Living Entertaining:

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

Photography by Stephanie Stanley | In Partnership with Crate and Barrel

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

“Food is the common denominator that brings people together.” – James Beard

This is one of the swooniest sentiments I know. I wholeheartedly believe that food is our greatest unifier–– something we can all relate to no matter our backgrounds, passions, or palates. The act of breaking bread draws us together, igniting our senses, and creating moments we can hold in our hearts always. When we chop side by side, when we gather to share a meal, something truly magical transpires. Boom, there we are, more present than ever.

I believe this is the true gift of the holiday season. It pauses the chaos of the outside world. No one to respond to, no deadline to meet, no pressure to deliver. It is simply a time to slow down and focus on what matters most: the people we love, our most intimate family. 

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

And here’s the thing–– no one can take that away from us! Most certainly not a virus. We must stay safe and follow guidelines, but we also must remember that we still get to choose how we want to celebrate this holiday. I have always believed that restrictions force us to be creative. So let’s find new ways to connect, laugh, and be together even when we are apart. Gosh, I love a challenge! It really gets me amped up to think outside the box. How can we take age old traditions and reimagine them? Well, Crate and Barrel and I have a few ideas. 

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

To start, I am sharing one of my tried and true holiday recipes: a beet and ricotta ravioli. I usually prepare it in an assembly line with my whole family, but this year I have altered the recipe with a clever hack that allows me and my loved ones to each make the recipe over zoom. In lieu of the laborious act of making pasta by hand, I’m using delicate pre-cut wonton wrappers–– making this Calderone Christmas favorite a foolproof cooking activity we can all share together (yet apart) over zoom!  

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

This year might look a little different, but we can still do all the things that make the holidays the best time of the year–– cooking together, boozing together, indulging together, foraging together, and singing together! 

I have outlined five crafty ways to gather and have fun with your family and friends this holiday season… even when they’re far away.

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
  1. Food has the heart-opening power to connect us, even when we are far apart. Choose one of your family’s favorite dishes and send the recipe to everyone who would normally be seated at your table. Keep it simple and make sure that everyone has all the ingredients and tools they need before you start. Pick a time for everyone to come together over zoom and cook. 
  2. Music is not only an uplifting experience but it is also a unifying one. Create a Spotify or Apple playlist and send the link to your family. Or, make it a collaborative playlist so everyone can add a song! This is a great way to share that holiday feeling with your loved ones. 
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

“let’s find new ways to connect, laugh, and be together even when we are apart.”

3. Foraging for decor is one of my favorite ways to create a table setting. I am certainly known to walk outside, clippers in hand, to snip a little bit of nature for my holiday decor. Have a forage-off with friends! Tell everyone to head outdoors and clip their favorite “something” (a leaf, a pine branch, a dried pod, an herb). Use whatever you can find in the home (twine, old ribbon, oranges, pomegranates) and get crafty with what you discovered both in nature and indoors. No need to go to the store, this tip is about working with what you got!

4. Make a cookie, share a cookie. Bake your favorite holiday cookie and send a small batch in a cute holiday tin to someone in your family. If everyone in your circle participates, then you have a cookie trade! Everyone will end up with at least two different holiday cookies–– the one they made, and the one that was sent to them!

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

5. What would the holidays be without friends, (and a little booze)? Plan after dinner cocktails with a group of your pals over facetime. Unwind, gab, and get a little festive with your nearest and dearest. A nightcap is a great way to unwind.

A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel
A Zoom Holiday with Crate & Barrel

Beet and Ricotta Ravioli

Athena Calderone

Ingredients

Serves 6-8 

 

Ingredients

For the filling:

2 large beets, washed

2 eggs, lightly beaten 

1/3 cup fresh whole milk ricotta

8 oz melted unsalted butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1 package wonton wrappers 

Method

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil; place on baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Open foil carefully and allow beets to cool. Pinch the beets to remove the skin. 

Using a food processor, pulse the beets until they are finely chopped but not pureed. Stir in eggs, ricotta, and 1/4 cup of the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper. Filling can be prepared one day in advance.

Dollop a teaspoon of the beet mixture into the center of the wonton wrapper.  Using your finger dampen the edges of the bottom wrapper with water.  Place another wrapper on top, remove all air pockets, and press to seal. Using a ravioli stamp press hard on the ravioli and remove excess dough. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle heavily with flour. Place completed ravioli on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Cook in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Gently transfer cooked pasta onto a serving dish. Drizzle melted butter, grated cheese, and poppy seeds over the pasta and serve immediately.

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