While I don’t know how accurate that legend actually is, I can tellyou that the savory, melting fat and spices from the zampone / cotechino flavors the lentils justwonderfully. The hearty taste andtexture of the flavored legumes is a perfect balance to the smooth and creamy potatomixture. If I could get my hands on thepork component of this dish here in Virginia (our usual sausages aren’t quitethe same thing), I would make this for my family to eat tonight.
Happy Holidays to everyone! Now that the presents are bought and hopefully wrapped (did you get any of my Holiday Gift Ideas?), it’s time to settle down and enjoy the celebration, especially if it involves a great family meal. Once upon a time, in my family, we had turkey on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, which made me really bored with that meat. Then, for reasons that are still not clear to me, my mom made a change, and we started having Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Sauce for the latter feast. With the exception of one sibling who doesn’t like red meat at all, there haven’t really been any complaints about this switch.
Well, it’s getting down to the wire, so hopefully, you have all of your holiday gifts bought and maybe even wrapped. I have an ever-growing pile of things to take with me to Virginia that I have to figure out how to pack. So, really, when I was at the New Amsterdam Market’s last market of 2010 yesterday, I shouldn’t have bought anything, right?
Alas, I couldn’t resist. Even thought I was heading to brunch only a little while later, I had to pick up a few things. There were just so much great stuff. It started at the beginning, at the info table. There, Nils Wessell had these gorgeous, handmade butcher’s block cutting boards. Made in Brooklyn of materials from Pennsylvania and glue from Ohio, these were just stunning, but practical, works of art. The waste from production is composted at a local center. Good thing I hadn’t seen these earlier, otherwise they would have been at the top of my Christmas list. Well, there’s always my birthday next year.
In mystroll through the market, I chatted with Jen from LiddabitSweets (glad to hear the shipping is done!), Vince at Cellars at Jasper Hill, and Grace at TableTales (who was doing a brisk business in the cold weather). Weswung by NordicBreads to stock up on their wonderful ruis bread. I also had a nice talk about Italy and their possible cooking school plans with the people behind Fresh Flavors Catering, who had this greatdisplay of New York-made Italian food items.
Yesterday, I braved the cold and bone-chilling temperatures to head to the Williamsburgh Bank Building in Brooklyn to check out the Gifted holiday fair at the Brooklyn Flea. Once inside, there were several floors of stalls to visit. What I was looking for were some of the food vendors. My goal was to find some great foodie stocking stuffers to take back to my family in Virginia. I didn’t even realize we were doing stocking presents until I got an email from my sister last week.
Off in a side room, I found some of my favorite local food makers. I think I went a bit crazy at the Liddabit Sweets table. There are going to be some sugar-high kids at my parents’ house on the 25th, and I’m not talking about the grandkids. I can’t reveal all, in the event that my siblings are going to take the time to read this post, but there’s popcorn and brittle and lollipops, and candy bars in my goodie bag.
I also managed to make room for a couple of jars from Rick’s Picks. If you’ve read any of my previous post about their products, you can probably guess which ones I bought. I also passed by Schoolhouse Kitchen‘s table to chat with them and to pick up their absolutely delicious Cherry, Blackberry, Sage, and Clove Spreadable Fruit. What was really great about the day, however, was also that I also got to meet some new vendors and to sample some wonderful new treats. Some of these should definitely make your holiday gift list.
One of the people I talked to for a bit was Jenna of Whimsy & Spice. I knew when I passed by her table that I’d seen the gorgeously-designed and very practical measurement conversion charts previously. She has it in wall format as well as as a tea towel. I was drawn to the beautiful cookies and sweets in various flavor combinations like chocolate and cardamom and pumpkin and ginger. I decided to pick up some Caramel Marshmallows to enjoy in a cup of steamy hot chocolate in an attempt to keep warm this weekend.
I didn’t have to look very far to find a hot chocolate mix. Nunu Chocolates, which I’d first seen a the Union Square Holiday Market, was serving hot chocolate “shots” for $2.00 each. I was hoping that a taste of it might warm up my toes. At first sip, I savored the taste of smooth, creamy chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. Then came the kick of chili. This mix is flavored based upon their Mezcal Chili chocolate. They also have various boxes of caramels and other chocolates for sale at their stands.
