Christmas Tree Antipasto

Christmas Tree Antipasto!   Nothing more fun than making your holiday appetizer sing and speak the holiday. This antipasto platter was so fun to make!  And believe me, there is no recipe because it is all visual.  Use whatever favorite deli meats and/or cheeses your family loves, grab your favorite side condiments, and follow the visual and make your own art piece for your Christmas Dinner.  Enjoy!

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I love a great Risotto. It is so universally delicious, and you can use it by adding anything you desire. I have made it with frozen asparagus and frozen peas and any frozen vegetables, also with any leftover vegetables at the end of the week, or I have made it by adding leftover meats. Use your creativity, instincts and be intuitive and it will turn out great every time. Enjoy!!!

Serves:

4-6

Total Time:

1 1/2  hours

To Make

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

 

Directions:

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.

Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.

Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl.

When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.  Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

Add any or all left over vegetables or meat from the week, anything your heart desires. Be creative.

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Brussels Sprouts

When I was young the only time we ever ate Brussels Sprouts is on Thanksgiving.  Frankly, I never liked them.  Yet, every Thanksgiving when I became an adult, I had to have them our table.  I still did not like them.  Then, one day, I read this recipe and fell in love with it. When I switched our Thanksgiving table to this Brussels sprout recipe everyone fell in love with it. 

Tip:  this can be made the day ahead or hours earlier and reheated in the microwave or in an oven covered before serving.

Serves:

6 – 8

Total Time:

30 minutes

To Prepare

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 Lbs. of Green Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and halved)
  • 1.25 Lbs. of Purple Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and halved)
  • 3 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1/4 C. Butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 Tbs. Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 1/4 C. coarse grained French Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 C. dried cranberries

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees

Toss Brussel Sprouts with Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper. Roast in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes or until the outer leaves begin to brown.

Just before serving melt the butter in a small saucepan until the butter begins to lightly brown. Blend in the mustard and mustard seed and pour over the Brussel sprouts.  Toss gently with salt and pepper and the cranberries and be sure the sprouts are covered well with the butter/mustard mixture.

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