A Few Holiday Dishes

We had houseguests for a few weeks, and we also hosted two year-end parties, so I did a lot of fancier food prep than normal. I forgot to take photos of most of it, but I did manage a few shots before it was too late.

img_20161231_195658Just barely, in this case! This is (or was) my prize-winning Pomme-Pom Salad. It’s super-easy, if you buy the pomegranate seeds already removed. (Not so much if you remove the seeds yourself. But it’s not difficult, just really, really tedious.) Just chop up some apples, toss them in with pomegranate seeds, and stir in some yogurt. Here I used Noosa‘s honey flavor. In the past I’ve sometimes used plain or vanilla. I’m not sure what kind of apple I used here, but I often use Honeycrisp or similar.

For dip, I started with Michaela’s dill pickle dip recipe but made significant changes to it. For starters, I prefer sweet pickles, so I substituted them for the dill pickles. I think I used a slightly smaller jar of pickles than the 16 ounces she calls for, but it seemed to work just fine. I did use the 16 ounces of softened cream cheese, but as I got to chopping the first 4.5 ounces of dried beef, I quickly realized that 9 ounces of dried beef is a LOT of dried beef. So I still have another jar of dried beef and am looking forward to making and consuming another batch of this stuff.

Some of you may be wondering what dried beef is. I was just going to use deli-sliced corned beef until a friend sent me a photo of the jarred stuff from Armour. (That’s my photo above, but they are essentially the same picture.) Apparently Michaela got asked a lot, so she posted a photo of what she uses, which is a different brand (Hormel) and is in the refrigerated section. Maybe next time I will try that.

I used brick cream cheese this time but will probably try it with soft cream cheese (in a tub) soon. Even softened, this was a bit of a challenge to mix thoroughly. Either way, I recommend putting out rather sturdy crackers for this dip.

While at Costco (which is where I got the pomegranate seeds, in case you’re wondering), I bought a bunch of Medjool dates on impulse. My in-laws had purchased some bacon, and I pretty much always have chèvre on hand, so even though I had never tried it before, chèvre-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates just seemed like a no-brainer. img_20170106_194130

Other than being kind of messy to prep, they really are pretty simple. Pit a bunch of dates. Stuff the dates with a bunch of chèvre. Wrap them in bacon (just one time around), securing them with toothpicks, and pop them in the oven. I made several batches, and 380F seemed to work pretty well. I put them in for about 10 minutes, flipped them, and then gave them another 10 minutes.

I have some uncooked bacon pieces left over from last night’s batch, and I also happen to have most of a bottle of Dancing Pines bourbon left over from my attempt at sweet potato pecan pie with bourbon cream sauce (which was okay but needs some work), so I’m thinking I might try something called bacon-infused bourbon. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Pickled Pinterest Fail

I had a potluck event this evening. So this morning I scrolled through Pinterest, looking for something quick and easy to make in the half-hour I had reserved for food prep in the afternoon. And I found a recipe for cowboy sushi. It seemed like a simple concept: Wrap a dill pickle in lunch meat and cream cheese and then chop it into maki maki. How hard could it be?

Well, I put the container on Gina’s counter and greeted everybody with, “This is a little something I call ‘Pinterest Fail.'” IMG_20160709_161907 In all fairness to the recipe’s creator, I did not follow it exactly. I used garden vegetable soft cream cheese spread, which might have had a different consistency from what was required, and I didn’t do the additional wrapping, because that just seemed to compound the problem I was having with getting it to all hold together. I also used pastrami instead of beef, and it was slick, which made the application of the cream cheese tricky. That may have been my primary problem right there.

But they disappeared in a hurry, so apparently they taste good.