When it comes to this holiday season, you can count on two things.
- You will be invited to a holiday party.
- You will be required to bring something fabulous.
If you haven’t been invited to any parties, then…yiiiikes.
But you probably all have been because you’re all very cool with nice teeth and good hair.
Our holiday party at work was a week and a half ago (I know, I know) and my friends Anna, Bailey and I decided to throw a little cocktail party beforehand. We planned really well, and had some delicious foodstuffs.
And by “we planned really well,” I mean “I planned ok yet had one major crisis.”
We had the party at Bailey’s, since it was right near the venue of our holiday party. So I was taking all of my stuff there. And since I was making two apps and a cranberry margarita, I was taking all my materials to her apartment.
As I started assembling my cranberry margarita, I realized: I left my tequila at home. And there was a parade going on downtown. And the party started in 15 minutes.
Anna’s husband, Kevin, generously offered to go buy more but I remembered we were 3 blocks from my office. And there is always tequila at our office, so I took it. (Calm down, I replaced it Monday.) My work is drunker cooler than yours.
TEQUILA CRISIS AVERTED.
These cranberry margaritas are divine, y’all. They look like Christmas with the bright red margarita and the green lime. They’re sweet, but not overly so. And the tequila is present but not overwhelming, so they go down really smooth. The Chinese five spice on the rim is a revelation. Thank to Mark Fisher for the recommendation! (When Mark Fisher recommends a food or drink, you listen.)
As for food, Bailey was in charge of cheese and charchewterie (that’s what we call charcuterie). Anna made these amazing southern samosas and baked brie, and I brought a nut mix and ceviche. Basically, the two most random things ever. But they were good. Light and nibbly. Good party food. Good pre-party food. Good food for eating with your friends at one of your many holiday parties.
And if you weren’t invited to any parties?
Then just pop in your copy of Angels with Dirty Faces and go to town.
Cranberry Margarita from Bon Appetit
- Homemade cranberry jam, recipe to follow
- Kosher salt
- Chinese five-spice powder
- Fresh squeezed lime juice
- Lime wedges
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¾ cup fresh cranberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, 30–40 minutes. Mix in orange zest; let cool.
Jam can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1½ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 lime wedge, plus 2 oz. fresh juice
- 4 oz. fresh orange juice
- 6 oz. tequila
Mix salt, sugar, and five-spice powder on a small plate. Rub rims of Old Fashioned glasses with lime wedge; dip in salt mixture and fill glasses with ice.
For each cocktail, combine ½ oz. lime juice, 1 oz. orange juice, 1½ oz. tequila, and 2 Tbsp. cranberry jam in a cocktail shaker; fill with ice. Cover and shake until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into prepared glass.
This recipe can easily be made into a large batch and put in a pitcher. Just make sure final ratio is 1 part fresh lime juice, 2 parts orange juice, 3 parts tequila and as much cranberry jam as you like.
The Union Square Café’s Bar Nuts from Food Network
- 2 ¼ cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds | I bought nuts at Whole Foods.
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter. Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. And once you eat these, you will never want to stop.
Mahi-Mahi Ceviche with Japanos and Coconut from Epicurious
Note: There was no mahi-mahi available, so I used red snapper and it was a really good substitute. I also added one cubed avocado.
- 1 pound mahi-mahi fillets, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
- 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 jalapeño chiles, seeded; 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
- ¼ cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Saltine crackers
Combine fish, lime juice, and oregano in large glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Chill until fish turns opaque, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes.
Strain almost all lime juice from fish; return fish to bowl. Stir in onion, minced and sliced jalapeños, coconut, and cilantro. Season with salt. Chill at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours. Serve in Martini glasses, or in a bowl if you’re not a cheesy nerd. Pass crackers separately.