Happy Holidays! A few of my favorite holiday recipes

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Well the holidays have finally arrived – my favorite time of year! I love having some time to rest and relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family, especially around the table sharing delicious food and wine. So to celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday recipes that I’ve created over the years – either for myself or a few of my clients (KitchenAid, Colavita and Seven Barrels), that I wanted to share with all of you. From appetizers, to salads, to desserts, entrees and cocktails, they all have that special magic touch perfect for the holidays.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what some your favorite holiday recipes are too – feel free to post them and share a link below, and if you want to share my recipes online please include a link back to my site and credit to Kristen Hess / The Artful Gourmet and @artfulgourmet on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr).

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous and prosperous New Year 2017!



Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Sauce 


Pear and Pumpkin Tart

Mini Holiday Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Holiday Tarts

Roasted Squash Salad

Roasted Squash Salad with Spiced Pecans

Holiday Brunch Strata

Holiday Brunch Strata

Almond Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze


Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Maple Walnut Pie

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Swedish Meatballs

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon

Choc Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Truffled Pancetta 3 Cheese Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic

Whiskey Sour and Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Cocktail Party! Appetizer and Cocktail recipes 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Balsamic


Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette


Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

Melt Cookbook: Taking the Art of Macaroni & Cheese to a Whole New Level

Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese
Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything more delicious on the planet than a big creamy bowl of luscious Mac and Cheese. It’s one of those foods that takes you back to your childhood, bringing a huge dose of comfort on any dreary day.

Welcome the launch of the new cookbook Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by authors Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord – who have taken this classic comfort food to a whole new level. Melt fuses gourmet ingredients with a wide array of pastas and handcrafted cheeses for rich, creamy and elegant comfort dishes that will appeal to all mac and cheese lovers alike and to cheese lovers everywhere. Their recipes are grown up versions made with artisanal cheeses and gourmet pasta combinations that will put your Mama’s Mac and Cheese to shame.

Inside the cookbook you’ll find a whole chapter dedicated to Cheese and another to Pasta: they discuss their research on the history and origins of all the different types of cheeses available and how to choose, prep and pair them with gourmet ingredients, wines and pastas for the maximum amount of flavors. You’ll also find some great recipes for fresh, unique Salads including Asparagus Salad with Ricotta, Fava Beans and Mint and Farfalle or Humboldt Fog with Grilled Peaches and Orzo. A whole chapter of Stovetop Delights has recipes made with creamy, velvety cheese and pasta combinations such as Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles or Moody Blue and Roaring 40s with Honey Roasted Delicata Squash and Sage Butter with Rotini. There’s plenty of Hearty and Satisfying Mac and Cheese recipes with baked combinations full of texture and flavor too: Aged Mahon Gratin with Chorizo, Shallots, Spinach and Cavatappi or Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar with Bacon and Stout. They have another recipe chapter dedicated to Sweet dishes such as Sweet Potato Kugel and Fromage Blanc with Chevre, Peach and Ghost Pepper Canneloni.

If you’re a sucker for a creamy pot of Mac and Cheese like I am, you definitely need to try the recipes in this book – it will open your eyes to all the gorgeous gourmet combinations you can create if you just get a little bit creative and think outside the box (the BLUE box, that is!). Definitely a keeper – and great for the chilly months ahead to keep you cozy and comfy with a big old bowl of cheesy goodness.

Check out the trailer below with Stephanie and Garrett discussing the concept behind the book!

Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese – The Official Trailer from Stephanie/SJS on Vimeo.


To celebrate the official release of Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, they are giving away yet another $500 set of Le Creuset cookware and a $100 gift certificate for Murray’s Cheese. No purchase is necessary to enter the giveaway.

Enter to win the giveaway online

Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam
Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam

Red Hawk Macaroni with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam

Red Hawk, perhaps the most popular cheese made by California’s Cowgirl Creamery, is a mellow and complex washed-rind cheese. While it deserves its moment in the spotlight, it doesn’t fare well with complicated pairings; rather, this triple-cream appreciates a modest presentation that allows its pungent, meaty notes to speak for themselves.

