Saturday, January 2, 2010

Starting the year off right

This New Year's was quiet and low-key, starting with dinner at Local 44 with Beth and Mac and followed by some drinks, games and a movie. Alex had his own party to attend, so Mike was left as the youngest dark-haired male in the house and carried out the Wodnick family tradition of coming through the threshold in the new year with bread and wine. Hopefully this ensures us all a happy and healthy 2010!

To get started with home-cooked January, we used that very same bread, baked by Beth, to make French toast. I didn't follow a recipe, but here are the basics:

Lightly beat 6 eggs and combine with 1 cup half and half. Added ~1 tsp vanilla, 3 tbsp sugar and the grated peel from half an orange. Soaked each slide of bread in this custard and placed in frying pan with warm butter. Lightly dusted with cinnamon and cooked until browned.
It turned out great and it was so nice to have a lazy morning, drinking coffee, eating and playing board games with good friends.

In the spirit of new beginnings and enthusiastic about my project for January, I decided to cook another meal on the first day of the month and year. I had some cauliflower in the fridge and decided to make it into a soup. I had planned to make a cream soup, but found the following simple recipe in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" and thought it sounded good.

Cauliflower Soup, Italian Style
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into small florets
Salt and black pepper
1 quart vegetable stock (I used premade Trader Joe's)

Put about half the oil into saucepan over medium heat. When hot, added the onion and cooked ~10 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Stirred in garlic, red pepper, cauliflower, salt and pepper and continued to cook 3-5 minutes. Added the stock, brought to a boil over high heat, then simmered until cauliflower was tender ~15 min. Stirred in remaining oil before serving.

I served the soup with a simple green salad (something Alex and I eat most nights) and Olive Oil and Salt bread (also from Bittman). I'm not posting the bread recipe b/c it was only so-so...kind of dry and not very flavorful. All in all, though, it made a nice light meal for the first night of the new year.

1 comment:

  1. I love the photo of Mike and I. I'll have to post it on my blog, too. And the french toast was outstanding! I'm totally sold on the orange zest. Happy New Year!