Here's to bright and colourful gourmet holiday celebrations!
There’s no doubt the holidays are synonymous with the pleasures of eating, drinking and gastronomic exuberance. But, by applying a bit of creativity, many gourmet pleasures can also be healthy indulgences. Here are some of my tips for a healthy festive table that packs a punch!
Multi-coloured ice cubes
To keep your guests’ drinks and cocktails cool, prepare ice cubes with eye-catching pieces of fruit, or use frozen whole fruits such as cranberries, strawberries and blueberries. You’re sure to wow your guests! And, if you stocked up on frozen haskaps over the summer, this tasty Mint, lime and vanilla cocktail with haskap (honeyberry) ice cubes recipe is a must-try.
Quick and easy appetizers
Swap mini-quiches and other puffed pastry hors d’oeuvres with fresh, easy-to-make appetizers.
- Mini-soups Puree tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic and fresh thyme. Presentation: Serve cold in espresso cups.
- Fig and prosciutto bites Wrap fig wedges in a slice of prosciutto, with a piece of Parmesan cheese and a basil leaf. If desired, sprinkle with a balsamic vinegar glaze when ready to serve.
- Cucumber canapés Spread Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs on cucumber slices. Top with a slice of smoked salmon and a few toasted pine nuts.
Sometimes, only some minor adjustments are needed to create a flavourful, healthy dish.
- Vitamin-packed meat pie Mushrooms, leek and diced squash, carrots, turnips and celery are all welcome additions to your traditional tourtière recipe.
- All-purpose sauce Once again, if you have frozen haskaps on hand, try this Haskap (honeyberry), red wine and thyme sauce, which pairs wonderfully with turkey, salmon or roast beef. Psst! No one will miss Aunt Ginette's brown sauce...
- Mashed potatoes with a twist This year, why not jazz up your mashed potatoes with broccoli, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts. Alternatively, opt for cauliflower, goat cheese and a cranberry topping. Or, depending on your festive menu, you may want to be daring and serve spicy sweet potatoes instead.
Almost, but not quite, decadent desserts!
- “Light” Christmas log Prepare your Christmas log with angel food cake, and make your own whipped filling with 35% cream, plain Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Decorate your cake with fresh fruits, such as ground cherries, raspberries, blackberries and starfruit.
- A fruit salad Christmas tree This makes the perfect—and original—centrepiece! All you need is an apple, a carrot, toothpicks and a variety of fresh fruits. At serving time, drizzle the tree with melted chocolate! Click here for the how-to.
Happy gourmet holidays, everyone!
Julie DesGroseilliers, Dt.P.