Monday, December 1, 2008

holidays underway

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was a fantastic weekend long celebration made all the more special by my little sister's visit from New York and all the laughs she brought along with her.

Now that Thanksgiving has kicked off the holiday season, I wanted to share a couple of easy and festive recipes for the coming weeks.

Cranberry Salad with Pomegranate & Mint

this is a twist on a family favorite of my dear friend, Jennifer's cranberry salad. I just added a few ingredients to her already incredibly delicious dish.

salad:

-3 oz box of raspberry jell-o

-20 oz can crushed pineapple

-16 oz can whole berry cranberries

-11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained

-about 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (some reserved as garnish)

-1/2 cup chopped pecans

- 4-6 sprigs of fresh mint (some reserved as garnish)

sauce:

-1/4 cup sour cream

-1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (or whipped cream cheese)

-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

-2 Tbsp. sugar

- 1 tsp. vanilla

1) drain crushed pineapple and reserve the juice

2) pour pineapple juice into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil

3)reduce heat to low, stir in jell-o until dissolved, then mix in cranberry sauce, stirring until an even consistency is reached

4)remove from heat and stir in the mandarin oranges, pineapple, pomegranate seeds, mint leaves, and pecans

5) pour into a greased bowl or jello mold and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight

6) when the salad has congealed, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside

7)remove the salad from the bowl/mold (setting the salad bowl/mold right-side up in a bowl of warm water for a minute or so helps to loosen the salad if it doesn't slide out easily on its own)

8) top salad with sauce mixture, garnish with extra pomegranate and mint leaves, and serve it up

Camembert with a kick

I made a version of this a few weeks ago for my friend Ruth's bridal shower and it was a hit. Since then, I've added a few things to jazz it up. It's incredibly easy and takes maybe 5 minutes to prepare. Its a great mix of flavors.

-a round of Camembert cheese (but I think almost any soft-textured, slightly mild flavored cheese would work. Brie or goat cheese would be great variations)

- 2 Tbsp-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (adjust the amount to your liking. I like mine with more tang, so I use the full 1/4 cup)

-2 Tbsp. honey

-1 Tbsp. chopped green onions (scallions)

-1 tsp. raspberry jam

-2 Tbsp. sliced almonds

-1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1) mix all ingredients except the cheese together

2) pour mixture over the cheese and serve with crackers or thin slices of a french baguette

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