With Chanukah days behind us and Christmas on the rise, it's about time to start thinking about the Yuletide. (the period from Dec. 24th through Jan. 6th)
Not only is the internet full of awesome presents and great party/entertaining ideas, but there will be all manner of sales during this period of holiday magic.
Maybe you don't have time to make Christmas cookies, and maybe you're tired of eating latkes already (pshh, not likely) but many of these recipes taste good even when it's not a holiday.
One of my favorite times of year is when hams go on sale. In college one of my favorite meals to bring for lunch and to eat at home was (and still is) ham with white rice and sweet icebox pickles.
Check out Saveur's recipe for a honey and clove fresh ham. The stuff of legend.
Seriously I ate it for five days in a row pretty often. Salty, fatty ham is an excellent counterpoint to sweet, vinegary pickled peppers and onions - balanced out by warm, fluffy, starchy rice. Perfect!
I would make the pickles as soon as I knew hams were about to go on sale so that when the time came, all my pickles would be ready for me. Then all I needed was one day to make a ham and a bunch of rice, and viola!
Anyway, here's a bytes and sites mash-up of all the great Yuletide things now and to come.
For the Adult-Kid in all of us, here are some boozy hot chocolate recipes:
This is to replace egg-nog at all times. Please do not serve me egg-nog. Please serve me hot chocolate with booze in it. Sure, you can put Baileys instead of milk, but that doesn't necessarily make it good. Follow these few recipes and you'll have some hot chocolate to be proud of. Not some dorm-room Swiss Miss with marshmallow vodka.
Nutella Hot Chocolate : Nutella all the time. Best served straight from the jar, preferably on a finger, but I will also accept this hot drink with hazelnut liqueur. Just be sure to use all of the liqueur. Seriously, what are you going to do with leftover hazelnut liqueur? (the answer is coffee)
Cinnamon, Mezcal, and Chili Hot Chocolate : Serious Mexican flavors from Seriouseats.com. I want this more spicy and less ingredients. Really, it's got one hundred percent more ingredients that Saveur's choco-concoction but worth every step.
Bittersweet Chocolate with Red Wine : Because you need to make good with someone's mom. And we all know moms love chocolate and wine. And we all know there is always a mom to impress.
Don't go crazy drinking all these alcoholic things, maybe make them for friends. We all know that you're getting enough calories just from the phrase "holiday time." So take it easy on the liquid chocolate, Santa.
Here are a lot of gift ideas. Get me some. It's cool, I like gifts, and I've read all these gift compilations so I'll know how much you spent.
Bon Appetit Holiday Gift Guide : Full of great ideas like an ENTIRE JAMON SERRANO LEG (wink, wink rich friends) it also has lots of small and/or practical gifts like retro candy and Almdudler Limonade cans.
Saveur's Holiday Gift Guide 2012 : Check out the Edible gift guide, some of them are great, like single varietal honeys, Olympic Provisions sausages, and travelling bitters set. Some are not so great, like the hexagon spice kit, and the foil wrapped chocolate ornament (just make them boozy hot chocolate.) But all are better than just straight candy-canes.
Also, This, because I think these are awesome if impractical.
If you've read this entire post, I applaud you, because frankly, after the ham and the Nutella Hot Chocolate, I stopped paying attention myself and just started eating Nutella straight from the jar again.