Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Food Envy

As we roll merrily along into Christmas, I started to get a craving for potato pancakes. See, we don't have those around the holidays in my Catholic household. I'm envious of those who get to eat these on cycle at the same time each year. It's probably no big surprise that I was yearning to have these, as there's only been tons of recipes published lately for every type of latke, made with every variety of root vegetable.

I'd read an article someplace in the last week or so where "Christmas Envy" was mentioned. The author talked about the tree and lights and all the decorations that go with the [cough] Christian [stroke Pagan] version of the holiday that is typically depicted in Western culture. I had never heard of this before, but then was thrown right into it firsthand over the weekend at a holiday open house.

A woman was staring at the tree and mentioned how she'd always wanted to have one for the holidays. She gazed longingly at the array of ornaments, which I must admit were a great collection. I mentioned to her that it was entirely possible for her to have one, too. She said that she was Jewish, so that the tree is not part of her holiday culture. When I pointed out that it is actually part of the old Pagan/Druid culture that the Christians co-opted, I got a rather withering look as though that didn't actually make the suggestion go down any better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baked Eggs

With the sound of snowplows serenading me as I arose from my slumber this morning, I realized my first meal of the day should be something a little bit more than the usual. I knew that I wasn't going to be trekking up and down a snowy, and likely unplowed, hill to go to the bagel place. After being called on doing it by my sister, I now get the guilts if I even think about trying to get them to deliver my breakfast to me.

Fortunately, I had dragged myself out to do errands yesterday when it was still freezing cold outside but not yet snowing. I went and got milk, eggs, and some smoked salmon. I knew that I had plenty of bread in the freezer and coffee in the cupboard. Later, while waiting for the skies to start to turn white on Saturday, I caught up on my on-line reading of the New York Times and came across Mark Bittman's video cooking segment on Baked Eggs with Proscuitto and Tomato.

I love eggs for any meal, and I really like to make something hearty and rich for brunch on the weekends as a counterpoint to the quick eats I gobble down during the work week before dashing out the door to catch my bus to work. This recipe caught my eye as something different to try. It is similar to Shirred Eggs or the French Oeufs en Cocotte and is just as easy to make.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ragu alla Bolognese

Yesterday, it was freezing outside. Today it has been warmer but is wet and miserable. I guess we can't win on the weekend front in the Northeast. The only plus side is that this means the weather has been perfect for baking and for making hearty meals.

I'd had a craving for a Ragu alla Bolognese. This rich, slow-cooked meat sauce is the basis for many a wonderful dish in Bologna, Italy. One recipe that I've found to be pretty reliable in taste and texture is from Claudia Roden's The Good Food of Italy. I have used several recipes out of this cookbook over the years. Her rendition of this classic meat sauce is the one that I have used to make my own Lasagna Bolognese (omitting the mushrooms).

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Almond Butter Crunch

This is what happens when you read too many seasonal magazines and blogs. You end up succumbing to the "I must bake during the holidays" syndrome. My work team is doing its annual gift swap on Friday. So, I asked a few folks to contribute something sweet to the gathering. Of course, I had to chip in and make something as well.

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