Our Favorite Holiday Recipes
We’re taking a fun detour and sharing a few of the PFA team’s favorite holiday flavors and traditions. If you try your hand at any of these recipes or want to share your favorite, we’d love to hear from you!
Jim Bradley – Jimbo’s Legendary Popovers
If you’ve ever been to the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park, you’ve probably experienced what I truly believe to be the greatest popovers on earth. They’re light and airy, firm outside and silky inside. Steam rolls out when you pull them apart. They’re served with butter and strawberry preserves with afternoon tea, or, in my preferred context, as a sumptuous accompaniment to their lobster stew.
It’s taken me years of trial and error to get to the point where I can safely say I’ve cracked the code on how to make popovers that rival the iconoclastic Jordan Pond variety. They’ve become a part of the Christmas table at my family house, cooked during the period while the roast ‘rests’, served piping hot and devoured within minutes by young and old alike.
You’ll want one of those fancy popover pans – the ones with six large cups wired together. Will other types work? Yeah, but not as well.
Jimbo’s Legendary Popovers
At least 12 hours before cooking: Remove 3 large eggs and one cup of milk from the fridge. Set them out so that they’re at room temperature when it’s time to cook.
The next day:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Put a little bit of butter – about ¼ tablespoon into each cup – or just spray with non-stick cooking spray – and put the popover pan in the oven to bring it up to temperature.
- Whisk eggs with milk, a healthy pinch or two of salt, and 1 cup of sifted flour until just about smooth. (Not a heaping cup. Just a cup.) Add about 1 tbsp of canola oil, stir in. What you have should be like a loose pancake batter.
- Pour into cups – about 2/3 full. Put the pan in the oven. Do not open the oven until they’re done.
- After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 325 degrees.
- After another 15 minutes, pull them out. Remove popovers from the pans and serve them immediately!
Libby McKay – Nana’s Lace Cookies
Nana’s lace cookies were always a part of our holiday festivities growing up. The buttery, sweet smell instantly takes me back to annual tree cuttings on the farm, Christmas Eve parties, and spending time in the kitchen with my grandmother. I loved them as a kid and have grown even fonder as an adult. I always assumed they were a personal favorite of mine because of the memories they invoked, until friends started asking for the recipe at holiday parties.
Thin, golden brown, crisp and chewy… these delicate cookies are simple, elegant, and addictive. They also pair perfectly with bourbon, which is an important qualifier for a Kentucky native. The recipe is easy, but the bake can be tricky, so don’t stray too far from the oven.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup oats
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg, beaten
Combine all ingredients and let stand 45 minutes.
Drop 1/2 teaspoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, leaving plenty of room to spread. Nana used an old baby spoon to measure out her tiny dollops and insisted that plumping up the dough balls to create as much height as possible was the trick to cookies with a nice crisp outer edge and a chewy center.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, but peek in at about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven when light golden brown and allow to cool completely on the foil. They will continue to cook a bit and should be easy to remove once cool. The goal is golden brown at the edges, a bit translucent, and still chewy in the middle. Enjoy!
Tyler Hafford – THE best Cheese Dip
I need to be careful here…. I am about to give out one of the most closely guarded secrets in Central Maine. Every Holiday season Nikki and I would go to a local restaurant for one thing – the cheese dip. Now, this cheese dip may be the most famous dish in the area and anyone from central Maine can probably guess the restaurant I am that I am referencing so all names, places and one ingredient has been changed. Unfortunately, this restaurant has closed and making the dish myself has been the only way we can enjoy it. I am also not at liberty to discuss how I came into possession of this recipe, and I will carry that secret to the grave.
Let’s get back to the important part, the cheese. This dip is the perfect mix of warm and gooey that is required when the temperature drops, and the snow starts falling. It will be the biggest hit at any party you attend, granted you can get it there without eating it first. It is very versatile and can be enjoyed with a fine Pinot Noir or festive Margarita…but it MUST be enjoyed with good company.
