Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

Day 19

Brussels Sprouts

Never really thought much about Brussels sprouts. They have such a bad reputation that I guess my mother didn’t even try to serve them. And having escaped them in my youth, I wasn’t about to start up a middle-aged fling with an almost universally reviled vegetable. Besides, my husband assured me that they were an affront to nature.

But in the name of this experiment, I sliced a handful thinly and sauteed them with the remains of my (now not so) raw onion chutney. Simply delicious. And, wonder of wonders, my husband agreed.

Full disclosure: I may or may not have had a run-in with a Brussels sprout at Liquids and Solids, a great Lake Placid restaurant, after a large Manhattan. But I’ve decided any tastings obscured by a liquor-induced haze don’t count. (This includes venison, but I’ll save that story for another time.)

November 29, 2011

Day 18

Raw Onion Chutney

Never tried chutney before. Never even heard of it until a couple of years ago, when I was editing a recipe from a farm-to-table Thanksgiving article. (I’ve lived a very sheltered, meat-and-potatoes kind of life.) But apparently it’s a pretty common condiment in the civilized world, so I didn’t let on at the office that I thought it was some kind of rare and exotic dish.

Anyway, I ran across this recipe for raw onion chutney in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, and decided to give it a try. (It’s probably not surprising that I learned of his existence relatively recently, too.) Pretty simple: red onion, red wine vinegar and a couple of spices. And it was good. Even though–like many of these other experiments–I served it out of context, this time with meatloaf and the inevitable frozen peas.

November 28, 2011

Day 17

Sour Cream

Yes, that thing to the left is supposed to be a potato skin appetizer with a dollop of sour cream on top. Some imagination may be required.

Anyway, tried sour cream at Geoffrey’s Pub, in Plattsburgh. First, I sampled by dragging my finger through the stuff. Besides being a socially suspect move, the finger-full didn’t impress me. Next I put a dab on a potato skin. It wasn’t terrible, but it seemed more of a distraction than an addition to the flavor of the tidbit. It gets a no, thanks.

November 27, 2011

Day 16

Pickled Beets

These poor little roots — an offering from a pickling guru named Gumlaw — were an underdog from the get-go. Sounded gross, looked gross, smelled gross. But, go figure, they weren’t gross. Full of earthy goodness, with a touch of puckery sweet. Could use a pop of spice, though.

November 26, 2011

Day 15

Matzo Balls

Substituted matzo balls for dumplings in my stew. They smelled really disturbing while they cooked–not surprisingly, like soggy crackers. But they were okay. Like a denser dumpling. Still, I don’t think I’ll make the switch from my favorite fluffy floaters, courtesy of Bisquick.

November 25, 2011

Day 14

Apple & Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving leftovers two-fer. Pie is another food that I make all the time but would never dream of eating. Apple pie breaks the first commandment–Thou Shalt Not Eat Cooked Fruit–and adds a scoop of texture nightmare. Pumpkin is the one-two punch of texture and questionable color. But putting all that aside, I tried both specimens. The flavors were fine, helped along by my friend cinnamon, but there’s really no getting over the mouth feel. The apple is a weird combination of mushy/firm and the pumpkin is a creamy mess. Bottom line: I see no reason to ever eat another slice of pie. At least not the post-meal-treat variety.

November 24, 2011

Day 13

Butternut Squash/Rutabaga:

Thanksgiving two-fer. My mother insists on making mounds of these every year, even though they’re barely touched amidst the more decadent turkey-day offerings. I always thought they were just there for color, but it turns out both veggies are pretty good.

November 23, 2011

Day 12

Cranberry-Orange Relish:

I sampled (stole) some of Mom’s famous Thanksgiving condiment a day early. I was all ready to enjoy it: I love tart things. I love cranberry juice. I’m a pretty big fan of oranges. But this potential love affair is a nonstarter. Just too in-your-face for my fainthearted taste buds.

November 22, 2011

Day 11

Coconut Rice

Brown rice made with half coconut milk, half water. Wonderful! Although it was completely of out of context served with fried chicken and frozen peas. But I can tell it’d taste great with something spicy. A definite winner.

November 21, 2011

Day 10


Homemade, though. And by a novice. Plus I didn’t have any lime juice–I just added more onion and garlic. So is it really guacamole? I don’t know. But it was good. It might be green and weird-looking, but I’m giving it a thumbs up.