All over the world, family, friends and work colleagues gather to celebrate the holiday season with festive food and drinks featuring special ingredients. Macy’s Culinary Council celebrity chefs–Rick Bayless, Michelle Bernstein, Marcus Samuelsson and Takashi Yagihashi–have developed numerous main and side dish options for festive meals and cocktail parties that capture a global sensibility via special ingredients and spicing. Using their mouthwatering recipes you can add indulgence without guilt to your celebrations.
Hors D’Oeuvres and Sides for Cocktail Parties and Dinners
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Dip
Chef Marcus Samuelsson, a master of international cuisine and the chef behind Marc Burger at Macy’s State Street, makes a perfect appetizer or side dish for your holiday gathering. This recipe combines caramelized, slightly crispy Brussels sprouts with an irresistible bacon dip.
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- Grapeseed oil, if necessary
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, each trimmed and halved through the core
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 large egg
- Coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
1. Put the bacon into a large skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until it is crisp, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or a spider to transfer it to paper towels. Pour ¼ cup of the bacon grease into a bowl and reserve.
2. If you need to, add enough grapeseed oil to the skillet so there’s about 2 tablespoons fat. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the Brussels sprouts. Turn them so they’re all cut side down and leave for about 3 minutes to caramelize. Then stir and sauté another 2 minutes to get some brown on the other sides. Clear a space in the center of the skillet. If it’s dry, add a slick of oil. Add half of the garlic and cook in the center of the pan until it’s starting to color, about 45 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir. Add the oyster sauce, honey, and Aleppo pepper and stir until the Brussels sprouts are coated. Add the lime juice and stir until it’s reduced to a syrup (residual heat does the cooking).
3. Put the egg and a good pinch of salt into a food processor. Turn the machine on and drop in the remaining garlic. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, then drizzle in the reserved 1/4 cup bacon grease. Scrape out into a bowl and fold in the bacon.
4. Pile the Brussels sprouts onto a platter and serve at room temperature with the bowl of bacon dip.
From Chef Rick Bayless who serves up creative Mexican-flavored cuisine at his renowned Frontera Fresco restaurant at Macy’s State Street Chicago and Macy’s Old Orchard comes a perfect hand-held appetizer filled with mushrooms, cheese and poblano pepper strips.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons corn oil, divided
- 6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into quarters
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 flour tortillas
- 12 ounces shredded Chihuahuan cheese
- 1 recipe Poblano Rajas (see below)
- Frontera salsa, for serving
- 3 medium poblano peppers
- 1 tablespoon corn oil not divided!
- 1/2 small white onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan set over high heat until it is almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and garlic and don't disturb for 1 minute. Then toss the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring until they are beginning to brown and are completely cooked, 6-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Lay the tortillas out on a work surface. Sprinkle 2 ounces of cheese evenly over each tortilla. Spread the mushrooms and Poblano Rajas atop the cheese, dividing the mixtures evenly among the 6 tortillas. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon oil and turn the pan to coat. Carefully add the open-faced tortilla and cook until the cheese begins to melt, then fold in half (do not press down) and cook for a few more seconds. If the tortilla is browning before the cheese melts, turn the heat down a little. Remove with a spatula to a cutting board and cut into slices for serving. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Serve with your favorite Frontera salsa.
Directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet under the broiler, roast the chiles, turning occasionally with tongs until blistered and blackened on all sides - 5-6 minutes. Place the blackened chiles in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel off and discard charred skin. Core and seed the pepper and then slice into very thin (1/4-inch) strips. Reserve.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Add the onions and cook, tossing until browned but not soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the reserved chiles, herbs and salt and cook stirring for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and reserve.
Additional Appetizers from MCC Chefs
There’s no shortage of inventive cooking ideas for holiday hosts on the Macy’s Culinary Council website—here are two other guest-pleasing recipes:
- Helga’s Meatballs (from Marcus Samuelsson)
- Curry-Kaffir Lime Soup with Shrimp (from Takashi Yagihashi—To sample his award-winning cuisine, head over to TABO Sushi & Noodles at Macy’s State Street.)
One-Pot Main Dishes for Holiday Meals
Whole Roast Snapper with Zahtar, Lemon and Fennel
From Chef Michele Bernstein, who is known for delivering soulful flavors with a Latin flair, comes an easy-to-prepare main dish given extra pizzazz with zahtar, lemon and fennel.
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced in rings
- 2 (1.5 pound) whole snapper or striped bass, gutted and scales removed, cleaned and scored
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon, reserve juice
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon zahtar
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup dill, chopped
- 8 plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 fennel bulb, cut in small diced pieces
Preheat oven to 375F.
Place the onion in a single layer onto a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the fish in a large bowl and add the oil, lemon zest, fennel seeds, garlic, zahtar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place the fish over the onions, reserve the oil and spices in the bowl.
