|Chicken liver crostini|
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I haven't cooked much lately as December was just really busy! But over New Year's Eve and on New Year's Day, I definitely went a little crazy cooking up all kinds of treats for just Rick and me to celebrate the new year. It's actually the first NYE we've had at home just the two of us in a few years and it was really fun to just cook all day and night, and drink good wine :)
We went to Chinatown late in the morning to pick up some seafood and ingredients and picked up some scallops, a dozen clams, a couple of fresh sardines and chicken wings, as well as a pound of chicken livers and a bunch of veggies. We also ran out in the afternoon to buy a little bit of wine at The Greene Grape, one of our local wine shops - it was hoppin' with lots of people buying wine and bubbly for New Year's Eve - but the guys kept the line moving and it was fairly painless.
I had recently received The New Brooklyn Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from 31 Restaurants That Put Brooklyn on the Culinary Map by Melissa and Brendan Vaughan as a holiday gift (thanks Diana!) and so far I am loving it. The book is nicely done with great recipes and I love reading the background pieces on all the restaurants. It not only makes you want to try a bunch of the recipes at home, but is a good guide to checking out some of these restaurants. I've only been to a few of them so far, including a few faves like The General Greene, Franny's and Marlow and Sons, so it'll be fun to start making our way through the others.
Over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I made three dishes inspired by recipes from the book with a few twists of my own (I'll do separate posts on how I made them once I've written them up):
- Chicken liver crostini - I made my own chicken liver spread but loved the idea of serving it over a layer of mayo and topping it with pancetta!
- Diver scallops with white bean puree, chorizo and pine nuts - with a few substitutions based on what I had at home
- Chayote salad with grapefruit and vanilla - I used a lot less grapefruit and chayote so it was more of a watercress salad with slices of chayote and grapefruit. The grapefruit and vanilla dressing was lovely!
I had only bought about a pound of chicken wings since it was just the two of us, which yielded 3 whole wings, which I split at the joints (and used the wing tips for chicken stock) - this was about the perfect amount for the two of us but we easily could've ripped through a bunch more of them if I had made more - super crispy, sticky, spicy and sweet in kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), rice vinegar, chile flakes and a bit of honey. Once we were done with those, we took a little break and drank a little more wine :)
|Sweet and spicy chicken wings|
Later on, we made chicken liver crostini, pictured at the beginning of this post - topped some toasted baguette with a thin layer of mayo, some of the chicken liver spread I had made earlier, and then a nice piece of pancetta on top and a sprinkle of snipped chives - this was so ridiculously good! You have to try it if you are into chicken livers and pate and all that.
We took another little break and after a bit, we got the broiler going again to cook up some fresh sardines. We've made them at home before, and it was fun to see Mark Bittman do a piece on them in the New York Times recently (click here for his recent article). So, taking a cue from his piece, I cooked ours up by stuffing some fresh thyme and slices of lemon in the cavities - it's amazing how much flavor gets into the sardines when you are literally only cooking them under the broiler for about 5 minutes or so! They were fantastic. If you buy fresh sardines in Chinatown, you will have to clean them yourself but they aren't too bad - check out my earlier post on fresh sardines (and razor clams) here. They don't really have much for scales but I do recommended just running a small knife gently along them to get any that might be there, especially closer to the head.
|Broiled sardines with thyme and lemon|
|Clams with chorizo and herbs|
|Tofu chocolate pudding|
It was a fun and food and wine filled New Year's Eve, and it was nice to do some real cooking again! It may seem like we overdid it a little bit, but I didn't make much of any one thing - just small portions of several dishes. And really, the sardines and clams weren't much once you discarded the bones, heads and shells :)
On New Year's Day, we had a little more of that fantastic chicken liver spread (yum!) for lunch and I made the watercress salad with chayote, grapefruit and vanilla salad from The New Brooklyn Cookbook. It was so fresh and light, and just really nice. The bit of vanilla in the dressing was so interesting, and I ended up tweaking the dressing a bit by adding a little lemon juice and a little honey to give it a little more sweetness.
|Watercress salad with chayote, grapefruit and vanilla|
|Scallops over swiss chard and white bean puree|
So, I'll post some recipes as I write them up - stay tuned! Happy 2011!