Festive Foods

Let’s Talk Turkey Burgers

by Ginger King Birnbaum

ff-1Handheld turkey burgers are a petite way to enjoy a backyard barbecue.


2 cups kale, torn into small bits
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup scallions chopped
1 large carrot shredded
1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. tarragon mustard
1 pound ground turkey
olive oil, for cooking
grapeseed oil, for cooking
lettuce cups or toothpicks

Sauté kale, Worcestershire sauce, scallions, and carrot in olive oil on medium heat. Toss and stir as needed.

Combine sea salt, tarragon mustard, and ground turkey in a large bowl. Fold sautéed mixture into bowl. Knead together.

Scoop one heaping tablespoon of mixture, roll into ball, tuck kale as needed, and flatten into mini patties. Cook in a skillet with grapeseed oil on low-medium heat.

Serve in a lettuce cup accompanied by a dollop of sauce of your choice.

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Baked Brie en Croute

by Elizabeth Campbell Griffin

ff-4If fondue was the thing of the ’70s, creamy baked brie is the cheese of the millennial.


1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 wheel Brie cheese
10 pear slices
10 green apple slices

Mix brown sugar, pecans, and bourbon in a bowl. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut the rind from the cheese and discard. Cut cheese horizontally into halves. Spread pecan mixture over one cheese half. Place the remaining half over the pecan mixture. Place in the center of the puff pastry.

Fold all four corners of the puff pastry carefully to the center of the cheese, pinching the seams to seal. Invert so the folded side is on the bottom and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until light brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve with pear and apple slices.

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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

by Walton Robinson & Meghan Shaul

ff-6Skewered and dipped, these roasted potatoes are an ideal snack to be eaten while mingling.


1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 cup good olive oil
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 box short bamboo skewers
24 tall plastic shot glasses, also known as “tasting” glasses, for serving.

Cut potatoes into quarters and place them in a large bowl of cold water. Set them aside for 30-45 minutes. This step is critical because it draws out excess starch and allows them to cook up light and crispy.

Finely mince fresh rosemary while preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Mix rosemary, paprika, and salt together into a bowl.

Drain potatoes and dry thoroughly (the water you drain from the potatoes should be cloudy—that is the excess starch that would make this dish too heavy as an appetizer).

Spread the potatoes on a cookie sheet into a flat layer and drizzle with olive oil. Then sprinkle rosemary, paprika, and salt mix over them evenly—give your pepper grinder two to three rings over them as well.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork. Once they’re done, let them cool until you can stand to pick them up with your hands, but don’t let them get cold!

Serving Setup
> Spear about 3-4 of the potatoes onto the bamboo skewers.
> Fill the tasting glasses about 1/8 of the way up with the sauce of your choice.
> Place the skewers into the shot glasses with the pointed end down.
> Serve to your guests!
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Fancy Shrimp Cocktail

by Becky Farmer

ff-9A twist on this classic brings your spread from boring to bangin’.


1/4 small red onion
1-2 small jalapenos, seeded
4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 large can roasted, diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 1/2 pounds cooked shrimp (26-30 count), tails removed from 15 shrimp
1 1/2 cups English cucumber, seeded and diced
1 1/2 avocado, pitted and cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper
PLUS: Tortilla chips and chilled martini glasses for serving

In a food processor, pulse the red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro until finely chopped. Gently pulse the roasted tomatoes and Rotel to form a loose salsa. To the salsa, add 15 shrimp (with tails removed), then pulse the mixture to incorporate the shrimp. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Gently fold the diced cucumber, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and lime juice into the salsa mixture. Add kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
to taste. 

Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cocktail mix in each chilled martini glass. Use a paper towel to clean around the interior portion of the glass. Finish by arranging three to four (tail-on), shrimp around the edge of each glass with the tail portion dangling off the outer edge.

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Roasted Corn and Lobster Dip

by Nancy Deakins

ff-10Perfect for a party, this warm dip will remind you of seaside vacations.


1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped and seeded
1 1/2 cups shredded Havarti or Muenster cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup frozen chopped, cooked lobster tails, thawed and well drained or one can lobster, drained
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Combine olive oil, corn, and bell pepper in small baking dish and toss to coat. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until vegetables begin to brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Mix together remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Add the roasted corn and peppers and spread into an 8 inch pie dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until heated through. Serve with vegetables, crackers, pita bread, focaccia, or baguette slices.

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