Holidays are stressful for anyone. Even, I imagine, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson. I relish in the chaos, however. The music, the smell of all the food cooking, my husband running in and out of our kitchen sneaking tastes of everything… It’s beautiful even at that stage. When I think of Thanksgiving specifically, I think of hors d’Oeuvres. I believe it became a staple in my family because it kept the guests away from the kitchen and therefore leaving the host alone to do whatever he or she still needed to. The trick of course, was in not allowing your guests to eat too much before dinner or having too much wine! My spoons can be used for any holiday but, the pomegranate seeds and pears really lend themselves to the rest of the upcoming Thanksgiving meal.
You will need:
- Bosc Pears
- Pomegranates (get the seeds already removed from the fruit if you can; really saves you time)
- Smoked Gouda
- Turkey Kielbasa
- Parsley (you can use basil if you’d like)
Take the kielbasa and with either a knife or kitchen shears cut it into small pieces, heat the pieces in a sauté pan with a little olive oil. Medium to medium low is fine; it’s already cooked, you’re just getting some crisp to the meat and letting the juices come up. Separately, cut your pears into small cubes, doing the same with your cheese. If you purchased whole pomegranates, put a plate down before cutting into them as the bright red juice will infuriate anyone in a hurry. Cut straight through the fruit and then over a colander placed over a bowl, hit the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon and watch the red jewels fall out. Pull away the meat to get to the stubborn seeds and keep that juice in the bowl to add to a festive cocktail before dinner. Don’t forget to move your kielbasa around in your pan; it will stick sometimes. What’s nice about these hors d’Oeuvres, is that they can be made in advance and served room temperature.
My Chinese spoons are a crisp white porcelain and I purchased them from Pier 1. You can arrange them in any way you choose, and just fill them with as equal parts of everything as you can. Top with parsley or basil – dried or fresh (finely chopped).
Each bite will remind your guests of what this holiday’s menu is typically about: the smoky cheese, the red color from the pomegranate seeds, the crisp pears and the savory kielbasa. I’m salivating just thinking about it now! It’s decadent without being too difficult, and it really makes the guests feel special because the presentation is a bit unexpected. The cleanup couldn’t be easier and the remaining portions that you didn’t use in your spoons can all be paired back with any of your meals following the feast. We all have leftovers we repurpose later and I can’t think of a salad or a turkey sandwich that wouldn’t welcome those ingredients.
Optional: Add a little drizzle of honey