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Companions for the roast.

Adorn your holiday roast platter with attractive, complementary vegetable and fruit side dishes. Here are five choices, featuring tiny edible pumpkins, carrots, bell peppers, cranberries, and artichokes. They all can be made ahead, and some improve with reheating.

To reheat in a microwave oven, set foods slightly apart on a microwave-safe plate. Drape with plastic wrap and cook on full power (100 percent for 2 minutes. Rotate plate to reverse position of foods. Continue heating, 1 minute at a time, rotating plate 1/4 turn each time, until vegetables are hot. For these quantities, allow at least 10 minutes.

Steamed Mini-Pumpkins

with Fresh Raisin Chutney

10 to 12 miniature pumpkins (7 to 8 oz. each), such as Jack Be Little or Munchkin

Fresh chutney of grapes and tart apples fills steamed mini-pumpkin. Fresh raisin chutney (recipe follows) 10 to 12 nontoxic green leaves, slightly larger than pumpkins, rinsed and dried (optional) 10 to 12 small clusters green grapes, rinsed and drained (optional)

Rinse pumpkins and set on a rack (they can be stacked loosely) over 1 inch boiling water in a 6- to 8-quart pan. Cover and steam over medium-high heat until pumpkins are tender when pierced, about 20 minutes.

Lift pumpkins from rack and let stand until cool. Slice off top 1/4 of each pumpkin. With a spoon, gently scoop out seeds; take care not to break through shell. If cooked ahead, replace lids, cover, and chill up until next day; reheat pumpkins by steaming about 8 minutes in a single layer (you'll need 2 pans), or use a microwave oven (see instructions at left).

Spoon warm chutney equally into each pumpkin and replace lids. Arrange pumpkins on leaves on the rim of a large platter around an entree. Garnish with grapes. If tender to bite, shells of pumpkins are also edible. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 159 cal.; 2.2 g protein; 0.6 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 40 g carbo.; 7.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Fresh raisin chutney. In a 12-inch frying pan or 5- to 6-quart pan, braize-deglaze (see page 184) 2 large (about 1 lb. total) finely chopped onions with water until mixture is deep brown. Add 2 large (1 lb. total) cored, peeled, finely chopped tart apples (Newtown Pippin or McIntosh), 4 cups seedless green grapes, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup red wine vinegar, 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil on high heat; cover and simmer until grapes begin to split, 10 to 15 minutes.

Cook uncovered, stirring often, until mixture is thick and no longer has any free-flowing liquid; as mixture thickens, stir more often to prevent scorching. Add salt to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days; reheat to use. Makes about 4 cups.

Carrot and Onion Bundles

5 or 6 green onions with tops, root ends trimmed 6 to 8 large (1-1/2 to 2 lb. total) carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick sticks, each about 3 inches long

Cut each onion in half lengthwise. In a 4- to 5-quart pan, bring 2 inches water to boiling; add carrots. Cover and cook until carrots are barely tender to bite, about 3 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and immerse in ice water to stop cooking. When cool, drain and divide into 10 to 12 equal portions.

Return the cooking water to boiling and push a few onions at a time beneath the surface. Cook just until onions are limp. Transfer them to ice water to cover. Drain.

To make bundles, lay an onion piece out flat. Neatly align a portion of carrots on onion to make a cross. Tie onion gently but snugly around carrots. Trim ends of onion to make a tidy-looking bundle. If made ahead, set bundles side by side, cover airtight, and chill up until next day.

Serve cold, at room temperature, or reheated in a microwave oven (see page 176). Place bundles on a large platter around an entree. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 23 cal.; 0.6 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 5.5 g carbo.; 18 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Red Bell Peppers

and Caper Rice

If you can't find small peppers, use medium-size ones cut down in size. After cutting off the top, trim the cut edges of both pieces so the pepper is 2 to 3 inches tall when reassembled.

10 to 12 small (each 2 to 3 oz. and 2 to 3 in. tall) red, yellow, or orange bell peppers 8 slices bacon 1 cup short- or medium-grain rice 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel 1/4 cup drained canned capers 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 4 teaspoons sugar)

Cut off top 1/3 of each pepper; set tops aside. With a small spoon, scoop out seeds and white membrane from pepper bases and tops; rinse and drain both. If needed, trim pepper bases so they will sit steadily.

