Happy 2017. I never really feel the new year starts until my birthday, which is on Monday, so I’ve still been in post-holiday mode. Hence the lack of a roundup last weekend, and hence I'm going to spend most of this roundup yammering on about various Christmas foodstuffs.
My sister and I had a very nice Christmas. The cocktails in the photo are made from vodka infused with, um, green apple-flavored Mike & Ike’s, with apple-flavored seltzer added. The result was sticky-sweet and gimmicky but pleasantly appletini-ish. The mysterious orbs at the bottoms of the glasses are cherries.
Christmas Eve: For brunch, I made a very good tart with puff pastry topped with a mixture of cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic, and herbs, with a ton of grilled vegetables—eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers—and fresh basil loaded on the top. We had champagne and our traditional oyster stew—a long-standing family recipe that I have since amended into a smoky oyster chowder—for dinner. For the chowder, I sautéed chopped bacon and onions, added a tin of smoked oysters, added cubed boiled potatoes, added milk, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Simple and delicious. (The original family recipe consisted of a can of oysters, a can of evaporated milk, a pat of margarine, and salt and pepper. Even simpler, but not as smoky and savory and delicious. The recipe was a Christmas-tradition holdover from our late mother, who learned it from her mother, who grew up during the Depression. I always feel a pang of guilt for having changed the recipe so significantly, but I think our mother would approve. There’s really no need to use canned evaporated milk if you have fresh milk on hand, and the additions of bacon and potatoes and smoked oysters give it whole new layers of delicious flavors.)
Christmas morning: Potato pancakes with lox and sour cream for breakfast, along with champagne. Christmas dinner: I crusted a prime rib in salt—I had some pretzel salt on hand, which worked fabulously—and roasted it. Two sauces: a horseradish sauce made from sour cream, Dijon mustard, and fresh grated horseradish; and a chimichurri sauce with jalapenos, parsley, cilantro, shallots, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. I made Jamie Oliver’s roasted potatoes, Alex Guarnaschelli’s blackened carrots, and a spinach/bacon/goat cheese/beet salad. Holy crap, everything turned out well. Hands down the best meal I’ve ever made. The two sauces turned out so well that, for my birthday, we’re doing a pork tenderloin just so we have an excuse to make the horseradish and the chimichurri again.
I just really like food, that's all.
Oh, hey, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working. Wednesday at 6:30 AM, the nice couple who live downstairs from us (we have the top floor of a two-story rowhouse; they have the bottom floor) had their alarm go off. Turns out the boiler in the basement was broken and was spewing poisonous fumes. Visits from the fire department, ConEdison, and the plumber ensued, and we were without heat for a day, but it's better than being dead of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The rumored Duranalysis book is very much a thing. It's underway. I’ll update as I have more information, but probably mid-April is a reasonable publication timeframe at this point. In the meantime, please visit and support the Duranalysis Facebook page by liking and commenting as applicable. Here’s a glut of my Duranalysis cartoons in the meantime:
Video of the week: Here’s Simon Le Bon wailing the 1972 Python Lee Jackson/Rod Stewart hit “In a Broken Dream” on the television show MUSIC on Mediaset Italia.
Have a joyous weekend, please.