Dine in High Style
This holiday season create a table and menu inspired by the runways of New York, Paris, and Milan. Turn off the cooking shows and turn to fashion magazines as you prepare for what may be your biggest dinner party of the year. We’ve tapped into major fashion and design trends—and some of the year’s hottest cookbooks—to bring you two stylish ways to liven up your winter fête. —Mike DeSimone & Jeff Jenssen
The gauchos have arrived. Only this time they are not galloping across the pampa on horseback; they are confidently walking as their stylish below the knee wide-leg shorts swish ever so slightly with each step, showing off butter-soft leather boots or well-toned calves atop teetering heels. The Argentine cowhand look is everywhere this fall, courtesy of designers such as Kenzo, Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam, Alexander Wang, Sonia Rykiel, and Giorgio Armani.
From the looks of all the cookbooks covering the subject this year, meat and grilling are hot topics in the culinary world. Turn to famed New York butcher Pat LaFreida’s Meat (Atria Books, 2014) for recipes worthy of any asado, although this menu puts some of the emphasis on another Argentine favorite, milanesa, served here in the form of classic Veal Milanese. Complete the South American theme with empanadas, chicken puffs, and a stylized take on vegetable sides from Pocket Pies by Pamela Clark (Sterling Epicure, 2014), where you will also find Little Salty Caramel Meringue Pies, a takeoff on the classic Argentine rogel cake.
Butter Chicken Puffs**
Five Minute Marinated Skirt Steak*
Caramelized Leek and Brie Tartlets**
Little Salty Caramel Meringue Pies** (pictured)
* From Meat
** From Pocket Pies**
Greet your guests with a glass of Argentina’s signature white, Torrontes, a grape that is native to that country. Argentina is also known for its Chardonnay. One that is moderately oaked will go well with chicken and will hold up to skirt steak and Veal Milanese. And for the red wine drinkers, let there be Malbec!
Fairy tales aren’t just for kids anymore. Open any fashion magazine and you will find pages and pages of gorgeous Dolce & Gabbana ads that echo their Fall 2014 runway show, “Enchanted Sicily.” Maleficent slayed at the box office this summer, and the big-budget, all-star Into the Woods is opening on Christmas Day. Even your cousin who loves Game of Thrones will get into the holiday spirit this year. A table laid with evergreen boughs and small apples (not poisoned, we hope!) sets the scene for a feast fit for a king, a queen, and a few princes and princesses.
We’ve turned to two cookbooks to bring our fairytale banquet to life. Ben Ford’s Taming the Feast (Atria Books, May 2014) features nine full menus for a crowd, and Jennifer McLagan’s Bitter (Ten Speed Press, 2014), a compendium of dishes based on an oft-misunderstood taste.
Horseradish and Bone Marrow Toasts* (pictured)
Buttered Petite Peas**
Cornbread and Sausage Dressing**
Tobacco Chocolate Truffles*
* From Bitter
** From Taming the Feast