, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Each year, I like to make B a celebratory holiday meal, our equivalent of the Christmas dinner, a few days before the actual holiday since we visit family out of state. In the past, I’ve made lasagna (a family tradition from my childhood), ham, and turkey. This year, we decided to invite friends to join us. We gave them the menu in advance and they provided a wine pairing for each course. I picked this selection of main dish and dessert recipes because I could make the tiramisú ahead of time (I made it that morning), and the beef stew simmered until we were ready to eat. So, I was free to mingle with our guests. I even prepped–cut, chopped, etc.–every ingredient of the stew in the morning after I finished the tiramisú, so when it was time to assemble, it was a breeze. Here’s our menu.

Charcuterie plate with various cheeses and assorted marinated olives (assembled with items from Whole Foods Market)
Wine pairing: Riondo Spago Nero Prosesso

Main Dish
Italian Beef Stew served over Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Wine pairing: Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Diamond Collection Claret (one of B’s favs) and another red that we forgot to note

Double Coffee-Cream Cheese Tiramisú
Wine pairing: Le Dauphin de Guiraud 2004 Sauternes

I also made homemade rolls, but had some trouble with the recipe. I’ll find a better one soon to share 🙂 We originally posted the recipe for the Italian Beef Stew here, but this time we prepared it without the potatoes (so that we could serve it over the mashed version). Below are the recipes for the mashed potatoes and the tiramisú.

photo courtesy MyRecipes.com

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Courtesy Southern Living magazine 2009


  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper


  1. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Bring potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, and cold water to cover to a boil in a medium-size Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 16 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender; drain.
  2. Return potatoes to Dutch oven. Cook until water evaporates and potatoes look dry. Mound potatoes on 1 side; add butter, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt to opposite side of Dutch oven. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture boils.
  3. Remove from heat; beat at medium speed with a hand-held electric mixer 30 seconds to 1 minute or to desired degree of smoothness. (Do not overbeat.) Serve immediately.

photo courtesy MyRecipes.com

Double Coffee-Cream Cheese Tiramisú

Courtesy Southern Living magazine 2007


  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur
  • 2 (3-oz.) packages ladyfingers (soft ladyfingers, not hard; found in the bakery department)
  • 1/2 cup grated semisweet or dark chocolate


  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Beat whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture. (Mine was slightly lumpy, but we ended up loving the bits of sweetened cream cheese you get with each bite. I don’t see how you could incorporate it fully without whisking it and deflating your whipping cream.)
  3. Stir together 1/2 cup hot water and coffee granules until dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup liqueur.
  4. Arrange ladyfingers evenly around sides of 8 (6-oz.) coffee cups or ramekins. (I also shoved two in the bottom. We used our fine-china cups for a beautiful presentation!) Drizzle ladyfingers with coffee mixture. (I used a tablespoon measuring spoon to do this.) Spoon or pipe cream cheese mixture into center of ramekins. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Cover and chill 2 hours.
  • To serve the tiramisù in a single dish, prepare recipe as directed through Step 3. Arrange half of ladyfingers in bottom and up sides of a 2-qt. serving bowl. Drizzle evenly with half of coffee mixture. Top with half of cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers once. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Cover and chill 2 hours.