THE best Cheese Dip:
- 2 large soft baguettes
- 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup of parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 cup gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ cup of mayonnaise (I know, I know, but trust me here)
- Wrap baguettes in tin foil and place in the oven
- Combine cheese, onion, and garlic. Add mayo to get a thick consistency.
- Place in a baking bowl.
- Heat for 20 mins or until the cheese is brown on top.
- Take baguettes out and slice for easy dipping.
- Sip drink of choice, enjoy the cheese and watch the snow fall.
Enjoy and make sure to keep the secret!
Craig Joncas – The Clove Hitch
My wife, Nikki, and I love exploring the Greater Portland food and drink scene. It’s probably one of our favorite pastimes. We try to keep up with the new spots, but seemingly have less and less time to do so as life goes on. So, we’ve got some “go-tos” when it’s been a while, or if we’re just in the mood for something. Our absolute favorite drink around is called the Clove Hitch from Portland Hunt and Alpine Club*. Pair it with one of their fresh warm pretzels with spicy mustard and your Friday evening is made.
At $15 per cocktail, it doesn’t take a Financial Advisor to know this hobby can add up. So, we occasionally make attempts to recreate drinks or meals we’ve had out, at home. Just as much as it helps our wallet, it’s an enjoyable experiment. The Clove Hitch is one of those experiments I consider my most successful. We got the list of ingredients from the bartender once, so I know those are accurate. It took me two attempts at home, and I’m pretty certain I nailed it. If a Hunt & Alpine bartender ever reads this: I welcome your criticism (and the real recipe please!)
We will be making this for our 18 adult guests at Christmas this year, along with homemade pretzels Nikki has been perfecting. Give it a try and let us know what you think! Here it is:
The Clove Hitch (Joncas Recreation)
- 2 oz silver tequila
- 2 oz spiced pear juice (see note below)
- 0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 0.5 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- Healthy splash of agave
Serve in a coupe glass with a thin slice of lime on the rim, or right in the drink – personal preference.
Note: The spiced pear juice must be homemade as well. I actually buy pears in a can and strain them, keeping just the juice and setting the pears aside for snacking/breakfast. Simmer the pear juice on the stove top for ten minutes with two cinnamon sticks, a bunch of whole cloves and whole allspice. Strain the juice. You may lose some of the juice as it simmers, so plan quantities accordingly.
*Fun fact about the Clove Hitch, it’s not on their menu anymore. Not to worry, you can still compare their version to mine. Just ask for it, they’re happy to make it!
Jessi Dolmage – Peanut Butter Balls
Peanut butter and butter are two of my favorite ingredients, and if I’m honest, I enjoy peanut butter most straight from the jar with a spoon. (I have separate jars for eating and baking/cooking.) My favorite foods also have contrasting textures. So when my friend Jennifer introduced me to these delectable treats with both ingredients that also have a little crunch, my life was forever changed.
Though not a cookie, these are perfect for a holiday cookie exchange and for kids who like to help in the kitchen. They’re also ideal for any time of year, but I have zero self-control when it comes to these treats, so I only allow myself to make once a year at the holidays. If you also become addicted to these, you’re welcome.
Peanut Butter Balls
- 12 oz package chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet)
- Optional: 1/3 to 1/2 bar of jar canning wax (this seems weird but it is safe to eat, you eat this already in a lot of foods, it thins out the chocolate so the shell isn’t too thick and gives it a little shine)
- 2 cups peanut butter (I prefer creamy Jif Natural)
- 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
- Over medium low heat, melt chocolate chips and wax together over a double boiler, stirring occasionally. (Microwaving also fine.) Once melted, lower heat to minimum.
- As chocolate chips are melting, mix last 4 ingredients together and roll into 1-inch or so balls. (Small cookie dough scooper works well for this.)
- Roll balls in the melted chocolate until completely coated, place on wax paper or silpat mat until chocolate sets. You don’t have to store in refrigerator, but I like to eat them chilled.