Day 4: Entrées/Mains

>> Saturday, 15 December 2018

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In addition to ham, I generally serve only 1 other main meat dish in the form of a roast and most of the others - a combination of seafood. This makes the pescatarians very happy.

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For the shrimp, season with your favourite herb paste or dry rub, heat oil in pan and cook for 1 and 1/2 minutes flipping halfway; for jumbo shrimp, cook for 2 minutes.

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Day 3: Sides & Salad

>> Friday, 14 December 2018

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These are some very simple and straightforward ideas, and really need no recipe. However, I am posting a how-to recipe for the Butter Potatoes. While many might be tempted to use margarine for this recipe, don't. Use butter for excellent flavour. When a dish is simple, use the best and freshest ingredients available.

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This Pumpkin Rice is gorgeously jeweled with chunks of sweet pumpkin. Start the dish by sautéing lots of onions and finely minced fresh thyme. Wash the rice and drain well (pre-soaking is optional). Gently cook the rice with the onion-thyme mixture of a minute or 2 before adding cooking liquid (vegetable or chicken stock, or water) along with pumpkin, black pepper and salt to taste. A pat or 2 of butter would be a welcome addition. Stir well, bring to a boil, for 5 minutes than cook covered for 25 - 30 minutes depending on the variety of rice you are using. Shut off heat; let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing and serving.

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My mother likes a combo she puts together that she calls corn custard, this is a take on that but I call it Corn Pie/Corn Pudding because it is thicker and richer. Mix together 1 part cream style corn with 2 parts canned (drained) whole corn along with some cheese sauce (same type used to make from-scratch macaroni pie) and an egg. Top with grated cheese and bake in a 350 degrees oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until the edges are browned and the pudding puffed up. Let rest for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.

Tip: season the cheese sauce with finely minced garlic, thyme and hot peppers.

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I eat okra all year round and that includes Christmas. Fresh sweet local corn is in season at this time too so I combine the two. Steam and cut okra. Shuck corn and remove kernels; steam cook and assemble with okra while still hot. Make a simple dressing of soy sauce and fresh lime/lemon juice and drizzle. Serve immediately.

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There is no order to the things assembled here - put together whatever is on hand and serve as is or with a salad dressing of your choice. Here I have avocado, tomato, lettuce, olives and sliced red onions.

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Day 2: Dinner Rolls

>> Thursday, 13 December 2018

Today I am presenting 2 rolls - Pull-apart Garlic-butter Butterflaps and Pumpkin-Rosemary Rolls. Both or either of these rolls would be a welcome addition to any table as dinner rolls. The pull-apart bread is the perfect way of 'breaking bread' with family, friends and loved ones.

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Make these as is - bun size - but they can easily be doubled in quantity by making the rolls smaller.

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Just like the Pumpkin-Rosemary rolls, you can double the quantity for this pull-apart bread by making each piece of dough smaller and baking in 2 pans.

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The recipe for the homemade garlic butter can be found in the recipe for the dough (see below).

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