Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Four Favorite Components of a Gnoshing Sunday Supper

Sometimes a simple collection of favorite foods is the perfect simple Sunday supper. (Especially since Sunday is the best night to indulge in television--football, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, Boss on the DVR from Friday...)

A few of the rock star elements of our gnoshing plate are highlighted above.

Luckily I thought to bake a fresh loaf of bread Sunday morning. Mark Bittman's recipe for Speedy No-Knead bread is fantastic. Very little effort is required, you just need to have the capacity to plan ahead. This bread is better than almost all other bread I have had--with the exception of Per Se's pretzel bread and Parker House rolls.

Roasted chestnuts remind me of a wonderful trip to visit relatives in Bern, Switzerland. Right outside the train station was a roasted chestnut vendor. Amazing. So when I saw chestnuts in the grocery I grabbed a  dozen or so to experiment. I found this very helpful how-to roast chestnuts article online, chose the soak in salt water then oven roast method, and it worked! (Only one exploded, literally right as I was putting on the oven mitts. Thank goodness for self-cleaning ovens.)  It is a shame that chestnuts are hidden in stuffing so often, especially when they have to share space with celery.

A quick tangent on chestnuts and Switzerland--when there we also indulged in a local seasonal favorite called vermicelli. It is a sweet chestnut paste that is pressed out to look like vermicelli noodles and is topped with meringue. Truly amazing. The timing of our trip at the height of chestnut season was fortuitous!

Back to the simple life. For cheese I selected the Saga Blue Brie (Just learned it is their 25th anniversary. Yeah for them!) and my all time favorite, Tete de Moine. I love it so much I already devoted a blog post to it. I get my Tete from Artisanal. Sometimes you can find it at Whole Foods, but I once found it sliced in quarters there, which makes it impossible to use the girolle and get the florets. Come to think of it, I first tasted Tete de Moine on that Switzerland trip too.

The final stand-out element of the meal has nothing to do with Switzerland, but it is delicious. We took pieces of peeled black garlic and stuffed them into Applewood-smoked olives. Black garlic is one of the most delicious food inventions on Earth and we have the Koreans to thank. It is like an umami gummi bear. Buy a tub of the peeled stuff, it is worth every penny. Note: These stuffed olives are also amazing in martinis, especially my favorite concoction, the "red-head martini" (dirty martini using the applewood smoked olive brine plus a shot of fresh tomato juice).

Hope you enjoy some of my favorites! Let me know if you try any of these recipes and what the elements are in your own favorite gnoshing suppers.

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