.

Note: Traditionally, deviled eggs are sprinkled with paprika. But you can garnish with parsley, chives, red onion, black olives, diced tomato or even sunflower seeds.

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1/3 cup olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika, regular or smoked
1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, or 1 cup dried cannellinis, soaked and cooked till soft
1½ cups cubed bread, either toasted or stale
1 large bunch heirloom collard greens, stemmed and roughly chopped
Chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over low heat in a deep pan. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft—don’t let it brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Adjust the heat to medium under the pan. Add the paprika and let fry for a few minutes. Place the bread and reserved garlic in a food processor and pulse until just combined (the bread should stay in rough cubes). Add to the pan, one at a time, the cannellini beans, the bread, and then the collards, letting each ingredient cook for a few minutes and stirring often. Add stock a little at a time until the bread is soft (you don’t want a lot of liquid left in the pan). Cover and let cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until collards are thoroughly wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Serves 2 to 4.)

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