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Five Festive Local Recipes for Your Holiday Table

Head to Fremont's independent cookbook store Book Larder to see for yourself – Seattle-area chefs, restaurateurs and bloggers kept busy releasing recipe collections in 2012.

The year brought more than a dozen giftable, local cookbooks brimming with savories, sweets and other seasonal meal ideas. Kids will find plenty of bites to sample in Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims and The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance, to name a few.

From Molly Moon's famous cardamom ice cream to Skillet's hearty cauliflower scramble, we've sourced some festive kid-approved recipes from the pages of the year's best cookbook releases. Read on for five recipes that make not just the ingredients, but the dishes on your holiday table both locally sourced and delicious.

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream by Molly Moon Neitzel and Christina Spittler

Odds are every member of your family lays claim to a different favorite kind of ice cream from Molly Moon's. In her first cookbook, Molly Moon Neitzel shares how to prepare homemade toppings and a rainbow of frozen flavors, including scout mint and balsamic strawberry. Even better, Neitzel's recipes are easy to follow and are heavy on fresh ingredients.

Cardamom Ice Cream

Makes 1 to 1 ½ Quarts

From Molly Moon Neitzel: There is something about this spice that makes the texture of the ice cream just perfect. This is a flavor I first experienced at the Big Dipper in Missoula, Montana. We used to make gallons and gallons for an Indian restaurant on our block. It's now a winter staple at Molly Moon's.

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3⁄4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Put all of the ingredients into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, whisking occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Just before the mixture comes to a bowl, remove from the heat. Cover and let the mixture steep at room temperature for 20 minutes. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan or bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, 1 to 2 hours.

When the mixture is cold, pour it into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the ice cream to an airtight glass or plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 4 hours.

The Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto by Josh Henderson

Josh Henderson's roaming Skillet food truck, Capitol Hill's Skillet Diner and Seattle Center Armory's Skillet Counter bring families together over plates of refined comfort food. Recipes for standout Skillet dishes, including the famous burger, are featured in Henderson's first cookbook. Or, if you'd prefer to order pre-made poutine instead of preparing it from scratch, check out Skillet's home delivery via Amazon Fresh.

Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate

Makes five 8-ounce servings

From Josh Henderson: Knowing how to make hot chocolate from scratch is a kitchen basic; it's just as important as knowing how to make a good soup or roast chicken. Hot chocolate has always been a big hit for us on the street, when people want a sugar fix or a sweet warm treat in cold Seattle winters. This version has a smoky zing.

6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate (preferably 70 percent cacao), finely chopped
5 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
5 cinnamon sticks, for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate, milk, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and chili powder. Heat the mixture to just below scalding, taking care not to scorch it, then turn the heat off and allow it to cool slightly. Note: The heat brings out the oils, so the longer it sits, the spicier it'll be. Pour it into serving cups and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.

Cauliflower Scramble

Makes 6 servings

From Josh Henderson: When we first started Skillet, we'd just do a breakfast scramble with whatever we had on hand, but I kept gravitating toward cauliflower. I'm a big fan – I think it's underutilized and should replace tofu as a go-to for vegetarians. Its got some great qualities that both vegetarians and meat-eaters love. The texture is meaty and firm, and when you caramelize it, it gets so sweet and nice. No matter what additions you use, here's the key to a good scramble: when you think the eggs are 70 percent cooked, turn the heat off and let the rest cook residually. You want the eggs to flow, not clump together – this isn't an egg pancake. I like the ratio here of vegetables to eggs, but you can adjust it to your tastes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces bacon, thinly sliced (about 6 strips, or 1/2 cup julienned)
12 ounces cauliflower (about half of a large head), cut into small florets
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4), cut into small dices
4 ounces shallot (about 2 large), minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
10 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons minced chives, divided
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
6 slices thick rustic bread

  1. Heat two cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillets over medium heat: one for the scramble and the other for grilling the toast.

  2. Add the olive oil and bacon to the pan you'll use for the scramble. Cook the bacon until it starts to color but hasn't started to crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the bacon from the pan and reserve. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and warm it back up.

  3. Once the pan is warmed, add the cauliflower, potatoes, shallots, and salt and pepper to taste. The goal here is not just to cook these ingredients but to caramelize them. In order to do this, you need to maintain a good temperature: adjust the heat either up or down, depending on how the vegetables are cooking. You want them to develop a nice coppery color, but not burn. As their water evaporates, the vegetables may start to stick to the bottom. That's perfectly fine – just scrape them with a wooden spoon or spatula and add a little water as needed. When they are nearly done, which may take up to 15 minutes, return the bacon to the pan to finish cooking.

  4. Once the bacon has crisped, about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the eggs to the pan. Cook them with all the other ingredients until they are barely soft scrambled, about 6 minutes. Do not cook the eggs all the way through. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the crème fraîche and 1 tablespoon chives. Set the scramble aside for a moment to let the residual heat finish cooking the eggs.

  5. In the other pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl the pan to coat it with the butter. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the bread to the pan. If the butter isn't covering the entire surface of the slices, add a little more. Toast the bread in the pan until the bottom is golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the bread over and continue to toast for another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and set aside.

