It seems every December is the same...busy, busy, busy. While I love the Holidays and all the preparing that accompanies this most hectic season, I also enjoy a little down time with friends & family. To me, there's nothing better than a casual evening at home, cooking for the ones I treasure most. Can you think of a better gift this time of year? I can't.
Because there are so many wonderful parties with great Holiday fare, I tend to avoid those types of dishes when I'm entertaining at home. Instead, I turn to comfort food. There's something about comfort food around the Holidays that puts a smile on people's faces. I also like lots of color, as it's much more enticing and such a feast for the eyes. Take, for instance, this easy-to-make 5-ingredient appetizer. Confetti Carrot Crostini with Brie & Mascarpone not only is beautiful, but it also is a great appetizer or starter to serve during the Holidays. I typically buy different colored carrots, available at Trader Joe's, & spiralize them. I then blend brie & mascarpone, slather this dreamy mixture on baguette slices, then sprinkle on carrots & minced parsley. In minutes, this pretty & delicious appetizer is ready to be served!
Speaking of color, don't you just love this salad? Sautéed Fig & Persimmon Salad with Bacon, Pomegranate & Dried Cherries is festive, full of great flavors & textures, & truly is a feast for the eyes. I first sauté figs & Asian persimmon in butter, then use the butter in a rich, slightly spicy vinaigrette using Mike's Hot Honey. The salad greens are tossed in the vinaigrette, & the fruits are arranged along with crispy bacon pieces. This salad is warm & comforting...truly a salad worth serving during the Holidays!
Pasta may be my very favorite comfort food, especially ravioli. In this main course, I serve pumpkin ravioli with crispy pancetta, browned chicken apple sausage, hazelnuts, shallots, dried cranberries & sage, all simmered in a hard apple cider reduction. This dish is cold-weather perfection. All the ingredients meld beautifully & impart a delicious flavor to the cider. I use Foggy Ridge First Fruit, as that is my favorite cider. I even serve glasses of cold cider with the pasta. It's so good!
Do you like chocolate pecan pie? What do you think, rather than messing with the task of making pie dough, instead making shortbread, then topping all that buttery goodness with toasted pecans in dark chocolate chips in a caramel filling? This is all baked together, then cut into squares & served. I really think the shortbread is even more delicious with the pecans & chocolate in comparison to pie crust. I think you'll agree.
I truly hope you enjoy this Holiday season! Try to take some time for yourself & the ones you love. Share a great meal together...after all, this is the Season of Giving! Cheers!