Every week, I take out my recipe collection and favourite cookbooks and plan my meals for the week. I take into account which farm-fresh veggies and fruits my organic food distributor, Mama Earth, will be dropping in a basket at my front door. I also take into account how much time I'll have on certain evenings during the week, and plan accordingly.
As Christmas approaches, I begin early, maybe several weeks in advance. I start perusing my cookbooks for jaw-dropping, wow-factor recipes, ones that are easy to transport to Christmas parties, ones that I can throw in the oven and pull out as guests walk through the door; recipes for rich, aromatic desserts that include caramel, dates, dark chocolate, pumpkin, or brandy flavours.
If you're still stuck for ideas, recipes from top chefs for my "What's cooking for Christmas" series in the CTV.ca Holiday Guide will help kick-start your holiday menu planning:
- Acclaimed chef David Lee, of Toronto's Splendido, shares with us his recipe for slow-roasted milk-fed piglet with roasted root vegetables.
- Meanwhile, Gordon Ramsay's wife Tana says her leg of lamb, with pancetta, rosemary and tomato sauce is the ideal addition to your holiday spread.
- Charming TV personality David Rocco, will be injecting some dolce vita into his traditional Italian Christmas dinner with mussels and stewed octopus.
- Celebrated chef Vikram Vij, owner of the Indian fusion restaurant described as among the best in the world by Patricia Wells, shared his recipe for prawns in coconut masala.
- Pastry chef and popular TV personality Anna Olson suggests making her delectable chocolate crinkles.
Still to come: "Surreal Gourmet" Bob Blumer, food writer Jennifer McLagan, award-winning cookbook authors Bonnie Stern and Naomi Duguid, and celebrated chef Didier Leroy.