Around this time of year, families gather at the table for the holidays. In the kitchen, chefs are struggle to simply get the food on the table, and some may argue that even with all of the tension in the dining room, the kitchen is the scariest place to be. However, you don’t need to be a star chef to make a great meal! One can use these tips at a family feast to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Easy Vegetables, Anytime
For any holiday meal, people are often focused on the main dish, which causes them to forget about the sides. However, roasted vegetables are very easy to make, as long as you have some aluminum foil, salt, and pepper.
-3 cups of any small vegetable (roughly 2 x 2 x 2 inch bite size pieces)
-2 tbsp of olive oil
-Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, coat the vegetables in olive oil by tossing lightly. Add pinches of salt and coarse ground pepper to taste.
- Set the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
- Line a roasting tray with tinfoil.
- Add the vegetables to the tray and cover with foil.
- Twenty minutes in, remove the top foil and check the vegetables with a fork to see if it is tender. To prevent burning the vegetables, agitate the pan.
- Use the fork to check the vegetables until tender. When ready, remove from the pan and serve!
Save the Scraps; Make a Stock
Making soup seems very hard, but all you need is the scraps from any meat or vegetables. Soup stock can be made ahead of time and it can be used for gravies or simple broths. They are healthier than dehydrated broth or boxed stocks and they are also very cost-effective, as all of the foods that you might waste are recycled.
-Any vegetables (Celery, carrots, onions, or mushrooms work well)
-(Optional) Any bones from meat or poultry
- In a large pot, add all vegetables, whether or not they are cooked.
- Fill the pot halfway with water.
- (Optional) add bones from meat or poultry. Roasted bones will add a more complex flavor to the stock and it will intensify any meaty flavors from the bones.
- Add a bay leaf, which will give a very herbaceous and grassy flavor to the stock.
- Boil for anywhere from six hours to two days. Add more water every 6 hours and remove any fat that floats to the top.
A Spread With Style
Lastly, a spread with cheese, dried fruits, and nuts will definitely impress guests. Although some cheeses may not be cheap, cheese plates are great because they bring guests to the table, and they will stimulate conversation and break the ice. All you need to figure out is the pairings.
Three cheeses including one sour and tart, one smoky and sharp, and one creamy and somewhat sweet are essential to a simple but mind-blowing cheese plate. In order, the first, such as any blue cheese, goes well with honey, as it complements the cheese’s funk and saltiness. Secondly, cheeses such as cheddar or gouda go well with bright and light fruits, such as apples or pears. Lastly, brie or similar cheeses go well with crunchy nuts such as almonds or dried fruits such as sun-dried tomatoes. Put everything on a board, add some crackers, and show your guests how to eat a cheese plate which will open one of the most important meals of the year.