CELEBRATE A WHITE CHRISTMAS AT THE TABLE

WHITE CHRISTMAS TRIO WITH SAVORY WALNUT SAUCE

A beautiful main dish, this trio features a tasty grain as the base, topped with a hearty serving of vegetables. The final topping is a snowy white, ultra creamy walnut sauce garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of parsley.

While it looks complicated, it’s really quite manageable with good planning. The bulgur, vegetables, and the sauce can each be made a day ahead and stored in a container that can be gently warmed in the oven. You don’t even have to warm the sauce–just enjoy it at room temperature and it will be delightfully creamy and delicious.

This is a fun dish to serve because it lends itself to inventively creative presentations. Assembling the dish will tap into your innovative notions and allow you go be as expressive as your inner artist allows. If you prefer simplicity, that’s totally OK and your family will still enjoy a luscious and healthy whole grain dish complete with vegetables and a unique, walnut-based sauce that’s white as snow to top off the White Christmas Trio.

To fill out the meal, I would also add legumes, a side vegetable, and a gorgeous salad. Of course, a delicious appetizer makes a great start to the festivities. Perhaps the Yin Yang Thanksgiving Paté. A lighter choice might be the Smoky Garlic Stuffed Endive. I’ve posted some fun choices for your holiday dessert and will let you explore the many recipes by clicking on Desserts.

WHITE CHRISTMAS TRIO WITH SAVORY WALNUT SAUCE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Bulgur Wheat

1 1/2 cups coarse bulgur wheat or Basmati brown rice

3 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup raisins

Walnut Sauce

3 cups walnuts

3 cups vanilla soymilk

1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon organic sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pinch cayenne (optional)

Vegetables

2 large carrots, coarsely grated

2 large zucchini squashes, coarsely grated

1 large yellow summer squash, coarsely grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, crosswise

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Garnish

1/2 to 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

TO MAKE THE BULGUR WHEAT, combine the bulgur, water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and steam for 12 to 15 minutes (steam Basmati brown rice 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender).

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to plump them while preparing the remaining ingredients.

TO MAKE THE WALNUT SAUCE, put the walnuts, soymilk, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and sugar in a blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings as needed. The sauce will thicken when standing. Set aside in a saucepan and warm gently before serving.

TO MAKE THE VEGETABLES, combine the carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, water, olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large deep skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables. Adjust seasonings and add lemon juice to taste.

Drain the water from the reserved raisins and add them to the vegetables and toss well.

TO ASSEMBLE THE DISH:

  • Mound the bulgur wheat onto a large serving platter.
  • Spoon some of the walnut sauce over the bulgur, leaving a 1-inch border of the bulgur showing.
  • Form a ring of the cooked vegetables, leaving a 1-inch border of bulgur wheat around the edges.
  • Finish with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and parsley over the top.
  • Serve the remainder of the walnut sauce on the side.

Advertisements

Beets Never Tasted this Good!

BOUND FOR GLORY BEETS

This is a charming side dish perfect for any occasion. It looks great on the buffet table but you can easily plop in into a bowl and pass it at the table. It’s so versatile you can serve it hot, cold, or room temperature so it makes the ideal prep-ahead recipe. Here’s an extra bonus–you can even make it two days ahead and it still tastes great. That means that leftovers will still be delicious the next day.

If you’ve got a crowd coming, count on this recipe to go a long way. For a small family dinner, consider cutting the recipe in half or you’ll have tons left over. Bound for Glory BeetsBecause of the unique seasonings, the beets make a tasty salad topper or even a crown for polenta, or the base of a Russian salad –you name it.

I love that this recipe comes together so quickly with the food processor playing a key role in prepping the beets and carrots. That very special appliance is truly one of the miracles of our modern day  kitchens. Our grandmothers never dreamed of such things that cold do the work of shredding and chopping in seconds.

One little heads-up: Horseradish can be brazenly spicy! Use it with moderation unless your family adores its pungent nip. I start with 1 tablespoon, mix it in well, and taste. That’s usually enough for my family. But–and this is worth noting. If the horseradish has been hanging around your fridge for some time, it has lost a good bit of its zesty nature. In that case, even two tablespoons of it might be pretty darned good. If you buy a fresh jar, though, you’ll find that even one tablespoons can clear your sinuses.

BOUND FOR GLORY BEETS

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Beets

3 large golden or red beets (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded

2 medium onions, chopped

1 large carrot, coarsely shredded

1 cup water or more as needed

 

Sauce

1 /4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup

1 to 2 tablespoons prepared non-dairy horseradish

3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed

 

Garnish

1 cucumber, scored with fork tines, and sliced

Bound for Glory Beets 21 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded or sliced into thin          matchsticks with a julienne peeler

2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely ground walnuts

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Combine the beets, onions, carrot, and water in a large, deep skillet and cook and stir over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened and most of the water has evaporated. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water only as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning.
  2. While the beets are cooking, combine the Dijon mustard, water, agave nectar, horseradish, and dill in a small bowl and mix well. Decrease the heat to medium and add the Dijon mixture. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer, stirring well to marry the flavors.
  3. Transfer the beets to an attractive serving platter, spooning them into the center to leave a border.
  4. To garnish, surround the beets with the cucumbers. Spoon the carrots next to the beets. Sprinkle the center of the beets with the ground walnuts and sprinkle with parsley.

Alternative Serving Suggestions

Change the whole look of the dish by using beets of two colors. Cook 2 medium golden beets and 2 medium red beets separately, adding 1 onion and medium carrot each. Divide the sauce between the 2 kinds of beets and arrange them in unique ways on the platter:

  • Form the two colors in a yin-yang shape
  • Arrange the two colors side-by-side or
  • Place one color in the center of the serving platter and surround it with the other color