Holiday Dinner for Two

One of my holiday traditions is to make a romantic pre-Christmas  dinner for two before heading out of town to see family on Christmas Eve.  This year I was so busy that I decided to keep the menu pretty simple, but still wanted to make something savory and delicious.
Holiday salad with pumpkin bread croutons (recipe below)
Lamb chops served with petite peas, mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.  I purchased grass-fed, New Zealand lamb chops from Whole Foods and pan seared them with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper for 4 minutes on each side over medium high heat.
Old fashioned chocolate cake from Susie Cakes Bakery served with Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato.
Holiday Salad:
Butter lettuce (you can substitute mesclun or romaine if butter lettuce is unavailable)
Toasted pistachios (walnuts or pecans will also work)
Crumbled goat cheese or feta
Dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds (I used Eden Organic dried cranberries)
Pumpkin or gingerbread croutons
Champagne vinaigrette
To make the Champagne Vinaigrette
1/2 shallot peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinaigrette
1/3 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of fresh ground pepper
Mix all ingredients in blender.  Puree until smooth.
To make the croutons:
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dice up pumpkin or gingerbread into bite size cubes.  Place in a single layer on baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the toasted nuts:
Preheat a small skillet to medium low heat.  Add nuts and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

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