A Little Gathering's Top 10 Recipes in 2016

 
A Little Gathering's top 10 recipes in 2016
 

Alert! It's almost 2017 everyone. Time flies when you're cooking, right?

It's been over 2 years of A Little Gathering, and I've honestly loved the challenge of creating new recipes for this site. This is not my first food blog, but it's the first that really felt right.

I created over 50 recipes (!) this year, so I thought it would be fun to walk down memory lane and share the recipes that were your favorites in 2016. And lucky me, these are my favorites as well!

HARVEST SALAD WITH ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

10 / Harvest salad with roasted acorn squash

A vegetarian salad recipe fit for any holiday table. This salad shines when on a large platter with the roasted acorn squash parading around the serving dish. Peppery arugula works well against the sweet flavor of the dressing. Tangy goat cheese + crisp pear finish the whole thing off. And damn, it looks pretty once assembled.

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9 / Chai pear lemonade

A new take on classic lemonade, this time with the flavor of chai + pears. It's also perfect for when the weather is flipping between warm + cold. It's lip puckering sour with shrub + lemonade. If you're more into sweet things, be sure to add more sugar. Otherwise sip on.

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CHAI PEAR LEMONADE
GREEN ONION CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

8 / Green onion chicken drumsticks

A great weeknight chicken recipe; simple enough for new cooks as well. This is a kinda grown-up version of baked chicken legs topped with plenty of crunchy sesame seeds + salty peanuts. Enjoy these on a bed of rice with even more chopped green onions. It keeps well in the fridge so you'll have a quick lunch ready for the next morning.

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7 / Apple pastry buns

A quick dessert recipe, that'll make you fall in love with what puff pastry can do. These buns have a mix of fall flavors going on from apple to cinnamon, but couldn't be easier to pull off. The apples become jammy, the pasty gets flakey + you can pull the whole thing apart to expose the layers.

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APPLE PASTRY BUNS
PESTO ARANCINI

6 / Herb pesto arancini

A truly easy arancini recipe. Arancini are basically like giant stuffed rice balls, but deep-fried. Usually made with leftover risotto, they're creamy on the inside + crispy on the outside. This one is stuffed with a basil + mint pesto plus fresh mozzarella. These are addicting!

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5 / Street corn-style roasted potatoes

This is one of the recipes I'm the most proud of, so I'm glad you all liked it too! It's a take on Mexican-style street corn, but with potatoes. The potatoes are spicy + golden, but the lime sour cream calms everything down. The queso fresco is a cheesy bonus! It has all of the elements of a classic Mexican-style grilled corn, but switched up.

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STREET CORN STYLE ROASTED POTATOES
MAKE YOUR OWN LATKE PARTY

4 / Make your own latke party

I love Hanukkah latkes, but really they should be enjoyed year round because there are so many ways to make 'em! I'm proud of this one because it's also a tutorial to create an EPIC latke platter like you would a cheese plate. Who wouldn't want their pick of three different types of latkes?

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3 / Apple cinnamon pancakes

This recipe was very special for me because it was inspired by a personal event. It's a really good pancake recipe, perfect for fall with flavors of cinnamon + tons of apples. This'll make your next Sunday brunch quite special.

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APPLE CINNAMON PANCAKES
COCONUT MILK MAC AND CHEESE

2 / Coconut milk mac and cheese

A non-traditional mac and cheese with coconut milk. I really, really love this one. Coconut milk builds the base of this mac + cheese. I love the flavor + how creamy it is, but it's way lighter than a traditional base. There's a teeny bit of cheddar in this mac + cheese, but a majority of the color (plus flavor) comes from smoked paprika + turmeric.

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1 / Sausage, peppers + onions pigs in a blanket

And the most popular recipe of the year were these suckers! And for good reason, they're easy, impressive + delicious. They're my favorite as well! 

These are a mash between traditional pigs in a blanket, everything bagels + sausage and peppers. Essentially everything that I like about being a New Yorker in one bite.