Another item with which I fell in love was The Brooklyn Salsa Company‘s line. Made with mostly locally-sourced ingredients, the flavors in these jars are fresh and pack a big punch. Named after New York boroughs, each one has its own personality to match. The Queens would be perfect to have alongside a filet of some whitefish to give it a tropical flare. The Manhattan and Staten Island ones were good as eating salsas, but I could also see them being good to use to make a tray of enchiladas or to dress up huevos rancheros. I picked up a jar of the Bronx which, with its smokey, roasted eggplant and pepper layers, reminded me of Arthur Avenue and shopping in the Italian markets but with more of a kick. The Brooklyn was hot and should be on your list of things to buy for the person who likes spicy things. A seasonal flavor was the Sleepy Hollow, which I wished I know about for Thanksgiving. It would have been perfect to have on hand to finish off the last of that turkey.
The other two food stands that were in the same section were McClure’s Pickles and Fine & Raw Chocolate. Having picked up a couple of jars at Rick’s Picks, I knew that I didn’t have any room for their Bloody Mary Mix. Next time, I’ll have to correct that. I did try the Crystals + Sea Salt Chocolate and the Bonbon at Fine & Raw. The later was smooth and rich and almost truffle-like to taste. There was a mild aroma of coconut from the way that they process their chocolate which added to the luxurious mouth-feel of the sample I tried. The box of two was small enough to fit into my goodie bag.
On my way out of the market, a non-food stand caught my eye. I know, hard to believe that my foodie mission could be diverted, but these items are very cute and practical. Map Tote‘s environmentaly-friendly, locally-made, bags each feature a different city map drawn in a unique and whimsical design. I wish I’d discovered these earlier. They also had wine totes and t-shirts. Some of these might make it into the homes of friends and family. And, in a moment of filial solidarity, I voted that Minneapolis/St. Paul should be the next city designed.
So, if you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet or are just looking for some unique items to have on hand as gifts, I recommend that you get thee to the Flea before Gifted closes on the 23rd. Also, if you need other ideas, check out my original post for food-themed holiday presents for this year. Hope that you find some delicious ones!
This morning, my day started in a bit of panic mode. I was getting ready to attend an all-day training seminar and realized that we were supposed to pack a lunch so that we could also listen to a guest speaker during that time. I’m really not good at bringing my lunch, even when I work fulltime, so I was sort of stumped as to what to do.
Rummaging around in the fridge I happened upon a bit of a surprise. Shoved into the back of the top shelve was leftover Turkey Curry, from post-Thanksgiving. Remember when I talked about how turkey was the gift that kept on giving in my family? I conducted the “smell test,” and it seemed o.k. (Oh, you know the one: When someone opens up that random jar of stuff in the back of the fridge and asks you to shove your nose in it to see if it smells bad.) All I needed to figure out was how to recycle it as something to take for lunch today.
From the Pita Chips / Crisps that I made last week, I still had a couple of extra pita pockets. I also discovered that I had some extra almonds from the Almond Butter Crunch and a jar of Squadrilla Chutney. This made my creative culinary wheels start to kick into motion, even if my morning caffeine hadn’t quite gotten into my system. What if I created a Turkey Curry Salad Sandwich?
So, I took the leftover turkey curry, which was about a cup, and figured out what I need to do next, based upon another curry salad that I’d eaten ages ago. I added a dollop* of the chutney, a couple of squirts of mayonnaise, a small handful of almonds, and, then, for some freshness, put in about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro. What I was looking for was a citrusy, tangy, tart balance to the spiciness of the curry. The turkey really needed something to perk it up at this point.
When I unwrapped my sandwich a few hours later, I wasn’t disappointed. This was much more interesting than your usual chicken or turkey salad sandwich. It had several different flavors going on in every bite, with nothing too overpowering in any one of them. I don’t usually opt for sandwiches for lunchtime, so it was nice to have something that was flavorful and multi-dimensional. Best of all, I saved money by not buying something to eat, and I finally got rid of the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.
*Kitchen Witch Tip:
I know that not all of my readership is based in the U.S. and that not all measurements are standard. To assist in using my recipes, I’ve included a Measures / Conversions page on the site.