It happens to the best of us. We wait all year, we know they’re right around the corner and yet… the holidays somehow always manage to sneak up on us amidst work deadlines, holiday shopping, and travel plans. If you find yourself needing to throw together something for surprise guests (or just that White Elephant party you totally forgot you agreed to host) we’ve got you covered. Read on for a few quick and easy snack ideas and even a festive cocktail!
Cacio e Pepe Popcorn
1 3.5 bag freshly popped unsalted popcorn
1 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Turn the still-hot popcorn out into a serving bowl and top with grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve!
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Hot Honey Vinaigrette
Makes 20 dates
20 medjool dates, pitted
10 strips of applewood smoked bacon, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Toothpicks, to secure
Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare a half sheet with a wire rack. Carefully pit the dates by making a small incision on one end and pushing out the pit, discarding it. Once all the dates are pitted, roll each in a half slice of bacon, making sure the seams overlap. Secure the bacon with a toothpick and move to the wire rack. Repeat until all the dates are wrapped, and transfer to the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until bacon has rendered and is browned and crisp. To make the hot honey sauce, add remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle the sauce over the dates and watch them disappear!
Rosemary Fried Almonds
Note: these can be taken in either a salty or sweet direction, depending on what you’re feeling. Or you can throw caution to the wind and do what we did – combine them for a sweet and salty treat!
16 oz roasted almonds
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, lightly crushed (optional)
4 oz Olive oil
Kosher salt and or sugar, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mince one stem of the rosemary and set aside. Once shimmering, add whole sprig of rosemary, garlic clove (if using) and the almonds. Fry, gently stirring for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Switch off the heat, Remove the nuts and aromatics with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Toss with salt and or sugar and the remaining minced rosemary,and serve warm.
Blistered Shishito Peppers with Quick Garlic Mayo
1 lb Shishito or Padron peppers
2 oz mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse sea salt, to finish
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. While you wait, mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic together in a small bowl. Set aside. Add olive oil to the hot skillet, and the shishito peppers. Allow the peppers to sear and blister for 2-3 minutes before turning, and then repeat on the other side. Remove to a platter and sprinkle with coarse salt to taste, serving with the garlic mayo.
Spiced Bourbon Colas
12 oz of your favorite cola
2 oz bourbon
Freshly ground nutmeg
Black walnut bitters
Ice to serve
To each glass of ice, add 1 oz of bourbon and 2 dashes of black walnut bitters. Top with cola and grated nutmeg to taste. Enjoy!