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.


One response to “In The Dark?

  1. Thank you for sharing my Salmon Gravlax Martini!!!

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