The meat was a leftover, from a roast, but everyone should have such leftovers! The green vegetable would have been at its best had I moved it from the crisper to the oven a number of days sooner, so, not as spectacular as it should have been, but I did manage to roast the root vegetable at just the right moment, and the chutney was better than it was the first time around.
- two ribs from a large smoked pork rib roast we had enjoyed with friends on New Years Day, heated for a few minutes in a little butter inside a large antique copper pot with some sliced Japanese scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm, covered, arranged on the plates, the little bit of the juices produced, plus some more scallion sprinkled on top
- more of the really good chutney prepared for the first appearance of the Kassler (quince, fig, shallot, garlic, cherries, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, cardamon, peppercorns, candied ginger, and cinnamon stick)
- medium sized parsnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced as French fries, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of crushed dried habanada pepper, roasted for about 25 minutes at 400º inside 2 Pampered Chef unglazed seasoned oven pans, one large and one small, to avoid crowding them, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- a number of quite small Brussels sprouts from Migliorelli Farm I had purchased a full week earlier, when I was afraid I wouldn’t find a green vegetable to serve over the holiday, washed, trimmed and dried, tossed inside a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, and black pepper, plus a bit of dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi, then roasted inside another unglazed seasoned Pampered Chef pan, a medium size this time, until the sprouts were partly brown and crisp on the outside
- the wine was a French (Touraine/Loire) white, Vignoble Dinocheau, Pineau d’Aunis 2017, from Flatiron Wines, it was excellent, and an excelllent pairing; more about this interesting AOP here]
- the music was Rossini’s wonderful opera buffa, ‘Il Barbiere Di Siviglia’: Great fun, it was a 1989 recording with Giuseppe Patanè conducting the Orchestra e coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, with Leo Nucci, Cecilia Bartoli, William Matteuzzi, Paata Burchuladze, Enrico Fissore, and others
I love the idea of bringing in the first day of the year with a feast.
Feasts should be shared, and even if it’s only only 2 guests, it’s enough of an excuse for a roast of some kind. That brings us up to last Tuesday, when two good artist friends joined us for a late afternoon supper, pre-sundown, built around a large slow-cooked smoked pork rib roast, known in Germany as Kasslerbraten. The rest of the meal was pretty German as well, German in the broadest sense, since most of the wine was Austrian.
We nibbled on breadsticks, dried chickpeas, and taralli, which was not traditionally Germanic, but then neither was the sparkling.
The meal proper began with a smoked fish, which is also pretty Teutonic.
- a composed smoked fish salad using local fish caught by Karl Karlin, the husband of Dolores Karlin, who made it, of more than one white species, mayonnaise, red onion, and celery, from P.E. & D.D.Seafood, spread on soft toasts of a rustic Pain d’Avignon seven grain bread (whole wheat, honey, sesame- sunflower-flax seed, oats) from Foragers
- nasturtium leaves from Union Square Grassman (the only thing green visible in the market on Monday)
- the wine was an Austrian (Wagram) white, Roter Veltliner, Wimmer-Czerny 2016, from Astor Wines
- one six and three quarter-pound smoked pork rack [Ger: Kassler, or Kasslerbraten, once roasted] from O. Ottomanelli and Sons on Bleecker Street in the West Village, trimmed by Joey Ottomanelli, rubbed with a mix of salt, pepper, and a little of both picante and dulce Spanish paprika, placed inside a large enameled cast iron dutch oven with 5 diced yellow onions from John D. Madura Farms and 4 diced garlic cloves from Quarton Farm, 5 or 6 Italian bay leaves from Buon Italia, 8 or 10 juniper berries, 6 cups of water and 2 cups of a decent red wine, covered with its lid (imperfectly, because of the size of the rack, so some tin foil had to be summoned to assist), cooked in a preheated oven 375° for about an hour, the cover removed and the pork continued cooking for another possibly another hour (I didn’t time it, but it took much longer than I had expected, so we have to rely on our own judgment next time) basting occasionally, until the internal temperature was around 160º, removed from the oven, the meat cut into chops, one rib each, and kept warm while a simple sauce was prepared, starting by transferring some of the cooking liquid to a smaller saucepan where, if necessary, it was first reduced, then stirred with a mix of about 4 tablespoons of water stirred with 2 tablespoons of arrowroot to bind it, the ribs served on pre-heated plates with some of the sauce on the top, the remainder poured into a footed glass sauceboat which was added to the table
- a rich chutney prepared the day before with 2 quince that had been in the refrigerator for what should have been an unconscionable time (but which seems to have only made them more interesting) using this theKitchn.com recipe, incorporating a few dried Calabrian (Amantea) figs from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market (to make up for the fact that I had less quince than specified in the recipe), a red shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, a Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, quince from S. & S.O. Produce, dried sweet cherries from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, chopped candied ginger from Whole Foods Market (I didn’t have the fresh ginger the recipe asked for), and a local apple cider vinegar from Race Farm
