I have been waiting for the day that I can break out my brand new Bedazzler, bedazzle some multi-colored gemstones onto a chambray shirt, and gift it to you along with a matching Bedazzled velour scrunchie, but it'll have to wait because as we all know, chambray is a summer fabric and the Holidays are winter.
Better Than a Bedazzled Reindeer Applique Cardigan Vest
So you will have to settle for a set of reviews of two seasonally appropriate Holiday cookbooks that were sent to me from their respective PR firms, Hometown Recipes for the Holidays from American Profile and Christmas 101 : 100 Festive Recipes with Menus and Timetables for Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining by Rick Rodgers. Hometown Recipes for the Holidays is a compilation of 250 of the best recipes submitted by readers of American Profile magazine. Though the book is titled "...Holidays," it's not just about what we typically label "The Holidays." Recipes, organized into chapters by course, actually cover the range of American holidays across the calendar from New Year's and Christmas to Easter to the Fourth of July to Halloween. Each recipe credits the American Profile reader who submitted it and though it's not Pulitzer Prize winning writing, the introductory paragraphs they've written are charming reminders that real people make Apple Pecan French Toast, Coconut Crumble Sweet Potato Casserole and Bourbon Pork Tenderloin (omg). For total Holiday focus, Christmas 101 is exactly what it sounds like: a first semester class in Holiday cooking with basic recipes, techniques and explanations for things like rib roast, tenderloin, crown roast of pork, baked ham and roast goose. Rick Rodgers is a well-known cookbook author, consultant, and cooking teacher, so his recipes are easy to read and follow.
If the Books Are So Great Why Did You Gift Them Away?
Because it's The Holidays and I'm giving like that. Because I'm a perfect goddess. I don't need cookbooks. Because I already copied down all the recipes I want. I've included a Christmas 101 recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta below because as you all may (or may not? don't you follow me on twitter?!), I made Brussels sprouts (maple glazed, with caramelized onions and bacon) for my family's Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever, and they were burnt to a black, baby cabbaggious crisp. They said leaving it on the stovetop on a lit burner even after it was put into a serving dish was "an accident," but I know. Oh, but I know that it was all a conspiracy to ensure that nothing takes away from the glory that is their favorite Green Bean Casserole on our Thanksgiving dinner table. I'm not over it. And yes, I will be obsessed with Brussels sprouts until I make Brussels sprouts for my family. And they eat them. And they like them. And they disown that stupid green bean casserole. Ok, a girl can dream.
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta Recipe
from Christmas 101 by Rick Rodgers "While Brussels sprouts are popular on winter menus, they often need a bit of gussying up to make them appropriate for a Holiday meal. Pancetta, a peppered, unsmoked, and rolled bacon available at Italian delicatessens and many supermarkets, gives a boost to the humble Brussels sprouts. If you want to substitute regular bacon, blanch it first to remove the smoky taste: place the bacon in a skillet, add cold wter to cover, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Drain, rinse, pat dry with paper towels, and chop coarsely." Makes 8 to 10 servings
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta Ingredients:
4 ounces sliced (1¼-inch thick) pancetta, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ⅓ cup chopped shallots 3 10-ounce containers Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices 1 cup homemade brown stock, homemade turkey stock, or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta Directions:
In a large skillet, cook the pancetta in the oil over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and stir until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the Brussels sprouts. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the Brussels sprouts are tender when pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife, about 20 minutes. If any stock remains in the skillet, increase the heat to medium high and cook until it evaporates. Serve hot.