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Cooking Club: I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Posted Dec 01 2009 12:00am
This past weekend we hosted our 6th Annual Cooking Club Christmas Party. This year the theme was a "Green" Christmas and we tried for a menu full of local and organic specialties. All the guests also brought new or used cookbooks wrapped in something recycled. As is our tradition, the ladies cooked and the guys cleaned up.




The menu included:







Organic Spicy Greens with Butter Lettuce, Feta cheese and sliced Fuyu persimmons




(except we used local Gouda cheese from Bravo Farms & ground almonds instead of walnuts)






Pomegranate Beef served over Quinoa
with Pomegranate Salsa

Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread with Cinnamon whipped cream



Many of the recipes were from Eating Well magazine. We also used a few other new recipes. The Pomegranate Beef was the Main Course and it featured an easy crockpot recipe using grass-fed beef from a local rancher in Tulare. The roast turned out beautifully tender and flavorful. We topped it with a Pomegranate relish or salsa (recipe below). My friend Cori helped me can (or jar) the salsa and we also sent our guests home with a jar as a gift.

Pomegranate Beef

-3-lb. grass-fed beef roast
-1 cup pomegranate juice
-1 (15-ounce) can organic fire-roasted tomatoes (We found them at Trader Joe's).
-1 cup golden raisins
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon marjoram
-1 teaspoon thyme
-1 teaspoon oregano
-1 teaspoon rosemary
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-2 teaspoons sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients except for roast.
2. Pour mixture over roast in a crockpot.
3. Cook on low setting 5-6 hours until roast is fork tender and easy to shred.
4. Serve over rice or quinoa. Top with Pomegranate relish/salsa

Pomegranate Relish/Salsa

Ingredients:
-Seeds from 2 medium pomegranates, about 1-1/2 cups

-1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
-1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped, green jalapeño pepper
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
-1 tablespoon organic sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Gently fold together pomegranate seeds and remaining ingredients.

Makes 1-1/2 cups.

And the star of the evening was the old-style Christmas gingerbread with a fun twist - pears. This recipe was adapted from William-Sonoma's "Seasonal Favorites" cookbook. This dessert surprised us all and we were actually scrambling for seconds.
 
Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread
 
3/4 cup unsalted organic butter, softened
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cage-free egg
1/4 cup organic dark molasses
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup boiling water
 
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 
1. Heat overn to 350 degrees.
2. Using a non-stick skillet, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Stir in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and stir until sugar melts. Add pear slices and cook, stirring occassionally until pears begin to slightly soften (about 5 minutes).
3. Arrange the pears in an even layer over the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish/pan.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat together remaining 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
5. Add the egg and molasses and beat into mixture.
6. Add flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Beat until fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
7. Spoon the batter over the pears in the dish. Bake until springy to touch (approximated 35-40 minutes).
8. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on a rack.
9. While the cake is cooling, beat whipping cream. Add 1 tablespoon organic sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
10. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Cut into squares and serve warm topped with cinnamon whipped cream.
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