The homes I usually travel to never assign a dish (green veggie, starch, dessert, salad, etc.) Sometimes I think it would be easier if they did. That way, when you approach the buffet you are not greeted with a myriad of green bean casseroles!
Lately, I've been bringing salad and fresh vegetables to potlucks. Though these are staple dishes at my home, they seem not to be at my friend's and family's kitchens. A simple saute of blanched green beans and garlic has been the star of the buffet table at many functions-the "recipe" has been requested by many. I was somewhat taken aback because it is so simple.
Last year as I was poaching pears I thought about making a poached fruit salad. I simply added my poaching spices to simple syrup, poured it over acidulated sliced apples and the lone pear left in my refrigerator, raided my staple of dried fruit and voila! A handful of pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries looked too wrinkly-if that's the word I'm going for) thrown over the top of the salad and a star was born.
Holiday Fruit Salad
1 cup of sugar
4 cups of water
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
1 cinnamon stick
4 2-inch long pieces of lemon and/or orange zest
Juice of one lemon
8 dried apricots, quartered
6 dried figs, quartered
3 firm Granny Smith Apples
1 firm Bosc Pear
pomegranate seeds for garnish
- Fill saucepan with 4 cups of water. Add the sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, bayleaf and zest. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved. Let sugar syrup cool for 5-10 minutes and add dried apricots and figs to the warm syrup. Let it cool completely.
- Peel, slice and core apples and pear. Slice thinly and place in a large bowl, toss with lemon juice.
- Pour cooled syrup over apples and pears. (you can strain syrup to remove poaching spices-I only kept the zest and vanilla bean for decoration) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Using a slotted spoon, ladle fruit into a serving bowl, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.