A great holiday cocktail party features surprising but easy to love (and to eat) hors d’oeuvres. This simple shrimp dish from the Bombay Club’s Nilesh Singhvi—whose career includes a long stint with India’s famously luxurious Taj Hotels chain—is the perfect thing: It’s simple to make but features surprising pops of red pepper and fennel, plus a cardamom-infused mango chutney for dipping.
Nilesh Singhvi’s Shrimp Malabar
Makes 16 to 20 shrimp
16 to 20 shrimp with tail, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon curry leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red chili pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
1 tablespoon oil (for cooking)
1 cup mango, diced small
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
½ teaspoon salt
Make the shrimp: Combine all ingredients except oil in a large bowl, stirring ingredients gently to mix. Allow to marinate for 2 hours. In the meantime, prepare the chutney: Place all ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat until mango is soft. Add cardamom and mix well. Take the saucepan of the heat and allow to cool. Just before serving, heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add marinated shrimp. Cook until shrimp are translucent, remove from heat, and serve hot with mango chutney for dipping.
We’ve been looking forward to checking out Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray’s first cookbook since we first learned about the project last year. Now the collection of more than 125 recipes, The New Jewish Table: Modern Recipes for Traditional Dishes, is set for a March release, but you don’t have to wait that long for one of the tastiest-sounding dishes: blintzes made with sweet port wine and dried figs, perfect for your Hanukkah table.
Like others in the book, the recipe marries Todd’s seasonal approach to cooking that has been Equinox’s signature over the years with a love for Judaic cooking—discovered when he met and married Ellen, who comes from a Jewish background. You won’t find fresh figs in season at local markets, but as Todd notes in the book’s introduction to the recipe, that isn’t a bad thing.
From the book: “The recipe calls for dried figs (black mission, but Turkish browns are fine, too), because of their concentrated flavor,” says Todd. “Moreover, fresh figs might make the filling too wet, causing a soggy blintz. Another advantage of using dried figs is that they make the recipe suitable for any time of the year. When fresh figs are available, though, I garnish lavishly with them—they certainly add an extra dimension.”
There is nothing quite like a cookie. The classic mood-elevating, yes-you-are-special food gets its due every December 4, also known as National Cookie Day. To celebrate, try one of these five recipes. Too tired to bake? We suggest you head immediately to Teaism, home to perhaps the best cookie in town.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, look no further than this recipe from pastry chef Tom Wellings. It’s based on the one he used when cooking at the now-closed Maestro at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner.
The toughest thing about a trip to Northside Social coffee shop in Arlington? Trying to resist great baked goods like these chocolate-gingerbread treats from former pastry chef Rob Valencia.
Looking for something a little healthier? Try these blueberry-almond-flax breakfast cookies from our fit pals over at the Well+Being blog.
When beverage director Brian Zipin was plotting the cocktail list for the newly opened DGS Delicatessen, he focused on drinks that both spoke to the Jewish culture and paired well with the briny, smoky, meaty flavors that are the signature of any good deli.
Thus were born sips like the Mazel Tov: a lightly floral libation topped with Champagne that uses the flavors of plum, frequently found in Judaic cooking. The festive flute is equally tasty sipped on its own as an aperitif, or served alongside latkes topped with smoked salmon or applesauce and sour cream.
The New York-based Averell Damson plum gin liqueur won’t be available in your corner bodega, but you should be able to find it in most specialty liquor stores. If not, Zipin recommends substituting a quality sloe gin, such as Plymouth.
We love Thanksgiving for the leftovers nearly as much as the real deal, but when it comes to that bowl of cranberry sauce, there’s little you can do besides spread it on a sandwich. Until now, that is. We challenged mixologist Micah Wilder—half of the brotherly team behind the creative libations at Pearl Dive/Black Jack and other Black Restaurant Group spots—to concoct a seasonal sip with the tart condiment. The result: a twist on a cobbler—usually a base spirit (often wine; the sherry cobbler is a classic) with a bit of sugar and fruit and lots of crushed ice as in a mint julep.
Here’s the real beauty of this drink: Whether your sauce of choice is a homemade blend or Ocean Spray straight from the can, you can use it to make Wilder’s sweet cranberry syrup. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for a round of cocktails, but the festive flavoring will keep through the holidays, so you can mix it with rye or a nice Highland Scotch for a Christmasy cocktail come December.
Micah Wilder’s Cape Cobbler
(Makes roughly 2 cups of cocktail syrup)
1 cup cranberry sauce
¾ cup honey, such as orange blossom
½ cup water
(Makes 1 cocktail)
6 healthy leaves of mint
2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon
¾ ounce apricot liqueur, such as Rothman & Winter brand
½ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce cranberry syrup
2 dashes of orange bitters, preferably Reagan’s
Combine all the syrup ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and stir together until combined. Strain through a fine sieve and let cool.
Add ice cubes to a cocktail shaker until its about half-way full, add mint and gently muddle until the ice crushes and the mint releases aromas. Pour the crushed ice into a julep tin or heavy-bottomed glass.
