Every family has its own holiday traditions — that’s true from gift exchanges and choosing the decorative trimmings to gatherings and signature plates. This holiday season, C&I sets the table for a tour across the West, in hopes you might find room for a new culinary tradition alongside grandma’s secret-recipe pie.
Flip That Squash cocktail — Roxana Pavel, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, California
Eggnog — Tinsel, Tumbleweeds, and Star-spangled Celebrations: Holidays on the Western Frontier From New Years to Christmas by Sherry Monahan
Olives Marinated With Garlic, Fennel, and Orange — Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, California
Cheese Course: Cheese Pairings for Rustic Canyon’s Marinated Olives — Kathryn Coker, Esters Wine Shop & Bar and Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, California
Winter Salad — Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe
Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops (With Rosemary Marinade) — Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox Restaurant, Portland, Oregon
Peach Beans With Applewood-Smoked Bacon — Jason Dady, Two Bros. BBQ Market, San Antonio, Texas
Coconut Double-Layer Cake — Tinsel, Tumbleweeds, and Star-Spangled Celebrations: Holidays on the Western Frontier From New Years to Christmas by Sherry Monahan
Flip That Squash
This seasonal version on a classic flip cocktail is reminiscent of an eggnog, but with a refined allure.
2 acorn squash
Dickel 8 Whiskey (or preferred whiskey)
½ ounce Pimm’s liqueur
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce maple syrup
Nutmeg or cinnamon, for dusting
Start by infusing Dickel 8 whiskey with house-roasted acorn squash for a couple of hours. It really is as simple as it sounds. Take 2 acorn squash, cut them in half, and place them in a roasting pan, add a little salt, and put them in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees, or until fork tender. Pour a bottle of whiskey of your choice over it and let it sit for a few hours. After that, strain it through a fine strainer or cheese cloth into a cocktail shaker. Add Pimm’s liqueur for a nice layer of flavor; add freshly squeezed lemon juice; add maple syrup (splurge on a good quality maple syrup, it makes all the difference); and a whole farm egg. Shake it dry first (meaning without ice) to emulsify the egg, for about 1 minute, really vigorously. Then add ice and shake it again for about 30 seconds. This will turn into a frothy, creamy cocktail when double strained into a (preferably vintage) coupe and then dusted off with nutmeg (or cinnamon if that’s more up your alley).
Recipe courtesy Roxana Pavel, Watertable restaurant, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, California.
What’s Christmas without the yuletide charm of eggnog?
3 eggs, separated*
1 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups cream
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon powdered sugar for egg whites
⅛ cup brandy
⅛ cup rum
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl and set aside. Beat the egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar until stiff peaks form and refrigerate. Heat the cream and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually add hot cream into the egg and sugar mixture. Return everything to the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl; set in the refrigerator to chill. Fold the egg whites into the egg mixture and combine. Serve with grated cinnamon and nutmeg.
*It is dangerous to consume raw eggs, so be sure to cook the yolks to 160 degrees
Reprinted and edited with permission from Tinsel, Tumbleweeds, and Star-spangled Celebrations: Holidays on the Western Frontier From New Years to Christmas, by Sherry Monahan (TwoDot, 2017). Original recipe adapted from Idaho Daily Statesman, 1892.
Olives Marinated With Garlic, Fennel, and Orange
This appetizer from Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California, is the perfect accompaniment for a holiday cheese and charcuterie plate.
1 pound various olives, drained
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated garlic (from 4 – 5 cloves, germ removed)
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a metal bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and fennel seed. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (clingfilm) and set it over the pot of water so it fits snugly, but the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and no longer raw, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the olives, and orange zest and juice. Serve immediately, while warm, or refrigerate for up to 2 days and serve chilled.
Recipe reprinted and edited with permission from On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox (Phaidon, April 2017).
Take the the marinated olive starter to the next level with elegant cheese pairing suggestions from Kathryn Coker, Esters Wine Shop & Bar Co-Owner and Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants Wine Director.
Comté, Seignemartin, France
This alpine cow’s milk cheese is a more esoteric, complex (and delicious) version of Gruyère. From the Jura region of France, Comté is firm, salty, and savory — just right with briny olives.
Ewephoria, Beemster, Holland
A hard, gouda-like sheep’s milk cheese that is a huge favorite at Esters. It’s nutty, caramel-y and adds just that little bit of sweetness to match the fennel and orange.