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SAUSAGE ONION PEPPERS PIGS IN A BLANKET

And that's the top 10 recipes for 2016! It was so much fun creating all of these this year, and I'll be back next year with even more ideas for your gatherings, small + big. As always, be sure to reach out if there is a recipe you're looking for and look out for new posts in 2017. Cheers!

What to eat Christmas morning

 
What to eat Christmas morning
 

Ah, Christmas morning. Nothing is like it.

And the possibilities are endless, but there are a few rules. A Christmas brunch needs equal parts sweet and savory. And plenty of coffee, of course! I pulled together a few ideas for your best Christmas morning yet. Keep scrolling!

Savory

1 / Baked eggs with spinach, ricotta, leek and chargrilled pepper via Top With Cinnamon

2 / Baked ham and cheese breakfast sandwiches via Sprig and Flours

3 / Maple-candied bacon via The Clever Carrot

4 / Citrus fennel and avocado salad via FoodieCrush

5 / Crispy roasted potatoes with rosemary via Williams-Sonoma

6 / Quick balsamic fig, roasted tomato and burrata cheese tarts via Half Baked Harvest

Sweet

1 / Chai french toast via Camille Styles

2 / Grapefruit and earl grey bread via Kale & Caramel

3 / Toast with peaches, tahini and honey via Tending the Table

4 / Pumpkin pancakes, salted caramel and pecans via On The Plate

5 / Quick pumpkin cinnamon rolls via Dessert for Two

6 / Raspberry chia jam via A House in the Hills

Drink

1 / Golden milk cocoa via Local Milk

2 / Creamy matcha and moringa latte via The Green Life

3 / Black sesame cappuccino via Golubka Kitchen

4 / Maca cacao hot chocolate via Love & Lemons

5 / Sweet potato pie smoothie via The Little Plantation

6 / Rejuvenating citrus juice via Dolly and Oatmeal

Tips for an amazing Christmas morning breakfast

1 / Get the coffee brewed first. Priorities, guys!

2 / Prep as much as possible the night before. Ideally you don't want to cook anything from scratch the morning of.

3 / Don't make everything from scratch, duh. The last thing you want is to stress out Christmas morning. So do a bit of homemade and store-bought to keep it easy.

4 / And finally, don't feel the need to make it perfect! Christmas morning is for family, not Instagram. Always remember that.

Maple sausage breakfast rolls

 
Maple sausage breakfast rolls
 

Sometimes you get an idea in your head + you literally can't do anything else until you get it done. This recipe was kind of like that. And it so happens to be a perfect choice for Christmas morning. How convenient! 

But do I really have to sell you on a pastry that combines sausage with brown sugar and maple syrup? Nope, so try this one out for a savory/sweet kick in the morning.

Recipe below!

Maple sausage breakfast rolls

Maple sausage breakfast rolls (makes around 20 rolls)

  • 1.3 pound sausage (any kind will do, but maybe stay away from a savory or spicy flavor!)
  • 14 oz. puff pastry, thawed but chilled
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

Maple glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Milk

Start by browning the sausage in a large pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller pieces. Drain the sausage on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Roll the puff pastry out onto a flour-covered surface. Brush on the maple syrup, then evenly distribute the cinnamon, brown sugar and sausage over top. Roll the pastry tightly into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the giant roll from the freezer, and slice it into 1-inch rolls. Place eight per baking tray, with room in between. Combine the egg yolk with some water to make an egg wash. Brush each roll on top and on the sides with the egg wash.

Bake each tray one at a time for around 16 minutes until just golden brown.

While the rolls bake, combine the confectioners sugar and maple syrup. Stir while adding milk until it reaches desired drizzle consistency.

To serve, drizzle the rolls with the maple glaze and enjoy.

Cheddar and broccoli chicken thighs

 
Cheddar and broccoli chicken thighs
 

Some call themselves cookie monsters, but I'm a full-blown cheese monster. Honestly, give me a hunk of cheddar over a sweet or salty snack any day. But sometimes you need an excuse to eat more cheese and in walks this dinner idea.

