Our Food Editors Share Their Favorite Holiday Food Traditions
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While this year's holiday season may look a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic, one thing's for sure, and that's that our food editors will be making lots and lots of cookies. "We have to have my mom's shortbread wreaths decorated with Red Hots Cinnamon Candy and green sanding sugar (a recipe passed down from her mom, who all the grandkids called Crunchy), and rum balls for my older brother Mike," says deputy food editor Greg Lofts. He, assistant food editor Riley Wofford, and editorial director of food Sarah Carey share another favorite recipe: the Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies. "It really is the perfect holiday cookie," Greg adds.
Cookies are also a staple in Riley's household. "Our main meal menu changes from year to year, but we always have Ginger Creams (a cakey ginger cookie topped with a smear of American buttercream), Chocolate Crackles, Pecan Sandies, and my grandma's oatmeal cookies (a secret family recipe that I would be removed from the will for sharing)," she adds.
There is more to the holiday season than Christmas cookies (that's hard to believe, we know). Riley's family, who are based in Texas, have their main celebration on Christmas Eve and the menu is packed with Southwestern and Tex-Mex recipes. "We make something called flat enchiladas, which are a Sonoran recipe. It's basically a thick cheesy masa cake that is deep-fried, then smothered in enchilada sauce, and topped with taco-like toppings (shredded iceberg, chopped tomatoes, queso fresco, and green olives.) More recently, my brother has started making tamales from scratch on Christmas Eve as well," she says.
Deputy food editor Lauryn Tyrell turns to her family's Italian-American roots when celebrating Christmas. This year, she plans to prepare the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes since her whole family will be together for the first time in years. She's looking forward to making seafood dishes like Clams Casino and Chilled Seafood Salad alongside winter starters such as Escarole Salad with Lemon-and-Anchovy Dressing and Arctic Char Carpaccio with Beets and Citrus.