When it comes to the kitchen, December is a weird mix of ambition and ease for me. I make long lists of favourite dishes to make, along with new ones to try that usually involve a new skill to master. There are also many quick and easy meals, most easily forgotten, to accommodate all the rush and bustle (and more complicated works in progress) the holidays bring.
So, I was extra grateful to Santa’s Dorista elves for setting a schedule full of simple, delicious recipes. It’s been a good reminder that quick and easy doesn’t have to mean forgettable.
Orange & Olive Salad
Which brings me to this salad, almost as if I’d planned it. You can see how pretty it is in the photo at the top of the post and you can probably guess how easy it was to put together, too. What the photo won’t tell you is how delicious it was. The idea of orange, olive, and onion in a salad was a bit off-putting for a number of the French Fridays crew this week. But, one by one, almost everybody started posting that they’d loved it.
So, by the time I got around to making it this afternoon, I was pretty confident it was going to be good. Kevin, however, doesn’t get the benefit of Dorista social media chatter, so he was very skeptical when I set it down in front of him. He’s a good sport though. After assuring him that soaking the thinly sliced onion in ice water had rendered it mild and crispy, he dug in. And then ate the whole plateful, making it a hit for both of us. We’ll be having this again and I can hardly wait to introduce it to others. It’s an elegant, surprising dish that would have gone untried if it hadn’t been for this cooking group.
Lamb & Dried Apricot Tagine
This dish was never in danger of going untried. I’ve loved Moroccan flavours since my university days, when I discovered the recipe for Moroccan Chicken Stew in the copy of Anne Lindsay’s Lighthearted Everyday Cooking that was a moving-out-on-my-own gift from my mother. I did make it a little easier, though, by cooking it in the slow cooker overnight, then letting it rest in the fridge until dinnertime. When I heated it up, I couldn’t believe that it was even more fragrant than when it had come out of the slow cooker. I served it with saffron rice and Ottolenghi’s Roasted Squash with Cardamom and Nigella, both headily aromatic dishes themselves. It made for a fantastic meal.
The next ten days are going to see a lot of cooking and baking, family visits and celebrations. But, if you have time, drop by over the weekend – I have three last minute shopper’s cookbook reviews for you, from Saturday through Monday. And a happy Chanukah to everyone who is in the midst of celebrating it.