Savoring the Season: A Holiday Menu Photo Story

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For all those who love to cook, eat, and entertain, the holidays are a time for stepping it up in the kitchen, for elevating traditional holiday menu items and testing out ambitious new recipes. Food and drink are a primary way that we show care for one another and how we welcome friends and family into our home.

In my own family, holiday food traditions include Christmas Eve crabcakes, quiche on Christmas morning, and homebaked pies and cookies. I am also a fan of all kinds of cheese and charcuterie, with baked brie smothered with caramelized onions and shrimp cocktail at the top of my list.

This year, we consulted with the experts at Baltimore-based Classic Catering for inspiration for a holiday meal. We asked about food traditions and flavors, specifically a menu that marries old and new to create a memorable experience that feels special, but not too fussy, to share with our readers.

The concept for this meal came out of the Classic Catering newsletter, in a series of featuring culinary team members’ favorite passed down kitchen tools, and how those items impacted each chef. It’s this aspect of storytelling that inspired this meal, where our memories form the basis for new experiences.

According to Harriet Dopkin and Lisa Pomroy of Classic Catering, “The holiday season is a magical time when cherished traditions intertwine with the joy of new family members and guests and the different perspectives and culinary history that are added to the occasion. Gathering at the table and pausing to appreciate one another is always the best gift.”

As culinarians and passionate hospitality people, the team at Classic Catering jumped on the opportunity to celebrate this moment with “festive favorites, sometimes unchanged for generations, sometimes reimagined and often introduced by our evolving network of our chefs, friends, purveyors and family. Our art might be but a fleeting moment of colors, textures, flavors and stories, but we are gratified knowing that the memories which they create are priceless.”

We hope you enjoy these mouth-watering photos of the following holiday menu from Classic Catering:

* Gnocchi skewers with a fontina bereber spice fondue and focaccia crumbles
* Maine lobster croquettes with absinthe mustard aioli
* Bonita sweet potato latke with whitefish mousse, Persian cucumber and caperberry relish
* Tricolor beet lollipop, saba miso glaze
* Vadouvan braised lamb “pop tart” firefly farm chevre, chives, chive oil
* Chocolate hazelnut tart
* Gingerbread & strawberry macarons

Happy holidays, everyone, from the team at BmoreArt and Classic Catering!! Bonus: cook book recomendations from Harried Dopkin at the end…

Bonus: From Classic Catering’s Library, Harriet’s Holiday Book Picks:

Big Heart Little Stove, Bringing Home Meals & Moments from the Lost Kitchen by Erin French
Erin French’s third book Big Heart Little Stove, Bringing Home Meals & Moments from the Lost Kitchen would be a welcomed gift for any home cook.  French writes that all her life she has been figuring out how to do a lot with a little and this theme threads its way throughout most of the book.  Straightforward recipes with subtle touches create seductive plates, sage advice from the mothers in her life and the effectiveness of simplicity elucidate this principle. This beautiful new cookbook is a thoughtful guide to good food, the art of hospitality and the intangibles that elevate a shared meal.

Seafood Simple by Eric Ripert
Like a Zen master gaining a beginner’s mind, Eric Ripert’s eighth book, Seafood Simple, returns to the basics after decades of practice.  The meals I have enjoyed at his two restaurants included some of the finest dishes I have ever tasted and epitomize simple elegance. In his latest cookbook, he allows the reader an opportunity to make seafood the main dish with minimal fuss.  The recipes are arranged by cooking technique and rarely stray into unknown realms; merluza with curry oil and yellow cauliflower is about as exotic as it gets.  Systematically practicing the techniques and dishes in Seafood Simple would make an excellent New Year’s resolution for the home cook wanting to gain confidence in fine seafood preparation.

Veg-Table Recipes, Techniques + Plant Science for Big-Flavors, Vegetable-Focused Meals by Nik Sharma
Open Veg-Table Recipes, Techniques + Plant Science for Big-Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals and you will know you are in the hands of not only a chef but a scientist as well. The end pages are lined with a charming “Table of Vegetables” akin to the periodic table of elements but with new invented symbols. Nik Sharma is a molecular biologist, food blogger and cookbook author whose novel recipes are packed with flavors linked to his Indian heritage, time in the south and boundless curiosity. I can’t wait to try Za’atar Onion Rings with Buttermilk Caraway Dipping Sauce, Cauliflower Bolognese and Bombay Potato Croquettes.

Kid in the Kitchen, 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks by  Melissa Clark & Daniel Gercke
Kid in the Kitchen, 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks is not a new book but that should not deter you from considering it as a holiday gift.  Written by cookbook author Daniel Gercke and his wife Melissa Clark, a New York Times food columnist and cookbook author as well. Written with the authority of parents who cook with their child, there is a wide variety of family friendly dishes, lots of helpful advice and well written recipes that anticipate questions that the new cooks are likely to ask. Set the table and Not-Quite-Instant Ramen, fun pizza ideas and Picadillo, spicy ground meat with olives and raisins might grace it soon.

The Upstairs Delicatessen: On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating & Eating While Reading by Dwight Garner
The Upstairs Delicatessen: On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating, & Eating While Reading by Dwight Garner certainly appeals to two of my favorite passions.
Dwight Garner is a book critic for the New York Times and his new memoir will naturally captivate book-lovers and enthusiastic eaters.  Beware, The Upstairs Delicatessen leads to lots of rabbit holes and possible caloric pursuits. Happy Holidays.


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