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Internet Tasting Session December 20, 2009

Here we are, close to Christmas, and our houses are filled with the scents of holiday cooking. Forget about it, Winter is finally here, and there is nothing to do but settle in, visit friends, eat, drink, and be merry. Follow me as we sample some real food going around.


Oven-braised Short Ribs by Blue Kitchen – One word! Over-the-top! Okay, so I cheated a little there. This is an exciting dish that uses an under-utilized cut of beef. You cannot make this in an hour, and why would you? Serve up this dish to your next guests, and you will be a star!


Christmas Wassail by Good Life {Eats} – What? There is no alcohol in that drink? Fear not! Follow the instructions and keep this warm in your crock pot as your guests show up. Your house will smell festive, and you will be treating them to a warm drink for them to shrug off the cold. If you must have some alcohol, I would suggest some Amaretto, or perhaps brandy to get things off smashing!


Baked Spinach, Tomato and Goat Cheese by Duo Dishes – What is not to like about a dish that features goat cheese? This dish could be served with some rustic artisan bread. I am salivating just thinking about it. Be sure to support your local fromagerie!

Berry Mascarpone Pancakes by Picky Cook – Do I even need to tell you why you should make and eat these? Straight up recipe, with a fun twist. Mascarpone is one of my favorite cheeses. Now, before you slam me for the out-of-season blueberries, fret not! This recipe features my favorite jam made by Bonne Maman. If you can get your hands on a jar of that stuff, you will not be sorry!


Chicken Breast Stuffed With Roasted Red Peppers, Feta and Pistachios by Kalofagas – This dish just kills it! It will require a bit of time to make, and some ingredients, but it showcases exactly what you should do in the winter. Reach for those pantry items; a jar of roasted pimentos will do brilliantly here.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets by Local Lemons – Slow food at it’s finest. Your kids are conditioned every day to eat that crap at the “golden arches” of hell. This make-ahead dish can solve that problem for you. The post is spot on, and I heartily endorse what they are doing over there.


Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by Macheesmo – Nick has done it again. There is nothing that this guy will not try! I love the cookies in this recipe – as they are made with real ganache, cocoa powder and love. Don’t expect any leftovers if you bring them to my house Nick!


Eggs Baked in Roasted Tomato Sauce by Savory Reviews – Eggs in purgatory! Your guests will absolutely love this dish. I have served it on many occasions, and it is a conversational point. The dish itself is pretty cheap, so splurge on quality organic eggs, and premium canned Italian tomatoes for the marinara sauce. You and your guests will not be disappointed.

Pastry and Baking

Christmas-Morning Muffins by Ezra Pound Cake – These muffins spell money! Clementines are in season right now, and we all know what we will be doing on Christmas morning, right? Keep up your strength with these muffins. Your family already loves you, but trust me, these will not hurt your cause!

Natchitoches Meat Pies by Our Best Bites – Okay, it is really not pastry or baking, but this post gets the props for scratch-made pies. Replace those pizza pockets or whatever they are called with this real food. They can even be made ahead, and frozen. Plus, they are baked, not fried for an extra delicate pastry touch. In a word, money!

Panettone Cupcake by The Cupcake Project – This is a serious post! Panettone, for those of you who do not know, is a bread served at celebration time. Some might say it is notoriously hard to make, but the instruction in this recipe are straight-forward and easy. Forget that, this is something that you will not be able to put down. They are that good!

Pink Peppermint Whoopie Pies by Macheesmo – Nick is an animal! These little gems are again why Nick is a master in his kitchen. We’re talking scratch-made nuggets of heaven. Chocolate cake like cookies filled with peppermint cream. How can you go wrong?

Pork Empanadas with Thyme by The Bitten Word – I saw something similar to this the other day at a discount supermarket. Why buy this dish in the frozen food section. The recipe is spot on, and the thyme, sage and pork will merry with the potatoes to give you something that you will not be able to stop yourself from eating. Imagine the flaky crust as you bite into it, and the explosion of flavors. Try and find that at a supermarket!

Sparkling Cranberries by 101 Cookbooks – The recipe is a classic, but something that will go great on top of cakes, muffins, or just in a bowl to munch on. Cranberries are great for this time of yea, and they don’t just have to be in a sauce!

White Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting by Sassy Radish – What can I say, these cupcakes are so money, it is like robbing the bank eating them. Indulge in these, and see if your guests will even leave you one. They will go fast, so grab a few while you’re baking them! I won’t tell! Special thanks for the picture Olga! (I wish I had a quarter of the talent you have with the camera!)


Pork Roast Roulade with Sausage, Pistachio and Chestnuts With Cider Gravy by We Are Never Full – Wow, that’s a mouthful to say! This recipe is chalked full of so many good ingredients, I don’t know where to start. Perhaps I will just start with my knife and fork… oh yah, this recipe is the real deal! We’re talking chestnuts, pistachios, Italian sausage, local cider. Please, I can’t stop eating it!

Pulled Pork Sushi by The Food In my Beard – Yes, you heard right! What an insane combination. Yes, it works. I mean, how can you go wrong?

Rumaki by Sippity Sup – This is a cool recipe with an even cooler history. Whenever I have heard of Rumaki, I have always thought to myself, “I should check it out!” Here is a legit recipe using real Ingredients. I imagine the main ingredient will surprise your guests when they eat that delish morsel. What is it? RAFO!


Chestnut Soup with Crisp Prosciutto by The Bitten Word – This is exactly what I am talking about! Chestnuts are at their peak right now, and this soup is a great inspiration to eating in season. Imagine if you will (without drool dripping off your chin!) what the silky smooth taste of the soup is like accented by the salty porky flavor of the prosciutto. The amount of work that goes into peeling the chestnuts will be worth it, as your family will RAVE about this dish.


Drunken Prawns by Bouchon for Two – Sake and prawns. Can you really argue with this dish? Try it, and you will fail. Sake and prawns, I’ve said enough.


Cauliflower Gratin by Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy – This dish is legit. Remember when your grandmother used to make this dish? This is real food people. The creaminess of the Gruyere, and the saltiness of the Parmesan, is a combination that will be tough to beat. Have seconds, it is good for you!

Photo Courtesy of sassyradish of Flickr fame under Creative Commons by Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Terry B, Blue Kitchen December 20, 2009, 11:13 am

    Thanks for including me in your excellent list, Jason! So many dishes here I want to try.

  • jasonsandeman December 20, 2009, 11:18 am

    @Terry – Thank you for commenting! If you are on this list, it is because you are indeed cooking real food, so it is to you that I give thanks!

  • we are never full December 20, 2009, 11:56 am

    you’re funny! love your comments about the dishes. i feel honored to have made your list! other excellent dishes to drool over too.

  • jasonsandeman December 20, 2009, 12:00 pm

    @weareneverfull – Thank you for your kind comment! Keep producing food like this, real food, and you will ALWAYS have a spot on this list. I recognize good food when I see it. It is my life after all!

  • Peter December 20, 2009, 3:33 pm

    Thanks for including the stuffed chicken breast dish. I’ve already had a couple of folks try it and it was immensely enjoyed.

  • jasonsandeman December 20, 2009, 4:01 pm

    @Peter – My pleasure! The dish is a solid 10, so it deserves to be on there. I like it so much, I am stealing it for my reperotoire. LOL

  • Picky Cook December 21, 2009, 4:26 pm

    Thanks for including my pancakes in the list. That jam really is the best!

  • jasonsandeman December 22, 2009, 4:25 am

    @Picky Cook – Glad to have linked them. I get about 15 different kinds of the Bonne Maman brand of jam, and I absolutely love them!

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