The (Healthy) Holiday Menu
Mulled Cider or Red Wine
This smooth and yummy beverage is perfect to serve in the autumn and straight through the holidays for a Christmas brunch or a cold winter evening by the fire. You can use either wine or apple cider. It depends on what you feel is appropriate for the occasion and your guests.
3 1⁄2 cups apple cider or 1 bottle red wine
1 cup purified water
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1⁄2 lemon, cut into slices
12 whole cloves
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain and serve in cups or heat-resistant clear glasses. Roasted Pepper Turkey with Orange Liqueur
I make this for a holiday dinner or when I’m planning to have a large group of friend and family over.
The outside of the turkey is encrusted with a baked-on pepper rub. Inside, the meat is juicy and tender. This is great served with the Serrano Chili and Cilantro Cornbread Muffins (page 253), a side of Pear Relish (page 252) or Fresh Applesauce (page 249), and/or Steamed and Roasted Baby Red Potatoes (page 242).
one 10-12 pound turkey
1⁄2 cup white whine
1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Seasoning, 5 cloves garlic; 2 small onions, sliced; 2 carrots, cut in rounds; 1 bay leaf; 2 orange slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the neck and other organs from the turkey cavity and reserve to make stock at a later time. Rinse the turkey in the sink and let the water gush inside the cavity.
Mix all ingredients for the rub together with the Grand Marnier. Spread it over the outside of the turkey, reserving 1 tablespoon. Spoon the 1 tablespoon into the cavity of the turkey. Stuff the cavity with all of the seasoning ingredients.
Set the turkey in a roasting pan and pour in the wine. Cover the turkey with foil and roast. After 2 hours, uncover turkey and baste with the cooking juices. Continue to baste turkey with the juices every 20 minutes for the next 1 1⁄2 hours, until it is done. Total roasting time should be 3 1⁄2 hours.
Let the turkey cool for at least 15 minutes before carving. Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips
Mashed potatoes make a hearty honest dish. It has sometimes been referred to as comfort food because it evokes memories of both big special-occasion dinners and the simple, family dinner intended for no other reason than to share a good meal. This version of mashed potatoes tastes good because it’s dense with the mildly sweet flavor of parsnips and just enough butter to please, but without the extra calories you usually find in mashed potatoes.
8 medium red or white new potatoes, washed and cubed.
4 parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Dash cayenne pepper
Several grindings of black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Put the potatoes and parsnips in a large pot with water, making sure that the water completely covers them. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon. Test the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork; they should pierce easily and be tender, yet firm. Drain any remaining liquid and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until there are no visible lumps. Add the milk and butter and continue to mash until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the parsley, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt, and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all the seasonings are completely mixed in. Cover and serve warm. Brussels Sprouts for People who Think They Hate Brussels Sprouts
I understand why Brussels spurts top the list of detested vegetable s for many people. When they are large, old, or overcooked, they tend to have an obnoxious, barnyardy flavor that some people are sensitive to whereas others are not. You can minimize this by choosing smaller, fresh-looking sprouts and cooking them just until they are crunchy-tender and bright colored. (Do not use frozen sprouts.) The secret of this dish is balancing ingredients to mellow the strong flavor of these miniature cabbages. Olive oil, garlic, red pepper, Parmesan, and, especially, nutmeg do the trick admirably.
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1⁄4 - 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste, preferably freshly grated
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and remove and discard any discolored outer leaves. If sprouts are large (more than 1 inch in diameter), cut them in quarters lengthwise through the stem end. If smaller, cut them in half.
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil, add salt and the sprouts. Boil the sprouts uncovered until they are just crunchy-tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook them. Drain the sprouts well.
Wipe and dry the pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sprouts and nutmeg and sauté for another minute. Mix in the Parmesan cheese and toss the sprouts until the cheese melts. Pear Relish
This tastes wonderful on meat or poultry. It is similar to fruit chutney and it will change the way your meal tastes. My guests love this relish. I serve it on the side with the Roasted Pepper Turkey with Orange Liqueur (page 168).
1 whole pear
1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow bell pepper.
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper.
2 cups cranberry or apple juice.
2 sprigs mint, chopped
Half the pear and scoop out the seeds using a melon scooper or a teaspoon. Peel the skin off with a pairing knife, then chop into bite-size pieces.
Put the pear, onion, peppers, and cranberry or apple juice into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until the onions and peppers become limp and the pear becomes soft.
Remove from the heat, add the mint, and drizzle over your favorite poultry dish. Apple-Cranberry Crisp
Cranberries give this crisp a delightful color and tartness. A moderate amount of oil replaces the large amount of butter usually called for in toppings for this kind of dessert. It is served best warm.
12 large green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
8 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
Juice of 1 lemon.
1/3 cup brandy
1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour.
Topping: 1 1⁄2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats; 1⁄2 cup toasted wheat germ; 3⁄4 teaspoon salt; 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cinnamon; 1⁄2 cup light-brown sugar, packed; 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil; 1/3 cup maple syrup
Preheat over to 375 degrees F. Toss the sliced apples in a large bowl with the cranberries, lemon juice, brandy, 1/3 cup of light-brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the whole wheat pastry flour. Pile the apple mixture into an 8x10-inch baking dish.
Mix together the ingredients for the topping and spread over apples. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 minutes more until the apples are soft.From the Hardcover edition.
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