For the holidays, one of the most important things for me is serving food that impresses my family and friends. The only problem is, I’m not a creative whizz in the kitchen. If anything, I rely on cheese to make the impression for me. This quick fix doesn’t always work when you’re around people who really know food. We decided to do some digging and found the most impressive recipes from some of the best restaurants in the seven cities our Fooda offices are based out of. These people really know what they’re doing!
Let’s begin our adventure in Los Angeles. LA is known for being an overall heath-conscious city. This dish (turmeric-spiced root vegetables with kaffir lime yogurt and mint chutney) is one that definitely makes sure you get your veggies in, but it’s also really great going down. The recipe comes from chef Suzanne Goin from the restaurant A.O.C. and is full of flavor. It’s a great alternative to sweet potatoes or candied yams. Serve this up and feel free to get all superior when your aunt asks you how to pronounce turmeric.
This biscotti recipe from New York City does feel like a bit of a commitment in terms of time spent, but the payoff will be tremendous. Chocolate? Yes please. Biscotti? Yes, I think I’ll go ahead and dunk that in my coffee like I’m an Italian princess. As with the first recipe, these aren’t going to ruin your calorie count as these come in at 33 calories a stick. They’re loaded with dried fruit and nuts so you’re not just throwing chocolate at your guests (not that I discourage that). Anyway, you’ll get to spend the whole holiday telling people that yes, you did in fact make the biscotti by hand and regale them with stories about how you learned how to sift flour for the first time. These aren’t just dessert, they’re a conversation starter. Remember to silently give thanks to pastry chef Diana Rodov from Duet Bakery Boutique for giving you something to talk to your family about.
Let’s move on over to Philadelphia. Everybody loves a signature cocktail, which can make or break a party. I once attended a party in the middle of the summer where the host forgot to buy ice. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. No one enjoyed their lukewarm drinks, and there was no signature cocktail. It’s hard to tell which element killed the party more, the lack of ice or the lack of signature cocktail. My suggestion is to have both. This spiced cranberry sangria by chef Jose Garces from Amada will solve all your problems. You can make a big pitcher and no one will care if you burned the turkey or dropped a pie on the floor. It’s easy to make and I’ve heard it pairs extremely well with floor pie.
Meet me in Atlanta. Here we have a recipe for Kale and Grains by Chef Ryan Smith of Southbound (I know it says it’s for Thanksgiving but really it can work for any holiday during the winter time). At first this sounds like the healthy greenery that you’ll ignore while you’re balancing more buttered mashed potatoes on your plate, but I promise you, this is a really flavorful and unique dish that will make your guests salivate. It will also acquaint you with some new foods like bulgur. Upon first Google, it appears to be an infamous Boston gangster. However, you will realize you spelled it wrong and come to learn it’s actually a dried, cracked wheat common in the Middle East and India. I feel like I’m learning a lot today.
Ah, Chicago– the city of wind. It’s also a city of a whole lot of good food. A city where we are not especially known for small portions or lighter fare. This Cider-Braised Wild Mushrooms recipe by Bruce Sherman from North Pond Restaurant is somewhere in between. It’s actually a great alternative for a main dish for your vegetarian visitors. You’ll also be able to use an ingredient called a hedgehog mushroom, which is something I’ve never heard of before, and a great conversation starter. Just make sure your vegetarian guests know this dish doesn’t actually include hedgehogs. They will definitely stay away and probably be sad since hedgehogs are cute and it would be a shame to eat something so adorable. Please remember, there should only be tears of joy when people are eating your dish!
In Boston, we have a recipe from David Enos of The Oceanaire. This dish uses spaghetti squash which we all know is the healthy alternative to everything. Just ignore the fact that there’s butter and maple syrup in the recipe. Spaghetti squash cancels all that out. It’s just like ordering a diet coke with a cheeseburger. But all jokes aside, this is really a fantastic dish.
For cornbread, it’s clear we need to turn down south to Nashville. Here we have a recipe from Sean Brock (Husk) for Cracklin’ Cornbread. Just the title makes you drool a little. I have always felt that what my cornbread lacked was chunks of meat and bacon fat and this recipe has come to the rescue. Plus, you cook it in a cast iron skillet which definitely makes it more legit.
Well, there you have it! With these well-rounded recipes, you’re sure to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. Or you can decide to enjoy them while sitting on your couch alone, watching Christmas movies. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to impress yourself this holiday season!