Merry Christmas Eve! Now that we’ve shopped, wrapped, baked and delivered, it’s time for the “eat, drink and be merry” part of Christmas.
A few stress-free, shopping-free recipes always come in handy whether you’re expecting company or you’re invited to visit friends and family. With these quick and delicious dishes you won’t have to show up empty-handed or have to run to the store with all the really last-minute shoppers.
One thing I like to keep on hand to help me whip up a tasty appetizer or dessert is mascarpone . A silkier, richer version of cream cheese, this creamy Italian spread is an unfailing foundation for both savory and sweet dishes. Just be sure to let it soften before working with it because it curdles easily. That won’t hurt anyone, it just won’t be as smooth and beautiful as it should.
Of course, a good stock of flour, butter and sugar is imperative in any kitchen. Put them together and you’ve got a three-ingredient shortbread dough that can be used for a multitude of last-minute sweets. Roll it out and make bite-sized snacks filled with creams, fruit or pie fillings or simply cut it into holiday-themed shapes and go. You can even dip those in chocolate if you have time to get a little fancy.
I happily snapped up my first pint of this season’s strawberries last week. These little red berries decorated with garlands of green basil make Christmas party-perfect bruschetta.
I usually make marmalades to give friends and neighbors for Christmas. With an extra jar of kumquat marmalade, I quickly put together these little shortbread tarts.
Blending a few local ingredients with a versatile cheese and a few pantry staples, you can pull off some great hors d’oeuvres in no time. To tie it all together, bring some extra fresh strawberries or some marmalade and preserves as a hostess gift with your contribution to the table.