Monday, December 27, 2010

Savory snow day treats

For all of you living in California, Florida or more temperate climes, you may have read in the news about the intense snow storms up and down the east coast the past few days. From Charlotte to Boston, there are several inches to almost several feet of snow, leaving many people stranded, hopefully at home at not on a train or subway or airport.

Me? My flight back to NYC was canceled so I have two more glorious days at home, lazing about in my fuzzy pj's, drinking hot tea or a nice malbec (depending on the time of day), reading, and getting creative in the kitchen since no one wants to bother with going to the store.

If you have been a follower of this blog, you already know that my family makes pizza for Christmas instead of a more "traditional" meal. My mom and I favor lots of veggies and tomato sauce with minimal cheese and perhaps just a sprinkling of ground beef sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. My dad on the other hand, piles his so thick with peperoni, ground beef and cheese that it takes twice as long to cook and is almost 3 inches high after cooking, when supposedly everything has settled.

Well, there is always an interesting smorgasbord of leftovers once the pizzas have been finished. There's always a plethora of the beef and onions left over, as well as diced peppers and mushrooms and hopefully a tomato or two that hasn't been sliced. Unfortunately, sliced veggies never seem to stay crisp the next day, so we'll either put them in an omelet or make a modified frisee salad. Here is an excellent recipe, courtesy of Saveur. It reminds me so much of what Vronsky and I would eat when we were in Paris. We'd have that salad or haricot vert for lunch each day to make up for the fact that we had had champagne, eggs and lovely rich coffee for breakfast.

We usually don't have any bacon on hand in our house at home, although we always have eggs. If we had bacon, it would be eaten by my dad in one sitting. One year, I got him a "bacon of the month" club membership from Zingerman's, and my mom yelled at me. (Are you trying to kill him or what?!). Fortunately, the ground beef makes a nice substitute, and and the egg and always crisp frisee makes up for the fact that the peppers and tomatoes are getting a bit limp.

I often try to perk the peppers up by soaking them in some cold water for a bit, but the tomatoes tend to be beyond salvaging. If you have any hints, let me know! Otherwise, I just cover them in some balsamic glaze and eat them with a glass of red wine.

I also love making my own hot chocolate, heating some milk, semi-sweet cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar in a saucepan. I have contemplated melting-down a Hershey bar in the past when we ran out of cocoa powder due to my sister baking enough chocolate cookies with white-chocolate chips and macadamia nuts to feed an army, but my mom said that if I ruined her pan she'd kill me, so I desisted. After all, we're trapped in the house all together, so it is probably best to keep the peace at all cost.

Rice is always in plentiful supply, and we've made a nice dent in our 15 lb sack to eat with my mom's delicious brisket, which takes 2 days to make and keeps for nearly twice as long.

There's also tons of charcuterie lying about, courtesy of several gift-baskets our family had been sent for Christmas, and while we've run out of proper toast points, baguettes and farmhouse bread, I admit that they are not half-bad with a Triscuit! Plus, my mom bought a huge wedge of Manchego cheese and some delicious gouda from the Netherland's to go with it while she bought a dozen bottles of wine as Christmas gifts for various acquaintances.

The one thing missing is a steady supply of fresh fruit. We've worked our way through bananas, our stash of apples, the cantaloupes and the Edible Arrangement Vronsky set to my parents. I suppose we should make plans to venture out at some point though, if only to cash in on the gift cards and take advantage of some sales!

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