Little Luxuries

These fast recipes feel extra special, without a lot of effort.

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By Emily Weinstein

Luxury comes in many forms, especially over the holidays. In the realm of food, luxury can be something small and precious, like a jar of jewel-toned jam; or something meticulously handmade over many hours, like tamales or stuffed grape leaves; or something dramatic, like baked alaska, or sumptuous and long-cooking, like pernil, or rich and creamy, like coquito. Maybe it's a splashy splurge, like prime rib or beef tenderloin, heaven with a dollop of horseradish sauce. The pairing of caviar and potato chips is just about perfect.

But for busy people, free time is one of the ultimate luxuries. Maybe you don’t want to spend it all in the kitchen over the holidays, no matter how much you love to cook. So I’ve picked five recipes for you that are relatively fast to make and fancy enough to serve to guests or loved ones.

We have so many more holiday recipes on New York Times Cooking, including root beer ham for Christmas, sweet potato buttermilk rolls for Kwanzaa and classic latkes for Hanukkah. Imagine the crunchy Christmas-morning bliss of this giant almond croissant. And then there’s Santa, who requires an offering of cookies. My kid insists that Santa prefers chocolate chip cookies. I think Santa may be more of a brownie person? He’d definitely love these brown-butter Rice Krispie treats — the best I’ve ever tasted. Black-and-white cookies would be an ideal Hanukkah-Christmas crossover treat.

If you’re still in need of holiday recipe ideas, reach out to me at [email protected] I’ll respond as I can, and I have lots of recommendations that didn’t turn up in this week’s newsletter. And if you’re still in need of present ideas, then please consider a gift subscription to New York Times Cooking, which supports the work we do. Happy holidays and joy to all! I hope you eat something delicious.

1. Roasted Salmon With Miso Cream

Genevieve Ko’s new recipe has a special-occasion feel but demands no extra effort. It’s the single large salmon fillet that does it, a statement piece that is simple to work with and so very delicious blanketed with miso and crème fraîche.

View this recipe.

2. Roast Chicken With Maple Butter and Rosemary

A whole roast chicken is a straightforward crowd-pleaser. Colu Henry elevates it with three simple ingredients: maple syrup, rosemary and butter. Roasted carrots, sweet potatoes or squash on the side would work well.

View this recipe.

3. One-Pot Vegetable Biryani

Biryani takes countless forms, including this vegetarian one from Zainab Shah, with its bold colors and flavors. I’d add extra chopped herbs as a garnish, along with the pomegranate seeds — the festive touch that makes this a centerpiece dish.

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4. Porchetta Pork Chops

If you’ve had your eye on Melissa Clark’s magnificent porchetta pork roast, but don’t have it in you to make it (or enough dinner guests to justify doing so), you’re in luck: She also did this version with pork chops, which can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

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5. Carrot Tart With Ricotta and Feta

Sue Li created this stunner, which is made with puff pastry for overall ease. It’s great for dinner with a green salad, and can easily be varied with different root vegetables. Cooked beets could be beautiful.

View this recipe.

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