Friday, December 7, 2012

Fall 2012 Brooklyn Eats

"Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy.
It's time to start making soup again."
(Leslie Newman)

Truth be told, I do love autumn and winter -- especially the holidays -- but not the bitter cold and dark-too-early parts. How are we in December already, and how has it been almost 3 months since I posted "Summer 2012 Brooklyn Eats"?

Red Poppy | Pink Peony is a personal, informal collection of snippets of my family life, and it has been convenient for me to refer back to past experiences in one place, whether to look-up a trusty recipe or browse old photos. Now that we're well into December and quickly approaching the official winter season, below are some of our homemade autumnal meals with recipe links, followed by a list with links of the local establishments we've tried this season.


I've really enjoyed making different kinds of soup and chili; perfect for when the temperatures drop. If you're in a soup-making mood, I recommend any of the recipes below.

Slow-cooked tomato soup
Chicken-and-rice soup with ginger
Hungarian apple soup
Roasted butternut squash and pear soup with goat cheese
Chunky white bean soup with ground turkey, and
Zingerman's (Better Than) San Francisco Style Sourdough


Soup's natural pairing is the sandwich, but many sandwiches can stand alone. The photos below include grilled cheese sandwiches I made to go with the slow-cooked tomato soup (above), giant Thanksgiving leftovers sandwiches that were a full meal by themselves, and chickpea or garbanzo burgers, because I guess you can call a burger a type of sandwich, right?
Parmesan-crusted grilled cheese with fontina, dijon, and apricot jam
Piles of Thanksgiving leftovers on Zingerman's Farm Bread
Chickpea patties, aka groovy garbanzo burgers, with BBQ sauce

Potato-Apple Latkes, Chicken Pot Pie, and Roasted Baby Brussels Sprouts

The dishes below don't fit well into the other categories, so they get their own! Here's a potato-apple latke recipe, from an insert called "50 Things to Make with Apples" within the October 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine:
Peel and shred 1 apple and 1 small russet potato; squeeze dry. Mix with 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of nutmeg. Fry heaping spoonfuls in butter in a skillet over medium heat, turning, 4 minutes per side.

Potato-apple latkes
Simple old-fashioned chicken pot pie
Baby Brussels sprouts with maple and cayenne (also from Thanksgiving 2011)


I haven't had that much experience with quinoa, but I really like it and plan to cook with it more. For the tasty and wholesome salads below, I used organic rainbow quinoa.

Quinoa salad with chickpeas, feta, and apples
Quinoa salad with butternut squash, dried cranberries, and pepitas


I made the mustard-glazed salmon with lentils especially because my husband loves lentils, and I had saved the Spa Week link for the honey-ginger baked salmon last year but only recently got around to trying it. Both recipes are really good and good for you.

Mustard-glazed salmon with lentils
Honey-ginger baked salmon with steamed haricot verts

Better Than Takeout

I'm in the mood for Thai or Mexican cuisine any day, but neither Sam nor I often crave Chinese food. I wanted to try making some takeout-inspired dishes myself though, and one of the best parts about cooking at home is that you know exactly which ingredients are being used.

Shrimp with all-purpose brown garlic stir-fry sauce
Pork fried rice and broccoli with garlic sauce
Pork fried rice with brown rice
Broccoli with garlic sauce

Company's Coming

For one of the night's that my brother-in-law, Daniel, came over for dinner, I made pumpkin quesadillas with goat cheese and walnuts -- a little sweet, a little savory -- and penne with turkey and broccolini.

Pumpkin quesadillas and penne with turkey and broccolini
Penne with turkey and broccolini
Pumpkin quesadillas with goat cheese and walnuts

When our friends Nancy and Dan came over before we all went to see comedian Russell Peters at Barclays Center, I made rosemary-lemon oven-fried chicken -- super crispy without deep-frying -- garlic rosemary mashed potatoes, and buttermilk biscuits.

Aida Mollenkamp's rosemary-lemon oven-fried chicken
Rosemary-lemon oven-fried chicken
Garlic rosemary mashed potatoes
Buttermilk biscuits (also made for Thanksgiving 2012)


As I write this, I'm working on a few more sweets for the weekend. I made the pumpkin bread below with pumpkin puree I had leftover from the quesadillas (above), and I baked the chewy ginger cookies to snack on during the week NYC was hit by Hurricane Sandy; and it turned out that my sister and her family, who stayed with us for a few days because they didn't have heat or electricity, were able to enjoy them as well.

Pumpkin bread (it was either recipe II or III)
Chewy ginger cookies with raisins, aka my "Hurricane Sandies"


If you look at the recipe links I've posted, you'll see that many of the meals I made in the fall included ginger: most often fresh, some ground, and even a little minced for fun.

I'm into gingers

Fall Meals by Local Eateries

American: Benchmark Restaurant, Woodland
Chicken: Purbird
Coffee/Tea & Bakeries/Gelato: Caramello, Cousin John's Cafe & Bakery, Du Jour Bakery
French: A.O.C. Bistro
Italian: Va Beh'
Japanese: Geido
Mediterrean/Middle Eastern: Olive Vine CafĂ© 
Pan-Asian: Dao Palate, Talde
Thai: SkyIce Sweet & Savory
Vietnamese: Lotus Vietnamese Sandwiches

Feel free to read about some of our summertime food experiences, back when the weather was warmer and the days were longer.


  1. Wow, so much of this looks so delicious! I could eat an entire pan of those brussel sprouts--I'm obsessed with the little things! And the soups, especially the pear one with goat cheese, all sound so interesting: I definitely want to try them!

    1. Let me know if you do, Miss Bat! (Love the name change.)


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