Christmas is over and all of the decorations are safely back in their boxes in storage; the tree has been removed and all the needles (mostly) vacuumed away; and only a few scattered Christmas treats (caramels, orangettes) linger in the kitchen. Christmas is a beautiful time; yet somehow, I always breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over and gone, and we can move on with our lives and plan for a new year.
My living room feels huge, for one thing – now that the decorated fir tree is no longer stretching its lower branches across my carpet and now that the frenzy of gift buying and giving have been put aside for the moment, it’s a time to pause and reflect, and to start off fresh.
There will be people around the world making New Year’s resolutions tomorrow – promises to do this, not that. Lose weight, save money, exercise more, accomplish a specific goal, learn something new, go somewhere they’ve always dreamed of, and to eat a more healthy diet.
I can help with that last one, starting off with one simple dessert. This is the salad I made for Christmas Morning – tired of the chocolate and sweets and heavy foods for a moment and inspired by the grapefruit and orange slices served with cinnamon at a pre-Christmas breakfast at a friend’s house, I arranged a pile of beautiful, bright, fresh oranges and added cinnamon, vanilla and a sprig of mint. Never has a pile of fresh, raw fruit been so welcomed.
As you close out this year with a bang and start the new year off fresh with high hopes and promising dreams, take a moment to stir together this salad and serve it for yourself or for guests as you contemplate Auld Lang Syne. This one couldn’t be easier. You’ll get a bit of a zing from the cinnamon and a perfumed softness from the vanilla, both of which combine to elevate the orange to a new, dessert level. If you wish, add a dollop of greek yogurt or creme fraiche for a true indulgence.
Cinnamon, Vanilla & Oranges
4 oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
a few mint sprigs for garnish
Combine the oranges and vanilla in a small bowl. Sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon over the top. Flip the oranges over a few times to coat them completely with the vanilla and cinnamon. Sprinkle a little more cinnamon over the top, add a mint sprig for beauty, and serve.
This dish can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to two days.