Holiday Menu Revamp

Butternut Leek Pancakes from Bon Appetit

a spin on latkes, featuring butternut squash and leeks, from Bon Appetit

 

Having just read Yotam Ottolenghi’s totally vegetarian overhaul of the holiday dinner spread got us thinking about a re-do. There are so many great recipes out there, so many new things to try in the kitchen that we thought it might be fun to seek out the best and round them up here. Get ready for your holiday menu revamp.

Oh, and Happy Chanukah everyone!

 

Brie6

photo by the Mediterranean Dish

 

Cheese boards are a simple and quick way to get some food out for a crowd, they look classy too. This season baked brie has made a comeback in a major way and an oozy decadent dish like this just seems so much more exciting than the old cheese board. Go old school and stock up on lots of brie and figs. Try making this recipe, it only takes 15 minutes and the final result is stunning and delicious.

 

photo by Minimalist Baker

photo by Minimalist Baker

 

Baked sweet potatoes need some help and this recipe for Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes is just the ticket. Take your boring old baked yams and top them with spiced chickpeas, tomato and parsley, then drizzle with a garlic herb sauce. Best part? Totally vegan.

Latkes are amazing just the way they are, we love latkes done simply with potato and onion or jazzed up with sweet potato and zucchini. We found a new recipe though, not a latke exactly, but a fritter-y pancake, that you definitely should try at least once. How do Butternut Leek Pancakes sound to you? Made with chickpea flour and served with yogurt, these are perfect for brunch or appetizers.

 

photo by Port & Fin

photo by Port & Fin

 

Have you ever made pretzels from scratch? Do it once and you’ll be hooked, nothing beats a hot fresh pretzel that you made yourself. Then again, you can go ahead and stuff your pretzels with cheese and take home first prize for most amazing thing ever. Try these cheese-stuffed soft pretzels, they are not simple to make, they require some time in the kitchen, so they make a perfect weekend project.

 

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You are going to want to buy some eggplant. Even if you don’t like eggplant very much, you’ve got to try this recipe from Ottolenghi’s latest column. An eggplant upside down cake! Nuts right? Just read the recipe and go buy some eggplant already!

Aubergine Upside-Down Cake

by Yotam Ottolenghi

2 large courgettes, coarsely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 aubergines, cut into 1.5cm-thick rounds
60ml olive oil, plus 2 tsp for brushing
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
5g marjoram leaves, roughly chopped
5g oregano leaves, roughly chopped
50g pine nuts, toasted
300g Greek yoghurt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
50g parmesan, finely grated
2 eggs, separated
50g fresh white breadcrumbs

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Line a 21cm cake tin with baking paper and brush with oil.

Mix the grated courgette with half a teaspoon of salt and put in a colander over a bowl or in the sink for 20 minutes. Transfer the salted courgette to the centre of a clean tea towel or J-cloth, draw up the sides, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Put the courgette (you should have about 200g-worth) in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the aubergine slices with two tablespoons of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Spread out on two oven trays lined with baking paper and roast for 30 minutes, until golden-brown. Set aside to cool, then arrange the aubergine in a spiral in the base of the cake tin, so the slices overlap and cover the base.

Turn down the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a medium frying pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the onion for seven minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden-brown. Add the garlic and herbs, fry for a minute, until the herbs are aromatic and the garlic is starting to brown, then add to the courgette bowl. Add the pine nuts, yoghurt, lemon zest, parmesan, egg yolks, breadcrumbs, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper, then mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold them into the courgette mix until just combined, then spoon on top of the aubergine in the cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes, until the cake is golden-brown, then set aside to cool down a bit.

Release the cake from its tin and invert on to a plate, so the aubergines are now sitting on top. Remove the baking paper, cut into individual portions and serve warm or at room temperature.

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