Tis the season to warm the soul. Let mulled wine simmer on the stove while you set the table with the plates saved for special occasions. Sip hot chocolate near the frosted windows and share stories of gatherings past. The flavours of warm stuffing and spiced gravy mingle with the fresh burst of pomegranate sprinkled on the greens. Pass plates, share stories, laugh together. Everything about it reminds you why this is your favourite season.
We come together around the table to indulge in rich food and great company. It’s the meal that brings us together but it’s the memories made that make us come back year after year.
Cover every detail to make the moment more memorable: maybe it’s a twist on an old family recipe or quirky placemats to match the fine china, whatever it is, a new tradition begins now.
AT THE TABLE
Canada’s favourite print adds a quirky, festive touch at the table. This plaid placemat (1. Stokes, $5.99/ea) perfectly contrasts your nana's vintage china. Are you using charger plates for your settings yet? This teal charger plate (2. Stokes, $3.99/ea) is a beautifully unexpected colour that makes your plates really stand out. Pair with sleek brass cutlery (Stokes, set of 20, $79.99) and a spruce of rosemary/thyme for a fragrant je ne sais quoi.
Update your glassware with a smoky, ombre set (3. stemless flute + stemless glass, $5.99/ea). Sip some spiced egg nog (4. Safeway Egg nog) through a reusable metal straw (5. Frenzy, $12.99) or fill your glass with an oaky red wine to complement tonight’s dinner. A New Zealand pinot from Whitehaven (6. Whitehaven, $27.43) is a current favourite: notes of cherry and ripe plum balance out the savoury, toasty undertones for a full bodied, easy drinking wine.
Were llamas there at the savior’s birth? We’d like to think so. This adorable plate (7. Frenzy, $17.99) will hold anything your heart desires. Whether it’s cheese on your charcuterie board during dinner, or keys in the hallway the rest of the year, this llama is just happy to be here.
For some extra inspiration in the kitchen or for the foodie who likes a creative challenge, give the gift of great food yet to be made. These gorgeous cookbooks (8. Coles, assorted prices) look good enough to eat.
TIME TO EAT: Holiday Salad Recipe
This simple salad is packed full of vibrant, explosive flavour that is sure to please even the picky eaters in your family. The soft, massaged kale coated in a savoury mustard dressing pairs perfectly with the avocado, feta, pomegranate seeds and toasted nuts. These fresh winter ingredients with pops of red and green look gorgeous set against your holiday decorations. We shopped at Safeway: the grocery store for the freshest ingredients for your holiday life.
FOR THE SALAD:
8 stalks of kale — stems removed and chopped into ribbons (or 2 small bags of pre-cut kale)
1/2 cup pecan halves (walnuts also work well)
1 avocado (cut into cubes)
1 small pomegranate or 1/2 cup seeds
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (grated parmesan is delicious here, too!)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Optional: chicken or turkey
FOR THE DIJON DRESSING:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (if you don’t have ACV, use lemon juice)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Evenly spread the pecans or walnuts on an un-greased baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5-10 minutes, tossing once or twice throughout, until toasted and fragrant. Keep a close eye to make sure the nuts don’t burn! Set aside to cool.
2. Massage your kale. Working the leaves with your hands makes this hardy green more enjoyable and easier to eat. Rub some olive oil into the leaves in a large bowl and work with your hands for about 3-5 minutes. If you don’t want to get greasy, you can also coat the leaves and leave them for a few hours or overnight to soften.
3. Time to deseed your pomegranate. Slice the peel in half across the middle (not top to bottom). Pull apart the halves gently. Then take a sharp knife and cut slits along each outside “wedge” section. Pull & open where you created cuts and turn upside down over a bowl. With the back of a wooden spoon, firmly wrap the back of the pomegranate, knocking the seeds into the bowl. Pull stubborn seeds with your fingers (make sure not to stain your clothing!). Measure out 1/2 cup for the salad (tip: throw the rest into your stuffing. Your taste buds will thank you).
4. In a small bowl, measuring cup, or jar, whisk or shake together all of the dressing ingredients: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
5. Place the kale in a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top. Toss to coat, then let the salad rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (allow the flavors to absorb and the kale to soften). Just before serving, cut and add avocado, add prepared toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds, feta, and parsley. Squeeze some extra lemon juice over top and finish with a course sea salt. Optional: Add sliced chicken or turkey.
Serve immediately in a gorgeous wooden bowl (9. Stokes, $39.99) with matching serving utensils (10. Stokes, $7.98) and enjoy!