Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Winter 2012/2013 Brooklyn Eats

"From morning till night, sounds drift from the kitchen, most of them familiar and comforting. On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it; it dries the wet sock, it cools the hot little brain."
(E.B. White)

Today is the first day of spring! Though last winter was unusually mild in the New York region, this winter was snowy and stormy. I'm glad the past few days' blustery, wintry mix seems to be slowly but surely giving way to clearer and eventually milder weather. After all, March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, isn't it? While I'm excited for spring, I want first to share a long, photo-heavy post with recipe links to some of our winter meals at home: 1) breakfast and brunch; 2) dips and spreads; 3) soup and chili; 4) salads; 5) pasta; 6) seafood; 7) poultry; and 8) desserts.

Breakfast and Brunch

I love breakfast, brunch, breakfast for dinner, 24-hour diner breakfasts in the middle of the night, you name it. I would normally drink coffee with my morning meals, but I'm fasting from coffee as well as alcohol during Lent, so it seems fitting that I made chai for the first time a little while back, with a little light coconut milk. In addition to breakfast classics such as eggs, pancakes, and muffins, I also made some savory oatmeal dishes that work for other times of the day as well.

Coconut chai tea
Crustless cauliflower-cheddar quiches (recipe uses broccoli
but I had cauliflower) and quick and easy home fries
Savory Sriracha oatmeal via HuffPost Taste via YumSugar
Savory oatmeal and soft-cooked egg
Homemade flaxseed pancakes and turkey bacon egg cups
Basic pancakes with added whole ground flaxseed meal
Mini turkey bacon egg cups
Quiche Lorraine with turkey bacon via The Nest
Blueberry flax microwave muffin via BuzzFeed Food
Cream cheese and chive scrambled eggs
Eggs baked in avocado with paprika
Blythe Danner's blueberry muffins
Dips and Spreads

I have a red KitchenAid Chef's Chopper that comes in handy when a smaller recipe calls for a food processor. With it I made a simple and tasty white bean and rosemary dip, and fromage fort following Smitten Kitchen's tips, using the random cheese scraps I had on hand, fresh rosemary, thyme, and garlic, and leftover Chandon Rosé.

White bean and rosemary dip
Soup and Chili

Building on my autumn soup repertoire, below are several varied recipes for soup and chili. Warm soups are comforting throughout the year -- not just during the colder months -- but I hope to also experiment with chilled versions this spring and summer.

Mushroom and leek soup with thyme cream
Slow-cooker vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes
and part of a Zingerman's bread club loaf
Thai chicken noodle soup


I've never been a salad girl. I usually go for non-salad-y salads, like ones with lots of cheese, nuts, fruits, and dressing, on top of a few leaves. I've gotten much better at consuming healthy greens and vegetables, but a basic garden salad just isn't exciting or flavorful.

Chicken, walnut, golden raisin, and feta salad with kale and spinach
Tuna, chickpea, and beet salad
Avocado and pink grapefruit salad with feta
Greek quinoa and avocados

I made the next 2 chicken salads using the wonder that is the rotisserie chicken: Union Market in Park Slope carries 3 varieties, and they seriously sell out like hotcakes. You can't buy raw chicken cutlets for the price of a fully-prepared, flavorfully-roasted whole chicken.

Union Market's rosemary and garlic rotisserie chicken
Cranberry apple chicken salad made with Greek yogurt
Asian chicken salad with added mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, and spinach
(I made a finger food version for our August cocktail party)


I haven't made much pasta lately -- especially with recent notable restaurant experiences at Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini, and Restaurant Marc Forgione -- but I did try a few recipes, 2 of which are shown below. The spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach was especially good, with crispy slices of garlic and a nice salty bite.

Spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach
Creamy goat cheese pasta with spinach and roasted mushrooms
(I used Barilla veggie rotini made with puréed spinach and zucchini)


Salmon is such a universally appreciated fish, probably because it is not delicate, it is very forgiving, and can be prepared in so many ways: grilled, baked, poached, seared, broiled, smoked, steamed, or just plain raw. Shrimp is quick to cook and easy to grill, broil, steam, etc... but I mostly like it fried.

20-minute hoisin skillet salmon with steamed broccoli
20-minute shrimp and couscous with yogurt-hummus sauce


Chicken is one of the most popular sources of protein in our household; it's so versatile and can be used in any cuisine or as a meat substitute in a variety of recipes. While I've never been too keen on ground meat, ground turkey has started to become a staple for us as well due to its versatility, and it's perfect in the meatloaf below, when I first put together the Creole seasoning I used on Super Bowl Sunday.

Skillet rosemary chicken with red potatoes and mushrooms
Chicken tikka masala and naan with Passage to India simmer sauce
(my sister bought that and the whoopie pie mix, below, at Chef Central)
Eric Ripert's coconut chicken
Turkey meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes,
also great in a sandwich the next day
Simple turkey meatloaf
Garlic mashed red potatoes
(I've made these a few times and they are easy and delicious!)
Grilled cilantro chicken (Sam made this one!)
Quinoa with Latin flavors to go with the cilantro chicken


I still love baking the best. I enjoy sharing sweet treats with friends and family, and unlike a hot meal, their goodness can be extended over a longer period of time. Cookies are my favorite, and I recently revisited a trusty recipe for oatmeal cranberry cookies from the 2001 Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies Special Issue (photo below shows part of my old copy).

Mini apple pies
Stonewall Kitchen red velvet whoopie pies
Chocolate chip cookie in a cup via BuzzFeed Food
Giant Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies with sea salt
Cakey lemon bar "brownies"
Oatmeal cranberry cookies
My 3rd time making old-fashioned banana cream pie in 4 weeks

Winter Meals by Local Eateries

As I did for summer and fall, I've made note of dining establishments in Brooklyn that we've newly gone to or ordered from in the past season, as far as I can recall.

American & Breakfast/Brunch: Dizzy's on 5thStone Park Cafe
Bagels: The Bagel Market
Cheese & Provisions: BKLYN Larder
Food Court: Barclays Center
Mexican: El Pollito Mexicano
Thai: Leelawadee

It's probably not surprising that our winter Brooklyn restaurant list was significantly shorter than our fall list and summer list. Now that we're into spring, the weather will get nicer and the daylight longer, so I hope to continue getting out and trying more local food spots!


  1. oh my goodness my brother must be getting fat!

    1. He isn't because, unlike me, he actually works out and watches his intake. He always eyes how much butter goes into baked goods, haha. But I also try to cook healthy recipes I find on Pinterest, which is why some of them are from Fitness magazine!

  2. I'm totally with you about breakfast for dinner and 24 hour restaurants that serve it. Hubs loves breakfast 24/7!!!!!!!!!!! Great ideas here for spring has sprung foodie lovers . . .

  3. Wow you've put together some really tastey looking meals! Those quiches look delicious! Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at


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