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Side Dishes for Celebrations

by | Dec 13, 2021

The celebrations of Hannukah, Christmas, and a New Year may lead you to plan meals to share with family and friends. The entrées of such special dinners are often ham, beef tenderloin, crown pork roast, or turkey breast. I suggest that you make the meal even more memorable by serving one of these sides as an accompaniment. Many steps can be organized partially ahead on these recipes.

Orange Pomegranate Salad (Serves 4)
1 bunch fresh spinach or mixed arugula greens
3 oranges or tangerines
Seeds from large pomegranate
1/2 shallot, sliced paper thin
Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing, mix and whisk together ahead of time:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt

Presentation is pretty when the greens and oranges are placed on a large platter. Tuck citrus flesh throughout, and scatter pomegranate seeds and shallots over all. Drizzle with dressing…double the recipe for more guests.

Vichy Carrots (Serves 8)
2 pounds carrots
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice carrots into very thin rounds…a mandoline works well.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the carrots, sugar, water, and seasonings.
Toss with a spatula, then cover with a piece of wax paper and top the pan with a lid.
The carrots will have a glaze and be tender in about 15 minutes. Stir several times while waiting. Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.
Hint: have carrots partially precooked before guests arrive.

Baked Spinach
This is a versatile recipe that you can serve by cutting into squares as a side dish or, when cut into smaller squares, using as an appetizer. It can also be baked in tomato shells.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use a 9×13 baking dish.
Sauté 1/3 Cup sliced scallions in 3 tablespoons butter.

Mix together all ingredients:
3 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups Milk
1/3 cup sliced scallions (previously sautéed in 3 T Butter)
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Nutmeg, one pinch
Pepper, one pinch

Bake until firm, about 35 to 40 min. This dish may be frozen or made ahead.
Reheat before serving.

Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

French bread
9 eggs (5 whole + 4 yolks)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Trim crusts from 12 slices of soft, buttered French bread and arrange the bread slices in a 2-quart baking dish.
Beat together 5 eggs and 4 egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
Heat the milk and cream.
Gradually stir the hot liquids into the egg mixture.
Strain the liquid to remove any lumps, and pour it over the bread.

Place a flat baking dish inside a larger roasting dish that is filled with one inch of hot water.
Bake for 45 minutes or until knife is inserted and comes out clean.
Serve with Raspberry Sauce (recipe below) on side.

Let the pudding cool a few hours before serving warm.

Raspberry Sauce

Recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts
   Makes 2½ cups of sauce

2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon almond extract

Thaw berries, drain them, and reserve the syrup. Add enough water to the syrup to make 1½ cups.
In a medium-size saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add syrup and water mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
Cook over medium heat, stirring slowly and constantly with the rubber spatula. Stir gently; do not beat.

When the mixture thickens and begins to turn somewhat transparent and has just barely come to the boil, let it simmer gently for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. (Overcooking or overbeating would thin the sauce.) Add almond extract and gently stir in the drained raspberries.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

Paula Bell

Paula’s passion for foods began in Tennessee, where she and her family enjoyed entertaining friends and spending time together in the kitchen. Living in New Jersey for many years broadened her interest in ethnic foods and markets. It was while living there that she formed her own business, Creative Catering. She continues to find joy in cooking in her Davidson kitchen.

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