I typically find relief in January. There are no parties to attend or gifts to buy. The children have made merry and are happily back at school. Without the clutter of Christmas, our little house feels clean and airy. The brilliant January sunlight streams through the frosty windows beautifully. But I also find myself nostalgic and a little fumbling as I set a course for the new year. [Read more…]
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I (really) love to put out a spread of great food and drink, but the last few times I’ve hosted a big party, I’ve felt like I spent the whole party taking coats, mixing drinks, getting appetizers from the oven to the serving tray, instead of actually, y’know, spending time with all these people I like. So lately, as part of my ongoing quest for more meaningful interactions, I’ve been throwing smaller parties of four or five where I really have the time to enjoy the festivities. A few close friends, some good food, and a couple great bottles of wine is always the best.
Last Saturday, we picked up our Christmas tree. Brian wanted to drive to the nice in-town place where we got a tree last year, but heading out to the country to chop down our own was very high on my things-to-do-now-that-we-don’t-live-Brooklyn wish list, and because he could see I had my heart set on it, we drove south to a tree farm. As we crossed the county line south of town, I realized that the “just over the river” place I’d picked was actually 30 miles past the river – over winding backcountry roads of varying degrees of pavedness through the rain-soaked Virginia hills and forests shrouded in fog. We arrived, were given instructions by a kind older man with a very specific central Virginia accent that is best described as Southern meets Canadian. We set out to find our tree and after some slogging through wet fields selected a Norway spruce. Instead of chopping, Brian sawed it down with a dull hacksaw. After we carted it back, paid, and tied it to the car, we happily made our way home, stopping at our favorite rural pizza place (our favorite pizza in Virginia!) on the way back.
In the backdrop of all this merriment, there are a few stressors. [Read more…]
It’s been an odd, nearly balmy, winter in the city. Here in February, I spotted a few flakes of snow, but also buds, blossoms, flowers, and even a mosquito. And a few weeks ago, the wild chives started pushing up (about a month early). Wayward chives aside, the growing season is still a long way out. But cultivated mushrooms, which can be grown year-round, are widely available at the local markets, and they’re a meaty delicacy in a season of want. [Read more…]
We take Thanksgiving pretty seriously here at Brooklyn Supper. For the past 6 years Brian and I have stayed put and invited friends and family to cram into our one-bedroom apartment for a giant feast. I love every part of Thanksgiving, getting ready in the weeks before, frantic Wednesday before prep, waking up at 6am and dealing with the turkey, and then, the big moment. Guests arrive and, it’s Thanksgiving!
Whether you’re hosting a celebration of your own this year, or just bring a dish or two, we’ve got you covered. Over on Babble.com’s Family Kitchen, we’ve been in the Thanksgiving spirit for weeks. Here are some of the Thanksgiving-friendly recipes we posted this week:
4 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes (more work now = more relaxing when it counts)
And for some ideas from Brooklyn Supper Thanksgivings past, try these: [Read more…]
Stay tuned for another long, seemingly complicated recipe. Writing it out has left me totally exhausted with hardly an ounce of wit or storytelling leftover. Worth the trouble though, these enchiladas were spectacular: light and delicate, with complex, spicy flavor. A really nice take on a dish that can often be made with a very heavy hand. Enchiladas are the lasagna of summer.
Though this recipe is worth the time, I’d like to offer an enchilada redux: make a mexican flavored tomato sauce, fresh or otherwise. Saute some vegetables and/or beans. Shred a bunch of cheese. Heat the sauce, dip the tortillas, put the filling in with cheese, roll, cover the completed enchiladas with more sauce and cheese, bake.
This recipe calls for roasted vegetables, which is hard for me since I’m afraid of my broiler. Ever since I was a kid I have been really scared of fires and smoke detectors sounding their alarms. Surprisingly, I haven’t been completely terrorized by the time our house actually did catch on fire, though it did renew my smoke detector terror. If you are brave, this is a perfect time to use your broiler (which almost certainly won’t catch on fire). Another option is to roast in your oven on 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes (until edges are brown and the juices have caramelized on the pan). And of course, there’s always the grill. As you can see from the opening picture, I chose to dry roast the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers in a frying pan. This took forever — use one of the other methods.
