Christmas Salad

The centerpiece of this salad is a pear that has been poached in red wine, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange juice, orange zest, and muscovado sugar. It's Christmas in every bite!

Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry.

Christmas is just around the corner. And with the holiday season fast-approaching, I'll help you tackle your Noche Buena tasklist with ease and confidence. The key is to purchase ingredients with long shelf-life in advance (such as wine, cheese, herbs, spices, baking ingredients), followed by items you can easily freeze and refrigerate (and even marinate in advance!). Some ingredients are best purchased fresh, such as lettuce and some fruits.

These holiday recipes are pretty easy to make, even for first timers. Let's begin the holiday countdown shall we?

Week 1 - Christmas Salad

The holiday recipes will commence with a Christmas Salad. The centerpiece of this salad is a pear that has been poached in red wine, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange juice, orange zest, and muscovado sugar. It's Christmas in every bite!

In lieu of wine poached-pear, you can opt to use fragrant, buttery smooth Yamagata Pears or Anjou Pears.

Week 2 - Pollo Iberico

Elevate a simple roast chicken to greater heights by slow cooking it in a bed of garlic and Spanish olive oil. Make it richer and more fragrant by spreading a generous amount of lemon zest-lemongrass-leek compound butter underneath the skin and inside the cavities.

Week 3 - Crown Roast

This stunning, showstopper-of-a-centerpiece is deviously easy to make. The trick to making it juicy and succulent is dry brining it in salt overnight. Want it to taste like Christmas ham? Drizzle with bourbon pineapple glaze.

Week 4 - Apple Pecan Stuffing

This is the perfect crown roast stuffing, but I prefer baking it separately in order to crisp up bits of bread evenly. This dish is tangy, sweet, and savory, and it wonderfully complements the clean flavor of lean pork.

Poached Pear, Orange, Cranberry, Blue Cheese, and Kale Salad with Apricot Dressing

Ingredients:

Poached Pear:

1 pear, peeled
2 cups wine
1/4 cup muscovado sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove
1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced thinly

Walnut Brittle:

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts

Apricot Vinaigrette:

4 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp Grey Poupon dijon mustard
3 tbsp Costa d'Oro balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp Costa d'Oro extra virgin olive oil

Greens:

1 bag Salad Time kale
1 bag Salad Time rocket or baby arugula

Toppings:

Sliced oranges
Dried cranberries
Blue cheese

Procedure:

1.    Boil wine and dissolve muscovado sugar. Add orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon stick, clove, ginger. Gently poach pear until red wine reduces into a thick glaze.
2.    Lay walnuts on top of parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Melt 1/2 cup sugar on stainless steel pot. When sugar has melted and has begun to bubble, mix with heatproof spatula. Pour melted sugar on walnuts. Once walnut brittle hardens, break into bite-sized pieces.
3.    In a blender, mix apricot jam, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
4.    Toss kale and arugula in apricot vinaigrette. Top with poached pear, walnut brittle, sliced oranges, dried cranberries, and blue cheese.
5.    Serve!


Tags: salad, Christmas
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