Dutch Dutch baby

Quick morning indulgence

Nothing better on a lazy weekend than this eggy puffed pancake. Serve with any jams you have around, or sauté up some fruit leftover from the week. Can even be made with a #pre-caffeine brain, perfect if you have overnight guests waking up in your home. I used the basic Joy of Cooking version this morning, but there are many variations: once you get the basics down, invent you own!

Farmers’ Markette

In Hudson NY, the farmers’ market has been indoors for 2 weeks. Lick, an ice cream shoppe in summer, is hosting a tiny farmers market outpost as well. Last night feasted on lamb chops from Pigasso Farms in copake; roasted fresh beets with feta; and a loaf of ciabatta from Loaf. It’s 2 degrees out today, so glad we shopped yesterday!


Somehow we and none of our foodie friends had ever heard of Jake Moon. In rural Clarkstown, just outside of suburban Delmar, logo designed by Milton Glaser, chef Dan Smith previously of Nicole’s Bistro – sounds like our kind of place.  Had lunch with out-of-town friends. Very family friendly frayed family diner decor, and wonderfully understanding staff.  Our 8-year-old (Leo) thought the food selection was odd, and he’s kind of right. You want to go with the classics, or the specials here – nothing in between.  Desserts like bread pudding were great; the experimental SLT (salmon bacon) was a nice idea but didn’t quite work; our friend went with the day’s special of rice balls and wasn’t disappointed. Took two loaves home – sourdough delish; cinnamon raisin dry and disappointing. We’ll be back; love the local flavor and the combination of traditional and risky.  Final vote: grownups – 7.5, kid – 6. Worth passing to the next round.

More post-party meals

A weeks worth of meals made up of post brunch-party leftovers. Turns out one of my favorite dishes, Israeli couscous and eggplant salad, which is rich especially after I add some mint-infused oil, pairs quite nicely with the acidity of fresh meatballs in tomato sauce. Then some gourmet grilled cheese with a mixture from cheese plate leftovers on sourdough, refrigerator soup livened with the rinds from the aged gouda, and that frankly mediocre champagne-based salad dressing got us through the whole week. And the bottled party gifts just keep on giving. Lovely start to the new year!

Day Old Champagne

Day old champagne is about as appealing as. .. it sounds. But despair not; the carbonation may slowly fade, but the good cheer doesn’t need to. We had our annual new years day party, and were left with several open but half-consumed bottles of bubbly, and I have a few pleasant plans for the remains.

  • Cocktails.  Less than fresh champagne is revived by liquid company.  If you have succumbed, as have I, to a beautiful bottle of St. Germain elderflower liqueur try 1/4 shot of fresh lemon juice, 1 shot elderflower liqueur, top it off with champagne. Might as well serve it in a flute because they’re still out anyway.
  • Salad dressing.  We’ve all seen recipes for champagne vinaigrette ( here’s one example at epicurious) so one option is to make vinegar out of your left-over champagne (sort of like lemonade out of lemons.  . .).  Apparently, folks have taken sides regarding the wisdom of homemade champagne vinegar (of course they have. . .).  Martha says go for it with an unusually simple approach; others go hard-core artisinal, others seem to caution against it all together pouting that homemade just doesn’t have the acidity of the properly prepared stuff.  All I can say is that I’m going to give the old champagne vinaigrette a go without wading into the vinegar wars. Will report back.
  • Dinner.   Champagne does not need all of its bubbles to be a terrific addition to cream sauce for chicken, serving as a de-glazer and flavor-enhancer.  Try it with scallops, chicken, shrimp.
  • Late advice.  Should have posted this two days ago, but my mother, champagne-lover extraordinaire, has always insisted that if you put a silver spoon into the mouth of an opened champagne bottle, handle first, it will help keep the champagne fizzy. So note to self next year, you may not have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but.. . .

Holiday Food Regifting

I’m not talking about fruitcake – those jokes are too numerous to repeat. I’m talking about the third tin of candycane bark from a reputable company. One household can only consume so much candycane bark; no shame in passing on the love, especially if you are travelling to someone else’s place for the holidays. A sealed food gift can be a great in person gift. It doesn’t have to be consumed in front of the giver (if you can regift, so can they after all); it doesn’t mess with their menu plans; it travels well; and it isn’t going to waste collecting dust in your pantry. When my parents get three high-end mail-order cakes as holiday gifts, I say great, I don’t need to make dessert on Christmas.

Hotel Breakfasts: After Coffee

So some people need more than coffee to start their day. Or so I hear. Although some of my most magical meals out have been breakfasts (a recent morning at a Cafe on the Place des Vosges in Paris, with perfect cafe au lait, perfect baguette tartine, perfect butter. . . However, when traveling it’s often more economical and easier to get a move on if breakfast happens before you go out the door.  If your hotel room has a fridge, lots of options open up: yogurts, cereal, etc.  If you’re traveling with kids, those fun-pack bad-for-you cereals are still a blast – and you just cut open the box and add milk: no bowl needed! Eating cereal, on a  bed, while watching cartoons – now that’s vacation!