Apple, Arugula & Pomegranate Salad

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Recently I was asked to teach a team building workshop on “Preparing the Perfect Holiday Meal”.  I had three hours, nine participants and one oven to work with.  Hmm…that really got me thinking even more than usual about planning, preparation and balance.

Because my “day job” not only involves sales but the management of employees, I have had the opportunity over the years to take attend many seminars for leadership, teamwork, time management….you get the idea.  When I started to think about the workshop I was putting together, it occurred to me that those same skills are invaluable in the kitchen.  The goal of this particular workshop was to show them how simple it is to make a nice Thanksgiving meal without a great deal of special skills or stress.  Here are a few tips that I took straight from the boardroom into the kitchen:

#1 – “Start with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey and numerous other business leaders preach this as fundamental for accomplishing your goals.  It is no different for a meal.  What do you want to make?  What kind of experience do you want your guests to have?  It is important to visualize what your meal is going to look like and then you can work backwards to determine the steps necessary to get there.  At the same time, make sure your goal is realistic.  If you are envisioning an elaborate 7 course meal and you have just mastered heating soup, you might want to rethink your goal.

#2 – “Be prepared” – This good old Boy Scout motto will serve you well in the kitchen.  Thanksgiving is always at my house and so the day before, I like to set out “stations” with all of my ingredients and tools for each dish…basically a dry run for my “mise en place”.  This gives me the opportunity to determine if I am missing anything and avoid a last minute panic attack or dash to the store on Thanksgiving morning.  This is also when I set my table and make my pies.  Good preparation will allow more time to enjoy your guests and spend a little bit of extra time on your final presentation.

#3 – “Balance” – One of the reasons that I started my own business many years ago was to allow for more balance in my life.  I didn’t want to succeed at my career at the expense of my family and I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.  My life required balance.  The same rule applies to any meal, but requires addtional attention during the holidays.  You need fresh dishes to offset, heavy starchy ones.  Look for balance in the visual presentation as well.  Think about it…turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy…..brown, brown and more brown.  Add punches of color with your side dishes as well as your table decor.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I will continue to share some delicious fall recipes that would make a wonderful addition to your holiday table.   This Apple, Arugula & Pomegranate Salad works wonderfully because of the freshness of the apples, the tartness of the pomegranate and the peppery bite of the arugula as the perfect offset to the heaviness of the traditional dishes.

 

 

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