There's been a whirlwind of kitchen activity since about a week before Thanksgiving and, if all goes according to plan, shall continue through Christmas. Here's what's been going on:
Thanksgiving was all about The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
These Cheddar Swirl Buns never made it to Thanksgiving brunch. I auditioned them the week before and they were declared a winner by my friend and neighbor, Sheena and her family...then I went totally ADD as Tday approached.
The family went non-traditional this year. Instead of heading out of town to the little sister kitchen, which moved even further out of town than last year, we convened locally and dined at the Tonga Room, a historic Polynesian restaurant and famed tiki bar. Not a turkey or cranberry in sight.
Dinner reservations weren't until 8:45 so I hosted a very casual lunch for 4 that became 3, featuring a cluster of Smitten Kitchen salads I'd bookmarked but couldn't decide on, so I made them all. I also made what's become pretty standard fare around the little kitchen, smitten's Shaved Asparagus Pizza, which I've prepared and written about on numerous occasions and a pizza of my own convoluted brain, the Chicken Fajita Pizza, inspired by Jamie Oliver's recipe for Chicken Fajitas.
The three Smitten Kitchen salads were all wonderful. things were so fast and furious that morning that I never had a chance to take a pic. First up:
Vinegar Slaw- a no brainer because all I needed was a standard head of cabbage and an english cucumber. Super simple and a great reminder of what I love about slaws. They're even better the next day.
Next up was what turned out to be my favorite for a couple of reasons:
the Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Miso Dressing intrigued me from the gorgeous picture and then, it's list of unfamiliar ingredients, starting with the miso. I was so intrigued that I didn't let the fact that I couldn't find sugar snap peas and napa cabbage at my local produce market at 7pm on Tday Eve stop me. I substituted french cut green beans and used the green cabbage I already had for the Vinegar Slaw. The salad was a hit and the left-overs ended up in my egg salad toasts every morning for a week.
Finally, there was the Zucchini Ribbon and Almond Pesto Salad-a dish so simple and special it got me thinking I needed to add yet another vegetable peeler to whats become the vegetable peeler drawer, a Y-model a tad wider and a little more upscale than the one I purchased months ago from the Dollar Store. There's got to be something out there that doesn't leave you with a final fat length of vegetable because the blade is set too far down the Y. My solution to this is to turn my wooden cutting board on it's edge and lay asparagus, for example, along it and shave it down to nothing, I just have to pick out the wood slivers.