Colorful Foods to Brighten Your Winter Table

 

Outside may be blanketed with winter white but foods of fall and winter come in many beautiful hues. Including a wide variety of colors of food on the table is the best way to include as many vitamins and minerals into the meal, and on your plate. It’s also a simple way to create a stunning spread that makes every meal feel like a celebration. Create your own gorgeous feast by including some of these colorful foods in your next winter meal. 

Roasted Vegetables

One of the easiest ways to warm a kitchen on a cold winter night is with a hot oven, delicious smells wafting through the house, and the anticipation of a hot meal. What’s one of the easiest and healthiest side dishes for casual weeknight prep or for a formal dinner party? Hearty vegetables such as purple cauliflower, golden beets, sweet potatoes, and shallots tossed with with extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme salt, and pepper then roasted in your Café Convection Wall Oven.

Another star of the roasted side variety? Roasted beets. Their bright red color and earthy flavor pair perfectly with balsamic vinegar. Sliced Brussels sprouts and small pearl onions are also delicious when lightly charred. Serve alongside a roasted whole chicken or slow-cooked beef roast and a side salad.

Comfort Food

Comfort food doesn’t have to be beige and heavy. Think outside the box with brightly colored winter soups like borscht, carrot soup, and sweet potato stew. Serve alongside cloth napkins and white or red wine. Or, prepare hand drawn pasta and a fragrant red tomato sauce with heirloom red, green, and yellow tomatoes, fresh basil, and a dollop of ricotta.

Reconsider salad as comfort food and use butter lettuce and multi-color mixed greens as the base of an entree salad. Try a rainbow of mix-ins like thinly shredded purple cabbage, roasted butternut squash, blackened chicken, toasted nuts, and a simple lemon vinaigrette. 

Unique Desserts

Nothing is more surprising and novel than the taste of citrus in the middle of winter. Sample organic grapefruits at a local farmers market or grocery and use the tastiest fruit for grapefruit curd made into tarts. Grapefruit curd tarts are as lovely as they are refreshing with a dab of whipped cream. 

Make simple shortbread cookies extraordinary by dipping them in ruby chocolate⁠—a lovely pink variety of chocolate made from ruby cocoa beans⁠—and decorating with sugar pearls and coconut flakes. If you want to make it even simpler, try using good quality store-bought shortbread cookies or ladyfingers.

Fresh fruit and whipped cream is another light and flavorful bookend to a full meal. Instead of traditional berries and cream, try sliced persimmons or warm baked apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cardamom. Shave dark chocolate onto the fresh cream for a decadent topping.

Colorful winter vegetables ready to be roasted

Colorful Roasted Winter Vegetables

Cook Time 1 hour | Servings 4

Ingredients

1 small head purple cauliflower

3 small shallots, peeled and quartered

2 golden beets, peeled

1 sweet potato

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

How to make it

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower, beets and sweet potato into about 2-inch pieces. Evenly sized vegetables will cook more consistently.

Place all the vegetables in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once during cooking.

Ruby Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Ruby Chocolate Dipped Shortbread

Cook Time 1 hour | Servings 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

6 ounces ruby chocolate, chopped

Sugar pearls and shredded coconut for garnish, optional

How to make it

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest. In another bowl, combine the flour and salt, and add to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Form dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll dough ½ inch thick and cut with a 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow cookies to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put half of the ruby chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Once melted, add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth.

Dip half of the cookie into the melted ruby chocolate. Lay on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and decorate with sugar pearls or coconut flakes. Chill cookies to set the ruby chocolate.

Chef's Notes

Ruby chocolate is a new variety of chocolate derived from ruby cocoa bean. Its distinctive pink hue is natural; it has no added colors or flavorings. Ruby chocolate has a sweet and fruity taste that is unique from other types of chocolates. You can find bars of ruby chocolate in specialty markets or online.
Grapefruit Curd Tartlet

Grapefruit Curd Tartlets

Cook Time 2 hours | Servings 8 tartlets

Ingredients

8 large egg yolks

¼ cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Finely grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit

¾ cup sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Campari, optional

1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Crust

1⅓ cups all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whipped cream for garnish, optional

How to make it

Combine egg yolks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, zest and sugar in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Campari and salt. Start adding the butter, a few pieces at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour.

While the curd is chilling, make the tart shells.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pour melted butter over the flour and mix with a fork until a soft and crumbly dough forms. Place ¼ cup of the dough mixture into a 3 ½ inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly into the pan, working it up the sides. Repeat with the remaining dough and tart pans. Place completed tarts on a rimmed baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Bake in 350-degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before next step.

Fill the cooled tart shells with 2-3 tablespoons of the grapefruit curd. Bake the filled tarts in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes to set the curd. Cool tarts to room temperature then garnish with whipped cream if desired.

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