Also, like many Susan Spicer recipes, this is long and complicated but really good. Make the sauce a day ahead, and the rest of the recipe is fairly straightforward.
Vegetable Enchiladas with Roasted Tomato Sauce (adapted from Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking)
for the sauce
1 poblano pepper
1-2 jalapeno peppers
1 onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
6 fresh, ripe, medium sized tomatoes
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
for the filling
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 portobello mushrooms, quickly wiped or rinsed, stems removed, and cut into long 1/2″ wide lengths
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
2 medium zucchini, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
10-12 corn tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar
onion, jalapeno, or fresh herbs for garnish
Roast the whole peppers, chopped onion, skin-on garlic, and tomatoes according to your preferred roasting method. Set the peppers aside and when they’re cool pull out stem and rinse out the seeds. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the papery skin. Throw all of the vegetables into the bowl of food processor and give it a few pulses, until things are combined but not pureed. Set the sauce aside, or, if you are making the day ahead, cover and refrigerate.
Next you’ll need to cook the enchilada filling. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and saute the peppers and onion until tender; remove from pan. Add a little more olive oil and saute the mushrooms with the cumin until the mushrooms are soft and start to release their water; remove from pan. Add a little more oil and saute the zucchini until tender but not mushy; remove from pan. Put the cooked vegetables into a big bowl and gently mix, adding the oregano, cilantro, and scallions.
Now it’s time to make the enchiladas. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using the same frying pan as before, add a little olive oil and heat 1/3 of the enchilada sauce. To assemble, dip the tortilla into the heated sauce until it is tender and pliable (about 30 seconds). Use tongs so you don’t burn your fingers. Then put 1/4 cup of vegetable filling and a sprinkle of cheese into the softened tortilla. Roll and place in rectangular baking pan seam side down. Repeat until the pan is full and the filling is gone. Cover with sauce, more cheese, and the optional garnish, and cook until cheese is melted and everything is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately, although this dish might be even better the day after due to delicious flavor meld.
spiked egg nog
roasted garlic spread
caramelized onion dip
chocolate chip cookies (recipe courtesy of the NY Times)
The onion dip had a fantastic and rich onion flavor. Because the onions were cooked, the flavor was subtle and not at all overwhelming. The really thick sour cream meant the dip was really rich and creamy, just the way you want dip to be. I think the kind of sour cream I used starts with an “A”–it’s the one with the stylized flour on it.
The roasted vegetables were as easy as can be, and they lent wonderful color and flavor to the holiday table. Miss Manners says you can eat asparagus with your fingers. The mushrooms were not as easy to package for eating, though stacking a few slices on a toothpick turned out to be a fine solution.
Brooklyn Supper is going to be taking a holiday break, but we wish you and yours all the best for a safe and happy holiday season. We’ll talk again before the new year.
Caramelized Onion Dip
2-3 large onions, finely diced
2 tablespoons butter
7-8 oz. thick sour cream
Heat butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy and fragrant, add the onions and a liberal amount of salt (1 tablespoon or so). Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Then turn the heat to low and cook onions for an additional 20-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Onions should be quite soft and golden.
Place cooked onions into a strainer and allow any liquid and fat to drain off.
Stir onions into sour cream, season to taste and allow to sit, covered and in the refrigerator, at least overnight. When you are ready to serve, check seasoning, and stir in a bit of parsley either for flavor or color. Serve with good potato chips and carrot sticks.
1 lb. mushrooms (crimini are fine, though shitakes would be wonderful), cleaned, stems removed, and thickly sliced
2 bunches fresh asparagus, woody ends broken off and lightly peeled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil rimmed cookie sheets. Lay out the asparagus on one, and scatter the mushrooms on the other. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and shake. Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon zest, and drizzle 1 or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce onto the mushrooms.
Place both trays into the oven and cook for 20 – 25 minutes or more (depends on how thick the asparagus is), until the asparagus start to brown and the edges of the mushrooms start to crisp (just slightly).
Remove vegetables from the oven and finish each tray with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.