It's hard to believe it’s already December! With the holiday season fully underway, we’re featuring some of our favorite places to unwind in front of a fireplace this winter—hopefully with some of your favorite people. Speaking of winter, we’re highlighting a recent trip to the Scandinavian Arctic, complete with a viewing of the Northern Lights. Beaches more your speed? We’ve got the lowdown on some of the best hotels in Anguilla. From all of us at First in Service, we wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year. Cheers to 2019!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Thanksgiving is just a few days away! Every year, each First in Service office—from New York to Colombia—hosts a potluck Thanksgiving feast, where we bring our favorite dishes to share. We’ve collected a few of those wonderful recipes, focusing on side dishes (the best part of Thanksgiving, no?). As you prepare your menu this week, here’s some inspiration—straight from the kitchens of our talented team:
Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Yogurt Dressing
by Ivan Porras, F1S Colombia office
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
2 fresh mint leaves
1 bag of pre-washed spinach
1 cup strawberries
½ cup nuts of your choice (almonds preferred)
1. Start the yogurt dressing by fully mixing yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and finely chopped mint. Add as much yogurt as needed until it reaches desired consistency.
2. Try the flavor and adjust any ingredient amount if necessary. Refrigerate.
3. Wash the strawberries and cut off the top part, then slice all.
4. Build the salad in each individual dish in the following order: base of spinach, strawberry slices, crushed almonds (or nuts of choice). Top with the yogurt dressing
Serves: 3-4 people
Tangy Cranberry Salsa
By Vida Talandis, F1S Los Angeles office
1 package fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 blood orange (segmented)
1 jalapeno (seeded)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 lime zest and juice
¼ chopped cilantro
1. In food processor, process cranberries to loose pieces. Put in bowl.
2. Pulse orange and jalapeno. Add to cranberries.
3. Add: sugar, lime juice, zest, ginger, honey and salt. Adjust salt and sugar.
4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.
5. Toss with cilantro before serving.
Serves: 12 – 15
Brussel Sprouts, with Bacon and Candied Walnuts
By Jennifer Ho-Perez, F1S New York office
1lb cup of walnuts or pecans
1 cup of white sugar
3/4 pound thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (omit the hard core)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a nonstick pan, melt the sugar over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir, to ensure no clumps. Once you have a brown syrup, add nuts to pan and shut flame and toss until fully coated. Remove and set aside on a flat tray to cool.
2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels; reserve 1/4 cup of fat.
3. In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the bacon fat. Add the Brussels sprouts in batches and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened but still bright green, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer the slaw to a platter, scatter the bacon on top. Break up the candied walnuts in a zip lock bag if hardened. Sprinkle right before serving.
Roasted Peppers and Eggplant Salad
By Romana Illera, F1S Spain office
2 red peppers
1 whole eggplant
3 pieces of garlic
Spanish olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1. Heat oven to 450-degrees F for 10 minutes
2. In the meantime, slice eggplant in half (lengthwise), rub olive oil on them. Leave red peppers whole and rub olive oil on them, too. Lower oven heat to 325-degrees F.
3. Place red pepper and eggplant in the middle rack and heat in oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the red pepper skin is wrinkled and the eggplant is soft. Five minutes before you remove from the oven, add three pieces of garlic and bake until soft.
4. Remove everything from the oven (or whichever becomes soft first). Let cool.
5. Peel red pepper skin off, de-seed and slice lengthwise in strips. DO NOT remove skin from eggplant (it´s a great antioxidant!) and slice lengthwise. Slice garlic as well.
6. Combine balsamic vinegar and high-quality olive oil, salt and pepper to your liking to create a salad dressing. Pour over the red peppers, eggplant and garlic. If you want to give it a kick, add beautifully sliced, sweet Spanish onions. Ole!