I think we can all agree, 2016 left a lot to be desired. It hurts my brain just thinking about it. Yet, as much as this past year has been filled with pain, loss, fear, and uncertainty, there were some pretty magical moments as well. For instance, I became an uncle! My little nephew Easton is the sweetest, most dapper little 10 month old I’ve ever seen. Fiona is in love. They spend the day together on Mondays, and it’s been such a treat seeing her interact with her little cousin. Speaking of which, it’s been truly incredible to watch Fiona mature into toddlerhood (wow, there’s a word I never thought I’d write). Seriously, it’s mind-blowing! She’s talking in full sentences now — paragraphs even! “Night night Daddy. Tomorrow we wake up in morning, together, make coffee and milk, and eat oat oat boo boos (oatmeal and blueberries). O’tay? O’tay!” It just melts my heart 🙂 I fall more in love every single day (is that even possible?). As I say each year, thank you so much for your loyal readership. Thank you for all your comments, messages, shares, and link-love. Thank you for supporting our partnerships, and the brands that keep HonestlyYUM up and running. Thank you for taking the time to make our recipes, and if you haven’t, I hope this is the year you give one a try. In fact, how about starting with this golden beauty!
This is my take on the classic Twentieth Century Cocktail, originally named after the 20th Century Limited train that ran between Chicago and New York City from 1902 to 1967. The 20th Century Limited was luxurious, sophisticated, and often advertised as the most famous train in the world. In fact, it’s thought that the phrase, ”getting the red carpet treatment” came into popularity because a crimson carpet was rolled out for passengers boarding the 20th Century Limited. Don’t you just love cocktail history?!! Just as it’s namesake, the 20th Century cocktail is elegant in its own right. While the list of ingredients (gin, Lillet Blanc, creme de cacao, and lemon) doesn’t exactly imply sophistication, I can assure you it’s all that, and more! So with my utmost respect, here’s my 21st century take on the 20th Century cocktail. I switched the Lillet Blanc for Cocchi Americano, which is more bitter, and many say a better representative of the original Kina Lillet formula. I replaced the lemon with citric acid for clarity, and added a touch of edible gold dust as a celebratory nod to the new year.
Wine granita is one of our favorite desserts. Actually, any time we can combine alcohol and dessert— we do! Granitas are so easy to make and can be prepared a head of time, great for entertaining. For New Years Eve, we’ve teamed up with Elouan to make this rosé granita. Elouan rosé is a crisp wine with hints of ripe raspberries and strawberries and hints of citrus and perfect with creamy vanilla bean ice cream. Rosé is often considered a summer wine, but rose is appropriate for any time of the year in our book. Pair this dessert with glasses of chilled rosé and you have yourself an amazing New Years Eve night!
I’ll be honest, 2016 has been a rough year. It’s been a busy and stressful year with a lot of personal and professional ups and downs (hey, they can’t all be winning years, right?) But, I’m ready to end this year on as high a note as possible and am so looking forward to spending time with my family for Christmas. Our family really gets into the Christmas spirit. For us, it’s all about the trees, lights, gifts, baking and holiday magic, but more than anything, it’s about spending a lot of time together– for better or worse. We usually plan a large dinner on Christmas Eve (also my sister’s birthday!) and follow it up with an early morning watching kids tearing through gifts and nursing hangovers with single-drip coffee my dad patiently makes for everyone cup by cup. We eventually all get around to making a delicious and decadent breakfast, typically with lots of eggs and popovers. This year, however, I’m planning on making a biscuit spread featuring these incredible buttermilk biscuits inspired by a stellar recipe from Bon Appetite. This genius recipe layers pieces of the dough so that when it bakes it you get those beautiful distinct layers. For this biscuit spread, I’ve provided savory and sweet options. Jam, butter and honey are a must for biscuits, but what I prefer is making a breakfast sandwich out of these biscuits. Spread a layer of Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs cheese, top with a runny sunny side up egg and top with crispy bacon. Or top the biscuit with Boursin cheese and a couple thin slices of smoked lox. Ohhh, it’s soooo good!!! Decorate your spread with plenty of winter fruit like satsuma oranges, pomegranates, persimmons, apples and pears and you’ve got yourself a Christmas morning-worthy brunch!
Oh, how I love this time of year. When else can you get away with drinking warm boozy drinks by yourself late at night, streaming the new ATCQ album, all while frantically wrapping presents by the light of a haphazardly decorated Christmas tree. Just try doing that in the summer . . . I dare you!! This year’s warm boozy drinks are brought to you by the letter ‘R’ as in, rum, and the number ‘2’ as in, two drinks are better than one! In all seriousness, today’s recipe comes from the one and only, Jennifer Farley. You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m quite The Gourmet Kitchen fanboy. Both on her blog, and now in her book, Jennifer has the uncanny ability to create elevated, yet approachable cuisine. Today’s drink is no exception. I swapped out the bourbon for rum, but feel free to use your spirit of choice. ‘Tis the season!!
Wrapping presents has to be one of my favorite things to do during the holidays. For me, it’s not about the paper but rather, the present toppers! You should see my storage box, it’s filled to the brim with Christmas themed toppers like tiny trinkets, little feathered birds, spun cotton fruits . . . you name it, I’ve got it. But this year, I’m trying something different. Gingerbread gift tags! I’m using Karen’s tried and true recipe – the same one she’s used to make her adorable mini gingerbread houses and sweet gingerbread men garlands in years past. It’s a dough that’s sturdy, making the gingerbread durable. Admittedly, decorating the tags with icing is the most challenging part, especially if you’re an amateur like me. My tip is to keep it simple. Use a single icing tip throughout and just play around with dots and lines!
It’s amazing how much you can travel through food. Exploring different cuisines and ingredients is the best part of cooking in my opinion. My kitchen is always stocked with tons of spices and cooking tools from around the world. When I travel, I make it a point to seek out things I can add to my kitchen too. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a foodie or a travel lover, these are great for anyone looking for adventure in their kitchen!