This meal anticipated summer by a bit, as nothing required cooking at home, and everything was served at room temperature. We would have continued with a third course of two great, and possibly Germanic-y, artisanal cows-milk cheeses I’d picked up at the Bobolink Dairy stall in the Union Square Greenmarket, if we hadn’t already been pretty satisfied with the two we had already enjoyed.
- thin slices of some awesome, slightly-smokey cooked beef tongue purchased from Dickson’s Farm Stand Meats in Chelsea Market, served with “Cold Horseradish sauce à la Dresden” [image of the horseradish at the top], a simple recipe culled from the copy of Craig Claiborne’s “New York Times Cookbook” [the revised edition here] which I’d snatched up almost half a century back, and slices of rye bread from Balthazar Bakery, purchased at Garden of Eden
- raw red cabbage salad, using Kurt Gutenbrunner‘s luscious recipe, the small tight super-dark cabbage, garnished with thin slices of golden delicious apples (both cabbage and apples purchased at Garden of Eden), also served with slices of the round rye loaf, here with sweet butter on the side
- wine: a Gruner Veltliner from Lower Austria, Kremser Weinzierl Gruner Veltliner 2008 (very inexpensive, and a generous full liter) from Phillipe Wine
Barry and I don’t really celebrate Christmas, or any other god-based holiday, but we can’t help cherishing some of the trappings of the ancient Christian feast days kept by our families while we were growing up. Holiday meals are probably the most important survivors of his and my early conversions to irreligion, and those associated with December 24 and 25 are among those most worthy of our attentions.
So two nights ago I once again cleared off (six) two-foot high stacks of books from the top of the dining table in the large gallery, unfolded the top, pulled out the legs and set it for the fresh, light dinner described below. It was designed to anticipate a slightly more ambitious, warmer and heavier spread the following day:
- smoked trout which I had picked out at the Union Square Greenmarket just the day before (Max Creek Hatchery in East Meredith New York), arranged on the plate with endive leaves which cradled a shredded apple and horseradish sauce/salad, along with slices from a Portuguese Saloio roll (hand-formed, peasant bread) from Garden of Eden (baked by Elio’s Bakery, in Jersey City)
- red cabbage salad: two beautiful small heads of red (actually, pretty purple) cabbage from the Queens County Farm Museum stand at the Greenmarket, thinly-shredded and mixed with lingonberry preserves, walnut oil, sherry vinegar, roasted and roughly-chopped walnuts, served garnished with julienne strips of the same Greenmarket-purchased New York-native Newtown Pippin apple included in the previous course, along with slices of a round loaf of dark flax-seed bread from Garden of Eden (Kara Bakery in Brooklyn), fresh butter and Manchego and Roncal cheeses (from Murray’s Cheese); the recipe for the entree was one adapted from Kurt Gutenbrunner and printed in the Times December 9.