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Christmas Menu for Two

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I've spent many Christmases alone or with just a friend or two, and as with all other holidays I absolutely dispute the idea that just because there are only one or two is no reason not create a feast. A smaller feast? Yes, but that makes it even harder to justify going out to eat instead of cooking. My friend, Q, absolutely relishes the excuse to cook an over-the-top menu for him and his sweetheart.

Start off your meal with a glass of champagne and the Gourgeres (which you can make in advance).

Gougeres with Prosciutto: French, Swiss, & Italian

Gougeres with Prosciutto
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
Gougeres are bite-size savory puff pastries generally made with cheese. Don't let the pastry frighten you, it looks tricky but turns out to be even easier than pie. Best of all, these can be frozen and reheated. The prosciutto is my own addition - and I really like it (think of ham and biscuits with a French accent).

Pan-roasted Duck with Cranberry Coulis: Easy & Sophisticated

Duck with Cranberry Coulis
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
One of the great things about cooking for two is that expensive foods are cheaper. Oh, not really, but spending $12/lb. on a single Muscovy Duck breast for two is a lot easier to justify than spending $36/lb. on three breasts for six. This is a wonderfully festive recipe: a real treat for Christmas, a birthday, or an anniversary and it couldn't be any easier.

Potatoes Savoyarde: A Classic Gratin

Potatoes Savoyarde
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
Potatoes Savoyarde is a classical French dish - a gratin - perfect with any meat prepared almost any way. I've served it beside Beef Daube, Smoked Salmon, and Chicken Saltimbocca, but it's particularly good with duck. Whatever you serve it with it's delicious.

Glazed Carrots with Mint and Lemon

Side Dish: Glazed Carrots with Mint and Lemon
Kevin D Weeks
Carrots are an underrated vegetable, but they have a delightful natural sweetness that complements a wide array of main dishes. This recipe is simple, fairly quick, definitely easy, and spins the classic dish of glazed carrots in a new direction.

Italian Apple Cake: So Good it Should be Illegal

Italian Apple Cake
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
This wonderful apple cake is easy to make, packed with flavor, and perfect any time of year, but is particularly suited for fall when apples are in season and the spices fill your home with the exotic scents of the east that we so associate with apples, fall, winter, rain, and warmth. I particularly like Braeburn apples in this recipe.

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