In lots of houses all through the nation, a giant Christmas celebration/dinner simply isn’t going to occur. I’ll solely be seeing a few my relations, primarily for a fast reward alternate, and after a glass of champagne and a few nibbles from my desk, they’ll be on their method again to the Spokane space.

The buffet desk will function the piece de resistance — a platter holding a aspect of smoked salmon and my all-time favourite pasta (and seafood) choices — a easy fruit salad and fruit cake (naturally) for dessert. Listed below are a few of my favorites, the primary of which is pictured.

Lemon-Tossed Linguine with Scallops

(Serves 6)

1 pint (2 cups) small bay scallops (or massive scallops, reduce in half)

8 ounces raw linguine

2 tablespoons recent lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 tablespoon EACH minced recent parsley and lemon thyme leaves (stripped from stems)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon floor white pepper

2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Cook dinner pasta in boiling water with NO salt till simply reduce in opposition to aspect of saucepan w/aspect of fork. Drain, place in medium bowl. Drizzle lemon juice over the noodles and toss. Put aside, lined to maintain heat.

In the meantime, soften the butter in a heavy skillet over medium warmth. Add garlic, chives and herbs and cook dinner, stirring till comfortable. Increase warmth to medium/excessive and toss in scallops; add olive oil and sauté, stirring till opaque and cooked via — 3-4 minutes. Stir in lemon peel and white pepper. Pour scallop combination over pasta, tossing properly. Sprinkle with cheese, tossing as soon as extra to coat evenly. Garnish with lemon slices and rosemary or dill sprigs as desired. Serve instantly with additional cheese out there.

Word: You’ll be able to simply change this recipe right into a refreshing salad by draining and instantly cooling the pasta in chilly water, draining properly when chilly, then tossing with the lemon juice. Omit butter and use olive oil solely when sautéing scallops, and permit to chill earlier than tossing with the pasta. As a substitute of including grated cheese, use minced inexperienced herbs of alternative, salt and pepper to style, and one other drizzle of olive if essential. Serve with a bowlful of blended olives.

Bonus tip: As a substitute of pasta serve the scallop/lemon peel combination over chopped romaine or different salad greens and toss with a little bit Caesar dressing for an incredible inexperienced salad.

King Crab Fettuccini

(For 4 — enlarge as wanted)

2 or 3 King crab legs, heated in oven or in boiling water till heat via; flesh eliminated and reduce into bite-size items

2 tablespoons actual butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

6-ounce pkg. fettuccini, cooked, drained, lined

1 tablespoon finely chopped recent parsley leaves

In heavy saucepan, soften butter, stir in flour till creamy; regularly stir in half and half, stirring with gravy whisk till properly integrated. Combine in heavy cream, then stir in Parmesan. Cook dinner and stir on low warmth till clean. Fold in crab meat, stir and warmth about 3 minutes. Add fettuccini into the sauce, lifting and mixing gently till properly integrated. Pour onto a platter in into pasta bowl and prime with the parsley. Serve instantly.

Word: You’ll be able to, if you want, substitute massive steamed prawns.

Simplicity ought to rule on a buffet and this (pictured) salad is the proper reply. It’s designed for 4 to 6 folks, so determine accordingly. By the way in which, this salad options (hulled) pistachio nuts, however finely chopped walnuts or pecans work properly too. Combine, if you want.

Orange/Date Salad

6 oranges

2 tablespoons orange flower water or rosewater (optionally available, use if desired)

Lemon juice

3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

1/3 cup (or extra) pistachio nuts and different chopped nuts

Confectioners’ sugar to style

Peel oranges over a bowl (to catch juices) with a pointy knife, eradicating and discarding all pithy veins, and reduce into segments. If section skins are thick, fastidiously peel them if you want. Place orange segments in a serving dish. In a small bowl, stir collectively the juices, flower waters and a little bit lemon juice as desired (style as you go) pour over segments. Prime with chopped dates, sprinkle nuts over all, and hold cool till serving time.

A little bit drama marks this scrumptious salad possibility.

Blended Greens Salad With Fruit & French dressing

(Serves 8)

2 heads butter lettuce OR blended crimson or inexperienced leaf lettuces, rinsed properly, patted dry

4 or 5 ripe pears, peeled if essential, rinsed, cored, sliced into “followers,” separated

A number of small clusters of (rinsed) grapes — black, crimson, inexperienced or blended

1/4 cup orange-ginger French dressing (recipe follows)

Dressing: (To be made the day earlier than)

Orange-Ginger French dressing:

(about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup recent orange juice

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon recent floor black pepper

1/2 teaspoon recent grated ginger or finely slivered dried ginger “cash”

In a medium bowl mix all components and whisk to mix. Place in hermetic container and refrigerate a minimum of 24 hours earlier than use. At serving time, organize greens on a big platter with a drizzle of the dressing, with pear slices and grape clusters organized round outer rim. Have remaining dressing in a server for many who need a little bit additional.

The happiest of Christmases to all of you and your households.

Valle Novak writes the Nation Chef and Weekend Gardener columns for the Each day Bee. She will be reached at or by telephone at 208-265-4688 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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