In a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium heat, stir bacon often until crisp, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to towels; let drain. When cool, finely crumble. Discard drippings; wipe pan clean.

To pan, add rice, lemon peel, and 2-1/2 cups water. Bring to boiling over high heat. Stir; then cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Uncover; with a fork, stir in bacon, capers, and vinegar.

Set pepper shells upright and apart in a rimmed 10- by 15-inch pan. Mound rice equally into shells; set tops on peppers. If made ahead, cover and let stand up to 4 hours. Bake, uncovered, in a 450[degrees] oven until peppers blister and rice is hot in center, 8 to 12 minutes. (Or bake up to 4 hours ahead, let stand, then reheat in a microwave oven; see page 176.) Set peppers on platter around an entree. Serves 10 to 12.

Per serving: 114 cal.; 3.2 g protein; 2.6 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 20 g carbo.; 218 mg sodium; 3.6 mg chol.

Cranberry-Tomato Relish

in Lemon Shells

4 or 5 lemons (each about 5 oz. and about 3-1/2 in. long), or 1/2 cup lemon juice 1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes 1 large (1/2 lb.) onion, finely chopped 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 1 package (12 oz., 3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries

To use lemons for serving containers, cut lemons (decoratively, if desired) in half crosswise. Ream juice, reserving 1/2 cup. Scoop out and discard pulp and membrane. Trim a thin slice off base of each lemon so it will sit steadily upright. Wrap shells in a towel, put in a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Use within 2 days. Otherwise, see below.

Pour 1/2 cup lemon juice into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan or 5-quart pan; add tomatoes and liquid (break tomatoes apart with a spoon), onion, sugar, and ginger. Boil on medium-high heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes.

Add cranberries and stir often until reduced to 3-1/2 cups, about 30 minutes longer. As mixture thickens, watch carefully and stir more often to avoid scorching. Cool. Use, or cover and chill up to 3 weeks.

Divide relish evenly among lemon halves; otherwise serve in small cups or bowls (about 1/3-cup size) and arrange on a large platter around an entree. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 142 cal.; 1.2 g protein; 0.3 g fat (0 g sat.); 36 g carbo.; 0 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Artichokes with Parsley Pesto

1/3 cup cider vinegar 1 tablespoon cumin seed 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger About 1-1/2 tablespoons drained canned green peppercorns 4 to 5 artichokes, 4 to 4-1/2 inches wide (about 3/4 lb. each) Parsley pesto (recipe follows)

In an 11- to 12-quart pan, combine 5 quarts water, vinegar, cumin seed, ginger, and 1 tablespoon peppercorns. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, break off coarse outer leaves from artichokes and trim stems even with bases. With a sharp knife, cut off top 1/3 of each artichoke. With scissors, trim thorny tips from remaining leaves. Immerse artichokes in cool water and swish back and forth; shake out water.

Place artichokes in pan. Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently until bottoms are tender when pierced, 30 to 40 minutes. Lift out artichokes and drain upside-down. If desired, pour cooking liquid through a strainer and reserve seasonings. Pull small center leaves from artichokes; with a small spoon, go down through opening and scrape out fuzzy choke. Slice artichokes in half lengthwise. If cooked ahead, cover and chill up until next day. To reheat, place in a microwave oven (see page 176), or immerse in simmering water to cover for about 5 minutes, then drain well.

Set artichokes cup side up on a large platter around an entree. If desired, scatter artichokes with reserved seasonings; mound pesto equally into each. Sprinkle pesto with remaining peppercorns. Serves 8 to 10.

Per serving: 130 cal.; 2.8 g protein; 9.7 g fat (1.2 g sat.); 10 g carbo.; 82 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Parsley pesto. In a blender or food processor, whirl 1/4 cup roasted salted almonds to a fine powder. Add 2 cups lightly packed parsley, 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon drained canned green peppercorns; smoothly puree. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day. Makes 1 cup.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining special section; fruit and vegetable side dishes
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Showpiece appetizers.
Next Article:A sensibly grand Thanksgiving feast.

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