Too many people and not enough silverware this holiday season? Outsmart your china drawer by preparing a filling feast that’s bite-sized; or one that requires one fork per guest, at most.
Grouped together, a smattering of yuletide favorites become trendy holiday tapas.
For the most part, a fork is even optional! BnBFinder.com has pulled together some festive recipes from bed and breakfasts that are as well-proportioned as they are delicious. Packed with flavor and low on guilt, innkeepers have found a way for guests to eat everything on the menu and still have room for individualized desserts.
Vermont Cheddar Gougeres (aka French Cheese Puffs, yields approx 24)
Homemade by Chris Sprague, innkeeper at the Inn at Ormsby Hill in Manchester, Vermont, and host of Web-based cooking show Inndulgence.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter, cut into cubes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups sharp, aged Vermont cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat the water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan until the butter is melted. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture breaks away from the sides of the pan into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest for two minutes.
Beat in the eggs one by one stirring quickly until the dough is firm, smooth and waxy.
Add all the cheddar cheese, all but 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, the dry mustard and a pinch of cayenne pepper, and stir until well-mixed.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into small round mounds, evenly-spaced apart. Sprinkle tops with remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes and then turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they are completely golden brown.
Salmon-Sweet Potato Croquettes (serves 4)
Homemade by Rodney Williams & Ian Scott, innkeepers, at the Strawberry Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast in Idyllwild, California. This recipe is a sneak peek at many in an upcoming cookbook.
- 1 pound of fresh salmon, poached or grilled, then flaked (for a special treat) OR 1 15-ounce can of canned red salmon, drained and flaked (for a quicker recipe)
- 5 tablespoons green onions (green and white), chopped
- ½ to 1 cup flour (1/2 mixed into croquettes and other ½ to dust the outsides)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons wine (red or white)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 small sweet potato (or ½ large sweet potato), grated
- ½ to 1 cup olive oil, as needed for frying
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Mix together salmon, green onions, half of the flour, egg, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, rosemary, wine, salt and pepper in a bowl with a fork.
Divide the mixture into four and shape each portion into a patty with your hands. If the patties are not holding together well, add another egg and re-mix. If they are too liquid, add more flour.
Press enough grated sweet potato firmly into the sides of each patty (don’t worry too much about covering the sides).
Sit on a plate coated with ½ of the remaining flower, and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top of the patties to create a thin dusting.
Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or frying pan to medium. Add butter when ready to fry croquettes, allowing butter to melt first.
Place croquettes gently into oil/butter (oil should come only half-way up the sides of the croquettes).
Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove croquettes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Cranberry Salad (four-cup mold serves 10-12)
Homemade by Chloe Tuttle, innkeeper at the Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston, North Carolina, this cranberry salad is a sought-after holiday favorite.
- 1 orange, washed
- ½ cup orange juice
- 12 ounce bag (3 cups) cranberries, washed and picked over to remove any bad berries
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup celery, finely diced
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons)
- ½ cup cold water
- ½ cup boiling water
- ½ cup sour cream, yogurt or mayonnaise to garnish (optional)
Remove stems from orange. Cut into pieces and remove the seeds, but leave the peel on. Put orange pieces and orange juice in a blender and pulverize. Add cranberries and sugar, and chop but do not pulverize. (This part of the salad can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator).
Add celery, nuts and lemon juice. Blend again, using the pulse setting, stirring after each pulse.
Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir well, leaving no lumps. Add to cranberry mixture and stir well.
Spray a four-cup mold with non-stick cooking spray. Pour cranberry mixture into mold and chill until set. Unmold onto a pretty dish.
Garnish with a piping of sour cream, yogurt or mayonnaise (or a combination of these).
Gluten-Free Chocolate Espresso Pots de CrÃ¨me (serves 6)
Homemade by Chef Monika Sudakov, who runs the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield, Illinois, alongside her husband, Jeff. This custard a cross between a chocolate mousse and a chocolate crÃ¨me brulee recipe, and other recipes from the inn, will be featured in the innkeepers’ new book, available mid-December, called: â€œLet’s Party! Gluten-Free Entertaining.â€ Look for a RecipeLion giveaway coming soon where YOU can enter to win a copy of Chef Monika’s book! Subscribe to Quick and Easy Recipes now to find out when the giveaway starts!
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee OR 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon ChocoVine
- Pinch kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place chocolate chips, coffee, vanilla extract, cream, milk and ChocoVine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the cream/milk is hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks along with 2 tablespoons sugar and salt until the yolks are pale and creamy. Slowly whisk in the melted chocolate/cream mixture, being careful not to scramble the egg yolks. Strain custard mix into a large measuring cup.
Place 6 1-cup glass ramekins in a large Pyrex baking dish. Distribute custard batter into the ramekins equally. Pour boiling water into the baking dish, creating a hot water bath for the custards to bake in. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes or until the custards are just set, but still a bit jiggly, like Jell-O. Remove from the oven and let custards cool for approximately one hour before covering each ramekin with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with either fresh raspberries or fresh blueberries.
Of course, if you want to enjoy these dishes (and others) and not have to make them yourself, you could always reserve a room at a bed and breakfast. To locate an inn near you visit BnBFinder.com. If you’d like to channel your inner Martha Stewart or Wolfgang Puck consider signing up for a bed and breakfast culinary course.
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