Monthly Archives: December 2011

#NYE

      What is it about this week?  Maybe it’s the turn of the season — longest day just one week behind us, family gatherings pulled off without (much) bodily injury, and maybe a long Boxing-Day snooze.  Somehow — today — everyone is talking about big beers, about sparkling, fizzing, bubbling drinks and food that goes with them. We think Jeremy Meyer has a really FUN  job doing The Denver Post’s First Drafts blog.  And despite the absence of Colorado beers, we liked the New-Year-beers article from WSJ.  Food & Wine had a cool article on cocktail trends

Some people are champion New Year’s Eve-ers; others gravitate toward New Year’s brunches.   The former may appreciate the Kale for a Hangover recipe in the Art of Living According to Joe Beef cookbook.  The latter are going to love Chef Michael Schwartz’s Roasted Vegetables with Goat Cheese, the  Smoked Salmon Dip from BA, this yum Squash + Spinach Rotolo and this:

Fierce Bloody Mary

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 4 dashes Tabasco
  • 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch celery salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coarse mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of the most intense horseradish you can locate
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 7 oz. tomato juice
  • Lime for garnish

When made in a pitcher for brunchers (or is that brunchees?) approximations and creativity are expected.

Our Foodsters are thinking avocados and citrus, which almost always go together. 

Suzanne in our office emailed me this pretty plate of avocados and pink grapefruit. 

According to Barb, the Brazilians think our insistence on avocado-as-vegetable is a little crazy.  This sweet, blendered Creme de Abacate comes from Maria-Brazil.  I sent this one around the company and Jacob suggested  avocado ice cream.  Some mysterious alternatives for guacamole came in — we will run those down.  And Billy said he’s had the “poor man’s artichoke hearts”: steamed avocados dipped in butter.   

For anyone making “I’ll-be-more-organized” resolutions, do Ruth Reichl’s handy Homemade Bread Crumbs for the freezer and check that one off your list on January second. 

 I hate to even mention those other resolutions, but the back in shape sessions from F&W, and the  Top 3 Meatless Monday favorites sound pretty good to us…

Wishing you a New Year that is happy, healthy, prosperous and gratifying in every way.

Cheers!

Gallery

breakfast

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Winter Solstice breakfast at FreshPack Produce.

Aside

Shaved Root Vegetable Salad

In The Dark?

One kind word can warm three winter months.    – Japanese proverb

 

The winter solstice arrives at 10:30 on Wednesday night.  Here in Colorado it feels like winter has just begun, but starting Thursday the days will begin to grow longer — almost imperceptibly at first, but longer.  The seasons play with our perceptions, leaving us a bit pessimistic just when we should be most optimistic.  It’s a good time to snuggle up and enjoy the gathering of family and friends.

Holidays are not just sweet, they are warm and savory too. 

We have an ancient New York Times Magazine recipe for Croustillants – little guyere and parmesan cookies to munch with your before-dinner drink or a glass of wine.  We can’t find the NYT version online, but we wanted them to get the credit.  These seem to taste even better if olives are in the immediate vicinity.
 
Croustillants   (Makes 20 to 24)
 
2 cups shredded Gruyere
½ cup grated Parmesan 6 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup (155 g) all-purpose flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
2-3 tbs chopped chives
coarse sea salt
1. In a food processor combine cheeses, butter, flour, and cayenne pepper.
Process until well combined and crumbly (40-60 seconds).
2. Transfer mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 6-7 inches long. Roll the log in the plastic wrap , patting it while you work, so that it forms a smooth, even shape.
3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or for up to overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough and slice into rounds about ¼ inch thick. Arrange on 2 ungreased baking sheets, preferably nonstick, spacing the rounds about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle evenly with chives and then with a little salt.
5. Bake the rounds, 1 sheet at a time, until they are a light golden brown – 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. For crispier crackers, bake for up to 3 minutes longer, but do not let the edges brown or the crackers will taste bitter.
6. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Note: In dry high-altitude winters these might need additional butter to hold together properly, or you can try the America’s Test Kitchen idea of adding a tablespoon or two of vodka to the mixture before rolling the mixture in plastic wrap. The added liquid makes handling easier and  will cook off during baking.
 

For a couple of winters, cauliflower florets tossed in olive oil and a little sea salt and roasted in a hot oven have been one of our crowd’s preferred after-skiing/before-dinner snack.  But we especially like the addition of green olives and pine nuts in this Food and Wine recipe.  The cookbook from Eleven Madison Park has a sous-vide cauliflower recipe that is topped with “cauliflower caviar” – so cool.

 Thank you to Mark Bittman for his brilliant Holiday Finger-Food Combination Generator

 This fresh and cheerful  Salmon Gravlax in a Martini Glass  thought comes from A Communal Table.

We wish you a warm and happy Holiday and everything good and delicious in the coming New Year.

Winter

WINTER

Those whom summer’s heat tortures yearn for the full moon of autumn

Without even fearing the idea that a hundred days of their life will then have passed forever

                                                 – Buddha Shakyamuni

Just near the Art Institute is a quarter block that looks almost vacant now, under snow.  In summer and fall, it is filled with viney cucumbers and zucchini and summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, scallions, lettuces and other summer greens.  A few blocks away in the Baker neighborhood is another community garden, and along South Pearl Street there are many patches that, in summer, will feed families and neighbors. 

It occurred to me that if we spend December dreaming about spring’s light and summer’s warmth, we will miss the amber lit windows, the scents and tastes that are winter — the ones we remember, the ones we build rituals and traditions around.  Time enough for first strawberries and early baby carrots, cilantro and thyme.

We are focused on the sweets of the season: persimmon, kumquat and pomegranate; citrus, pear and apple. We all have our own rituals and food traditions — apples were a big deal for my mother and therefore for the whole tribe of us. But the world is a smaller, tighter-knit place, so we are going to explore sights and tastes that stretch us beyond the familiar. 

Meanwhile, this is my Mom’s recipe for Sour Cream Apple Pie:

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla

3 medium eggs, slightly beaten

4 medium to large apples, cored and sliced thinly

1 – 9” pie shell

Topping:

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

¼ cup flour

Whisk together all ingredients except apples.  Spread sliced apples in pie shell.  Pour custard mix over all.  Process together topping ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over top of pie.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.

If your remembered winter flavors lean more toward the apple and cinnamon, try out this one from a valley near Turin, Italy, courtesy of Saveur — I’ve made it twice this year and it’s both pretty and delicious : 

Torta di Sant’ Antonio