As the calendar inches closer to January’s resolutions, I find myself enveloped in a decadent cloud of butter and sugar during these festive weeks of December. While cookies take center stage (and there are plenty of them), I’ve also made it a point to have cake on standby, ensuring a balanced, indulgent diet.
Yossy Arefi’s lemon yogurt cheesecake is the epitome of a sugar-infused December treat. With its luxurious texture derived from cream cheese, it balances the richness with the brightness and tanginess of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and zest. The beauty of this cake is that it holds up well in the fridge for days, making it perfect for both advance preparation for holiday gatherings and leisurely nibbling on the leftovers, savoring each blissful bite.
For the meals nestled between cookie and cake indulgence, Colu Henry’s ingenious sheet-pan chicken with apple, fennel, and onion is a revelation. Bursting with fruits and vegetables, this dish allows them to soak up the savory juices from the roasting chicken. While the oven is at work, you can elevate your virtuous vegetable intake by including Yasmin Fahr’s miso-butter roasted broccoli, a delightful side dish.
Andrea Nguyen’s mapo tofu stands as a savory interlude before the parade of holiday desserts. Beware, though – this tofu marvel, bathed in a complex spice blend of Sichuan peppercorns and chiles, has the power to temporarily erase thoughts of sweet cravings.
On the mellower, meatless side, Ali Slagle presents a delightful pasta with creamy herb sauce. The sauce involves infusing heavy cream with fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano, along with a cinnamon stick for its warm essence. Mixed with pasta and dark leafy greens, this dish offers a silky medley adorned with vibrant green ribbons, introducing both color and vegetable goodness.
For those favoring salty over sweet, Sue Li’s crunchy furikake snack mix is a lively fusion of cereal, shrimp crackers, pretzels, and wasabi peas. Coated with soy sauce butter enriched with nori and the seasoning from a packet of instant ramen, this mix is a snackable delight. Whether prepared in abundance for a holiday gathering or neatly packed into jars or tins for gifting, this snack mix is a savory alternative to the ubiquitous gingerbread.
In these last celebratory weeks of December, I’ve found solace and joy in this array of recipes, each contributing to the festive spirit in its unique way. As the aroma of baked goods wafts through the kitchen and savory delights sizzle in the oven, the anticipation of holiday indulgence reaches its peak, promising a delightful culinary journey into the new year.