Shake the rest of cobbler ingredients together and strain over the ice.
Garnish with a sprig of mint, a segment of fruit like an apricot, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Seeing as you can order a “Thanksgiving sandwich” at local eateries year-round, consider swapping out the usual stack of leftovers between slices of bread for a dish that’s nearly as simple and far more indulgent: a creamy pot pie that uses leftover veggies and turkey alike. We first heard about this dish from chef Matthew Miller while previewing the newly opened Trademark in Alexandria, and couldn’t resist asking for the recipe.
“It’s as easy as taking yesterday’s dinner, putting it in a pan, and putting pastry on top,” says Miller of the pot pie. The British-born toque suggests using leftover sweet potato and green beans in addition to shredded turkey and gravy, though you can substitute any Thanksgiving vegetables you see fit. And if you’ve managed to sop up all your giblet sauce the day before, don’t worry; just stir in ⅓ cup of flour after you’ve sautéed the leeks, garlic, and celery, and then slowly stir in 1¾ cups turkey broth.
Apparently we are huge fans of pumpkin-and-cheese-stuffed dough here on Best Bites Blog.
Earlier, we shared Graffiato’s squash-filled tortellini recipe, and now here comes a Southern-style dish from Capitol Hill restaurant Art and Soul. This dish is a little more straightforward that its Italian counterpart, but still feels special enough for a dinner party or potluck offering.
Art and Soul’s Pumpkin (or Kabocha Squash) and Ricotta Dumplings
Makes 10 servings (8 to 10 dumplings per serving)
4 cups puréed pumpkin (kabocha squash also works well)
2 cups ricotta
1 cup Parmesan
5 to 8 cups all purpose flour
Nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
Butter (1 tablespoon per serving)
Rosemary (1 sprig per serving) OR Sage (4 to 5 leaves per serving)
Funny thing about Thanksgiving: All day Thursday you’re completely crazed trying to get the turkey on the table, then Friday rolls around and suddenly there’s nothing much to do.
One of our favorite day-after activities is to find a cooking or baking project we can work on with relatives—something to entertain the kids and keep the adults from descending into the doldrums of cabin fever. This pumpkin tortellini recipe from chef Mike Isabella is just the thing—it celebrates the flavors of fall and is intricate enough to eat up the good part of an afternoon, yet simple enough to work as a great group project. We suggest you pick up the ingredients while shopping for the main event, so you wake up Friday with everything good to go.
1¼ cups flour, plus more for dusting
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pumpkin and Cheese Filling
1½ ounces roasted and scooped pumpkin
1⅔ tablespoons grated Parmesan
3½ ounces mascarpone
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup hazelnuts
1 quart canola oil (for frying)
Brown Butter and Lemon Thyme Emulsion
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ cup cold butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme (or any fresh thyme), chopped
To make this festive, warm drink from Ripple bar manager Josh Berner, you can use store-bought cider or make your own; leftovers can be used for the basis of a tasty spiced nonalcoholic offering, as well.
The cocktail makes use of bright yellow Spanish liqueur Liquor 43 which “is made with 43 herbs and botanicals, hence the name,” says Berner. “The main flavors are of vanilla and citrus, and the spirit adds a lovely vanilla sweetness to the drink, while the lemon juice balances it out with acidity.” At Ripple, Berner uses Gosling’s rum in the cocktail, but says any dark rum with a strong molasses flavor will do nicely.
For the cocktail
1 ounce dark rum
½ ounce Liquor 43
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
3 ounce hot apple cider
1 lemon (for garnish)
For the cider (makes one gallon)
20 apples (Berner uses Gala)
To make the cider, juice apples—“skins, cores, seeds, and all,” says Berner—in a juicer and strain liquid twice through a cheesecloth. For the cocktail, heat the cider over low heat until warmed through. Combine all ingredients in a stemmed glass and stir gently to thoroughly blend flavors. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.
Holiday Cocktail Recipe: Todd Thrasher’s Cider Car
Cocktail Recipe: Ben Franklin's Milk Punch
Favorite Things: The Columbia Room's Katie Nelson
A Look at Ripple’s New Menu of Fat-Washed Drinks
Holiday Recipe: Bacon-Roasted Pecans from Ripple’s Logan Cox
One of the favorite sweets at Bayou Bakery is chef David Guas’s “Dat-O,” an oversize, house-made take on an Oreo that has been on the menu since the Louisiana-style cafe opened. We asked Guas to create a Halloween riff on the sandwich cookie, perfect for parties of all ages or for doling out on the big night.
There’s really no trick to this Halloween treat, which can be made up to four days in advance and sealed at room temperature in an airtight container. To create a “Dat-O-Lantern,” Guas uses a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, which you can find in the seasonal section of many markets and gourmet shops. Pro tip: If assembling the cookies gets messy at the end, try creating a makeshift pastry bag with a Ziploc (just spoon in the orange filling and then snip off one corner), and pipe the sweet stuff along the borders and into the center before gently topping the frosting with a second cookie.