Holiday Fruit Salad
The pomegranate is a perfect holiday food. It is available in the fall and is bright and cheery, similar to holly berries, only these you can eat! According to a book entitled, Apples and Pomegranates by Rachel Musleah, the pomegranate is mentioned in the Bible, in art, and in literature as a symbol of beauty and fertility because of the large scarlet flowers, the glossy greens leaves, its round red fruit, and its numerous seeds.
Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl or plate
Prep. Time: 20 minutes – 1/2 hour*
Cooking Time: none
* You can now buy pomegranate seeds in a container in the cooler section, which cuts down prep time by half.
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
2-3 red-skinned organic apples
2 Organic green kiwi (also comes in yellow)
Optional toppings: yogurt, dried (unsweetened) coconut, walnuts, honey
1. Wash all the fruit well, even if you are peeling it and it is organic.
2. Place pomegranate seeds in a bowl. (Remove all the membrane when you peel it.)
3. Peel and cut kiwi into small pieces and add to bowl.
4. Cut apples in half, remove core and seeds, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with some lemon juice to avoid discoloration. Add to bowl.
5. Toss all the fruit and place back in the bowl or on a plate. Add topping of your choice, or serve as is. Colorful, crunchy, and delicious! Serves 3-4.
Note: Instead of pomegranates, you feel free to use cranberries, which are perfect for the holidays, as well. It may make the dish too tart, so drizzle on some honey or maple syrup.
Olives, Cheese, & Tomato Appetizer
This is a super-easy hors d’oeuvres before your holiday dinner meals. Feel free to use longer toothpicks and add another set of the 3 ingredients.
Utensils: Toothpicks (with colored tops if possible), cutting board, knife, serving plate
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None
green olives (with pimentos, optional)
cheese of choice (I actually used mozzarella cheese sticks)
cherry or grape tomatoes
lettuce for garnish
1. Using equal amounts of each food, place one cherry or grape tomato, one chunk of cheese, and one olive on each fancy toothpick.
2. Place lettuce (or sprouts) on the serving plate and place the filled toothpicks around the plate.
3. Scoop a small amount of your favorite mustard on the top part of the plate (or on the side if you don’t have a chip ‘n dip plate.)
Serve at room temperature.
Note: For a little zing in your mustard, add a small amount of horseradish. Make two or three filled toothpicks per person.
Holiday Tossed Salad
This is a simple salad that uses very few organic veggies, but is in keeping with the red, white & green of the holiday season.
Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl, serving dish
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None
(organic whenever possible)
10 -12 cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 or 1/3.
1-2 stalks of Celery or one piece of fennel, washed & cut into small pieces
one cucumber, washed, partially peeled* and cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise if needed
balsamic vinegar or dressing of choice +
organic salad sprouts (optional)
* You can peel the entire cucumber or use the peeler to peel away strips, so the cucumber looks striped.
1. Cut cucumber into bite-sized pieces, which may require thirds or quarters, depending on its diameter. Place in a bowl.
2. Cut tomatoes in half and add to bowl; likewise with celery or fennel.
3. Toss all the veggies with your dressing. Place on an attractive serving plate and garnish with sprouts.
4. Serve soon after the salad is tossed. If not using right away, refrigerate without dressing and toss with dressing right before serving.
Serves 3 or 4.
Since I am using fennel elsewhere this month, I decided to use the feathery leaves for a dressing, but you can use the dressing of your choice. You can also use it on the veggies in the recipe below.
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 organic lemon
fennel leaves (more or less to your taste)
1 T. fennel seeds
salt & pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in blender ’til smooth. Pour into a small pitcher and add fennel seeds.
Savory Roasted Veggies
Roasted vegetables are everywhere. I recently went to an Italian restaurant that served roasted veggies over shells. This roasted veggie dish emphasizes the red, green, and white of the holidays, with yellow for the color of the late fall leaves. One of my college classmates sent me her favorite roasted veggie dish, which prompted this recipe with my choice of veggies.
Utensils: Cutting board,knife, baking sheet
Prep. Time: 20 minutes- 1/2 hour, depending on the vegetables used
Cooking Time: About 30 minutes, depending on how well done you like the vegetables
Note: Preheat oven to 400 degrees while cutting the veggies
Organic whenever possible
one-two zucchini, scrubbed & cut into bite-sized chunks
one-two yellow summer squash, scrubbed & cut into bite-sized chunks
one stalk of fennel, washed & cut into pieces about 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches (no need to be exact!)
one red bell pepper, seeds and white veins removed, cut into slivers
3-4 cauliflower florets, sliced thinly
2-3 Tbl. olive oil
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (I used dill, thyme, parsley, basil) (1/2 this amount if dried)
1. Cut all the veggies as described. Place in a large bowl and toss with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and herbs.
2. Place veggies on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, tossing once; then switch to broil for 3 or 4 minutes until desired crispness, tossing once. Sprinkle on a little more olive oil or fennel dressing right before serving.
3. Serve over rice or pasta or just as they are—colorful and crisp!
Note: If you want to use new potatoes or fingerlings, precook for 5 minutes while cutting up other veggies. If you want to use asparagus, trim and cut into thirds, adding after veggies have baked 5-7 minutes.
Apples and pears are popular fall fruits. Unfortunately, when pears become too ripe, they turn very soft, quite quickly. When my kids were little and they wouldn’t eat the “mushy” pears, I used to make them pearple sauce, a combination of pears and apples. This is delicious over holiday pancakes, over gingerbread, or just by itself.
Utensils: Cutting board, knife, pot for cooking fruit, bowl for serving.
Prep. Time: About 20 minutes
Cooking Time: About 20 minutes
3-4 organic pears, peeled & pitted, then slice
2-3 organic apples, peeled & pitted, then slice
cinnamon to taste
water or apple juice
(Note: If you want to add a raisin topping to your sauce, as in the picture, soak the organic raisins in hot water while the apples and pears are cooking.)
1. Place washed, cored and peeled apples and pears in a large pot with a very small amount of water or apple juice. Cook over medium flame for about 15 minutes, or until fruit is very soft. Add cinnamon to taste.
2. Allow to cool before placing in a serving bowl.
3. Drain raisins and place on top of pearple sauce. Serves 4-6 or more, if using only as a topping.
Cooking Tip:The cooking will go quicker if the slices are thin. Also, you can start cooking the apples and pears as you cut them. Just place slices in pot and keep adding the fruit and cook until desired texture. I like mine a little chunky. In addition, you can simmer the skins in water or juice, drain, refrigerate, and use the “juice” when baking desserts, or just drink it at breakfast instead of commercial juice.