Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Healthy Holiday Meal by Lettuce Eat Together

My amazing friend at Arubula's Kitchen asked me to do a holiday post for her.  I happily accepted and then asked her to do the same for me.  I've been dying for her to do a post for me since I started this blog, and now was the perfect time for it.  She also just got a brand new site going (everything will be moved over to it)which is amazing, Lettuce Eat Together (love the name of this, and her brother did an amazing job with the site).  Become a fan on Facebook, you wont be disappointed.  So enjoy this amazing Healthy Holiday Meal - and don't forget to take some time out for yourself during this busy part of the year. 

When CB asked me to do a Healthy Holiday Meal I was so honored! Her baking blog is amazing and I am unbelievably proud that she is following such a wonderful talent and dream. Can’t wait till the day I get to walk through her bakery doors and see her treats smiling at me through glass cases. In the meantime I will happily enjoy her baking stories, recipes, and creations and try to recreate them in my own home (or hope a treat package arrives on my doorstep).
A Healthy Holiday Meal. I decided to share one that gives the satisfaction of a naughty one, but is actually nice. Santa would be proud. I am always one to have the awesome smells of dinner simmering through my home as guests arrive, may it be the illusion like carmelized onions that I am actually using later in the week, but smell amazing today, or fresh baked bread, or a low and slow dish that has been braising for hours while I fiddle around my home doing other things then WOWs my guests.
Fennel Salad
Red Wine Pot Roast with Carrots & Onions
Roast Pears in Butterscotch Sauce

Salad Course
Fennel Salad
This is an extremely simple and inexpensive salad to make. Make sure to use great olive oil.
1 large or 2 small bulbs fennel
¼ cup olive oil
Salt pepper
Small chunk parmigiano- reggiano
Cut the green fronds off the fennel. Cut the fennel bulb in half from top to bottom and use a small knife to cut out the core from each half. Slice fennel as thinly as you can with a vegetable slicer or sharp knife.
Just before serving toss fennel with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Arrange on plates and use a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer to shave off several thin slices of Parmesan for each plate.

Red Wine Pot Roast
One 4-5 pound top blade beef roast or other chuck roast
Salt pepper
3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bottle full bodied red wine
1 onion, chopped
Chicken or beef broth, as needed
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Season the roast with salt and pepper and put in a Dutch oven with lid. Surround the roast with carrots. Roast meat, uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until well browned. Meanwhile, tie bay leaves and thyme together with a string.
Turn heat down to 300 degrees. Pour in wine, add herb bundle. Add onion, cover the pot and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. (if liquid doesn’t come halfway up sides of roast, add broth)
Slide roast into the oven and cook for 90 minutes, until meat is tender.
Strain braising liquid into a measure cup, glass so you can see fat floating on top, and skim fat with a spoon. Pick out carrots and onions, and set aside. Pour the strained braising liquid over the meat and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 30 more minutes, basting every 10 minutes with braising liquid, making a shiny glaze that coats the roast.
*While roasting for the last 30 minutes start pears for dessert course
Serve slices of the roast in soup plates surround with braising liquid and vegetables.

Roast Pears with Butterscotch Sauce
4 large underripe pears
6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup heavy cream
whipped cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Peel pears, halve them lengthwise, and cut out the core with a small scoop. Arrange pear halves, flat side up in an ovenproof pan, just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle over the sugar and add drops of butter.
*This next step can be done while you are enjoying the entrée course
Roast for about 40 minutes or until the pears are easily penetrated with a knife. Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil over high heat, immediately remove from heat. Serve the pear halves with the sauce and whipped cream.

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