Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year's Eve Dinner

We at OSH take it pretty easy these days for New Year's Eve: a dinner with the family and maybe we'll stay up 'til 10 if we're lucky.

Here's what's on the menu for tonight: a simple meal with the kids in mind taken mostly from Tessa Kiros' Apples for Jam. Maybe we'll light a few candles and make some wishes for the new year.

Orange Sugar Home's New Year's Eve Dinner
Prix Fixe
(A Glass of Milk or Water Included)

Kale Chips
Chicken Cutlets with Parsley and Capers
Slow- Roasted Cauliflower
Pear and Blackberry Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Kale Chips
Wash a bunch of kale, pulling the leaves from the stems. Spin in a salad spinner. Toss with a tablespoon or two of good olive oil and a pinch or two of sea salt. Lay out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 325-350 degree oven until crisp and light. (This recipe is from my sister-in-law and is amazingly popular with kids!)

Chicken Cutlets with Parsley and Capers
3 Chicken Cutlets
About 4T all-purpose flour
4T Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic peeled and squashed a bit
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Juice of Half a Lemon
1 and 1/2 T capers in vinegar, drained and chopped
3T chopped fresh parsley
3T hot water

Lightly pat both sides of the chicken in flour. Heat the oil with the garlic in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Fry until lightly golden on the underside, then turn over, and season the done sides with salt and pepper. When the new undersides are golden, turn them again, season and squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the capers, half the parsley, and 2 to 3 T of hot water. Let it bubble up, then put a lid on the pan, and cook for an extra minute or two to make sure that the chicken is cooked through but still soft and moist and there is some liquid in the pan. Turn off the heat and leave the pan with the lid on for a few minutes. Mix in the remaining parsley and serve immediately.
Serves three. (Borrowed from Tessa Kiros' Apples for Jam)

Slow- Roasted Cauliflower
Wash and dry a large head of cauliflower and break it into small florets with your hands. Toss with olive oil and sea salt until nicely coated. Roast in 350 degree oven on cookie sheet until done, turning with a spatula a few times to cook evenly. The longer and slower they cook the sweeter they get. They will get a little brown in parts. Toss again with a little more olive oil and taste for salt. For the grownups: excellent with a little red chili flake, or tossed with a few nuts like pistachios.

Pear and Berry Crisp
3 large Pears
1 cup of mixed berries
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 and 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 pound plus 3T butter. softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 14 by 18 and 1/2 inch ovenproof dish. Peel, core, and slice the pears, and put them in a dish. Mix in the berries and scatter half the superfine sugar over the fruit.
Mix together the flour, brown sugar, and the other half of the superfine sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and vanilla and rub them in with your fingertips, working until the mixture isn't smooth but looks like damp clustery sand, Your fingers might be tired.
Scatter the topping over the fruit to cover it completely in a good thick layer. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden and some berry juice has oozed up a bit over the crust and darkened it here and there.
Let it cool down a touch and then serve warm with whipped cream, a bowl of custard, or vanilla ice cream.
Serves 8 from Apples for Jam

Variations: I'm going to substitute the all-purpose flour for spelt flour, like my sister-in-law (who has been inspiring me with new ideas lately!) did for Christmas. It turned out very light and crispy!

We'd be honored if you let us know what you are wishing for the new year!

L & K

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice

A magical day.
From our home to yours, may your winter be blessed!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Looking Back

We left Hong Kong a week ago and came home to this:

the Japanese maple has dropped its leaves and the air is cold and wet. Because I am missing my family in Hong Kong I am cooking lots of Chinese soup and ginger tea to keep us all warm and sound. The ginger tea recipe is my mom's: it is much better than the one I used to make on my own. The key is that it should be: "tasty, like an after- dinner dessert drink!" Drink if you feel a dry throat, nausea, or as if you are feeling susceptible...

Hot Ginger Drink
Peel and pound a couple of big pieces of ginger (about 2 inches)
Add boiling water, enough for another cup later
Add brown sugar or rock candy sugar to your taste--it should be yummy!

Boil uncovered for about ten minutes. Taste. It should be warming and spicy, but only to your taste. If it is too much for you, add more hot water. Not spicy enough, boil, reducing for longer, or add more ginger.

Stay warm!