- prepared the day before, refrigerated, and then reheated for 12 to 15 minutes the next afternoon: a little over 2 pounds of russet potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, peeled, and thinly-sliced, tossed in a large bowl with a teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper, a quarter teaspoon or so of freshly-ground nutmeg, 3 Italian bay leaves from Buon Italia, half of a cup of shaved fresh horseradish from holy Schmitt’s Horseradish (in Riverside, Long Island), and two and a half cups of Ronnybrook heavy cream, all arranged inside a buttered 3-quart enameled cast iron baking dish, the liquid pressed to submerge the potatoes completely, covered in aluminum foil and baked in a 400º oven for 25 minutes, the foil removed and the dish allowed to bake further, until the potatoes were tender and the top is golden, about another 50 minutes
- just under a pound of Savoy cabbage from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, quartered, cored, sliced into one-half-inch ribbons, sautéed inside a medium antique heavy high-sided copper pot over medium heat in about a tablespoon of olive oil and a quarter cup of cold water, cooked for a few minutes, or until the cabbage had wilted slightly, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a little more than a teaspoon of cumin seed that had first been toasted inside a small cast iron pan, and a teaspoon of Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, the cabbage stirred, cooked for a few more minutes, or until tender
- the first wine with the main course was an Austrian (Burgenland) red, Blaufränkisch, Meinklang 2016, from Astor Wines
- followed by a part of another Austrian (Carnuntum) red, Blaufränkisch, Markowitsch 2016
Although there’s no photo of it, there was a cheese course. The choices I had made while shopping at the Greenmarket were with German styles in mind.
- two Alpine-style cow cheeses from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, Connecticut: ‘Dairyere‘ (aged six months), and ‘Dairyere Reserve‘ aged for a year
- slices of a sturdy Shewolf Bakery miche, reminiscent of a great German bread
- the wine was the remainder of the Burgenland Blaufränkish enjoyed at the end of the main course
- followed by a return to a white, still another Austrian (Weinviertel), Riesling ‘Falkenstein’ Dürnberg 2015, also from Astor Wines
After the cheese, we sipped a port-like wine with nuts and dried fruit.
- dried Calabrian (Amantea) figs from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, and some almonds from Foragers Market on 8th Avenue
- the wine was a California (Jackson Valley/Amador County) Port-style fortified wine, using traditional Portuguese varietals, Ana Diogo-Draper Amador County Doce + Forte 2016, from Naked Wines
This isn’t a German dinner, in spite of what appear to be some reasonable cues to the contrary.
More like American, or, specifically, more like my kitchen.
I used my imagination to assemble a meal which would enjoy the accompaniment of the quince chutney left over from our Thanksgiving duck feast, and smoked pork (Kassler) seemed like it would do the trick, especially on a weekday, as it requires no real cooking.
We finished off our plates, but ironically it was the little service bowl of chutney once again that remained when we were done. It’s no reflection on the delicious condiment, since we’re not really big on sweets, and sugars were an important element in 3 of the 4 items on the plate.
Maybe I’ll spread some on toast, or Bread Alone’s very Germanic Fruit and Seed Brød, tomorrow morning.
- a tablespoon or more of rendered duck fat heated inside an large antique tin-lined copper heavy skillet, where it had softened the chopped white section of a medium size scallion from Stokes Farm, the green section reserved for later, 2 smoked loin pork chops from Schaller & Weber added, the pot covered with a universal copper lid, kept above a very low flame (just enough to warm the chops through, as they were already fully-cooked), turning the meat once, then, near the end of the cooking time (I went 8 or 9 minutes this time), the green parts of the onion, which had been set aside earlier, now also sliced, added on top of the chops for a minute or so before they were removed, arranged on the plates, brushed with a little horseradish jelly from Berkshire Berries, sprinkled with both the white and green sections of the scallion
- a bit of quince chutney made last week, using this theKitchn.com recipe, incorporating a red shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, a Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, quince from Troncillito Farms, dried sweet cherries from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, fresh ginger from Lani’s Farm, and a local apple cider vinegar from Race Farm
- two very small Honey Butternut squash from Lani’s Farm, scrubbed, halved, the seeds removed, placed cut-side up in a baking dish, and a mix of almost 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, an equal amount of fresh water, the zest and juice of less than half of a lemon, part of one fresh habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, and a pinch each of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper brushed or poured over the top, then dotted with less than 2 tablespoons of butter, placed in a 375º oven and baked for 15 or 20 minutes, the squash flipped over and continued cooking, basting halfway through, until caramelized and tender, or 20-25 more minutes (serving as edible sauce boats really)
- wild cress from Lani’s Farm, dressed with a little Frankies 457 Sicilian olive oil, Maldon salt, and freshly-ground black pepper (although I now think it would have been better to leave this excellent cress naked)
- the wine was a French (Burgundy) red, Bourgogne Rouge, Dom. des Meix Poron 2015, from Astor Wines
- the music was Thomas Arne’s 1740-1745-1753 sung stage work/masque/oratorial about Alfred the Great, ‘Alfred’, Nicholas McGegan conducting the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, with David Daniels, Christine Brandes, Jennifer Smith, Jamie MacDougall
We had gotten back only the night before, Monday, after being away for almost a week, so the cupboards were almost bare, and Tuesday was not a Greenmarket day. Nevertheless, I knew I could still assemble a decent meal around virtually the only vegetables in the house, a beautiful red cabbage waiting in the crisper, and a few potatoes.
