Mimi’s Christmas Brunch



Strawberry, banana, blood orange and yogurt parfait


Potato and prosciutto frittata

Poppy-seed roll and Nut Roll

For the mimosas:  fresh squeezed orange juice (used my brand new Breville juicer … new years resolution:  drink juice, get healthy and lose a few pounds) and Nicolas Feuillatte Brut (one of my favorites).  Yogurt parfait was delicious and easy — layer the fruit and yogurt and make sure it’s pretty.  Cornbread was Marc Forgione’s recipe — google it — best I’ve ever had. (I met chef Forgione on by birthday at his restaurant,  such a nice guy.  I acted  a little “groupie-ish” I’m afraid).

 Frittata was 100% Giada — go to Foodnetwork.com for the recipe it’s ridiculously good.  Mine stuck to the pan so it came to the table pan and all.  Prosciutto was one of the many delicious Christmas gifts from my stepson Jeff.  He also sent us a selection of Murray’s cheeses.  See why I’ll need to lose a few pounds in the new year?  The poppy-seed and nut rolls were a gift from my sister and her friend Doug.  All of my Polish aunts and grandmother used to bake the most delicious poppy-seed roll so I gave it a shot this year.  It was a total mess that ended up right in the trash.  Hey, what can I say?  I tried.

…and a Diva dishes.  Hey!  I recognize those red chargers from our Valentine’s Day posting and your table’s centerpiece was hanging from the chandelier for our Holiday Celebration in 2012!  Great way to recycle decorations — Mimi is so thrifty.  With food so colorful who wouldn’t want to dive into this great brunch?  I asked Mimi if the cornbread was from a mix it looked so perfect.  She said hell no, are you kidding?  That mimosa is so picture perfect with that head just about to overflow.   And of course, fresh squeezed juice with the new juicer.

Mimi’s Perfect Holiday Weekend: baking, wrapping, trimming

It all started twenty years ago when life threw my dearest girlfriend and me a few disappointments.  We decided to make our own happiness and create a Christmas tradition.  Every December we spent a weekend baking, listening to Christmas music, drinking champagne and wrapping cookies.  Though we no longer do this together ( and certainly couldn’t drink the amount of champagne we consumed in our younger days) I cherish the wonderful memories.

“New York Rangers”?  We concocted this from another recipe by jazzing up toll house cookies with a cup of Kellogg’s rice crispies and a cup of coconut.  Sometimes we included chopped walnuts, sometimes we didn’t.

Candied Walnuts:  we usually made these at the end of the day because we were “loopy” and  they are so easy.  Take a 12 oz bag of whole walnuts.  Place them in a colander to shake off the “dust”.  In a very large bowl, beat 1 egg white and 1 tbsp of water until frothy.  Dump in the walnuts and toss to coat.  Whisk together 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tbps cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Dump on top of the walnuts and toss to coat.  Turn the walnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees, turning the walnuts over every 15 minutes.

Follow the diva for “Mom’s mocha drops” recipe.




…and a Diva dishes.   I think there is nothing nicer than making something and giving to someone.  It’s a labor of love really.  The reason I don’t make cookies anymore is if there are leftovers, I can’t resist my own home made cookies (or anyone elses for that matter!)  A store bought cookie will sit in my house for a month, until it’s stale.  By the way candied walnuts go great in salads.

Cookies wrapped and ready to give.  

Ready and waiting for Santa.

We’re ready and waiting for Santa.

Mimi’s Favorite Holiday!

Follow the diva for some of the dishes in this post — I published these because I think they are the most complicated.  The others, not so much.  It’s all in the timing.




I stick to the tried and true for Thanksgiving.  The same meal year after year and the only complaint I’ve ever gotten was that there wasn’t enough sweet potato soufflé.  I took care of that this year and made 2 large and 1 individual  sized soufflés for our gluten-free / dairy free guest.


 Willie Bird Turkey (22 lb)

Sausage, Chestnut and Fennel Stuffing  (on website)


Sweet Potato Soufflé  (on website)

Mashed Potatoes

Green Beans Almondine

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie (on website)

Pumpkin Pie

Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2011

L Tramier & Fils Roncier

The star of the show!!!

The star of the show!!!

I love preparing this meal and could go on forever talking about it.  I’ll only share a few thoughts.  I followed Tom Colicchio’s advice and rubbed the turkey with olive oil rather than butter.  (I was concerned that using butter would be a problem for our lactose intolerant guest.)  I will NEVER use butter again on the turkey — it roasted to perfection.  I owe the stuffing recipe to my sister who as a child was insistent that we get more creative and added chestnuts and sausage to my mother’s recipe.     Many years later I decided to throw in fennel too.  Finally, after much trial and error, I struck the right balance of filling to pecans in the bourbon chocolate pecan pie.

Wine Thoughts

Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2011:  I love this wine.  I experience a slightly spicy and cedar aroma and then a currant, cherry and anise flavor.  For me this complements all of the components of the Thanksgiving dinner perfectly.

L. Tramier & Fils Roncier:  Honestly, I bought this wine because it was so affordable.  Boy was I pleasantly surprised — another perfect complement to a meal that has such a variety of sweet, savory and salty.  I experienced a fairly intense aroma and then a gentle frutiness — cherries again — in the flavor.  It really went well with the meal, even the dessert.