This just goes to show you my impeccable organizational skills of late. Of course I should have posted it before New Year’s, but I only devised it on the 30th, and I was absolutely sure it was way too ambitious to make. But, lo and behold, it wasn’t. I wasn’t even rushed, given the low (really low) pressure of our low-key celebration (can I use any more “low”s in this sentence? didn’t think so). The whole thing took me probably two hours hands-on throughout the day. Yeah, it’s not like Eria would sit still or nap for two whole hours while Mama does cookery stuff in the kitchen. And Tata was at work, of course, so no bonus there. She did spend parts of the process in her bumbo chair on the counter, busying herself with thoughts and trials of growing her hands longer so that she can reach the very enticing things Mama was manipulating. You know, things of the child-friendly variety: knives, forks, sauces, hot in temperature, and myriad other cool stuff from the point of view of a five-month-old who would like nothing more than to stuff the whole world into her mouth and chew on it. Oh, the dreams of babies…
So, it’s not pretentious, and it’s not difficult, and it certainly isn’t timely. But it’s tasty and easy. And that passes the mark in my book any day of the year.
1. Smoked salmon and cream cheese tortilla rolls
3. Oven-baked ribs (with Ina Garten’s bbq sauce) with sweet potato fries and pickled green tomatoes
4. Apple Torte with whipped cream
New Year’s Dinner was at six o’clock. Yeah, you heard me. Did you also hear my yawns? We were in bed by 10:30 and consoled ourselves that we celebrated the New Year with the Easterners. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics with Eria’s dinner. She had acorn squash and I’m happy to report she loved it (and was in bed by 7). Now that you’re all up on your schedule, would you like some recipes as well?
1. Gougeres: I took the recipe from Laura Calder. I love her unpretentious cooking which always yields tasty and good-looking dishes with minimum effort and unfancy (am I inventing words here?) ingredients. I used smoked paprika, ’cause that’s just how creative I am. I also used a highly arbitrary combination of gruyere (no accent grave, again. will you ever forgive me?), asiago, and parmesan, ’cause that’s what I had in the fridge. Yeah, and I don’t even own a piping bag, so I used two teaspoons. They work wonders, I tell you. Oh, and who has time to brush those things with milk. The came out yummy even without it.
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 cup water or light chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pepper to season
- Pinch of paprika
- 1 cup flour
- 3 x large eggs
- 4 ounces Gruyere (or asiago, or parmesan, or any hard cheese you have) cheese, very finely diced or coarsely grated
- Milk for brushing
What to do:
- Heat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Put the butter in a heavy saucepan with the water or stock, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring to a boil and pull from the heat. Dump the flour in all at once, and beat until smooth with a wooden spoon. The mixture will pull away from the sides of the pan and form a ball. Put the pan back on low heat and beat for a minute to dry the paste somewhat. Remove from the heat and let cool about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon after each addition. You want a smooth, soft, glossy paste that falls easily from the spoon. Stir in the cheese. Using a pastry bag, pipe 1-inch/2.5 cm balls onto a buttered baking sheet, or simply drop the mixture by spoonfuls. Brush with milk so they will emerge golden and shiny. Bake until puffed up, nicely browned, and feather light when you pick one up, 25 to 35 minutes.
- tortillas (I used whole wheat, but the green ones would have looked so much better)
- sliced smoked salmon (about six slices per tortilla)
- cream cheese
- Spread cream cheese over tortilla.
- Spread the smoked salmon slices and capers over half the tortilla like so
- 5-6 gala apples, or another kind that holds its shape well
- 4-5 Tbsp. sugar (depending also on how sweet the fruit is)
- 1-2 Tbsp water or fruit juice
- if you’re using apples, cinnamon (to taste, cca. 1 tsp. and nutmeg 1/4 tsp. work well)
- 3 room-temperature eggs
- 3 heaping Tbsp. flour
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- zest from one lemon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- pinch of salt