Lara’s Amazing Holiday Feast 2016

Knock a delicious holiday feast out of the park this year with blood orange libations, a sensational holiday roast, crispy, gorgeous baked latkes, dazzling haricot vert with shallots, indulgent homemade, couldn’t-be-simpler truffles, topped off with an egg nog latte that’s to die for. Sound good? Tips and tricks to pull it off without a hitch are embedded in the recipes, so print this one out and give it a good read through before you hit the market or turn on a flame. Wishing you a delicious dinner and happiest of holidays.

Blood Orange Elderflower Gin Cocktail
This gorgeous statement cocktail is as elegant to look at as it is to sip. Elderflower is all the rage this year in mixology. Give it a try if you enjoy a fragrant and bold flavored cocktail. To make a non alcoholic version, omit the gin and St. Germain and increase the sparkling water to 3.5 oz, plus one teaspoon simple syrup.

Serves: 1
Active time: 3 minutes


  • 1 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz sparkling water
  • 2 oz blood orange juice
  • Garnish with thinly sliced blood orange wheels


In a serving glass, combine the gin, St. Germain, lime juice, and sparkling water. Fill the glass with ice. Slowly pour in blood orange juice. Garnish with blood orange slices. Serve immediately. Adapted from The Little Epicurean.

Cauliflower and Spinach Latkes
2016 has been the year of the cauliflower. It’s been riced, floured and pureed. Keep up with the times by making these delicious latkes that are fluffy and crisp nicely. With no flour or dairy, they’re sure to be a hit with gluten free and dairy free guests.

Makes: 25 latkes
Active Time: 30 minutes, 30 total minutes


  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken up into florets
  • 1 large bunch of fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko or flax meal
  • salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot filled with boiling water for 6-8 minutes, until firm but softened slightly. Strain and set aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled, chop the florets with the garlic and onions in the food processor. Wring out all of the moisture in a dish cloth.
  3. Mix the za’atar and eggs together, then add the cauliflower mixture, spinach, panko or flax meal and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Using your hands, make small balls (about a heaping tablespoon full) with the mixture and then pat them down a bit. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the mixture. Brush latkes with the peanut oil and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden.
  6. Eat warm at room temperature. Serve with Greek yogurt and hot sauce.

Adapted from Matkonation

Green Beans with Shallots and Wine Vinegar
This recipe is delicious any time of year. The best part about it is that leftovers are perfect in your eggs in the morning. Be careful not to overcook the beans, as they are really best crisp-tender. Shallots are easy to find at the farmer’s market in the winter.

Serves: 6
Active Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pound haricots verts (thin French green beans), trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Steam beans until just tender, 3 minutes.
  2. While beans are steaming, whisk together remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss beans with dressing.

Adapted from Epicurious

Roast Beef
A beautiful roast is impressive and should not intimidate you, even if you’ve never done one before. The trick is really to let the roast come to room temperature before you season and then after the roast has come out, let it rest, so the juices can redistribute and give the rosy pink that you’re looking for. Use the meat thermometer. A correct temperature will yield a perfect dish.

Serves: 6
Active time: 10 minutes, total time 1:30


  • 3 ½ pounds boneless rump roast or butcher tied tenderloin
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut into thick slivers
  • salt & pepper


  1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for 1 – 2 hours.
  2. Make little slits in the meat and tuck the slivers of garlic inside. Lightly salt and pepper the whole roast and place on a rack with a pan underneath (note, if the roast is very lean, rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the outside after seasoning). Put the roast in a preheated 450° oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 275° and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the beef registers 115° for medium-rare, 118° for a tenderloin.
  3. Let the meat rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with horseradish.

Holiday Truffles
Truffles are EASY to make. In fact, this recipe is one that I give my older daughter to make because she loves to help out and has unbelievable attention to detail. Once you master the recipe, you only have to master the technique. Keep a cup of hot water to dip the spoon in and keep your fingers moist to keep the balls from sticking.

Makes: 30 truffles
Active time: 20 minutes


  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (high quality, 62% cacao or higher), well chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Truffle coatings

  • Cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Crushed candy cane


  1. In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to just before a simmer (stir and scrape down the sides with a spatula every few minutes).
  2. Place the chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla, and allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until smooth. (Yum. You’ve just made ganache!)
  3. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours.
  4. Use a teaspoon to roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Roll in cocoa powder, chopped nuts or candy cane and serve, or place back in the refrigerator until needed.

Eggnog Latte
Love eggnog, but not the fat, calories and way it makes you feel? This egg nog latte is the perfect answer. It imparts all of the aroma and flavors you love, without the nutritional damage. This keeper is so easy to make, you’ll be mixing it up all season.

Serves: 1
Active time: 10 minutes


  • 2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup of strong concentrated coffee
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sugar in the raw
  • nutmeg


  1. Brew coffee, adding nutmeg to coffee grounds and steep cinnamon in the coffee for 1 – 3 minutes.
  2. Froth almond milk mixed with vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the milk into the coffee and top with an extra sprinkle of nutmeg