This is a play on your childhood favorite, broccoli cheddar soup, but now it's ready for the adult table. And what's more fun than taking your favorite soup + turning it into dinner?

Ok, a lot. But you'll seriously love this. It's cheesy with a hint of heat from the jalapeños, and the broccoli gets roasted with crispy edges. I'd serve it on rice + call it dinner.

Full recipe is below, so cheese monsters go get it!

Cheddar and broccoli chicken thighs

Cheddar and broccoli chicken thighs

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reserve 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese on the side. Stuff each chicken thigh with a few slices of jalapeño and split the garlic and cup of cheddar cheese between all the chicken thighs. Use a toothpick to keep them together. Arrange the thighs in a baking pan with olive oil coating the bottom.

Top the chicken thighs with the Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper. Toss the broccoli on top.

Bake the chicken and broccoli for 35 minutes. Distribute the 1/2 cup of cheese amongst the chicken thighs on top and bake for another 5 minutes until it’s melted. 

Swirled fig cornbread

 
Swirled fig cornbread
 

I don't necessarily think you need to make everything from scratch. Gasp, I know! But I definitely welcome shortcuts when it still tastes good. Also I grew up watching Sandra Lee, so I think some of my cooking education can be attributed to that woman. So, this is my Sandra Lee'd version of fig cornbread. 

We had some leftover figs and fig jam from a party and I liked the challenge of trying to re-use these ingredients. Turns out when you see cornbread mix in your pantry, you know exactly what to do with it. Thanks Sandra. 

Recipe below!

Swirled fig cornbread
Swirled fig cornbread

Swirled fig cornbread

  • 1 package cornbread mix (I like this one)
  • 4 tablespoons fig jam (I like this one)
  • 9 dried figs, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  1. Prepare your cornbread mix in a large bowl according to the instructions on the package. Set 3/4 cup of the mixture aside in a smaller bowl.
  2. Prepare a 9x9 baking pan with parchment and cooking spray. Add the bigger bowl of mix into the pan, spread evenly.
  3. Stir in the fig jam into the smaller bowl of mix. Scoop this mixture by the spoonful on top on the baking pan, and use a toothpick to swirl the two mixes.
  4. Combine the chopped dried figs and flour, and evenly sprinkle them around the baking pan. 
  5. Cook the cornbread according to the instructions on the package and dive in. 

Cucumber and tomato salad

 
Cucumber and tomato salad
 

We've all had a cucumber and tomato salad. But it's that cold version with underripe tomatoes and cucumber that's cut up into pieces way too large for normal consumption, right? This one is different.

So first component, the cucumber. It's in ribbons. I think the spiralizer crave is...a little overdone. But I have to admit that it can change the texture of vegetables you've had dozens of times before. 

Then there's the tomato and onions. They're roasted, of course. It adds some contrast to the cold cucumber + they taste really, really good. I don't think red onion should be the only onion to make its way into a cucumber + tomato salad!

Vinaigrette time. It's not a cucumber and tomato salad without a vinaigrette that has olive oil + red wine vinegar, but let's not stop there. Honey add sweetness, dijon mustard adds some heat + parsley, some green.

And that's how you assemble a cucumber and tomato salad that tastes like the real thing, but doesn't look anything like it. Full recipe below!

Cucumber and tomato salad

  • 10.5 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large english cucumber
  • To serve: Gruyere cheese

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sprinkle of dried parsley
  1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the tomatoes and onion slices with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss everything on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until the onion soften and the tomatoes crinkle.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the cucumber and shave it into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Set aside.
  3. Assemble the vinaigrette by combining the honey, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and parsley in a container. Taste and add some salt and pepper if desired. Toss the cucumber in the vinaigrette.
  4. To assemble, scoop a heap of the cucumber into each serving bowl. Top with a portion of the onion + a bunch of the roasted tomatoes. Top with some shaved gruyere cheese. Dive in.