Place the tomatoes and fennel around the fish. Drizzle the reserved oil and spices over the fish and vegetables.
Cover the pan with aluminum and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the aluminum and raise the heat to 400F. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until done.
Spoon all the residual juices, oil, spices and vegetables over fish before serving.
Chicken a la Veracruzana
This chicken dish from Chef Rick Bayless can be made in a slow-cooker or a heavy pot, but either way you’ll come out with a tender and juicy main dish.
- 4 medium (about 1 pound total) red-skin boiling or Yukon gold potatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
- 6 (about 3 pounds total) chicken leg-and-thigh quarters, skin pulled off
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted), drained
- 4 to 6 canned pickled jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped green olives (manzanilla olives are traditional)
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Spread the potatoes over the bottom of your slow-cooker and top with the chicken. In a medium bowl, mix together the tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, Worcestershire, thyme, cloves, cinnamon and a scant 2 teaspoons salt. Pour evenly over the chicken. Set the lid in place and slow-cook for 6 hours (the dish can hold on a slow-cooker’s “keep warm” function for 4 more hours or so).
Carefully transfer a portion of chicken and potatoes to each of 6 dinner plates, leaving as much sauce behind as possible. Mix the olives and parsley into the sauce, then taste and season with more salt if it needs it. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and dinner’s ready.
No Slow-Cooker? Lay the chicken in a medium-large (4- to 6-quart, 10- to 12-inch diameter) heavy pot (preferably a Dutch oven), and top with the potatoes. Cover with the sauce, set the lid in place and braise in a 300-degree oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until the chicken is completely tender. Complete the dish as described.
Additional Main Dish Recipes with International Flare
The following recipes from MCC chefs will cater to guests who love red meat as well as those who prefer to eat only plant-based foods.
- Green Chile-Braised Beef with Potatoes and Caramelized Onions (from Rick Bayless)
- Toshikoshi Soba (from Takashi Yagihashi)
Desserts that Add Sweet Touches to Holiday Festivities
Chocolate Tres Leches Parfaits
This dessert from Rick Bayless looks as special as it tastes.
- 3/4 cup cake flour (measured by scooping and leveling)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 7 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup canned evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
- 3/4 cup bottled cajeta (goat's milk caramel; we like the squeeze-bottle Coronado brand labeled envinada)
- 1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- About 1 cup whipped cream for garnish
- Grated semisweet or Mexican chocolate for garnish
To make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 17-by-12-inch half sheet pan. Then line the pan with parchment paper, and butter and flour the paper. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Separate the eggs: in the large bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a handheld mixer), place the 6 yolks; in another bowl, place 4 of the whites (refrigerate or freeze the remaining 2 whites for another preparation). Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla, and the hot water to the yolks, and beat on medium-high speed for 5 full minutes, or until light in color and texture. Using a whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture in two additions. If you have only 1 mixer bowl, scrape the mixture into a large bowl, wash the mixer bowl along with the beaters or whip attachment, and transfer the whites to the mixer bowl.
Immediately beat the whites at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar; beat for 1 minute, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and beat for a minute or so longer, or until the whites hold nearly firm (but not stiff), shiny peaks. Fold into the batter in three additions.
Gently spread the batter in an even layer onto the prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned and springy to the touch. Let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then turn out onto the rack and carefully peel off the paper. Let cool completely.
To make the chocolate "milks"
Combine the whole milk and chocolate over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then add the evaporated milk and the cajeta. Stir until smooth, then let cool.
To prepare the flavored mascarpone
Stir 1/3 cup of the cooled chocolate "milks" into the mascarpone in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
To assemble the parfaits
You will need 6 glass tumblers. We use 10-ounce tumblers with a diameter of 3 inches and a height of 3 1/2 inches. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the sponge cake into rounds that fit the tumblers; you will need 18 cake rounds. Lay the cake rounds in a single layer in a parchment-lined baking pan.
Pour 1 cup of the "milks" into a small bowl and set aside. Spoon half of the remaining "milks" evenly over the cake rounds. Using a small metal spatula, flip the rounds and spoon on the remaining half of the "milks" to soak the other side.
Place a small dollop of the flavored mascarpone in the bottom of each tumbler, and top with a layer of cake. Spoon on another dollop of mascarpone, then add a second layer of cake. Spoon on a final dollop of mascarpone, then add the third layer of cake. Press lightly to compress. Divide the reserved 1 cup "milks" equally among the 6 glasses. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
Right before serving, top each glass with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of grated chocolate.
Enhance Your Holiday Celebrations with Macy’s
From tree lightings and holiday buffets to Christmas window displays and donations to special causes, Macy’s adds joy and meaning to the holidays. Macy’s also offers a host of don’t-miss magical holiday events across the country.