I removed some smoked pork chops from the freezer the night before, and the character of the next day’s dinner was decided.
I didn’t have any fresh herbs in the apartment, but I wouldn’t need them. I would have liked some kind of fresh allium for the Kassler, but I decided I could try a bit of celery as a substitute.
- chopped sections of one celery stalk from Lucky Dog Organic Farms, some of the tender leaves reserved for the end of the process, softened over a low to moderate flame in a tablespoon or so of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ that had been heated inside a heavy tin-lined copper skillet, two smoked 9-ounce loin pork chops from Schaller & Weber added, the pot covered with a universal copper lid and kept above a very low flame (just enough to warm the chops through, as they were already fully-cooked), turning the meat once, then, near the end of the cooking time (I went for about 7 minutes this time), a few more thin slices of celery added for a minute or so, the chops then arranged on the plates and the celery leaves that had been set aside earlier, now chopped, sprinkled on top, finished with a topping of a bit of horseradish jelly from Berkshire Berries
- roughly a tablespoon and a half of rendered duck fat heated/melted inside a large, heavy, enameled cast iron pot, one finely sliced 13 or 14-ounce red ‘beef heart’ cabbage from Tamarack Hollow Farm and 2 medium roughly-chopped shallots from Lucky Dog Organic Farm added and cooked, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage had softened slightly (about 10 minutes), then adding some salt, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and more than one teaspoon of a local apple cider vinegar from Race Farm, along with a sprinkling of freshly-ground black pepper, the heat reduced and the mixture cooked 10 minutes or so longer, or until the cabbage was wilted and the shallots softened, after which a little turbinado sugar was stirred in, followed by a few tablespoons of a mix of different types of raisins, and a tablespoon or more of red current jelly, the mix stirred well
- four medium Red Norland potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, boiled whole and unpeeled in heavily-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, barely a tablespoon of butter added, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with homemade breadcrumbs that had first been browned in a little butter with a pinch of salt
- the wine was an Austrian (Weinviertel) white, Riesling “Falkenstein” Dürnberg 2015, from Astor Wines
- the music was an album of piano music composed and performed by Philip Glass, ‘Solo Piano’, released in 1989
Sure there was Kassler, but the meal was more ‘free’ German than ‘serienmäßig‘ German.
It was also very allium-y, spring allium-y in particular: Each of the entrée’s 3 elements included a different local mild spring ‘onion’.
The vegetables were superb; both potatoes and chard, like almost everything else, were from the Union Square Greenmarket, and so quite local.
- the chopped white sections of half a dozen ramps from Dave’s Max Creek Hatchery, the green leaves reserved for the end, softened over a low to moderate flame in a tablespoon or so of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ that had been heated inside a heavy, medium-size tin-lined copper skillet, after which two smoked 9-ounce loin pork chops from Schaller & Weber were added, the pot covered with a universal copper lid, kept above a very low flame (just enough to warm the chops through, as they were already fully-cooked), turning the meat once, then, near the end of the cooking time (I went for about 8 minutes this time), then the lamp leaves that had been set aside earlier, now sliced lengthwise, added for a minute or so, the pork removed from the skillet and arranged on 2 plates, brushed with a little horseradish jelly [!] from Berkshire Berries
- ten or 11 Pinto (or Pinto Gold) potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, boiled, unpeeled, in generously-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, and dried in the still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed there with a bit of Portuguese house olive oil from Whole Foods Market, and a cuttings from the stem of a spring red onion, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates, sprinkled with chopped bronze fennel, once again from Norwich Meadows Farm
- one bunch of beautiful rainbow chard from Eckerton Hill Farm, wilted in a couple tablespoons of olive oil in which 2 sliced spring garlic stems from John D Madura Farm had first been heated and slightly softened, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, finished with a little juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, and, finally, a drizzle of olive oil
[image of Weingut Balthasar Ress Weinberge, in Hattenheim, Rheingau, from this Weinhandel site]