06 December 2014

What To Make This Month

My time flies. How is it December? How is it so rainy this weekend and dark at 4:30 pm? And how were your Thanksgivings? Full-fledged cooking is not yet my charge; I did a wildcard of my favorite brownies with walnuts. I kept telling myself that despite the bombardment of foodie newsletter emails piling up that Tuesday and Wednesday, about dry brine, I did not have to cook turkey the next day. And yet. I'm riding the subway, I'm in the grocery store and I seem to feel a communal pressure that there will be a food shortage or a time shortage. Everyone learns something about cooking around the holidays, eh? Maybe you opt to scale back and keep your pantry leaner, or yes, do make that very same thing because it just works, or perhaps try something new. I think you have to just audition things in the kitchen sometimes. And remembering that takes pressure off that everything has to be perfect. Perhaps the most important move we make in the kitchen is simply what we choose to do that day.

Maybe you're wondering what the above photos are. I added a rendition of my favorite buttermilk scones in the cranberry orange flavor to Food52 for a contest. Scones, as we know by now, are a favorite breakfast choice around here. You can check out the recipe there, as well as get loads of other ideas for things to make (this was for baked breakfasts). Also, I've got my favorite pumpkin bread on ShopRite's blog this month, featuring their pumpkin puree. Go check that one out. For me, it's the Goldilocks of pumpkin breads: just right. And if you've got rye flour, don't skip that. It really adds a nice note.

A few other noteworthy things: This savory sweet potato galette from Hummingbird High, features sweet potatoes roasted and showered in a bit of of maple syrup, butter and cumin, sprinkled with goat cheese, and baked off in a flaky, buttery crust with just the right crunch of cornmeal. It found its way into my oven on a cold recent evening, and let me tell you, it's a good one. Even a half recipe was almost too much for the two of us. It's quite rich and filling, all it needs is a pile of salad greens. And the maple-cumin scent? Now that's something. Note to self: a full recipe would be great for a large gathering vegetarian side. Try it out with some seasonal sweet potatoes from the farm markets in their last weeks, it's that much better.
And speaking of vegetables, you should also know about Joy the Baker's roast cauliflower soup if you're wondering about that cauliflower you bought that's still sitting in the fridge. It's got just a hint of cumin and turmeric spice and some aromatics. Noticing the half-head of farm cauliflower tilted on its side in the bottom of the fridge, I made a little batch today. My favorite part was pulling the hot pot off the stove and smelling the aromatic steam. There was something cleansing about it.

Soup! Now I will want soup all the time. It's one of those things. The cauliflower is deepened by the roasting process and then given a quick simmer in the broth and puréed. Done and done. Similar to this carrot soup recipe. Yes, soup does require a few extra steps, but in the end it's all a little formula and it's worth it.  Especially when you've managed to store a small container leftover. As for the broth component, Joy mentions you can use vegetable, chicken or water. I used all three together. 

Baked eggs a la Amanda Hesser. This recipe is pretty much foolproof, not to mention mess-less, being that you may as well eat it right out of the ramekin. It also takes a few minutes to cool down, so it's the sort of thing you can leave for a bit on the table and it will still be warm when you sit down. The formula, 2 eggs to 1tbsp cream, salt and pepper, and cheese and herbs if you wish, can be scaled up for a crowd, too.  And on that note, I do feel I owe you a real recipe, one that I've tweaked to become a stand-by, and have a place in the archives on here. So long as the sky cooperates more this week in terms of lighting, I'll be back with that soon.  xxM

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