I am thoroughly done with caring about going out on New Year’s Eve. I had plenty of fun for many years and now all I want to do is stay home. But I still like feasting in a celebratory way—one final hurrah before the chill of January’s fitness resolutions sets in. Over the years, we’ve assembled quite a roster of indulgent special occasion dishes here on butter poached, so I thought I’d do a round-up of some favorites that are definitely worthy of a spot on the table for a fancy New Year’s Eve meal. Happy 2017!
Around the holidays, I like to have cake on hand at all times. Cookies are great, too, but it’s cake that really feels festive to me. I like admiring a pretty cake under a dome and I like serving slices of sweetness on Santa Claus plates. As much as I love sinking hours into an elaborate cake project like a Bûche de Noël, the cakes I enjoy most this time of year are the simplest ones. This cranberry torte has been a favorite of mine for a couple of years. It’s a breeze to make, it’s decked out with merry pops of red, and it’s a balanced, sweet-tart treat that feels appropriate at any time of day.
I love to try new Thanksgiving recipes every year and I especially love sharing my fresh discoveries here (like this corn pudding, these sweet potatoes, and this corn casserole). But there are also many turkey day recipes that I’ve made over the years and haven’t yet had a chance to share. Rather than continue to hoard these half a dozen tried-and-true dishes, I decided to share them all at once below. If you’re still scratching your head for Thursday’s menu, I very much recommend these recipes.
I finally found a Thanksgiving dish that has Ed looking forward to turkey day. I’ve written before about how Ed’s chief Thanksgiving complaint is that the food doesn’t have enough crunch or heat. This dish, an easy-breezy, decadently cheesy corn casserole, has crunch and spice to spare. It’s one of the simplest, but most satisfying holiday sides I’ve made and I have a feeling it’s going to be in the rotation for years.
I confess to having a soft spot for homemade ice cream cakes. I like them when they include literal cake or when they’re just ice cream in the shape of a cake. This fudgy, incredibly easy version falls somewhere in between those two poles. It features layers of graham crackers as the “cake” component. The crackers absorb some ice cream and soften a bit, giving the texture enough variety to make it interesting. This cake is currently at the top of my warm weather favorites and is perfect for Memorial Day weekend parties.
Usually at this time of year, I’m eager to share a baking recipe: an old favorite sweet, a silly breakfast trick, or a big pile of cookies. I often have an idea that’s been in my back pocket and I wait until prime eating season to write about it. This year, in a shockingly savory turn of events, the holiday recipe I’m most excited about is…collard greens. Quite the opposite of staid, long-cooked greens, these are Vibrant, Spicy, Garlicky, Kick Down the Door of 2016 Collards.
The first meal Hal ever made for me, for our fourth date, was short ribs. I was on my way back from VA after Thanksgiving, and when Hal texted to say he was making short ribs in his slow cooker, I was very much impressed by the idea of a gent with that kind of kitchen equipment. When he later confessed that the slow cooker was in fact purchased just the day before for this specific recipe, I was a total goner. To go along with the short ribs he made mashed potatoes and carrots, and we started dinner with raw oysters (a bold move, but, as it turns out, also an effective one). When we were deciding what to make for our first married Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to go back to that first homemade dinner, and so we celebrated my favorite Hallmark holiday with oysters–grilled on the stove, à la Cochon–and short ribs. Not in our now shared slow cooker, but braised in a dutch oven.