Because they are my favorite things!

I’m breaking all the rules, starting an article and sentence with because, no side dishes, no flim-flam, if you are cooking food for more than yourself, you get to make and enjoy cocktails while cooking this amazing dinner, dance around the kitchen, decorate the table, yes, you’ll have time, and play music too loud. This holiday season break the rules and break them well. Fill your hearts with gratitude and enjoy every minute of life, live your best life, share it, move yourself out of your own way in the new year, don’t wait, start now!

Christmas Mojito

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 8 leaves mint
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • 1 tablespoon coconut rum
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • sparkling water for topping
  • pomegranate perils for serving

In a large pitcher, muddle the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves until the leaves have broken down.

In a blender, combine the white rum, coconut rum, and coconut milk and pulse until smooth. Pour over the mint/lime sugar mixture and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve. To serve, divide ice among glasses and fill halfway with the mojito mix. Top with sparkling water, mint, and pomegranate perils.

Minty Caprina

  • 1-2 teaspoons honey or organic sugar (optional)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • crushed ice
  • juice of 1/2 a grapefruit
  • 2 ounces Cachaça or white rum
  • sparkling water, for topping.

In a glass, muddle 1-2 teaspoons sugar or honey (if using), the quartered lime and mint leaves. Add the ice, the grapefruit juice and the Cachaça, gently mix to combine. Pour sparkling water over top.

Red Rose Kombucha Cocktail

4 fresh or frozen raspberries

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 ounces silver tequila

1-2 teaspoons rose water (optional)

1 plain or ginger kombucha

Muddle the raspberries, lemon juice, tequila, and rose water in a glass. Add ice, gently mix to combine. Pour the kombucha over top, again gently stirring to combine.

Pear Old-Fashioned

  • 3 dashes Rhubarb bitters
  • 2oz Bourbon or rye
  • 1 oz Pear pure (easy to make your own think pear sauce blended and strained)

Combine over crushed ice, lightly stir and strain. Garnish with star anise and pear…yum!

Maple Miso Vinaigrette

(Syrup is one of the food groups of the North Pole)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons miso paste, organic

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons soy sauce, organic

Directions: Combine and serve

Ok I snuck in one essential you need in your fridge during the holidays, remember we’re breaking the rules! This sweet and sassy dressing it awesome for a quick salad, or toss on steamed vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts)

Roasted Holiday Duck with Green Olives and Herbs de Province

(Serves 4: 2  light meat breasts and 2 dark portions of thigh and leg)

  • Canard aux Olives
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 8 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large celery rib, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • One 5 1/2-pound duck, halved, with backbone, neck, wingtips, neck and gizzards reserved and legs tied. (while enjoying a cocktail in a ninja elf suit) cook more if you need, it’s amazing the next day also
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Herbes de Provence (savory, thyme, basil, marjoram, lavender, parsley, oregano, tarragon, and bay powder with the rosemary and fennel)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • Dash of organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted French green olives, rinsed (can substitute Spanish olives also just don’t tell a Frenchman)

Preheat the oven to 475°. In a small roasting pan, (you want the meat proportionate to the pan) spread half of the chopped onions, 1/4 cup of the parsley, 1 tablespoon of the thyme and the garlic, bay leaves and celery. Prick the duck skin all over with a fork and rub the duck with 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence. Set the duck halves on the vegetables, cut sides down, and roast for 10 minutes. Prick the duck skin again, cover the pan with foil and reduce the oven temperature to 275°. Roast the duck for about 3 hours longer, until the meat is very tender and most of the fat has rendered. (never throw away)

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the backbone, neck and wing tips over low heat until well browned all over. Add the remaining chopped onions and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Pour off the fat from the skillet and add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Add the water, chicken stock, and sugar and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Strain the stock and skim the fat from the surface. Save this fat strained in a jar, it can be kept for weeks sealed and used to flavor dishes and sauces, or to cook your breakfast eggs in. It’s liquid gold!

When the duck is tender, transfer the halves to a work surface. Halve each half; remove any vegetables, pockets of fat and loose bones. Transfer the duck pieces to a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up.

Strain the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan and skim off the fat; boil the strained juices until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the strained stock and the olives to the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and herbs de Provence.

Broil 10 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes, or until the duck is hot and the skin is crisp. Spoon the sauce onto a platter and set the duck on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon of thyme and serve.

The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate the duck and sauce separately. Allow the duck to come to room temperature before broiling it.  Also delicious with Goose and Turkey or game hens, but really just get the duck, it’s incredible.

Enjoy with a Cotes de Provence wine or Oregon Pinot Noir, because you’ve already had cocktail hour 😉

Season’s Greetings from my table to yours!