A Cook's Countdown to Christmas Eve

December 18, 2009

Feeling the pressure because the holidays are coming like a freight train out of control?

Maybe you have not thought about what to serve for the holidays, so I am giving you a cook’s Christmas card menu and a special recipe for a delicious puff pastry pinwheel that you can whip up in 15 minutes. Use the suggested menu or mix and match with your own personal favorites.

Happy Holidays!

The Menu

The Schedule

December 18  

Use the suggested menu above or decide on holiday menu and shop for all staple ingredients like flour, olives, drinks, cereal, butter, ice cream, citrus fruits including oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and grapefruit and dried fruits such as dates and figs. If making the suggested salad, buy pomegranates and nuts. Buy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, winter squash. Buy prepared puff pastry.

December 19

Make cookies such as chocolate tangerine biscotti. Store in airtight tins or freezer. Make a moist chocolate olive oil cake with frosting and refrigerate.

December 20

Defrost puff pastry.Make appetizers with prepared puff pastry such as salami pinwheels (recipe below). Freeze unbaked. Take out as needed and bake.

December 21

Purchase and prepare salad greens such as Belgian endive, celery wash and spin dry. Place greens in plastic bags and refrigerate. Make dressing of your choice and refrigerate. If making suggested salad, prep olives, capers and pomegranate seeds, wrap separately and refrigerate.

December 22

Prep vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and leeks Keep in plastic bags and refrigerate.

December  23

Purchase meat, poultry or fish of choice for your main course; prep and refrigerate. Suggestion: stuffed rolled turkey breast. Can be made two days ahead and reheated! Make ziti casserole, cover and refrigerate. Make green bean, leek and almond casserole. Cover and refrigerate. Set holiday table. Chill wine, other drinks.

December 24

Cut orange segments for suggested salads (above) and refrigerate. Make stuffed dates with Parmesan cheese; arrange on serving dish, cover and hold at room temperature. Frost cake. Defrost cookies and arrange on dessert dish. Depending on time for holiday dinner, cook main course, bake ziti and green bean casseroles, toss salad. Serve buffet style. Enjoy!

Puff Pastry Prosciutto Pinwheels

Makes 28 pinwheels

2 sheets prepared puff pastry, thawed and kept cold
4 tablespoons spicy mustard
1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
2/3 pound prosciutto or salame sliced very thin

Preheat the oven to 425F

Roll each sheet of pastry into a 14x 14 inch square on a lightly floured surface

Brush each sheet with two tablespoons of the mustard. Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the surface of each sheet. 

Lay half the slices of prosciutto or salame slightly overlapping to cover each sheet. 

Starting at one end, roll each sheet up to form a tight roll. 

Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake or freeze for future use.

Use a sharp knife to cut fourteen 1-inch pieces from each roll and place them on ungreased baking sheets, spacing them ½-inch apart. Bake until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.

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