Yum: Island cooks share holiday recipes

Crostini with goat cheese. — Photo by Catharine Walthers

We asked Island cooks and bloggers to share some recipes that were not the typical holiday fare.

Grapefruit-Ginger Juice Cocktails with Pomegranate Ice

From Sarah Waldman, twobluelemons.com

Makes 4 small cups

Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1 cup water (plus more for ice)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into thin strips
2 large grapefruits
2 limes
Prosecco, gin, or seltzer water

Sprinkle pomegranate seeds in an empty ice cube tray, and carefully fill with water. Place in freezer to freeze.

In a small saucepan, heat water, honey, and ginger root to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Place in the freezer to cool. Meanwhile, juice grapefruits and limes through a sieve into a large pitcher. Strain in honey-ginger water, removing the ginger slices, and mix.

Place an ice cube in each glass, pour juice over, and top with Prosecco, gin, or seltzer water.

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Roasted Pears

From Cathy Walthers, from her book “Soups & Sides”

Serves 8

This makes a tasty cold-weather appetizer for the holiday. The pears need to be roasted the same day they are being served, without being refrigerated.

2 just-ripe pears, such as Anjou
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 loaf fresh bread, such as cranberry-walnut or pecan bread
1 (4-ounce) package of your favorite goat cheese, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the pears, cut them in half and scoop out the cores with a spoon or a melon baller. Rub each pear with olive oil. Place pears cut side down on prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with fresh thyme and bake until lightly browned on the cut side and easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. When cool, slice each pear half into 3 or 4 slices.

Cut the loaf into slices between ¼ and ½ inch thick. Spread each with a nice layer of goat cheese. Lay 2 or 3 pear slices on top. Set aside on a baking sheet.

Just before serving, heat the slices in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, just to warm them up slightly.

Seared Scallops with Parsnip Purée

From Jan Buhrman, chef and educator at Kitchen Porch

This time of year, when bay scallops are at their sweetest, they are perfect for holiday entertaining because they are so quick and easy.

It is easy to overcook scallops. I sear them in olive oil until just brown on one side and still translucent in the middle as they continue to cook.

As soon as they are seared, I remove them to a platter.

Smear a bit of the parsnip purée (recipe below) on a plate, place the scallops on top of the purée, melt a tablespoon of butter in the warm pan from the scallops and pour over. Or find a wonderful pumpkin oil and drizzle that alongside the purée. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pumpkin seeds, and pass the toothpicks! Super easy! Super fresh!

1 pound peeled and chopped parsnips cut into ½-inch-thick slices
½ stick unsalted butter
⅛ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Optional: pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds for garnish

Place parsnips with enough cold water to cover in heavy pot and cover with lid. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain. In food processor, purée hot parsnips, butter, and chicken stock until smooth. Transfer to large serving dish, stir in salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Serve with pear ginger shots (recipe below).

Pear Ginger Shots

24 shot-glass servings

Add a splash of bourbon or rum if you like.
6 ripe Anjou pears, peeled and sliced
2 cups apple cider
2 cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 4-inch cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons honey

In a large saucepan, place pears, cider, wine, ginger to taste, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and gently simmer until the pears are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Discard the cinnamon stick. Pour the soup into a large blender or food processor and blend. Add honey and process until smooth. Remove to pitcher and cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours. Pour into small glasses to serve.

Hint: if you are stretched for time, you may use this as a glaze for your scallops as well (in place of the parsnips). Add a bit more salt and pour butter over as you would for the scallop dish described above.