New Year Eclectic

Hope you had a good New Year’s celebration.  For us, it is one of the most understated holidays of all, so we chose to have our grandsons (ages 7 and 9) stay overnight; that way both we and the young people could go to sleep early.

From a food standpoint it was very successful.  Barbara — being the superb executive chef she is — was able to supervise each of the boys with their unique skills to produce spinach and phyllo dough packages worthy of a good Greek caterer, plus an organic butternut squash with walnuts in a puréed soup,  for last night’s dinner.  This morning, the boys were up at 6:15 and the chef was ready at 6:45, so by 8:30 they had made banana pancakes.  Fortunately, I had my smoothie and espresso, so my participation was limited to washing the dishes.  That is, until lunchtime.

I have been thinking of making borsch (or borscht), an Eastern European root vegetable soup featuring beets (which we have in delicious abundance from the last box of vegetables from Elena and Karl at Crooked Row Fields in Concord, MA).  In our Ashkenazi Jewish culinary traditions, our grandmothers from the shtetls in the Ukraine made borscht with lots of beets, a little carrot and onion — all grated by hand, and chicken or beef stock, and served with a scoop (they never heard of “dollops”) of sour cream.  I’ve made it that way before but wanted to try a more country-style Russian version (without the beef or bones in the broth), so I took a shot at this one. I shredded beets and carrots, sliced a Yukon potato and chopped an onion, slivered some cabbage, and added sliced garlic.  Boiled all in stages in salted water.

We tried it puréed and in chunk style.  They both needed more salt, and the verdict was “OK, not great”.

Meanwhile, for the rest of my lunch, I went to the refrigerator for leftovers, with good success:

  • oven-roasted potatoes to make hash browns (with secret ingredients like Pimenton and Desert Dust, and late addition of chopped garlic)
  • seitan cutlets with vegan onion sauce to reheat
  • 1/4 head of cabbage to be pan-roasted
  • a couple of slices of Halloumi cheese, fried (from Cyprus)
  • the remainder of a bottle of 2008 Polvanera Aglianico from Puglia (and Jan D’Amore)

vegetables elements potatoes and cabbage borsch in pot puréed borsch ready to become hash browns garlic to add later Atalanta Halloumi Halloumi, cabbage and seitan Polvanera 2008 Aglianico Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

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