Nathalie Dupree is an acclaimed writer, television host and co-author of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking as well as 10 other cookbooks on food and entertaining in the American South.
“Because oranges, particularly Florida oranges, don’t really ripen until December, my parents would always get a bunch of them shipped up to our house as a Christmas gift. We’d juice them for breakfast and cook with them, and Christmas morning there was always one in the toe of my stocking, along with fresh pecans in the shell. I love the sweetness of a classic ambrosia salad — it’s like a predessert dessert — but the combination of shaved fennel and citrus also makes a fabulous winter salad. There are still always oranges on my holiday table.”
Serve it with: “Cheese straws are a Southern hostess’s staple — almost every gathering includes them. They’re so simple to make and they keep well, especially if you freeze them — that’s why it pays to make a big enough batch that you have a bunch leftover when the need strikes. They make the house smell so good when they’re cooking — and they’re a wonderful gift too. “
Pro tip: “I love all holiday cookies but my favorite might be Moravian ginger snaps. My secret for getting the dough ultra thin — 1/16th to 1/32nd of an inch! — is to roll it using a pasta machine. Served with a scoop of mascarpone cheese, they’re heaven.”