2021 … I like saying it. I like writing it. I like thinking about it and about all the delicious dishes I have in store for this year. Some adventurous, some down-home comforting, but all will come with these special ingredients … the love and passion I have for cooking for family and friends.
New Year’s Eve was quiet at our home. We celebrated with an early morning breakfast with Sylvia and Ignacio Flores, dear friends we have known since 1981. That breakfast lasted several hours and became brunch as we sipped mimosas and reminisced about how our families have grown over the past 40 years. When we were a couple of young and wild married couples, we would go to New Year’s Eve parties and have a crazy, fantastic time and then pay dearly for it every Jan. 1!
At the time I worked for KEDT-TV and KEDT-FM 90.3 radio station and, of course, we had an all-night radio-a-thon every New Year’s Eve. I wasn’t at work but managed to play practical jokes on our night station manager, D.J., every year, calling him on the air and pretending to be an unknown starstruck fan from Victoria that was on her way to meet him at the Corpus Christi station. I couldn’t stop laughing when I showed up as the fan.
Another year I surprised him and brought the entire party to the station, including my mother! I’m amazed I still had a job Jan. 2! But the next day, I always invited anyone from the station and any of our friends over for a potluck New Year’s Day buffet. It would include pork and sauerkraut (an Ohio tradition), black-eyed peas and ham hocks (a tribute to our Texas and Louisiana families), and my Vasilopita, a Greek New Year’s cake with a lucky coin baked inside. And of course, pomegranates to eat and smash on our front door for luck.
So “Please Join Our Table” as I share with you what we enjoyed on New Year’s Day, And let’s all have a berry good 2021!
Karen’s Berry Pomegranate Almond Galette (Tart) With Apple Filling
1 7-ounce tube of almond paste
1 9-inch pie pan lined with pie dough
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
5 medium crisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon cardamom, divided
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, (keep in the refrigerator until ready to use)
1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup (optional for the top)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
While oven is preheating, place pie dough in tart or pie pan or free form a circle onto a baking sheet.
Place almond paste between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to an 8-inch circle. Transfer to pie pan or baking sheet, pressing gently with fingers to cover 8-inch center of the bottom of pie dough.
In a large bowl, place cranberries, apples, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of the cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, tossing gently to combine.
If using just a baking sheet, carefully place fruit mixture over the 8-inch center of the almond paste/pie dough.
Squirt the pomegranate syrup over the fruit mixture in a swirl motion.
Place the remaining cardamom, cinnamon, oats, flour and brown sugar in a small bowl.
Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks cut butter into small pieces and blend into oat mixture until all ingredients are blended and crumbs form.
Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top of fruit. Fold the edges of the pie crust up to the 8-inch size of the galette.
If using a pie or tart pan, the pie dough should go all the way in the sides of the pan, then add the fruit and pomegranate syrup and crumb mixture as stated above.
Bake 50-60 minutes. At 45 minutes, top the edges of the galette/tart with pomegranate seeds and sprinkle the sliced almonds around the top.
It is best served warm with a great French Vanilla ice cream or gelato with more pomegranate syrup drizzled on top.
It makes 8-10 servings.
Note: If you are using a tart pan with a removable bottom, carefully lift from the bottom to loosen and remove it from the sides and present this desert whole but sliced on a platter to maximize the wow factor. The bottom of the tart pan remains on the bottom of the tart as you present and serve.
This recipe was inspired by one I received from my friend, Laurie Ann Knieiski Pfeffer, of Houston. She, her husband, Darren, and I are associates at USANA.com. I’m so glad she shared her berry yummy salad with me! Here is my version. It’s “berry easy,” delicious, and a healthy way to start the new year.
Berry Good Halibut Salad
2 4-ounce halibut filets or other firm white fish
Juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons oil (I use extra-virgin olive oil)
HEB’s Adam’s citrus seasoning to taste
2 cups baby spinach, washed and cut
1 cup kale, center vein removed, remaining kale massaged and rough chopped
1/4 cup small pineapple cubes
1/4 cup yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped into small strips
1/4 cup seedless cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and 1/4-inch half circles
1/ 2 cup fresh berries, blueberries or blackberries or a combination
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons oil (I use toasted sesame oil or EVOO)
Salt and pepper to taste
Halibut: preheat oven to 375 degrees, squeeze lemon juice over filets, cover each filet with oil of your choice, flip once back and forth to cover both sides, and season to taste (I use HEB’s Adam’s citrus). Bake for 6 minutes for 1/2 -inch or 9 minutes for 1-inch filets (until flaky and opaque). Plate two salads with the spinach and kale.
In a small bowl whisk the remaining lemon juice and oil together. Top the spinach and kale with 1 halibut filet per plate.
Top it with the pineapple, sweet peppers, blueberries (or other berries), and cucumbers.
Sprinkle lemon juice and oil mixture over cooked halibut and salad. Salt and pepper as needed.