Featured Food: Simple Flavors Meal
Featured Food: Simple Flavors Meal
We are trying something new: a meal inspired by a theme, rather than a single food item. This meal was designed as a palette-cleanser for the whole year. We are beginning with the idea of simple flavors, which includes One-Flavor Soup, followed by a two-flavor meal, with a starchy soul food of your choice. (Our family chose pierogi stuffed with potato and cheese, and stuffed with sauerkraut. But your family might prefer schnitzel or dumplings, or what have you.) This is completed with Three-Flavor Tea, served with biscotti. The whole meal should leave you feeling happy, but not overstuffed.
While pierogi (or your favorite starchy soul food) are sautéing, prepare and cook and serve the soup to be an appetizer course. The idea is for this soup to be very simple; almost a one note flavor/texture experience. The whole meal is to be cleansing for your palette, for the new year.
2 cans clear chicken broth
1 Cup fresh fennel root
1 8-oz. can water chestnuts
¼ cup shallots or chopped chives
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of cayenne
Salt to taste
Optional: a handful of steamed white rice
Heat chicken broth in a pot over medium heat. Removing the core, thinly slice and roughly chop fresh fennel root so that you make approximately 1 cup (cole slaw sized). Add to broth. Thinly slice shallots or chives. If you use shallots, throw them in the broth to cook with the other ingredients. If you use chives, put them in the broth later, after the other ingredients have cooked a little, or have already begun to cook. Add paprika and cayenne. Boil for roughly 5 minutes. Add salt to taste (especially if you’re using organic chicken broth).
You can add a handful of steamed white rice and/or a very small clove of garlic to the broth, if you choose.
Our Main Dish: Pierogi (also called Varenyky)
(Little dough pockets stuffed with potatoes and cheese.)
2 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
5 lbs potatoes
2 1/2 lbs sharp cheddar cheese
Finely chopped sautéed onions
Mix dry ingredients, add egg and water and kneed until the dough is elastic. Make the stuffing (we have chosen potato with cheese as well as sauerkraut). Peel and boil potatoes.
Mash in a bowl. Shred cheese into bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Roll out the dough until thin.
Cut into squares and fill with stuffing, crimping the edges with your fingers.
Once most of the stuffing, and all of the dough is used up, add dumplings to a pot of boiling water and remove them when they float and feel more like thick noodles than dough. When you have boiled them you can fry them with onions and serve with sour cream (if you like) or eat them as is.
Sometimes the only thing better than eating these tasty delights is the warm feeling of making them around the table with the family you love. This dish is a labor of love, and seriously hard work, but it connects us with a sense of the past and is a very satisfying flavor to those who have grown up loving it.
Dessert: Three-Flavor Tea
1 kettle of water
Whole dried mint leaves
Ginger slices – 1 per cup
Boil water. Steep mint leaves in water for roughly five to ten minutes. Put a thin slice of ginger at the bottom of each tea cup. Pour tea into tea cups. Instead of using sugar, simply squeeze one orange round into each cup. If it’s too hot, cool with an ice cube. The ginger will increase in potency the longer it is left in the cup, so you can take it out after a couple of minutes, before it overpowers the mint and the orange, leave this up to the individual’s taste. Serve with a simple hazelnut & anise biscotti.
Meal designed by Nadja Masura, photographs by Peter Rogers and Nadja Masura