For this dish, we decided to let Red Hawk’s heartiness take center stage, accompanied by only a bit of salty prosciutto and a touch of tart jam. You’ll be surprised how these two ingredients accentuate what makes Red Hawk so beloved—an understated intensity that puts it at the top of many cheese lovers’ top 10 lists.

Serves 4

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1 full wheel Red Hawk, rind intact, chopped into chunks
4 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons raspberry jam (plus more per your indulgence)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix pasta, cheese, and prosciutto. Sprinkle with salt and a few good turns of the pepper grinder. Toss until well combined.

4. Lightly oil four 8-ounce ramekins and fill them with equal amounts of the pasta, cheese, and prosciutto mixture. Add a scant ½ cup of cream to each ramekin.

5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place your ramekins onto the sheet.

Slide into oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the cream has thickened into a nice gratin. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The cheese is supposed to bubble over the edges of the ramekins—that’s part of the charm of this dish. And it’s why you lined the baking sheet with foil.

6. Top each ramekin with 1 tablespoon raspberry jam before serving. Add more spoonfuls of jammy goodness if you see fit.

Alternative cheeses: Époisses, Langres

Wine pairings: domestic Pinot Noir, sparkling rosé, champagne

Additional pairings for the cheese: honey, panforte, dried apricots

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Native to Catalonia, Spain, Garrotxa is a throaty, goaty cheese that imparts an almost Cheddar-like tanginess. A gray mold blankets this pasteurized flavor titan, which gets its smooth earthiness from the lush coastal grasses that feed the goats raised to make it. Cutting away the rind on this firm cheese is easy, and a sharp knife run down the sides will shave off the moldy exterior without sacrificing much of the Garrotxa beneath.

Here, Garrotxa coalesces with two other signature Spanish ingredients, sun-dried tomatoes and Serrano ham, to create an ethereal cheese gratin polished with just a touch of butter, milk, and crème fraîche. This recipe isn’t your typical melty, creamy macaroni and cheese; rather, it’s a drier dish that allows the ingredients to mingle coyly while remaining somewhat independent.

Serves 2 to 4

8 ounces penne
1 pound Garrotxa, shredded
¼ cup milk
½ cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
6 ounces Serrano ham slices, torn coarsely by hand into chunks

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, combine cheese, milk, crème fraîche, and butter. Cook over medium-low heat until cheese is mostly melted and you have a creamy sauce. To keep the cheese sauce from breaking, remove the sauce from the heat before the cheese is entirely melted. Season with pepper, adding more to taste if you like.

4. In a shallow buttered casserole dish, toss pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and Serrano ham. Pour the sauce over the pasta, then stir together until combined. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.

Alternative cheeses: Ibores, Twig Farm Goat Tomme, Bardwell Farm’s Equinox

Wine pairings: Txakoli, Catalonian white wine, Grüner Veltliner

Additional pairings for the cheese: fig jam, picholine olives

Recipes: Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord, Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company Photos: Matt Armendariz, Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

About the Authors

Stephanie Stiavetti

Stephanie is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, and multimedia producer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared on KQED, NPR, the Huffington Post, and a host of other outlets. Stephanie can be found most regularly on her food blog, The Culinary Life, where she explores the boundless world of flavor and texture.

Garrett McCord

Living in the city of Sacramento, Garrett McCord works as a food writer and recipe developer. His blog, Vanilla Garlic, looks at how life and food intertwine. His writing has appeared publications such as Saveur.com, The Huffington Post, Gourmet Live, the James Beard Award winning Epi-Log, Cheese Connoisseur, and the Sacramento News and Review and Edible Sacramento. He holds a master’s in English Composition from California State University, Sacramento, where he studied the rhetoric of the Slow Food Movement.

Read more about Melt Cookbook


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