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Champagne Punch

January 2008

Eye-opening notes of lemon, lime, and grapefruit keep this festive punch from heading into ultra-sweet territory—and fresh mint seconds the motion. "Once the Champagne has been added," says Scott Peacock, "serve the drinks as soon as possible to experience the maximum tickle of bubbles."

Pimento Cheese Toasts

January 2008

In its usual form, pimento cheese is a blend of mayonnaise, sharp Cheddar cheese, and pimentos that induces nostalgia. Here, made with roasted peppers and spread on tiny toasts, then broiled to transform it into hot melted heaven, it dresses up for a party with a nod and a wink.

Ambrosia

January 2008

This juicy, fresh-fruit version evokes those described in 19th-century southern cookbooks. Flakes of fresh coconut provide a nice chew, and a little Sherry gives it sophistication and complexity. Ambrosia is often served as part of the transition to dessert, but at a generous meal like this one it fits in well earlier on, providing a bright, refreshing contrast to the main course.

Braised-Pork Hash

January 2008

This braised pork, absolutely falling apart from its lengthy cooking, would be a hit at any time of day. "Spoon it over creamy stone-ground grits or a hot, split spoon-bread muffin," Peacock suggests.
"Grits love salt," says Peacock, and his creamy-white, almost milky grits, with yellow and black flecks of coarsely ground corn, demonstrate that it's not saltiness he's after, just perfectly balanced seasoning. Grits usually function as an accompaniment, like polenta or rice, but it's certainly easy to imagine eating a bowl of these on their own, with no more than a pat of butter.
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