Getting Ready for the Holiday Season

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

After Thanksgiving, I begin preparations for the holidays, looking through cookbooks, food magazines and my own recipe files for inspiration. In the days when we threw big holiday parties for nearly a hundred people, Thanksgiving weekend was the kickoff for preparing appetizers and desserts that could be made ahead and frozen.

I start thinking about how to theme my Christmas Eve dinner table and what will be on the menu. I start baking cookies to freeze and planning any food gifts I want to make for friends.

If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, it’s also a good time to inventory what you have for serving dishes, utensils and table linens to give you enough time to buy what you need or line up what you will borrow from friends.

In the coming weeks, we’ll reach into the Special Fork database for quick and easy recipes to round out holiday menus.

The salmon spread below is one of those easy appetizers that can be served as part of a cocktail buffet or as the first course before your holiday dinner. A spread is a delicious, cost-effective way to stretch a little bit of pricey salmon to serve more people.

Smoked Salmon Spread

1 cup ricotta cheese
4 ½ ounces (1 cup) flaked hot-smoked salmon
2 teaspoons minced red onion
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In blender or small food processor blend ricotta until smooth. Scoop out into a medium bowl and stir in onion and lemon juice. Add salmon and stir gently to prevent flakes from breaking up. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with crackers, crudités, crostini or endive leaves.

Makes 1 ½ cups.

Note: smoked salmon will still have bones so pay careful attention and remove them as you flake the salmon. Keep the pieces a little chunky.

Recipe loosely adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

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Posted: Nov 27th by Sandy_Hu