Your place for traditional Italian recipes
Christmas or New Year's Day Breakfast
Eggs and Smoked Salmon in Puff Pastry
Christmas Cappuccino
Eggs and Smoked Salmon in Puff Pastry
Cranberry Orange Pancakes
Apple and Sausage Patties
Eggnog Muffins
Ambrosia Spread
Start Christmas Day, New Year's Day, or any special occasion with a delicious breakfast.  After the kids have opened their presents on Christmas morning or after a night of ringing in the New Year, breakfast can be a casual meal reserved for the immediate family and the closest of friends. Or if you are having a brunch with several guests, you can make a few of these dishes for a light breakfast buffet.
Christmas Cappuccino

Add some steamed eggnog to espresso and top with grated cinnamon or a cinnamon stick.  Steam eggnog with the steam/frother on your cappuccino maker or use a steam wand.  You can also simply add eggnog to your espresso or coffee as a creamer for a delicious new flavor.
Eggs and Smoked Salmon in Puff Pastry

(Serves 4 to 5)

5 eggs
1 tablespoon butter
3 ounces cream cheese with onions and chives
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
3 ounces smoked salmon
1 sheet puff pastry
Egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water


In a skillet, scramble eggs in butter until cooked but slightly underdone.
Dot with the cream cheese and stir in to combine.  Remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Open the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out lightly with a rolling pin to smooth the surface.  Cut off about 1-inch of the dough to set aside for a garnish.  Layer the smoked salmon on the middle of the pastry.  Spread the scrambled eggs over the salmon.  Sprinkle the top of the eggs with the mozzarella.  Fold the sides of the pastry dough over the egg mixture and seal the ends.  Use the reserved strip of dough to create a garnish to conceal the seam.  Brush the dough with the egg wash.

Transfer the puff pastry/egg mixture to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

To prepare the day before baking:
Make the entire recipe and refrigerate.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Cranberry Orange Pancakes

(Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes)
Cranberry Orange Pancakes

1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 to 3 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup orange juice
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, sugar, and zest.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and orange juice.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture.  Stir in the melted butter.  Mix until the mixture is fairly smooth.  Fold the cranberry mixture into the batter.

Heat a lightly greased griddle or skillet over medium heat.
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle for each pancake.
Cook pancakes until one side is golden brown, then turn to cook other side.
Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.
Apple and Sausage Patties

(Serves 6)

These are easy to make and are a nice alternative to ready-made sausages.
Serve with eggs, pancakes, or French toast ... or serve on a biscuit with melted cheese.
Eggnog Muffins

(Makes 12 muffins)

Serve these muffins with butter or jam ... very yummy! If you plan on serving them to children, leave out the rum, increase the amount of eggnog, and add vanilla extract.
Ambrosia Spread

Ambrosia spread is delicious on toast or bagels.  For an extra-special touch, get a thinly sliced dense bread (such as banana bread or date nut bread) and cut out stars or Christmas trees with a cookie cutter; serve the cut-out bread on a platter around the spread.
Ambrosia Spread

1 large orange, peeled and cut into segments
1 (8 ounce) container cream cheese with pineapple
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup toasted chopped almonds


Reserve a few of the orange segments for a garnish; set them aside.
Coarsely chop the remaining orange segments.  In a bowl combine the chopped orange with all the remaining ingredients.  Spoon into a serving dish.
Garnish with the reserved orange segments and whole almonds (optional).
Holiday Pizzelle
Stir some candy sprinkles (the kind you put on top of cookies) into your pizzelle batter.  The candy melts into the pizzelle giving it a swirled color effect and it also adds a bit of a crunch when you eat them.
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If you don't have a set of plain white dishes, put this at the top of your must-have entertaining essentials.  White dishes look sensational on the table by themselves or you can completely change their appearance on the table by pairing them with different accent plates, linens, and accessories.  In the summer, create a bright tabletop by combing your white dishes with blue and white salad plates and apple green table linens.  In the fall, pair your white dishes with russet napkins and an autumn centerpiece. In winter, make them more elegant with silver and gold accessories, or make them more whimsical by adding holiday stemware and napkins.  With white dishes and varied accessories, your table will never look the same for any occasion.

1 pound turkey or pork sausage, removed from casings
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Canola oil for frying


In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the canola oil.  Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions.  Shape each portion into a patty about 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick.  (At this point, they may be covered and refrigerated overnight.)

Place a large skillet over medium heat and lightly brush it with canola oil.
Place about half of the patties into the skillet; don't crowd them.  Fry the patties until browned on one side, about 3 minutes.  Turn them over and fry the other side until cooked through, about 3 minutes more.  Cook the remaining patties in the same way.  Keep the patties warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup prepared eggnog
1/2 cup dark rum
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten to blend
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease one 12-cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Stir in remaining ingredients.  Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake about 20 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
Cool slightly before serving.
I've owned several food mills over the years, and in my opinion, this one is the best.  The advantage of a food mill over a food processor or blender is that it separates the skins and seeds from the fruit or vegetable pulp.  It is the perfect tool for preparing fruit purees, sauces, and soups.  It has a stainless steel inner bowl that is ideal for hot foods and does not stain, and includes 3 stainless steel grinding discs for fine, medium and coarse textures. This food mill has a unique release button that makes it easy to exchange discs and disassemble for storage.
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If you're short on space you can still entertain big by setting up mini buffets throughout your house.  Find 3 great locations in your house to serve each item on your menu.  Serve the turkey on a kitchen island, side dishes on a table in the living room, and the desserts on a rolling cart tucked into a corner.  This will keep guests moving from one place to the next and mingling with others along the way.