Martha shares various designs for gingerbread houses for this holiday, via Martha Stewart.

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Every year in about September I start thinking about what cookies I want to bake for Michael’s blog. Its starts off as a long list and then gets cut down, so a variety of cookies are presented, ranging from classics to new formulations. This year I wanted to share two new recipes: a Cardamom Ginger Coconut cookie, inspired by my love of Indian food, and a gluten-free Linzer cookie. After spending time with a teammate who is gluten intolerant I decided to make a cookie just for her. The cardamom ginger coconut cookie has a soft spot in my heart because it marries the incredible base dough of my chocolate chips cookies and Indian cuisine. This cookie warms you with aromatics, cardamom and coriander. You get extra warmth from the minced crystalized ginger. There may Read On »

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The Major Award/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman Last year, Claudia Young created this truffle-infused cocktail for The Velvet Tango Room, Paulius Nasvytis’s well-known Cleveland bar. It’s today’s choice for the Friday Cocktail Hour because it is the very embodiment of the holidays: rich, fragrant, expensive, delicious. I loved milk punch when a friend introduced me to that simple concoction—bourbon, milk and sugar. This is a milk punch times ten—a decadent but simple combo of Scotch, truffled honey, and half-and-half. This Cleveland original (first posted here), was named by a Clevelander for a movie filmed here, a movie about Christmas. What more appropriate drink could there be as Christmas approaches for today’s Hour? The Major Award To serve 1: 1.5 ounces Oban (or other single-malt whiskey) 1 ounce truffle honey syrup made with a 1:1 water Read On »

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Reposting this method from last year because, well, if you’re going to cook a standing rib roast now or ever, this is THE best way to do it. Every Christmas Day our family cooks a prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and a beef jus (made from beef-veal stock), and there’s no better way to cook a rack of beef or a whole beef tenderloin than this combination grill-roast method, which I’ve written about here before and in Ruhlman’s Twenty: A Cook’s Manifesto. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing (the grilling can be done up to three days before the final cooking). The ribs themselves are an added benefit. You can serve them immediately, but I like to save them for a second leftover meal the Read On »

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Among the books that caught my eye this season, two of the most lovely are The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen and The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen. I’m biased on the Midwestern book, as it’s my home turf, but the Minnesotan Thielen, who logged serious years as a cook and chef at some of the best restaurants in Manhattan until she began a family, brings new life to recipes that are so at home in this part of America, dishes featuring our lake fish and our abundant venison, and vibrant takes on pot roasts and meat pies, recipes from simple salads to more elaborate preparations for headcheese and red current jelly. The publisher sent me an extra copy—it will be a GIVEAWAY to a commenter, just name your favorite cookbook (other Read On »

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