Piper’s Pyramid, Capriole, Indiana
This is from one of my favorite domestic creameries. Slightly sweet and buttery, with a bloomy rind, Piper’s Pyramid is such an elegant goat cheese. Its creamy texture and layer of sweet paprika pair perfectly with the olive's orange rind marinade.
This early course brightens any cold night.
Foie Gras Mousse (optional)
1 lobe grade A Foie Gras (available at specialty and gourmet foods shops)
¼ cup cognac
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 ounces fine grinded ginger bread
In a food processor add the foie gras at room temperature and purée until smooth. Add the cognac and cream. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the processor and fold in the gingerbread. Fill into a piping bag and store for later in fridge. Before using take out and let get it soft again
2 cups kumquats, washed and chopped
2 lemons, juiced
½ cups white sugar
½ cups water
½ ounce Chimayo chile powder
Place kumquat and sugar in saucepan and let macerate for about 15 minutes on low heat, add water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened (it will thicken more as it cools). Store in fridge after cooling.
2 ounces shaved fennel
2 ounces Granny Smith apple, julienned
1 ounce golden beets, julienned
¼ cup baby kale
Extra virgin olive oil
½ piece lemon, juiced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients just before plating together in a bowl to keep them crunchy and cold.
Roast 2 ounces of macadamia nuts in oven at 375 degrees or toast in them in frying pan on medium heat. Remove, let cool, and then crush into small pieces.
Combine and serve.
Recipe courtesy Kai Autenrieth, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.
Peach Beans With Applewood-Smoked Bacon
This side dish is a big seller at Two Bros. BBQ Market in San Antonio, Texas, and a mainstay in the household of chef-co-owner Jason Dady.
½ pound Applewood-smoked bacon
1 yellow onion, diced
2 pounds cooked pinto beans
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup barbecue sauce
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup black pepper
¼ cup kosher salt
2 cups fresh peaches, diced
In large heavy bottom braising pot, render and cook bacon until crispy. Remove fat as it renders and reserve for another use. Once bacon is crispy add onion and cook until translucent. Add beans, sugar, barbecue sauce, Dijon, vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Once beans come to a simmer, add peaches and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Jason Dady, Two Bros. BBQ Market, San Antonio, Texas
Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops (With Rosemary Marinade)
This is a cut for the carnivorous person who doesn’t mind eating around a bone, or eating a little bit of fat, and really just enjoys the flavor of lamb. Lamb and rosemary go hand in hand, and because the shoulder has a bigger flavor, we amped up the rosemary flavor, too, applying it in a few different ways. The dish starts with a rosemary marinade, and the grilled chop is set atop a bed of fresh rosemary to release the herb’s aromas. At Ox, we also send this out to the table garnished with a smoking sprig of rosemary lit from the fire.
This is an inexpensive cut relative to other cuts of lamb, so it’s a great option for scaling up for larger groups. — Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, plus more sprigs for garnishing (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 12-ounce bone-in lamb shoulder chops, about 1-inch thick
Thinly sliced radishes, for garnish (optional)
Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
In a blender, combine the oil, onion, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper; puree until smooth. Generously coat the lamb chops with the marinade and chill, covered or wrapped tightly, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Before grilling, let the meat come up to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a grill to medium heat. Season the lamb chops with more salt and pepper and transfer to the grill. Cook, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and the meat is cooked to medium or medium-well, about 12 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting or serving. Serve on a bed of rosemary sprigs and garnished with radish and flowers, if desired.
Reprinted and edited with permission from Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant by Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, with Stacy Adimando, © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Coconut Double-Layer Cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 – 2 cups shredded coconut
Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth and foamy. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and stir. Alternately add the flour and milk to the egg mixture; beginning and ending with the flour. Once combined, beat for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Pour into greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until done. Test with a toothpick. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then on cake racks until complete cooled. Spread on your favorite frosting. Cover with your favorite frosting and shredded coconut to your liking.
Reprinted and edited with permission from Tinsel, Tumbleweeds, and Star-spangled Celebrations: Holidays on the Western Frontier From New Years to Christmas, by Sherry Monahan (TwoDot, 2017). Original recipe adapted from The Kansas Home Cook Book, 1874.
What are your favorite holiday recipes? Share them with C&I by emailing food and spirits editor José R. Ralat at email@example.com.