The holidays can be intimidating for an individual who has no shortage of alcohol but is lacking in culinary skill. The key is to keep things simple. Here are four verrrry basic recipes that can still fit the "holiday fare" bill and, more importantly, can be easily put together even while you're slurring.
If you're having A Very Italian Christmas is it likely that the wine will be flowing and the courses will be endless, and it's a no brainer that fish will be on the menu. It might be best to avoid an open flame when tipsy, otherwise I'd suggest sautéed mussels or clams. So to avoid burning your breasts a la Doubtfire, roast a fish whole in aluminum foil. DO NOT get frozen fish filets. Before you start drinking — as far as two days in advance (tops) — go to the butcher and ask him to descale and gut your fish (I suggest snapper). Keep it on ice in your fridge. Once the time has come and you've had that second cocktail, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put the fish on a piece of foil that's big enough to eventually wrap around the entire fish. Cut slots on the fish and be generous with olive oil and salt. Inside the fish, go crazy stuffing in some herbs — thyme, rosemary, bay leaves. Get sloppy. You're sloppy. Add garlic and lemon slices. Drizzle with white wine; drink the rest. Roast for 30 minutes. Now wrap your fish fully in the foil — it's like a fun little fish packet! Yeah! Put on a timer as not to burn the house down. Don't forget oven mitts when you take it out.
I hate traditional pineapple laden, Maraschino cherry-studded ham. All you taste is sugar, the texture of the meat is slimy (!?) and its just boring. Pork belly, however is essentially bacon, and I don't know what tastes better after four drinks than a whole bunch of bacon. This recipe is also good for when you're drunk because, like the fish, it's essentially slapping together a bunch of ingredients and throwing them in the oven. Before you start drinking, marinate your pork in a bunch of orange juice, rice wine vinegar, soy, garlic, ginger, and green onion. The mixture should be just enough to slather all over your meat. Let it sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Now you can start drinking. Spray a roasting pan with PAM or olive oil and cook the pork belly (with the marinade) at 375 for 15 minutes (break out the timer again!) and bring the temperature down to 350 for 25-30 minutes (reset the timer!). This results in a caramelized crust. I would say serve with some fresh slaw, but you and a knife scare me right now. If you want, tear off some lettuce leaves and ta-da! Lettuce cups.
If the above two recipes seem too labor intensive to you, I present to you the Crock Pot. Everyone has one in a cabinet somewhere and your mom definitely has one. The best part of this recipe is you can go run around the house being tipsy while the sauce cooks; no babysitting necessary (unless you yourself are a mess). Set the slow cooker to medium and dump in a bag of cranberries, a mug full of water, a cinnamon stick, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and, the best part, Grand Marnier. Do a couple capfuls. Don't go crazy. But don't be stingy. Stay true to yourself. Let everything cook. It will take hours; three, maybe four, who's counting? Receive praise.
I plan on using this recipe for New Years Eve, but there's no reason not to bust it out on Christmas. This recipe requires a teensy bit of measuring and patience, so get started while you're still slowly sipping that first drink of the night. Boil water in a kettle cooker or your microwave. Add half a cup to 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin. Mix and let it cool. Once cooled, add 2 1/2 cups of champagne (or champagne and cranberry juice) and mix; if your unflavored gelatin is colorless, this is a good time to add red or green food coloring if you so desire. Refrigerate according to the gelatin box instructions. Use fun molds and decorate with edible glitter, Pop Rocks, sugar. Find your vision and make it happen on those shots. Get crunk.
Eva Morreale is a food nerd and college student stuck in New Jersey. She's drunk. You can find her on Twitter at @literallE.
Images via Shutterstock.