Monday, December 22, 2008

jewels of the season

pomegranate seeds are one of my favorite parts of this time of year. they are tiny and perfect and a deep glossy red. the flavor of these is much sweeter than the juice that is made from them. but they still have a tart bite to them. because of this, they pair well with both savory and super sweet dishes. i know that some people are a little intimidated by the fruit itself...not knowing how to go about deconstructing it, but it's really quite simple.

the most important thing to remember is to wear a shirt that you don't care about, or at the very least a nice sturdy apron. the juice from these is a shocking red, and it stains everything in sight. to take the pomegranate apart, simply cut it down the middle, dividing it into two sections. once that's done, carefully remove the white membrane that surrounds the seeds and pluck them carefully from the body of the fruit. set them aside into a bowl.

once you've done that you can have fun with them in any way you desire. my favorite way to eat these is poured over vanilla ice cream. as the ice cream melts and the juice from the seeds starts to run out...the ice cream goes all pink and delicious. enjoy a pomegranate this season!

and, for those of you who would like a sweet and spicy spread to serve with your cheese and cracker platter this holiday season, keep reading...

pomegranate chili jelly

5 oz pom wonderful juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons corn starch

combine all ingredients in a pan and put on the stove on medium high heat. whisk together to remove all lumps from the corn starch, and continue to whisk occasionally as the mixture thickens. once the jelly goes all glossy and thick, remove from the heat and either serve immediately or refrigerate. it will keep for a few days in the fridge...but i dare you to try to keep it around that long.

i served mine at my company holiday party with goat cheese and everything crackers. it was a hit. it would also be awesome on a turkey and swiss panini sandwich.

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