One week away….the Holidays officially start with loads of heavy, delicious foods…mains and sides (my favorite part of the meals), desserts…put on repeat. A month of meals.
Consider this little jewel of a salad to be a segue, an interlude, maybe a palate cleanser, definitely a colorful, shiny seasonal edible. It has crunch, color and citrus, freshness and a healthy-feel goodness.
There is no “real” recipe and you can improvise if need be. But here is how I made this.
Chilled shredded Radicchio in the bottom of the bowl topped with Cara Cara oranges, cubes Jicama and Pomegranate Ariels lightly drizzled with a simple vinaigrette.
You could have this for lunch one day between those heavier Holiday meals. Or, just slip it in the mix and build it in a large salad bowl served along with those yummy sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts?
However you spend your Holidays this year…with or without a mask, in a large or small gathering, with family and friends, or just by yourself relaxing and Netflix bingeing, be kind, share and be well.
Soups are year round at our table, but particular soups start showing up around November when there are no fresh vegetables to be had at the farmer’s markets but plenty of fall and winter squash, fat carrots and papery onions. This trifecta had been languishing in my kitchen for over a week waiting for inspiration which manifested itself in this simple, but elegant and easy-to-make creamy soup. Healthy ingredients oven roasted, unsweetened coconut milk instead of cream, and spicy with the addition of Berbere seasoning and dried French thyme makes for one great winter soup.
Carrots, squash and onions drizzled with olive oil and generously seasoned with black pepper….
…oven roasted for 15 minutes and then pureed with other ingredients….
… becomes a lovely pot of soup. Add a few interesting, textural toppings and enjoy.
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (5-6 cups)
1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
2 cups low fat or no fat chicken broth + 2 cup water
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon Berbere seasoning
1 teaspoon French or other dried thyme
Garnish: shredded coconut, roasted and salted pipits, pomegranate seeds (optional)
Suggested: serve with a baguette cut into slices, top with gruyere cheese and toasted
Turn oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread carrot, squash and onion chunks out and drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until carrots are softened.
Scrape roasted vegetables into a soup pot and add the 2 cups chicken broth and water. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat and let cool a few 10 minutes.
Working in batches, puree ingredients in a blender or food processor and add back to the pot over medium low heat.
Stir in coconut milk. Add Bebere seasoning and dried French thyme. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking adding more salt and pepper if desired.
Serve hot topped with garnishes if you prefer with gruyere toast alongside.
You still have time…plenty of time to make this cranberry and pomegranate cordial for gift giving. Ten days and you will be ready to bottle the best gift ever for all your amateur or professional bartender friends. This one can be drunk as is or used to shake-up some very special seasonal cocktails. A sip or two will also make you feel more “cordial”during the often stressful days of December.
One cup of pomegranate seeds (arils) and 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries…..
…one liter or good vodka, a simple syrup and the peel of one orange are all you will need.
For 10 days this jar stayed in my pantry with a shake once a day and it was ready to decant and gift. Very yummy, very easy, very pretty.
Clear seasonal color to sip!
I really like to “bottle” as you might have realized from previous blogs. I also like to make libations to bottle. Here are some previous posts that will give you information on how to make Limoncello, Blood-Orangecello, Buddhacello (using the exotic citrus Buddha Hand), or my Pear Infused Vodka among others.
12 ounces of fresh or frozen(thawed) whole cranberries
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Orange rind strips from one orange
1 liter of good vodka
To make the simple syrup bring the sugar & water to a low boil over medium high heat. Stir & turn to low to simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove simple syrup from heat to cool completely.
Put cranberries in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
Mix together in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid the cooled simple syrup, 1 liter of vodka, chopped cranberries, pomegranate seeds & orange rind strips. Store in a cool, dark closet or cabinet, shaking daily, for about 10 days.
Strain liquid mixture through a fine sieve & pour cordial into small bottles to give as gifts. Close bottles tightly with metal caps or corks.
To enjoy: Drink chilled or at room temp as an aperitif….or pour into a glass of ice and top with seltzer or Cava for a refreshing cocktail garnished with a slice or orange.
(This recipe is adapted from a Cranberry Cordial recipe by Melissa Clark published in the New York Times.)