  6. Warm 6 plates. On each plate, place a piece of toast, buttered side up. Spoon the scramble on top of the bread, allowing it to overflow and fall down a little. Garnish the scramble with the remaining tablespoon of chives and serve.

More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle's Popular Neighborhood Bakery by Leslie Mackie

Around the holidays, the only thing better than a weekend family brunch at Macrina is slowing down and preparing some of the bakery's seasonal recipes in your home kitchen. Published a decade after Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook, chef and owner Leslie Mackie has culled additional recipes for some of her popular breads, sweets and light meals.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Makes 20 2-Inch Cookies

From Leslie Mackie: At Macrina, we include these buttery-rich shortbread cookies in our Christmas Cookie Box each year. This easy recipe comes in handy during the busy holiday season – simply roll the dough into a log, slice and bake as needed! The natural pale green color of the pistachios in the cookie points to holiday celebrations, but the flavors – subtle yet distinctive – will call you to make the recipe throughout the year.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup raw pistachios
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces
1⁄4 cup sugar, for garnish

  1. Pulse the flour, sugar, salt, pistachios and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes until the pistachios are finely ground. Scatter the butter pieces in the food processor and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour. At first the mixture will have a coarse, crumbly texture; then it will become a paste. Watch it carefully: food processors work very fast and can easily over-mix the dough. Stop pulsing when it just comes together.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long. (If the dough is too sticky, chilling it for 10 minutes will make it easier to work with. A bit of water on your hands also helps.) Place the log on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Tightly roll the wrap around the log and twist the ends to seal them securely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. At this point the dough can be cut into cookies or stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This dough also freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic for up to 3 weeks.

  3. Position 2 racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  4. Cut the chilled cookie dough into 1⁄2-inch-thick coins and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly brush the top of each cookie with water and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the top and bottom. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. For gift giving, stack the cookies, slip them into a clear cellophane bag, and tie with a ribbon.

Macrina's Panzanella

Makes 4 to 6 servings

From Leslie Mackie: Bread salad is a perfect way to show off delicious artisan bread left over from yesterday's dinner party. Our unique version of panzanella is made with rustic white bread tossed with sweet tomatoes, roasted seasonal fruit, fennel and arugula. A simple dressing of extra-virgin olive oil and garlic blends with the tomato and fruit juices to make a stunningly fresh-tasting salad. This panzanella often shows up on our cafe menu served warm with fried eggs for brunch, as a meze (small plate) with a galette slice and soup, or as a fabulous complement to crispy roast chicken.

1/2 loaf (about 12 ounces) day-old One-Day Artisan Loaf
8 Italian plums, figs or nectarines, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges (about 2 cups), or 2 cups huckleberries
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium fennel bulb
3 medium tomatoes
1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces (about 4 medium balls) fresh whole milk mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 cups arugula or other flavorful greens (preferably organic)

  1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Trim the crust from the artisan loaf. Cut enough bread into 1-inch cubes to measure 4 cups. Spread the cubes out on the first prepared baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice until the cubes feel dry on the surface. Set aside to cool.

  3. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

  4. In a medium bowl, toss the plums with 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil, then spread on the second prepared baking sheet. Bake the plums for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Set aside to cool.

  5. Halve the fennel bulb and remove the core by cutting an inverted V at the base. Laying the bulb flat side down, thinly slice the fennel into 1/4-inch pieces. Put the fennel in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil. Spread out on the third prepared baking sheet, season with salt, and roast for 15 minutes, or until the fennel is slightly golden brown on the edges. Set aside to cool.

  6. Core the tomatoes and coarsely chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. (You should have about 3 cups.) Put the tomatoes with all their juices in a large bowl – you'll make the dressing right in the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, salt and the remaining 3/4 cup olive oil. Using a large spoon, toss the ingredients well. Season to taste with pepper. Let the tomatoes macerate (soften and absorb the flavors) for 10 minutes.

  7. Five minutes before serving, add the bread cubes, plums, fennel and mozzarella to the bowl with the tomatoes. Toss gently to coat the bread cubes and combine all the ingredients. The bread cubes will absorb the dressing and become tender. When you are ready to serve the salad, toss in the arugula leaves just until they're coated with dressing.

  8. The panzanella is best enjoyed the day it's made. If you have a hunch you won't eat it all, prepare the recipe up to the point of macerating the tomatoes and hold back some of the ingredients (untossed) so you can have an encore the next day.

(c)2012 by Molly Moon Neitzel and Christina Spittler. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream: Sweet Seasonal Recipes for Ice Creams, Sorbets & Toppings Made with Local Ingredients by permission of Sasquatch Books. (c)2012 by Josh Henderson. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto by permission of Sasquatch Books. (c)2012 by Leslie Mackie with Lisa Gordanier. All rights reserved. Excerpted from More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle's Popular Neighborhood Bakery by permission of Sasquatch Books.

Editor's Note: This story was updated in November 2013.

The proud parent of a rowdy 2-year-old son and resident of the Lake City neighborhood, Sara Billups navigates the city’s family-friendly dining options and writes about her favorites for a handful of Seattle-based publications.